Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia
Feb 1-15, 2012 Vol 9. No 2
Georgia Asian Times February 1-15, 2012
GAT Calendar of Events (For latest & updated events, visit www.gasiantimes.com)
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GAT welcome submission of announcement pertaining to community related events. Please email event, date, venue, and time to email@example.com. GAT does not guarantee insertion of event announcement and has the right to deny any posting. Japanese Origami Demonstration and workshop by renowned origami expert Makoto Yamaguchi, Eiko Matsuura, Kyohei Katsuta Presented by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Atlanta, The Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, the Japan Foundation, and the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta. Date: Friday, February 3 Time: 7:00 pm-9:00 pm Venue: SCAD Atlanta Room 256, 257 - 1600 Peachtree Street NW For more info: 404.926.3020 America Korea Friendship Society Dinner Date: Saturday Feb 4, 2012 Time: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Venue: Georgian Club For more info: Joshua Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org Spring Reception & Movie Screening Organized by Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office New York Date: Wednesday, Feb 8 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: Cecil B Day Chapel at Carter Center For more info: 404-788-8818 Public Information Meeting: I-85 Study Meeting #1 Date: Monday Feb 6 Time: 5:00 - 7:00 pm Venue: Gwinnett Village CID, 5855 Jimmy Carter Blvd Meeting #2 Date: Thursday Feb 9 Time: 5:00 - 7:00 pm Venue: Gwinnett Place Marriott, 1775 Pleasant Hill Rd Lecture: “Across Longitude and Latitude: Contemporary Textile and Fiber Art” By Professor Xiaoou Zhou, Hang Zhou Normal University in China. Presented by GSU Asian Studies Center Date: Thursday, February 16 Time: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm Venue: Troy Moore Library, 9th Floor GCB, GA State University For info: Dr Kevin Hsieh, email@example.com
Lecture: “Miscellaneous Happenings in and around the Pacific in 1884” By Professor Stefan Tanaka of the University of California, San Diego Presented by GSU Asian Studies Center, the Japan-United States Friendship Commission and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies. Date: Friday, February 17 Time: 4:00 pm Venue: Troy Moore Library, General Classroom Building, 9th floor, GA State University For info: Denis Gainty, firstname.lastname@example.org Song Byeok: Departure Former North Korean propaganda artist debuts in US Date: Feb 17-26 Venue: The goat Farm Arts Center, 1200 Foster St NW For more info: www.songbyeok.com First Annual Asian American Legislative Breakfast Date: Wednesday Feb 22 Time: 7:30 - 9:30 am Venue: Georgia Railroad Freight Depot - Blue Room 65 Martin Luther King Drive, SE For more info: email@example.com University of West Georgia Multicultural Festival Date: Thursday, March 15 Time: 12:00 noon - 5:00 pm Venue: Campus Center Ballroom For more info: 678.839-5400
February 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
METRO ASIAN NEWS Toyota Announced New Auto Parts Plant in Jackson County ATLANTA, January 31, 2012 - Toyota Industries Compressor Parts America (TICA), a unit of Toyota Industries Corp. will open a manufacturing plant in Pendergrass in Jackson County. TICA will invest $350 million investment and creates 320 jobs. “In opening this new Georgia manufacturing facility, Toyota Industries Corporation sends a very clear message about its confidence in our state’s ability to help them remain competitive in global markets,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “Georgia’s innovative logistics infrastructure, progressive business environment and highly skilled workforce will greatly benefit the world’s largest automotive compressor manufacturer. I am glad to welcome Toyota Industries Corporation’s newest plant to Georgia.”
