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Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia April 1-15, 2012 Vol 9. No 6


Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2012

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GAT Calendar of Events (For latest & updated events, visit

Publisher: Li Wong Account Manager: Adrian West Contributors: Andrian Putra, May Lee, Mark Ho Photographer: Ben Hioe, Minh Doan, Rendy Tendean Tel: 770.335.4593 Advertising: Editorial: URL: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 922348 Norcross, GA 30010-2348

Copyright Georgia Asian Times 2004-2012

All Rights Reserved: including those to reproduce this printing or parts thereof in any form without permission in writing from Georgia Asian Times. Established in 2004, the Georgia Asian Times is published by Asiamax Inc. All facts, opinions, and statements appearing within this publication are those of writers and editors themseleves, and are in no way to be construed as statements, positions, endorsements by Georgia Asian Times or its officers. Georgia Asian Times assumes no responsibility for damages from the use of information contained in this publication or the reply to any advertisement. The Publisher will not be liable for any error in advertising to greater extent than the cost of space occupied by the error and will only be made for a single publication date. The Publisher reserves the right to reject any ad or articles submitted for publication that may not be in good taste for a free publication.

GAT welcome submission of announcement pertaining to community related events. Please email event, date, venue, and time to GAT does not guarantee insertion of event announcement and has the right to deny any posting. 2012 NAAAP Atlanta IMPACT Leadership For Success Date: Thursday, April 12 Time: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Venue: CineBistro, Town Brookhaven For more info:

Savannah Asian Festival Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012 Time: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm Venue: Civic Center For more info: email Erin Seals at eseals@ or call 912-651-6417

Laotion American Society7th Fundraising Ball Date: Saturday, April 14 Time: 6:00 pm - 1:00 am Venue: The Grand Ballroom, 6100 Live Oak Pkwy, Norcross For more info:404-579-1413

19th Asian Cultural Experience (ACE) Date: Sat-Sun; July 28-29 Time: 10:00 am-8:00 pm, 11:00 am-7:00 pm Venue: Gwinnett Center Admission: $10 (adult) $6 (students) Free (child under 5 years) For more info:

“The Future of Chinese Politics: Through the Lens of the Chinese Elite� Daniel Lynch, Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California Date: Friday, April 20, 2012 Time: 4:00 - 5:30pm Venue: Troy Moore Library, 9th Floor, GSU General Classroom Building 2012 USPAACC-SE Annual Meeting Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Time: 9:30 am - 12:00 noon Venue: GE HQ, Wildwood Pkwy Atlanta For more info:

Hong Kong Dragon Boat - Atlanta Date: Saturday Sept 8 Time: 7:00 am Venue: Clarks Bridge Olympic Rowing Facility Lake Lanier For more info: 8th Atlanta Asian Film Festival Date: Oct 5-20, 2012 Venues: Emory University, GPC-Dunwoody, GSU-Cinefest For more info:

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METRO ASIAN NEWS CG Hanatani Leaving Atlanta Atlanta, March 15 — Mr. Takuji Hanatani who serves as Consul General of Japan Atlanta for the past three years is completing his assignment at the end of the month. He will be starting a new position upon returning to Tokyo. “I will miss the friendship and the people of Georgia,” said Consul General Hanatani in his farewell reception at his residence. Mr Hanatani mentioned that he was particularly touched by the warm support and generosity of American people during the tsunami crisis in March last year. “I will never forget the encouraging notes left by young children at the gate of my residence during the

tsunami crisis. The notes were signed with their first names only. I want to sincerely thank them for their support. It meant a lot for me,” adds the Consul General. Consul General Hanatani is popular amongst the Japanese, Asian and mainstream community in metro Atlanta. He participates regularly at various community and cultural events promoting understanding and friendships. He along with his family is scheduled to depart Atlanta on March 29.

White House Initiative Summit Draws Large AAPI Participation Atlanta, March 16 — The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders hosted its Southeast Regional Action Summit at Emory University.

Christopher Lu, Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary, Co-Chair of White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders delivered the luncheon keynote address.

The event started with an opening remark by Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Lu, an Obama advisor, delivered some shocking statistics on the AAPI community. For example, one in six AAPI individuals does not have health insurance.

Ahuja, an alumni of Spelman College and a former native of Savannah, indicated that poverty, employment discrimination, barriers to education and health disparities are some of key issues affecting the AAPI community.

“The White House hopes to engage and to understand issues affecting the AAPI community,” said Lu in his address.

The event was co-organized with AAPI community organizations such as CPACS, AALAC, OCA Georgia, AARC, NACA and several other groups. Key topics such as homelessness and foreclosures in AAPI community, contracting opportunities with US government, mental health resources, and immigrants rights were discussed at breakout sessions. Senior federal officials were on hand at breakout sessions to discuss and engaged with participants.

Organizer were surprised with the large turnout by AAPI. The morning general session was fully packed and overflowed with participants.

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Philippine American Chamber of Commerce Georgia Elects New President and Board of Directors Philippine American Chamber of Commerce Georgia host an induction dinner at a restaurant Buckhead to elect Bryan Ramos as its President for 2012-2013. “PACGA aim to promote the Filipino-American owned and operated businesses in Georgia. We also hope to strengthen the Filipino-American network in Georgia,” said Bryan Ramos, President of PACCGA. In addition, Ramos mentioned that there is a business trade mission led by PACCGA to the Philippines in July 2012.

The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, Inc. (PACCGA) is a 501 (c)(6) non-profit corporation dedicated to the economic advancement of Philippine American businesses and professionals. The Chamber aims to promote bilateral trade, investment and economic relations between the United States (particularly the state of Georgia) and the Philippines. For more information on PACCGA, visit

Culinary Demonstration To Promote Thai Cuisine Duluth, March 18 — Shoppers at Assi Plaza on Pleasant Hill Road were able to sample a wide variety of delicious Thai cooking and demonstration on March 17-18. The 2-day “Thai Food Tasting” event was organized by Thai Trade Center Miami, Thai American Chamber of Commerce, and Assi PlazaDuluth. “The purpose of the event is to promote Thai food products to customers in metro Atlanta,” said Mrs. Kanya Amorntheerakul, Director of Thai Trade Center-Miami.