Toyota Industries Corp.’s new 600,000 sf facility in Pendegrass will locate next to TD Automotive Compressor Georgia (TACG), allowing the company to leverage synergies between the two operations. The TICA plant will manufacture the main parts of automotive compressors currently being imported from Japan and assembled at the TACG facility. The opening of the new TICA plant will allow those parts once manufactured in Japan to be manufactured in Georgia, and conveyed directly to TACG and also shipped to other compressor plants. Toyota Industries Corp. supplies automotive compressors for Toyota Motor Corporation, as well as Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and others. “We are very pleased to announce that Toyota Industries Corporation has decided to open another compres-
sor plant in Pendergrass in Jackson County,” said Masaharu Suzuki, senior managing director and chief of compressor division of Toyota Industries Corp. and first president of TACG. “We are looking forward to strong support from the State of Georgia and Jackson county as well as TACG. “ Toyota Industries Corp.’s TICA operation will locate in a 600,000square-foot facility in Pendergrass, and will leverage Jackson County’s pool of skilled labor. The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) partnered with the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce to manage this business opportunity for Georgia.
ing international investment to our state,” said Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Our efforts to recruit global business leaders like Toyota Industries Corporation not only benefit the company and its customers, but also the people of Georgia. These high-quality advanced manufacturing jobs will positively impact this community for years to come.” The company will be offered workforce training assistance from Georgia Quick Start, which will provide Toyota Industries Corp. with customized training to facilitate start-up at its TICA operation.
“Projects such as this underscore Georgia’s record of success in attract-
New Consulate General of India Officially Opens in Atlanta The Government of India has officially opened a consulate office in Atlanta in December to serve the Southeastern states.
Durban, South Africa, and as ambassador of India to the Republic of Zimbabwe. In Atlanta, he will lead a team of 20 full-time employees.
In addition to Georgia, the office will serve the states of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The consulate will serve the approximately 100,000 Indian Americans living in Georgia and roughly 290,000 across the Southeast with services such as visas, passports and other documents.
Ajit Kumar serves as the new Consul General in Atlanta. Kumar who had previously served as the Indian consul general in Frankfurt, Germany, and
It also will help facilitate Georgia’s surging business with India. Georgia is the 10th largest exporter to India among U.S. states.
Four Student Ambassador Positions to Japan Available As Georgia’s liaison office for the 24th Annual Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC), Japan American Society of Georgia (JASG) is able to share the culture of Japan with four students (two boys and two girls) and one chaperone from the State of Georgia through this fully funded exchange program to Fukuoka, Japan.
Junior Ambassador applicants are from 10-11 year old students (with birthdays between September 1, 2000 and August 31, 2001) and chaperone applications from adults who would like to be considered to accompany the 2012 delegation from Georgia. Application form is available at http://jasgeorgia.org/eng/node/44. The deadline: Friday, February 3, 2012.
Georgia Asian Times February 1-15, 2012
METRO ASIAN NEWS
NACA celebrates Lunar New Year of Dragon with donations to GPC and GSSA Mayor Kasim Reed Invites Atlanta Business Leaders For China Trip Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed extended an open invitation to business leaders to join him on a trade mission to China in March. Speaking to over 900 political and business leaders at the annual State of the City address, Mayor Reed said the China trip is part of his administration’s effort to expand economic development globally. “I don’t think you can become a truly global city without creating a strong economic relationship with China,” said the Atlanta Mayor. Mayor Reed’s announcement followed Gov. Nathan Deal’s week long visit to Asia including China last October. Georgia recorded $2.4 Billion in exports to China in 2010 and China is ranked second-largest export market for the state. The China trip is scheduled from March 23-31 covering cities of Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen. Mayor Reed is scheduled to visit major telecommunications companies ZTE and Huawei.
Estimated participant fee for the trip are $3700 for economy fare and $8300 for business class fare. Fees are inclusive of international air fare, hotels, intra China, visas, and ground transportation. Deadline for registration of trip is February 3. “We are excited by Mayor Kasim Reed’s commitment and visions to explore business opportunities with China. The visit will greatly improve bilateral relationship between the city and the Chinese sides,” said Lani Wong, Chairwoman of National Association of Chinese Americans (NACA). Mayor Reed also announced the change of name for the Atlanta Development Authority to Invest Atlanta to reflect its renewed focus on economic development and jobs creation. To learn more of Mayor’s trip to China, contact Bill Cronin of Invest Atlanta 404.614.8288 or Ric Hubler, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce 404.586.8455
Chamblee, January 28 — National Association of Chinese Americans (NACA) celebrates the Lunar New Year of Dragon 4710 with a dinner banquet attended by business and community leaders from metro Atlanta and Georgia. Hon. Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta delivered the evening’s greeting remark and he invited business leaders to join him in his upcoming trip to China in March. “I look forward to my visit and to further strengthened the friendship with China,” said the Mayor. “Our contacts are growing – you do business with people that you trust and like. Positive outcome will come from there. Be there it be business or friendship,” adds Mayor Reed. Yunlian Xie, Deputy Consul General of China of the People’s Republic of China in Houston congratulated NACA on the organization’s effort in promoting understanding and linkages with China. Among the community leaders in attendance including Hon. Eva Galambos, Mayor of Sandy Springs, Hon. W. Burrell Ellis, CEO of DeKalb County, Hon. Kwanzaa Hall, Atlanta City Council District 2, and Hon. Alex Wan, Atlanta City Council District 6.
Lani Wong, Chair of NACA presented a $10,000 donation to Georgia Perimeter College’s Center for International Education as well as a scholarship to School of Nursing program. Ms. Wong also presented a $5000 donation to Good Shepherd Services Atlanta (GSSA) for their services to the underprivileged Asian American community. In 2011, NACA was selected as a finalist for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Global Commerce’s 2nd Annual Global Impact Awards in the category, “Global Partner-Service Providers.” The city of Doraville also presented an official proclamation recognizing the contribution of Chinese Americans to the community. Ms. Lani Wong was recognized as one of “25 Most Influential Asian Americans in Georgia” by Georgia Asian Times in 2011. For more information on NACA, visit www.naca-atlanta.org
February 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Canon to build laser-printer factory in Philippines TOKYO, January 31, 2012 (AFP) - Japanese high-tech giant Canon said Tuesday it would build a laser-printer factory in the Philippines in anticipation of strong growth in global demand. Construction of the facility in Batangas would start in April next year with the plant scheduled to begin production a year later, Canon said in a statement.
Starbucks to open in India MUMBAI, January 30, 2012 (AFP) Starbucks will make its eagerly awaited foray into India later this year, opening outlets under a deal announced Monday with Tata Global Beverages to tap into the country’s fast-growing taste for coffee. Tata, part of steel-to-software conglomerate Tata Group, and Seattle-based Starbucks said they had entered into a 50:50 joint venture that will operate Starbucks cafes starting in New Delhi and Mumbai in August or September. “India is a unique market which gives us huge opportunities,” Starbucks’ China and Asia Pacific president John Culver told reporters, saying they would not stop at India’s two main cities. Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee shop chain, has plans for at least 50 outlets by the end of 2012 as the group bets on lifestyle changes that are turning the tea-drinking country into a booming market for cafes. “We will move as fast as possible,” Culver said. Outlets are planned for shopping malls, airports, railway stations and other locations. The joint venture will start up with an initial investment of four billion rupees ($78 million) and be branded “Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance”,
said R.K. Krishnakumar, vice-chairman of Tata Global Beverages.
“The expected increase in future demand for competitively priced laser printers has created a pressing need for Canon to secure necessary production capacity while making it possible for the company to respond in a flexible manner,” it said.
The factory is expected to employ about 5,000 people by 2014, the company said, adding that the printer business was a central pillar of the firm alongside its other office products and cameras. Canon said it chose the Philippines due to its ready labour supply and the fact that many workers were able to speak English. The company Monday posted a solid full-year result despite the difficult global economic environment. Canon has two existing Philippines-based subsidiaries.
Starbucks has been eyeing the Indian market for years, but it will face strong competition from established coffee chains. The Indian-owned Cafe Coffee Day chain leads the pack with more than 1,000 outlets. The nation of 1.2 billion people has traditionally been a tea-drinking country, but Western-style coffee chains have grown in popularity in recent years among the wealthy and growing middle class. The change in tastes has less to do with a fondness for Italian espresso and more to do with the social cachet conferred by the beverage in class-conscious India, analysts say. Starbucks initially planned to open up its first coffee shop in India in 2007 but put the plans on the backburner amid uncertainty about the government’s foreign investment policy. Starbucks has a separate deal to source coffee for its global operations, including its planned cafes in India, from Tata Global Beverages unit Tata Coffee, Asia’s largest coffee plantation company. Starbucks and Tata also said they were planning to jointly market a premium tea product to be called Tata Tazoi.