A variety of traditional Thai dishes were presented including Pad Thai, Tom Yum Shrimp, Tom Kha Chicken, and Green Curry Chicken. Cooking demonstration was presented by a Thai professional chef, Mr. Pathomkon Mung of Mai Thai Restaurant. Along with the food sampling, customers were also treated to Thai food carving demonstrated by Mr. Withit Wansutthi. For more information on Thai Trade Center Miami, visit www.thaitrade. com

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Thai tycoon Chaleo, Red Bull co-founder, dies Bangkok, March 17, 2012 (AFP) – Billionaire Chaleo Yoovidhya, the co-founder of energy drink Red Bull and the second richest man in Thailand, died Saturday at the age of 89, a company spokeswoman said. Chaleo was Thailand’s second richest man, with a fortune of $5 billion last year according to business magazine Forbes, having fallen from the top spot on its annual list which he held in 2009. According to local reports he was born into a poor Sino-Thai family in the northern province of Phichit who made their living from duck farming and fruit trading. Chaleo moved to Bangkok to help his brother in his drug store before becoming a salesman and later set up his own pharmaceutical factory in the old quarter of Bangkok. His TC Pharmaceuticals produced a “tonic drink” called Krating Daeng (“Red Bull”) which was popular with factory shift workers and truck drivers and provided the inspiration for the international beverage. In 1984 Chaleo founded Red Bull with Austrian marketing whiz Dietrich

Mateschitz, who had become aware of “tonic drinks” while traveling in Asia, and they started selling the drink in Austria in 1987. According to the company website, Mateschitz got the idea for the business while sitting at the bar in the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong in 1982. The pair each owned 49 percent of the company, with Chaleo’s son Chalerm holding the remaining two percent. The drink, which was produced in Chaleo’s factory, is now sold in more than 70 countries worldwide. Chaleo married twice and has 11 children, five from his first wife and six from his second. Apart from its energy drink business, Red Bull also owns two football teams, Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and the New York Red Bulls in the United States, and a Formula One stable of the same name. Chaleo’s family were due to start a week-long traditional Buddhist rites at a monastery west of Bangkok, a temple worker said.

Taiwan president presses for trade talks with US Taipei, March 21, 2012 (AFP) – Taiwan’s president Wednesday pushed for a reopening of trade talks with Washington saying the island needed a free trade agreement similar to that of South Korea’s with the United States. President Ma Ying-jeou said Taiwan was in danger of losing out to Seoul financially if an agreement was not reached soon. “After the free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States took effect, Taiwan’s exports to the US may fall by up to $3 billion,” Ma warned. “Also foreign investors may prefer to invest in South Korea and subsequently Taiwan may be marginalized,” he said in a statement released by the Kuomintang party. A free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea took effect last week, sparking concerns in the trade-reliant island that the pact would pit Taiwanese companies unfavorably against their South Korean counterparts on the US market. Negotiations between the United States and Taiwan on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, often a precursor to a full-fledged FTA,

have been dormant since 2007, over a dispute over imports of US beef. At the centre of the dispute has been Taiwan’s ban on US beef treated with ractopamine, a controversial additive used in animal feed to promote lean meat. In order to facilitate the talks, Ma’s administration had said it plans to lift the ban, sparking severe protests from activists and the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party. But in Wednesday’s remarks, Ma dismissed the safety concerns. “As of now, there is not any scientific evidence in the world that indicates ractopamine, if a limited amount taken in, would endanger health,” he said. Taiwan, China and the European Union ban such drugs because of possible human health risks, but 26 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Brazil, have declared the product safe.

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Record 62 million visit US in 2011 WASHINGTON, March 21, 2012 (AFP) – A record 62 million foreigners visited the United States last year, spending $153 billion on travel and tourism-related services, the US government said Wednesday. Releasing tourism industry data for 2011, the Commerce Department said spending by domestic as well as international tourists grew 8.1 percent in 2011, “supporting an additional 103,000 jobs for a total of 7.6 million.” “A big factor in the increase was a surge in international visitors to our country: in 2011, 62 million international visitors came to the United States, an increase of 2.5 million from the year before,” it said. Just over one million of those additional visitors came from Canada, far and away the leading source of foreign visitors to the United States. In all, 21 million Canadian residents crossed the border last year. One powerful incentive for Canadians to visit the United States has been the strength of the Canadian dollar,

which was worth more than its American counterpart for most of last year, observers say. Another 608,000 additional visitors in 2011 came from Western European countries, for a total of nearly 12 million, and about a half-million more from South America for a record 3.76 million. But there was only a three percent increase in visitors from Asia, to just over 7.2 million, a two percent decrease in those from Central America, and virtually no change in the number of Mexican visitors. “Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world visit America, and the more visitors we have, the more Americans we get back to work,” Commerce Secretary John Bryson said. He said President Barack Obama’s administration “will not let up on our efforts to support the tourism industry and make America more welcoming to visitors from all over the world.”

Dimmer jobs outlook dents US consumer confidence WASHINGTON, March 27, 2012 (AFP) - US consumers grew slightly more pessimistic about economic conditions in March as their outlook on job prospects dimmed, a closely watched survey showed Tuesday. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dipped in March to 70.2, in line with analyst expectations, after a surge in February had brought it to 71.6. The slight pullback was due entirely to consumers’ feelings about conditions six months in the future, while their assessment of current conditions continued to improve, the research firm said in a statement. Lynn Franco, head of consumer research at the Conference Board, noted that people’s confidence about current conditions was at its highest level in three and a half years -- in September 2008 when the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy sent global financial markets into a tailspin. That reading was “suggesting that despite this month’s dip in confidence, consumers feel the economy is not losing momentum,” Franco said in the statement. However, consumers were less optimistic about the short-term outlook than they were in February, both for business conditions and job prospects. Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors said the survey gave a mixed

picture on the attitudes of the American consumer, whose spending drives the economy and is crucial to support a fragile recovery. “Even as they see the economy beginning to pick up speed, consumers are still worried that the momentum may not be maintained,” Naroff said. “The decidedly schizophrenic consumer is trying to balance the good news about the labor market and the economy in general with the really bad news at the (gasoline) pump.” A separate confidence survey released Tuesday by pollster giant Gallup showed economic confidence hit its highest weekly level since January 2008. Gallup’s reading improved to -17 in the week ending March 25, from -21 the prior week. “Americans’ confidence in the economy is at its best level in four years, despite high gas (gasoline) prices,” it said. “This suggests that the moderately improving economy and, in particular, the improving job situation are offsetting, at least in part, the drag of gas prices on consumer perceptions of the economy.”

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EAT OUT QUAN BA 9 ~ Best Kept Secret on Buford Highway

By Mark Ho

Quan Ba 9 is a mom and pop hole in one restaurant located on Buford Highway. Situated opposite the road across from the more elegant Chateau Saigon restaurant and located next to an auto transmission shop. You will miss this place as the restaurant is located in a non-descriptive shopping strip. Named after the owner’s mom who happens to be known as “Mrs. Nine”. Vietnamese are known to have large families and she is the ninth child in the family. Quan Ba 9 offers authentic homestyle Vietnamese flavors - many of its dishes conjured up to street food cooking in Vietnam. You must try the chicken wings (Chim Gut Roti/$15.00) as appetizers. It is sweet and spicy glazed with a light touch of honey. This appetizer is perfect with a glass of beer. Another popular dish is the Mango Salad (Goi Xoai/$5.50). The salad dressing is lightly sweetened and goes well with the tangy mango strips. Grilled Squid with Lemon Grass and Peppers (Muc Nuong Sa Ot/$15.00) is another must try dish. Viets that regularly dine at this restaurant swears by a common fact -- its best dish is Seafood Noodle (Bun Mam / $8.95). The broth of the dish has a light savory tamarind taste similar to asam laksa (popular Malaysian dish).

You will find large chunks of fish fillets along with shrimps, roast pork, squid and egg plant. White rice noodles are used in this dish. It has quite a different texture compared to the pho noodles. Finished off your meal with an order of Vietnamese ice coffee (ca phe sua da). Strong licorized coffee served in ice and condensed milk. You will find the service at Quan Ba 9 to be fast and friendly. Their only waiter named Quyen “Queen” will help explain the dishes if you’re a newcomer to the restaurant. Overall, Quan Ba 9 stands on its own merit and quality. It is competing for customers within the half mile vicinity of Chateau Saigon, Nam Phuong, Lees Bakery, and Dai Loi. The place has a cozy and casual atmosphere. Although the place is small, it has a strong following of young Vietnamese and families. Quan Ba 9 4285 Buford Highway #A2 Atlanta GA 30345 Tel 404.636.2999 Sunday-Thurs: 10 am - 10 pm Fri-Sat: 10 am - 11 pm

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Priest who exposed Khmer Rouge horrors slams atrocities trial

PHNOM PENH, March 25, 2012 (AFP) - Cambodia’s landmark trial against exKhmer Rouge leaders is “a monumental mistake”, says the French priest who 35 years ago became the first person to expose the horrors of the regime. “I deny the United Nations the right to judge the Khmer Rouge,” said 73-yearold Francois Ponchaud, who was forced to leave Phnom Penh when the hardline communists took power in 1975. “The UN backed the Khmer Rouge for 14 years for geo-political reasons during the Cold War. I don’t see why the UN would now give itself the right to judge those it supported,” he said in an interview with AFP. In what is considered an embarrassing chapter in UN history, the Khmer Rouge was allowed to retain its seat in the General Assembly even after the regime was ousted by Vietnamese troops in 1979 and its blood-stained revolution was exposed to the world. In 2006, the Cambodian government

and the UN set up a tribunal in Phnom Penh to try to find justice for up to two million people who died under the regime’s 1975-1979 reign. Late last year, it began trying former deputy leader Nuon Chea, ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary and one-time head of state Khieu Samphan, all of whom deny charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial has been hailed as a milestone event in the still-traumatized nation, but the Roman Catholic priest is one of its few vocal detractors. Ponchaud, who returned to his beloved Cambodia in 1993, says the legal process betrays a lack of cultural sensitivity because it imposes a Western idea of justice on a staunchly Buddhist nation. “It’s a monumental mistake. The Cambodians don’t need this trial, invented by Westerners, that causes more pain than it heals. It just rehashes all this suffering that the Khmer people have begun to forget,” he said. Ponchaud, who has spent years living alongside rural Cambodians, believes the country has its own way of resolving conflicts, and “it’s not through court verdicts”. Many survivors and former Khmer Rouge perpetrators have already found a way

to “live together”, often side by side in the same village, he said, trusting that karma will set things right in the next life. “The concept of human rights is a very Judeo-Christian concept,” according to the clergyman. “For a Buddhist, the human person doesn’t exist. When you die, you will be reincarnated.” But Ponchaud is not in denial about the crimes that were committed under the hardline communist movement that enslaved the population in a bid to create an agrarian utopia. He has vivid memories of the mass evacuation of Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975 when more than two million inhabitants -- including the young, the elderly, pregnant women and hospital patients -- were forced to abandon their homes for labour camps in the countryside. The priest himself was one of the last foreigners to exit Cambodia that May, after weeks holed up at the French embassy, the last refuge for expats, until the Khmer Rouge decided it was time for outsiders to leave. Ponchaud shared his story with journalists upon his return to France, but his claims that a capital city had been emptied of its residents in just a matter of hours defied belief. Two years later, in 1977, when the general public was still largely enchanted by the idea of the small nation’s rural revolution, Ponchaud published “Cambodia: Year Zero” -- a book that detailed for the first time what was really happening inside the secretive country.

“I think that alas, yes, I was the first to alert the world,” he said. Based on the chilling accounts of dozens of Cambodians who had managed to escape, Ponchaud predicted “the assassination of a people”. “Unending labour, too little food, wretched sanitary conditions, terror and summary executions: from these the hair-raising human cost of the Khmer revolution can be imagined without much difficulty,” he wrote. “Even if the refugees’ affirmations are assumed to be exaggerated, the terrible truth remains: the Khmer revolution is one of the bloodiest of the 20th century.” Three decades on, Ponchaud is as outspoken as ever -- and he’s not done sharing his thoughts with the world. The trial against the elderly accused will soon turn its focus on the Phnom Penh evacuation, which is listed as a crime against humanity on the trio’s charge sheet. “Of course it’s a crime against humanity. What they did was monstrous. It’s unjustifiable,” Ponchaud said. As an eye-witness of the event and the author of seminal book on the Khmer Rouge, the priest might well be called upon to testify.

If that happens, Ponchaud says he won’t hesitate to tell the court his own truth.

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Consul General Hanatani Farewell Reception / March 9

Culinary Thai Food Demonstration / March 17-18

Photos: Ben Hioe

Consul General Takuji Hanatani and family.

Varinee Sangmalee, President -Thai American Chamber of Commerce and Mrs. Kanya Amorntheerakul, Dir of Thai Trade Center-Miami.

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White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Regional Summit / Mar 16

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FOCUS The empire smiles back: Taiwan’s Japanese cherry festival Taipei, March 25, 2012 (AFP) - Taiwan loves cherry blossoms. In fact, it loves almost everything Japanese. For a nation that ruled the island for 50 years, often with an iron fist, Japan has left a very favorable impression. In the latest triumph of Japanese soft power in its former colony, tens of thousands of Taiwanese have taken up planting cherry trees to revel in their colorful bloom for a few precious moments each spring -- just like in Japan. “When you see the flowers, you almost feel as if you’re in Japan,” 50-year-old businesswoman Susan Wu said as she walked up a hilly road flanked by white and pink cherry blossoms in Beitou, a Taipei suburb. In an annual routine that has become increasingly popular over the past two to three years, Taiwanese flock to remote sightseeing spots at the risk of being trapped in huge traffic jams -- only to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossoms, known as “sakura” in Japan. The mountainous Beitou area has become a particular visitor magnet after a local official started a campaign urging locals to plant cherry blossom trees, which has so far caught the imagination of more than 400 households. “Not many people knew this place in the past, but now it’s famous because people associate it with cherry