Asian Square Appoints New Property Management Company Doraville, Jan 30 - Asian Square, a popular retail and eatery destinations located on Buford Highway had officially appointed Empire Realty Group, Inc. as its new property management company. “We aim to work with individual and corporate owners to ensure the highest quality of services are delivered,” said Timothy Lam, Managing Director of Empire Realty Group.
Asian Square was built in the late 1990s and has been a landmark shopping plaza for Asians in metro Atlanta. Empire Realty Group is a full service real estate agency and a property management company specializing in commercial and residential properties.
Georgia Asian Times
February 1-15, 2012
Myanmar taps Singapore expertise to modernize economy SINGAPORE, January 30, 2012 (AFP) - Myanmar Monday signed an agreement with Singapore seeking the financial centre’s help as the country emerges from political and economic isolation after decades of military rule.
looks forward to being welcomed from the political wilderness,” said Song Seng Wun a regional economist with Malaysian bank CIMB, using Myanmar’s former name. “It looks like the Burmese are in a hurry to catch up in the shortest possible time,” he said. Myanmar will likely tap Singapore’s expertise in financial services, Song said.
President Thein Sein arrived for a four-day state visit to the city-state accompanied by a top-level delegation which included business leaders and top ministers in charge of economic portfolios. Thein Seinmet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the leaders witnessed the signing by their foreign ministers of an agreement under which Singapore will provide training for reforms in the legal, banking and financial sectors. The pact also calls on Singapore to share its best practices in trade, tourism and urban planning. With the West looking at easing sanctions and businesses closely watching sweeping democratic reforms in the formerly military-run country, Myanmar needs to prepare for an anticipated increase in investments and tourism, analysts said. Weakened by half a century of military rule and economic mismanagement, Myanmar nevertheless has rich natural resources, including gold, gas, teak, oil, jade and gems and a large pool of low-cost labor. The Southeast Asian state also boasts of a host of tourism attractions with its appealing colonial architecture, picturesque temples and golden beaches. “If all goes well, Burma certainly
“After so many years of isolation, their capacity to handle the expected inflow of investments and set up the much-needed regulatory frameworks have to be brought up to scratch as quickly as possible.” A Southeast Asian diplomat also said that Myanmar needs to train accountants, bankers and other people with technical skills as well as in corporate governance. “Singapore is the logical place where it can seek help,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be named. Singapore, a regional financial centre and a favorite hub for global companies, is often seen as a model by its neighbors. After nearly five decades of outright army rule in Myanmar, a nominally civilian government took power last year and has since surprised outside observers with its apparent scope and pace of reforms. Thein Sein, a former prime minister and an ex-general who was a member of the junta, was appointed president in February last year after the November 2010 elections. Myanmar and Singapore are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which also includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Chrysler leads US auto sales growth in January CHICAGO, February 1, 2012 (AFP) - Chrysler led US auto sales growth in January with an impressive 44 percent jump that far outpaced a modest seven percent gain at rival Ford, initial industry data showed Wednesday. It was Chrysler’s 22nd consecutive month of gains and eighth month in a row of growth that came in at 20 percent or higher. “We started the new year with a bang,” Reid Bigland, head of Chrysler’s US sales, said in a statement. “In January we continued building on the sales momentum that we generated during 2011 with our 16 all-new or significantly-refreshed products.” The strong sales results come as Chrysler posted its first annual profit since emerging from a governmentbacked bankruptcy in 2009 and vowed to multiply profits eight times in 2012 to around $1.5 billion. January’s sales of 101,149 vehicle were driven largely by strong sedan sales -- which jumped 137 percent from a year earlier -- but truck sales were also strong, rising 25 percent.