blossoms,” said Ching Rong-hui, an official who oversees the daily administration of Beitou’s cherry blossom area. Other parts of Taiwan have joined the trend, putting money in the pockets of farmers in Sanchih, a rural area outside Taipei that now supplies up to 600,000 cherry tree saplings a year. “Lots of our cherry tree farmers have benefited from the booming demand,” said Chou Zheng-nan, an official at the Sanchih Farmers Association, but declined to provide figures. Japan is known to use cherry trees as a gesture of goodwill, and in Washington DC, one beneficiary of Tokyo’s flower power diplomacy, the blossom season is an annual party highlight. But in Taiwan, it is more than that. Analysts say the obsession with sakura -- a key symbol of Japanese civilization -- is a measure of the enormous cultural clout Japan wields on the island, second only to China in its impact. “Japan’s influence has been huge, ranging from infrastructure to local people’s mindsets and behavior,” said Lee Shiao-feng, a professor at the Taiwan culture graduate school of National Taipei University of Education. China’s last weak imperial dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895 after a brief but disastrous war, and the island did not return to mainland rule until 1945 following the surrender of Japan at the end of the Second World War. The first years under the Japanese around the turn of the last century were harsh, and scattered resistance was crushed brutally, but then the new pith-helmeted administrators went on to develop Taiwan economically.

They built a railroad linking the south and north, constructed harbors and power plants, eradicated disease and boosted literacy rates, while also passing on their own cultural habits such as baseball. “Japan’s development projects laid the foundation for Taiwan to move into a pre-modern society,” Lee said. “In the process, Taiwan people gradually learned to play baseball as well as appreciate cherry blossoms and revel in hot springs, as they tried to imitate their rulers.” Since 1945, the Japanese influence has gone on nearly unabated and has been embraced by Taiwan’s younger generations, exposed to Japanese soap operas, pop music and TV programs featuring Japanese cuisine and sightseeing spots, he said. This is entirely different from the Korean peninsula, which was ruled as a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945 and is still haunted by memories of how brutal and harsh life was under the banner of the Rising Sun. The Japanese did promote cherry blossoms, too, and South Korea has kept that particular tradition, but in a telling twist, it has replaced the Japanese trees with indigenous ones. The contrast with Taiwan is obvious, and yet academics on the island say it may take the island’s cherry blossom lovers some time to digest the philosophical connotation of the cherry blossoms in the Japanese culture.

“When Taiwanese people appreciate cherry blossoms, they are simply impressed by the beauty of the flowers. That’s it,” Maa Yaw-huei, the director of the Department of Japanese at Taipei’s Tamkang University. “But in the eyes of their Japanese counterparts, there’s a sense of sadness associated with the transient beauty. Watching the fading of such pretty flowers is associated with mortality.” The people of Taiwan may behave like the Japanese, but not think like them, according to observers. Chinese culture, first introduced from the mainland more than three centuries ago, survived Japan’s colonization despite policies aimed to turn the Taiwanese into loyal subjects of the Japanese emperor. “Although the Japanese have added new cultural elements to Taiwan, the structure of Chinese culture has remained intact,” Lee said.

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SPORTS Vieira says United rarely pay penalty MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, March 28, 2012 (AFP) - Patrick Vieira has revived his war of words with Manchester United by insisting Sir Alex Ferguson’s men get favorable treatment from referees.

Ferguson, as good as his word, said City manager Roberto Mancini was “desperate” in recalling Carlos Tevez for the title run-in, despite the Argentina striker’s selfimposed several-month long exile after a row with the Italian.

That followed his assertion that Ferguson’s move in bringing veteran United midfielder Paul Scholes out of retirement during the January transfer window was a sign of desperation.

However, an undaunted Vieira went on the offensive again Wednesday, a day after referee Michael Oliver refused to give Fulham what many observers thought was a penalty in a 1-0 league defeat at United’s Old Trafford home on Tuesday.

France World Cup winner Vieira is now the football development executive at United’s local and English Premier League title rivals Manchester City. United manager Ferguson responded to Vieira’s comments about Scholes by saying that if the City man wanted to play mind games he had “plenty of ammunition” to throw his way.

Victory left leaders and reigning champions United three points clear at the top of the table, with eight league games of the season left. “When United play at home they get some advantage that other teams don’t get,” Vieira, who made his name in England as an outstanding defensive midfielder with Arsenal, told BBC Sport.

“When you go to United, Madrid, Barcelona or Milan, it’s always difficult for the referee to go against these kind of teams. “This is the way it is. It’s something the teams who are used to winning get all the time, so we need to win games so we have this advantage in the future.” City were last crowned champions of England back in 1968 but Vieira, speaking at the Soccerex conference in Manchester, insisted: “This is our moment. Since the start of the season we’ve been the best team and played the best football. “I believe the club deserves it (the title),” the 35-year-old added. However, Vieira -- who won three Pre-

mier League title with Arsenal, conceded: “When you are first you have the advantage, they are favorites. “It’s important not to lose focus, so many things can happen. People try to build this fire between the clubs. The heat is going to get more and more.” Vieira’s comments drew a quick response from Unite centre-back Rio Ferdinand on Twitter. “Why is Viera so concerned with Man Utd....2 comments in a week or so....c’mon maaaaaan let it go,” said the England international.

Formula One: F1 shares? No thanks, say team chiefs SEPANG, Malaysia, March 23, 2012 (AFP) - Team bosses Friday balked at the prospect of buying shares in Formula One -- and urged swift cost-cutting reforms to stop cash-strapped competitors going to the wall. Leaders of six Formula One outfits painted a bleak picture of team finances at the outwardly glitzy sport, whose supremo Bernie Ecclestone is reported to be considering a $10 billion share flotation. Five of the group said they wouldn’t buy Formula One shares, despite high profits reportedly enjoyed by the governing body, while the sixth, Lotus team owner and businessman Gerard Lopez, reserved judgement. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said some teams among the 12 racing this season were battling to stave off extinction, making it crucial that rival outfits quickly decide how to keep costs down.

“The fact is at the moment, we all know in this room that there’s a lot of Formula One teams that are struggling to survive,” Whitmarsh told a press conference after practice for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix. “Which tells us we’re not doing enough and that’s why we’ve got to keep pushing it.” Ferrari chief Stefano Domenicali called it a “critical” time for many of the Europebased teams. “Thank God that our (Ferrari’s) situation is very good in terms of our financial position for the future. But we know that the situation of Formula One is not so stable,” Domenicali said. “We know that there’s a lot of struggle around so we need to put aside our self-interest a little bit to make sure that we can look ahead. Because this is a very critical

period where... we know that it’s very tough.” Reports broke last weekend that billionaire Ecclestone was considering a share flotation, possibly in Singapore, as part of talks for a new agreement on how profits are divided between teams and other stakeholders. Meanwhile, team operators and race organizers alike are warning of financial problems. The Korean Grand Prix is lobbying hard for a cheaper contract and Australia is also reported to suffer multimillion dollars losses each year. Red Bull’s Christian Horner, whose team hold the constructors’ and drivers’ titles, defended his opposition to new spending restrictions supported by most other teams which would be policed by the sport’s governing body.

“Hopefully with some productive discussion going forward a solution can be found to make Formula One cost-control for the top teams, but also make it affordable for the teams in the middle of the grid and at the back of the grid,” he said.

“The cost of being competitive in Formula One at present is too high. I don’t think anyone will dispute that. The debate is how we achieve it.” Japanese car-makers Honda, Toyota and BMW all withdrew from Formula One during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

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Misc Asia

Ex-property consultant wins Hong Kong election

Hong Kong, March 25, 2012 (AFP) – Self-made millionaire property consultant Leung Chun-ying won Hong Kong’s leadership election on Sunday, after the most divisive vote since the city reverted to Chinese rule in 1997. Leung was chosen by a pro-Beijing committee as thousands of protesters rallied outside the harborside convention centre where the vote took place, demanding full democracy in the semiautonomous former British colony. Leung, 57, will replace outgoing Chief Executive Donald Tsang in July after winning 689 of the votes from the 1,200-strong election committee, according to an official count. He promised to “reunite” Hong Kong and protect its “rights and freedoms” following an election which split the city’s establishment camp and forced Beijing to heed popular opinion as never before. “Now that the contest is over it is time to reunite,” Leung said in his victory speech. “With one heart and one vision we can turn Hong Kong into a more prosperous, more righteous and more progressive society,” he said, acknowledging “deep-rooted problems” such as high property prices and a yawning wealth gap. He also pledged to “pave the way for enhanced democracy with an open and fair election system” in 2017, when Beijing has promised all citizens will be entitled to vote for a chief executive from a vetted group of candidates.

China congratulated Leung and said the election respected Hong Kong’s constitution under mainland rule, Xinhua news agency quoted a Chinese official in Hong Kong as saying. In office, Leung “will definitely lead the government of the Special Administrative Region to unite all circles of society”, the unidentified official said. The US embassy issued a statement congratulating Leung and looking forward to “continued progress toward the goal of full universal suffrage”. Taiwan also offered its congratulations. Leung’s main rival was establishment insider Henry Tang, 59, who was initially considered the strong Beijingbacked favorite. But his campaign struggled to recover from a series of personal scandals and verbal gaffes. Tang received only 285 votes from the committee and at an emotional press conference, he apologized to his supporters and promised to continue to serve the people. Pro-democracy candidate Albert Ho trailed with 76 votes, and he condemned the result as a “disgusting” display of “blatant interference” from China. The 2012 election has been complicated by the behind-the-scenes machinations of mainland China’s own once-in-a-decade leadership struggle, with various factions seeking to flex their muscles ahead of the transition later this year.

Nepal ‘werewolf’ family to be treated in Kathmandu KATHMANDU, March 25, 2012 (AFP) – A family suffering from a rare genetic condition in which hair grows all over the face arrived in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu on Sunday for treatment of their “werewolf-like” appearance.

was going to treat us,” said Budhathoki, a farmer from the remote northwestern village of Khare, near the border with the Tibetan border. Sufferers from hypertrichosis, also known as “werewolf syndrome”, have in previous centuries been used as freakshow performers at circuses. “My son is fed up with the mockery he is subjected to and he has told his friends that he will be back with a new face so they can no longer tease him. More than myself, I’m worried about my children,” said Budhathoki.

Devi Budhathoki, 37, her daughters, aged 13 and five, and 12-year-old son say they have endured constant humiliation because of hypertrichosis, which causes hair to sprout between their eyes and across their brows. “My children have talked about a new life ever since we received word that the hospital

The Hong Kong protests, which could be heard inside the tally room, were noisy but generally peaceful. Some demonstrators tried to force their way into the convention centre but were pushed back by police. Committee members such as Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, were mobbed by reporters and harassed by protesters as they arrived to cast their ballots. Radical lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung arrived in a yellow emperor suit, a pigwolf mask and holding a papier-mache Chinese tank, shouting “I am the king and kingmaker”, in a theatrical parody of the election process. Hundreds more marched on mainland China’s Hong Kong liaison office, where they passed out “hell money” for the dead, symbolizing the death of local democracy in the city of seven million people. “Nobody is representing the grassroots, which is the majority of Hong Kong society,” said social worker Tiny Wong, 37, at the protest. Leung’s humble origins as a policeman’s son stand in stark contrast to

“But I am very happy that the treatment is going to be possible. We have lived under constant harassment, my kids wouldn’t want to go to school because of the hair,” she said. Budhathoki and her husband Nara also have a seven-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter who have not been affected by the condition.

Tang’s background as heir to a textile fortune, but both men are considered pro-Beijing, establishment figures. Leung carved out a fortune from real estate before entering politics as a relative outsider. Born in 1954, he is known as a selfmade property consultant and, most recently, as the soft-spoken convener of the Executive Council, the city’s top policy-making body. Leung was considered an outsider at the start of the race in contrast to the well-connected Tang. But Tang’s campaign faltered with the discovery of a huge illegal entertainment suite in his home and an admission of marital infidelity. Tang’s wealthy backers were forced to reconsider their positions, leading to an unprecedented split in the establishment camp. Outgoing leader Tsang and his predecessor, Tung Chee-hwa, the city’s first post-handover leader, were by contrast elected virtually unopposed after receiving the clear backing of Beijing.

Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2012

Misc Asia Transsexual Thai air hostesses: gimmick or equality?

In their neat black uniform and fiery orange scarves, Mew and her colleagues ushered passengers to their seats, demonstrated safety features and filled coffee cups — offering little indication that they were any different from the other air hostesses on the flight. Some passengers, perhaps having seen PC Air’s advertising, asked the transsexual cabin crew to pose for pictures with them, but many seemed unaware there was anything unusual about the flight attendants. “Oh, I did not hear before about it,” said Bay, a Thai passenger. “They look really beautiful, and they are really nice… it’s pretty cool.” Thailand has a culture of tolerance on issues of sexual orientation and gender, and “katoeys”, as transsexuals are known in the kingdom, are considered a “third sex” in their own right. In spite of this, more conservative elements of society find it hard to accept, with some families sending their children to monasteries to be “re-educated” and transsexuals struggling to find work in many areas.

The Oxen is slow but the earth is patient. Bhutan Proverb

One without learning has to carry others’ burden. Burmese Proverb A smile will gain you ten more years of life. Chinese Proverb

Fledgling Thailand-based carrier PC Air has hired four transgender cabin crew in a highly publicized recruitment drive that has divided opinion over whether the move is in the spirit of equality or exploitation.

“This is just like my dream come true, and maybe this is a first step for transladies, transgenders, to have a good job in the future,” the 25-year-old said.

Words of Wisdom

Knowledge enhances progress. Burmese Proverb

ABOARD FLIGHT GT210, March 12, 2012 (AFP) – With her crisp uniform, immaculate makeup and hair swept up, Mew looks like any other air hostess, but she’s one of a handful of Thai transsexuals blazing a trail in the skies.