Car sales also drove Ford’s gains, with the Focus contributing to 30 percent of January’s growth after rising 60 percent to 14,400. But with weakness in other sedans, total car sales rose just 2.4 percent while sport utility sales grew 12.2 percent and truck sales rose 7.9 percent. Volkswagen, which is making an aggressive push into the US market as part of a goal to become the world’s largest automaker, posted a 47.9 percent gain in January to 27,209 vehicles. “We ended 2011 strong and are seeing the momentum continue into 2012 with a 47.9 percent increase, demonstrating our growth strategy continues to take root,” said Jonathan Browning, who heads the German group’s US division. He added that with the company’s “relentless focus on the core pillars of the business, and a full line-up of new and refreshed vehicles, Volkswagen is off to a strong start in 2012.” Total industry sales are forecast to grow 5.8 percent to 866,655 vehicles in January, according to Edmunds.com.
Ford also posted its best January since 2008, the beginning of a deep economic downturn, as sales rose 7.4 percent to 136,710 vehicles.
However, the seasonally adjusted, annualized sales rate is expected to come in essentially flat compared with December at 13.5 million vehicles.
Under military rule, Myanmar had long been a thorn on the side of ASEAN, hobbling the bloc’s relations with Western powers because of the jailing of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and allegations of widespread human rights abuses.
play a more important role in ASEAN... The financial area is one major avenue that Singapore can contribute to,” said Aekapol.
Aekapol Chongvilaivan, an analyst with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said regional economies must help Myanmar push ahead with democratic reforms. “Singapore really needs to push Myanmar because Myanmar needs to
“I think now Myanmar has already set the stage for economic and political transformation.” An orchid will be named after Thein Sein’s wife, Khin Khin Win. Thein Sein already has an orchid name after him when he visited Singapore in 2009 as prime minister.
February 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Asia loses its taste for shark fin SINGAPORE, January 22, 2012 (AFP) – As Asia’s ethnic Chinese sit down for lavish banquets to usher in the Lunar New Year, a delicacy long considered a must at celebratory meals is fast disappearing from menus and dinner tables. A growing number of shops, restaurants and hotels have in the past few months given up selling shark fin, which in Asia is usually eaten in soup, throwing a lifeline to the marine predator that activists say is long overdue. “Yes, we do see an increasing number of locals and international businesses saying no to shark’s fin,” said Elaine Tan, chief executive for environmental group WWF in Singapore. “This change in attitude could be due to an increasing awareness of the plight of sharks as well as the result of many shark campaigns worldwide,” she said. About 73 million sharks are killed every year, according to WWF, and more than 180 shark species were considered threatened in 2010, compared to only 15 in 1996. Many are slain for their fins, considered by the Chinese to be a delicacy and costing hundreds of dollars per kilo. Soup made from the fins is a pricey yet common staple at festive occasions such as the Lunar New Year and weddings in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and countries with large ethnic Chinese populations such as Singapore. One well-known shark-fin soup restaurant in Singapore sells the dish at Sg$20 ($16) per diner, but it can cost many times that. “We are concerned about the environment and we have a strong corporate responsibility,” said Maria Kuhn, director of corporate communications of Shangri-La’s international operations.
The global luxury hotelier took shark fin off its menu on January 17, in a major boost to the campaign. “The younger generation has specifically been very aware of the issue and been stepping away from using shark fin… In the long term it will be a natural progression anyway.” In Hong Kong — the top shark-fin trading centre, handling about 50 percent of the global trade — conservationists lauded Peninsula Hotels group’s decision two months ago to similarly ditch the dish. “We are very happy to see what they have done and we believe the demand for shark-fin consumption in Hong Kong will reduce,” said Stanley Shea, project coordinator at the Hong Kong marine conservation group Bloom. A survey by Bloom last year showed 78 percent of people in the southern Chinese city now consider it socially acceptable to leave shark-fin soup off the menu for a wedding banquet. It is a sentiment which is gaining ground in Singapore too. Alex Teo, 29, said he left shark fin off the menu at his wedding last year despite initial worries that guests might be disappointed. “We were not sure if people would feel unhappy about it, but seven personal friends who, when they replied about their attendance, asked me if we could not have shark fin, so we went ahead,” he said.