“I like a job where I can show my ability and I love to wear beautiful suits,” said Phuntakarn Sringern, better known by her nickname Mew, embarking Friday on the airline’s first commercial flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong.

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Age and time do not wait for people. Chinese Proverb No undertaking is difficult if pursued with perseverance. Filipino Proverb Wherever you go, habit follows. Filipino Proverb

“In my heart, I always want to be a flight attendant but I was waiting for an opportunity,” said air hostess Chayathisa Nakmai, aged 24. But until now “every airline is open only for men and women, transgender is not accepted”. PC Air’s initiative is being welcomed by some activists, who applaud its efforts to offer a chance of ordinary work to transgender people. The company “helps promote a positive image of Thai transsexuals, beyond certain stereotypes”, said transgender advocate Prempreeda Pramoj Na Ayutthaya. But others are sceptical about the motives of the company, which has actively sought to publicize its recruitment drive. “They use the zany, outrageous, bizarre side of transsexuals,” said Yollada Krerkkong Suanyot, president of Thailand’s TransFemale Association of Thailand. “This emphasizes the way that society has regarded these people as if they were strange, special, bizarre. Come see them, these are stewardesses!”. Buddhist Thailand is spared from the “weight of the Judeo-Christian sexual repression”, but had in the past been influenced by some Western ideas that presented transsexuals as “mentally disordered”, said Sam Winter, a psychologist and gender specialist at the University of Hong Kong.

Life is like the flame of a lamp; it needs a little oil now and then. Indian Proverb Undeserved punishment is better than that which is deserved. Indian Proverb

A man’s youth will never die, unless he kills himself. Korean Proverb Having one’s foot struck by a much-trusted axe. Korean Proverb Where there is a branch, mushrooms grow. Malay Proverb Be a bee, living in a flowery garden, not a fly, living in heaps of garbage. Malay Proverb Even if you keep a dog’s tail in between two big stones for 12 years, it wont get straight. Nepalese Proverb If you see someone has a pretty face this does not mean you have to break your own ugly face. Pakistani Proverb Young trees are easier to mould than aged trees. Thai Proverb The frog picking a leader. Thai Proverb

A silent man is the best one to listen to. Japanese Proverb

Comfort is better than pride. Vietnamese Proverb

Boasting begins where wisdom stops. Japanese Proverb

You cannot breathe through another man’s nose. Vietnamese Proverb

The result is “a practical and bureaucratic intolerance” towards a group of nearly 180,000 people, he says.

He denies any intention to use the transsexual crews as a marketing ploy and highlights reasons of the “heart” and “human rights” to justify the policy.

With few avenues for employment, growing numbers of Thai transsexuals are moving into sex work as a way to make money and for a “rare chance to affirm their identity as women”, said Winter. Despite their sex change operation, the law does not recognize Mew, and her transsexual colleagues as women — a situation that forces PC Air to contact the destination country in advance, to avoid trouble at immigration gates. PC Air currently has three planes and will operate charter flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong and other Asian destinations. The company’s boss Peter Chan, who lent his initials to the airline, is proud of being a “pioneer”.

“It was never about money,” said the eccentric 48-year-old, before embarking on a rendition of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra as if to prove his point. The slogan is also painted on the company’s aircraft: “I believe it’s ‘my way’”. Mew, who had sex change surgery two years ago, is now hoping that others will follow in the company’s footsteps, in the air and elsewhere. “Maybe in the future,” she said, “all transladies, all transgenders could get a job like a flight attendant or be prime minister.”

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April 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times

Meet The new Consul General of Korea

Photo: Ben Hioe


He-Beom Kim started his tenure as Consul General of Republic of Korea – Atlanta in October of 2011. His jurisdiction covers the state of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. He has served as the first secretary of the Korean Embassy in the United States of America in 1997, assistant press secretary to the president in 2001, director-general of the Public Relations Support Bureau for the Ministry of Culture, Sport, and Tourism (MCST) in 2008, director and assistant minister of the the Korean Culture and Information Service for the MCST in 2009, and the head assistant minister of the Office of Public Relations for the Presidential Committee of the G-20 Summit in 2010. He earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Yonsei University in 1981 and a master’s degree in public administration from Seoul National University in 1987. He also earned a master’s degree in communication arts from Cornell University in 1989, and he is currently pursuing his doctorate in media studies from Hanyang University. Consul General Kim spoke with Georgia Asian Times in an exclusive interview at his office on March 2, 2012. (Interview has been edited for print)

GAT: What is your first impression of Atlanta when you arrived here? CG: When I first arrived in Atlanta, I realized Atlanta is a major hub of transportation and center for international trade. Atlanta is also culturally vibrant and dynamic. GAT: Two-way trade between US-South Korea was worth $88 billion in 2010 and the US International Trade Commission has estimated that Korean exports to the United States would increase by $6.4-$6.9 billion annually. Specifically, which industries would benefit most from the Korea-US FTA? CG: The KOR-US FTA is a winning solution for both American companies and the American consumer. Tariffs will be reduced and over 95 percent will be phased out. GAT: What opportunities will the KOR-US FTA presents to Georgian business? CG: Georgia has been a top destination for Korean companies. There are over 100 companies currently operating in the state. With the FTA, Georgia benefits greatly by the exports of agricultural products (USD 16,222,962 in 2010), livestocks, and livestocks (USD 1,740,316) products to Korea. Another key area is education where Georgia is the top destination for Korean students. Due to Georgia’s affordable living cost and strong universities alumni networks, these colleges are main attraction for the young Korean people. GAT: As the new Consul General of Korea, what are the key goals that you hope to accomplish in your tenure? CG: As Consul general, my responsibilities is to protect the interest and jurisdiction of Korean community. I also hope to further improve the relationships and cooperations between Georgia’s government officials with the Korean businesses. GAT: The Korean community in metro Atlanta is amongst the fastest growing community in Georgia. What are the major challenges facing the local Korean community?

CG: Due to the economic recession, many Korean small businesses and entrepreneurs are facing financial difficulties. I am proud to learn that the community is working hard and closely to overcome this difficult time. I have full confidence that they will rebound strongly when the economy improves. GAT: Besides business and trade, what areas do you plan to further improve on between Georgia and South Korea? CG: I would like to increase the public awareness of the bilateral relationship between the state of Georgia and Korea. Also, I hope to further strengthened the friendship and to promote Korean culture awareness. The KOR-US FTA is the biggest free trade agreement signed since NAFTA. It will bring fresh momentum for economic and cultural exchanges between us. GAT: What lasting impression do you hope to leave Atlanta upon completion of your tenure? CG: It is an honor for me to serve my country as Consul General. The US-Korea alliances goes back over 100 years and I hope to further strengthened the friendship and alliances between the two nations. I also hope to improve further the “people to people” relationships. We’re also indebted to the 12,000 US veterans who fought during the Korean War. I would like to recognize the sacrifices and contributions made by the war veterans. GAT: What do you do for fun and to relax? CG: I enjoy playing golf and I’m looking forward to playing at some of the beautiful golf courses in Georgia.

Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2012

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HEALTH Resistant food bacteria strains now common STOCKHOLM, March 14, 2012 (AFP) – Bacteria that cause the main food-borne infections among people in the European Union commonly show resistance to widely-used antibiotics and antimicrobials, an EU report showed Wednesday. “Resistance to several antimicrobials was commonly detected in zoonotic bacteria (which can be transmitted from animals to humans) such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, which are the main causes of reported food-borne infections in the EU,” the report read. The European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) in Sweden and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Italy were behind the report, which was based on 2010 data collected from all EU member states. “Zoonotic diseases are important public health threats in the EU and resistance of zoonotic bacteria to antimicrobials used to treat these illnesses is an increasing concern both at the European level and globally,” EFSA chief Catherine GeslainLaneelle said in a statement. Antimicrobials are used in human and veterinary medicine to kill or block the growth of micro-organisms like bacteria and fungi that cause infections. But if the micro-organisms become less sensitive to the medication and develop resistance, the treatments are rendered ineffective. “Zoonotic bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials are of particular concern as they can be transmitted from animals to food and humans, and may compromise the effective treatment of infections in humans,” according to the joint statement. According to the report, Campylobacter bacteria, which caused more than 200,000 of the food-borne infections reported in the EU in 2010, frequently is resistant to the “critically important” antibiotic ciprofloxacin. A high proportion of Salmonella bacteria, which accounted for almost 100,000 reported human cases the same year, was resistant to other common antimicrobials, although resistance to critically important antibiotics remained low, according to the report.

Blood test could predict heart attacks WASHINGTON, March 22, 2012 (AFP) – US researchers have found oddly-shaped blood cells in heart attack patients, indicating that a blood test could help predict whether a patient is at risk of an imminent cardiac emergency. The study by the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) found that the endothelial blood cells from heart attack patients are abnormally large and misshapen, sometimes appearing with multiple nuclei. That could make them reliable indicators of an impending heart attack, according to the study published this week in Science Translational Medicine. “The ability to diagnose an imminent heart attack has long been considered

the holy grail of cardiovascular medicine,” said Eric Topol, the study’s principal investigator and director of STSI. Doctors have long been able to identify risk factors — such as smoking, obesity and high cholesterol — that can put patients at greater danger of heart disease, but cannot predict imminent attacks. The study involved 50 patients who showed up at emergency rooms with heart attacks at four acute care hospitals in San Diego, California, and who were found to have the unusually shaped cells. “With some additional validation, the hope is to have this test developed for commercial use in next year or two,” said researcher Raghava Gollapudi.

“This would be an ideal test to perform in an emergency room to determine if a patient is on the cusp of a heart attack or about to experience one in the next couple of weeks. “Right now we can only test to detect if a patient is currently experiencing or has recently experienced a heart attack.” Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing some 800,000 deaths every year, according to the Center for Disease Control.

US gives schools the last word on ‘pink slime’ WASHINGTON, March 15, 2012 (AFP) – The US government said Thursday it will leave it to schools to decide whether to use a controversial ground-beef filler in the meals they serve to students. In a statement, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) acknowledged public concern over lean finely textured beef, popularly known as “pink slime,” in its National School Lunch Program. Made from beef trimmings otherwise used in pet food and cooking oil, and treated with a puff of ammonia to deter e.coli bacteria, lean finely textured beef is typically added to ground meat, like hamburger, as a low-cost filler. USDA recently bought seven million pounds (3.6 million kilograms) of the rosy-colored product for school meals — prompting more than 220,000 consumers to sign an online petition demanding a halt to its use in school food.

“Due to customer demand, the department will be adjusting procurement specifications for the next school year so schools can have additional options in procuring ground beef products,” the department said. “USDA will provide schools with a choice to order product either with or without lean finely textured beef. It went on to invite consumers “to consult science-based information” attesting to the safety and quality of pink slime, which critics say is present in 70 percent of ground beef sold in US supermarkets. The National School Lunch Program feeds more than 31 million school children, many of them from low-income families.

Bettina Siegel, who started the petition on, said: “I am incredibly gratified that USDA heard our concerns about so-called pink slime in school meals and changed its school food purchasing policy to allow choice.” “Right now I’m asking more questions to just make sure this is a meaningful solution for (school) districts, or if there’s more work to be done,” added Siegel, who blogs about school meals at www.thelunchtray. com.

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April 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times

April Horoscope Dragon (2012 2000 1988 1976 1964 1952 1940 1928 1916 1904) Don’t drink because of your unhappiness. Your emotional stress takes a toll in your health. And both your mental and physical health will go downhill. You will have the energy to ensure everything you need to get done is completed. Now is the time to make the progress you require, so don’t leave anything until tomorrow and refuse to doubt your own powers. Either side of the 6th’s Full Sleepy Moon, check timetables, your diary and routes, and then you’ll be in the right place at the right time.

Snake (2001 1989 1977 1965 1953 1941 1929 1917 1905) Your poor health will have an effect on your job performance and your emotions. Don’t take it out on others. Even if you’re feeling that you’ve not so far achieved your goals, you’ll be able to see that you will if you persevere. This isn’t the moon in which to make sudden or far reaching changes. For now, stay on course and accept things as they are. No matter what the provocation stay cool and out of arguments.

Dog (2006 1994 1982 1970 1958 1946 1934 1922 1910) Avoid confrontations with others. Worries may cause mental and physical stress that will cause you to overspend. Be cautious in driving to avoid accidents. Between 4th-17th, your actions will speak louder than words when it comes to romantic or family matters. Show that you care and that you’re willing to put yourself out. The 21st’s New Moon is a brighter tide. There will be new romantic opportunities for the single, and whatever life path you’re on, you’ll get the recognition and respect you deserve.

Pig (2007 1995 1983 1971 1959 1947 1935 1923 1911) Lucky star is shining upon you. Wealth, family and work are all in your favor. Disregard gossip as this could lead to financial lost. All career Pigs will find new allies and contacts emerging. If you’re in need of fresh employment, try networking to discover opportunities. Pigs on a spiritual path will be granted fresh insight. Listen to your intuition. Remain confident when the 6th’s Full Sleepy Moon throws a few setbacks in your path.

Horse (2002 1990 1978 1966 1954 1942 1930 1918 1906) Your well planned investment will reap rewards which exceed your expectations. Don’t attend any memorial services besides immediate family. Around the 6th’s Full Sleepy Moon, avoid confrontation, even if it would mean delaying one of any projects or tasks. Once the New Peony Moon arrives on the 21st, you’ll be busier in all life areas, with demands from family, loved ones, work or your business.

Rat (2008 1996 1984 1972 1960 1948 1936 1924 1912) Pay attention to your planning, and always have a back-up plan. You will suffer financially if you involve yourself in legal matters. If you’re seeking more togetherness in a love bond, then donate some quality time and thoughtfulness. All single Rats will find that at least one romantic opportunity comes their way. For some of you this will be a link up that’s been on the back burner for a long time, for others it will be someone entirely new.

Goat (2003 1991 1979 1967 1955 1943 1931 1919 1907) It is time for promotion or seeing a high net profit in the income statement. Be solicitous and use good manners. Travel is favoured, especially if it’s to sort a long-standing problem. The 21st’s New Moon shifts the Sleepy Moon’s tide. You will be empowered to get things done and take a step nearer to achieving your goals. You will also find your social life improving, with some fascinating new people coming into your life.

Ox (2009 1997 1985 1973 1961 1949 1937 1925 1913) There is hardship in front of you, like riding a horse on a rocky road. Control your temper. It is best to avoid any confrontations. If you’re seeking a career or job change, begin searching. The next few months will bring the opportunities you’re looking for.  Expect changes in the dynamics of a friendship or work relationship. See this as not so much losing a comrade but finding out who your friends are.

Monkey (2004 1992 1980 1968 1956 1944 1932 1920 1908) There will be happiness and prosperity. But there are lots of arguments around you. Make an effort to work in unison with others. People you meet during this period will turn out to be helpful or influential, but at a later date. If you feel insecure or frustrated about things, let it pass and carry on as usual. Have faith in yourself and your ideas. Around the 6th’s Full Sleepy Moon, expect extra expenditure on necessary bills, replacements or repairs, and don’t loan out or take chances with your money.

Tiger (2010 1998 1986 1974 1962 1950 1938 1926 1914) Someone is out there to make you lose some money. If you manage it correctly, your lost will be very nominal. If there’s an argument or misunderstanding, don’t jump in like an angry tiger, listen and learn and react accordingly. Some of you will experience issues linked to your  children’s education. Take appropriate advice. It will work out OK if you’re patient.

Rooster (2005 1993 1981 1969 1957 1945 1933 1921 1909) Your colleague and boss will not recognized your hard work. There are more problems ahead than you anticipated. Take precautions in everyday life. The end results of these situations will either be positive or not as bad as you thought. By the 20th, student and career Roosters will feel as if they’re back in charge of their working methods and career path. Utilise this feeling to act with confidence and take a step forwards.

Rabbit (2011 1999 1987 1975 1963 1951 1939 1927 1915 1903) This is a lucky month. With cautious planning, there is no saying what you can accomplish. There are many opportunities for career advancement. Be sure to plan your time well to avoid muddles and missed appointments. Expect extra expenses. This means you need to stay financially cautious. Between 1st-13th, there’ll be fun on the agenda too, with dates, romantic surprises and plenty of chances to connect socially. If you’re organising anything, be diplomatic and try to include everyone that should be included.

Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2012

Page 19


Junkyard beckons for Myanmar rust buckets

Yangon, March 22, 2012 (AFP) – Fumebelching classic European cars and aging Japanese sedans have rattled along Myanmar’s streets for decades, but as the country opens up many of the rust buckets are finally facing the scrapheap.

swap their old cars, which is a good idea,” said classic car owner Than Htay, 52, as he checked the engine of his 1950s-era Mercedes Benz that in other parts of the world would arouse the interests of serious collectors.

The cars rumble loudly as engines rebuilt with parts salvaged from dead autos gasp for life and fan belts squeal. Their headlights sometimes die at night and many have rotten floors that offer a view of the asphalt beneath.

“But many ordinary Burmese are poor and will still not be able to afford newer models,” he added.

Most of the rusting automobiles on the streets of the main city Yangon hail from Japan, but there are also classic Western models dating back to a bygone era before the reclusive generals seized power half a century ago. The main reason for the aging fleet is not international sanctions — which do not prevent foreign cars reaching Myanmar’s shores — but rather the sky-high import cost under the former junta. Now, however, the country’s new nominally civilian government is easing car import regulations to allow more vehicles to be brought in from overseas — for those who can afford it. “The government is offering owners a chance to own imported used cars if they

Under military rule, imported cars were a luxury reserved for people close to the junta, whose cronies are more likely to be seen behind the wheel of a Mercedes or a Ferrari than a battered old Toyota. Even a two-decades-old Japanese saloon could fetch $20,000 or more, while a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser could boast a price tag of upwards of $250,000. In September of last year the government announced that owners of cars at least 40 years old could trade them in for hard-to-get permits to purchase imported used vehicles, sending prices of the rust buckets soaring. It said the scheme — under which the old cars will be scrapped — would be gradually expanded to include vehicles at least 20 years old. But even under the offer, taxes and import duties mean a used car costs more than $10,000 — a huge sum in a country where a third of the nearly 60 million people still live in poverty. Nowadays local newspapers publish special sections advertising used cars, while several dealerships offering imported second-hand autos from Japan have sprung up around Yangon in recent months.

Small Chinese-made cars in brash colors can also now be seen alongside the rattletraps. Self-taught vintage car expert and mechanic Soe Min Latt is one of thousands in Myanmar whose livelihoods depend on their skills in keeping the old cars on the streets. “We can revive everything on four tires,” boasted the 32-year-old. He said the new scheme caused a drop in business since late last year at his shop in Yangon’s Bayint Naung industrial area, with many owners who could afford to trading in their ancient models. “Those who owned old cars were trading for import permits, instead of having them serviced and buying parts,” he said. But despite reforms that have advanced at a startling pace since the new government took power last year, Myanmar remains one of the world’s least developed countries and owning a newer car remains just a dream for most. Than Htay said his faded rust-orange Mercedes would remain in service, unless somebody looking to buy an old car to swap for an import permit came along with a very good offer, or if a restoration expert took the risk of going through the

corrupt bureaucracy to take it abroad. He said his car had passed from one family to another but was likely originally owned by a former politician at a time when Yangon was a thriving port city more than half a century ago. Than Htay said he discovered it years ago in a garage in the former capital, covered in thick dust but with all its original parts intact. It coughed to life after he swapped the tires and battery and topped up the tank. It still sports the original accessories, and its Mercedes-Benz insignia still proudly stands erect on its hood, albeit slightly rusted. The engine bears the official seal from the German manufacturer, and its original wooden dashboard and panels retain some of its past grandeur. But a permanent smell of mildew envelopes the interior, and holes have appeared in the floor. “It has no power steering, so it’s very heavy to negotiate around narrow streets, though it gets me where I want to go,” said Than Htay, a trader and part-time tour operator. In Myanmar, he said, “cars do not really die, but are resurrected and recycled.”

Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2012 


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Georgia Asian Times  

Covering the multicultural Asian American community in metro Atlanta and Georgia.