Basketball superstar Yao Ming, who stopped eating shark fin five years ago, added his considerable size to the cause in September by urging others to join him and British entrepreneur Richard Branson in their abstinence. As public awareness grows in China, there are even moves towards a ban on the trade. Businessman delegate to the National People’s Congress Ding Liguo made the proposal, saying Beijing should lead the way because 95 percent of shark fin is consumed in the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Supermarket chains in Singapore have also begun to jump on the bandwagon and WWF’s Tan said an initiative encouraging restaurants to provide shark-fin-free menus has gained traction in Singapore and Hong Kong. More than 100 hotels and restaurants in the two cities are now part of the program, up from only 12 when it was launched in 2010, Tan said. But it is not all good news.
TRAFFIC, an international network that monitors the trade in wildlife, said more action from Asian governments was needed.
Restaurants in Thailand were reporting a surge in shark-fin consumption ahead of the Lunar New Year, while high-end eateries in Malaysia — where there is a sizable ethnic Chinese population — are also holding firm.
“We see a clear shift in the public and corporate mindset away from shark-fin consumption and sale,” said Elizabeth John, an official with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
“The number of people eating shark fin is only increasing, especially during Chinese New Year,” said Tiyamon Tiang-ngok, assistant manager at Summer Palace restaurant, at Intercontinental Hotel in Bangkok.
“Unfortunately, it’s not reflected in decision and policy making except in very few cases.”
“Our main customers are Chinese Thais. When they dine at our restaurant, they often order our set menu, which includes shark-fin soup.”
“We actually wanted to remove it because we wanted to save sharks,” said Teo, a banker.
Hazel Oakley, a representative of Shark Savers Malaysia, which lobbies for a sharkfishing ban, said: “The time for this legislation is now.
Mainland China — believed to be the world’s top consumer of shark fin — is also seeing a dip in its popularity.
“Public opinion has changed… The shark-fin wealthy Chinese market is definitely dying.”
Georgia Asian Times February 1-15, 2012
Illuminated Letters ~ Showcasing the beauty of handwriting Atlanta, January 26 — A calligraphic exhibition was organized by The Atlanta Calligraphy Guild and Friends of the Alphabet at Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Atlanta. The exhibition featured 20 calligraphers demonstrating calligraphic styles or “hands” in a spot-lit and silent setting. According to the organizer, the performance hopes to focus on the act of writing itself, drawing the attention to the power, vitality, and variety of the letterforms. The featured calligraphers demonstrated many styles including italic, ornate Copperplate and Spencerian scripts, Celtic “Uncial”, Hebraic, and Gothic hands. With the onset of the digital age, handwriting is not often more art form than everyday activity. Steve Jobs credited a college calligraphy course for sparking his appreciation for the importance of design. An art form as old as civilization, itself, this highly-stylized handwriting has expressions found in places as diverse as wedding invitations, typographic design, consumer product labeling, and in tattoo artistry.
Chinese calligraphy demonstrated by Mr Jerome Yeh.
February 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Photos: Minh Doan
Georgia Asian Times February 1-15, 2012
NACA Lunar New Year Banquet | Jan 28
Page 11 Photos: Ben Hioe
February 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
TRAVEL Mingalabar Myanmar! By Christina Chin
Myanmar (Burma) may be a third world country but if wealth were measured by culture, kindness and tradition, it would be among the world’s richest nations.
galabar Myanmar!” It’s an auspicious local greeting that’s sure to make you some new friends.
Although not as popular as its Southeast Asian neighbors, the Golden Land has plenty to offer.
The gateway to Myanmar and the nation’s capital, Yangon, is a thriving city laden with gilded pagodas. Though none is as beautiful as the most sacred Shwedagon Pagoda, every pagoda is unique if you take the trouble to explore them.
I doubt, for instance, that you would see as many pagodas anywhere else in the world. Even in the poorest village in Myanmar, beautiful pagodas and Buddha statutes covered in gold leaf are a common sight. And no matter which hill you find yourself on, in whichever state, you will find the horizon dotted with stupas, reaching for the heavens. Traveling here is safe, and the people are helpful, especially in the outskirts. The only hassle may be the currency. The US dollar is the currency of choice, but your notes must be crisp and without markings. According to a local guide, the banks are extremely particular about this and will not accept folded, scribbled or shabby notes. As such, many traders only accept new American dollars or the kyat. If you fancy a place that offers an intoxicating mix of religion, history and shopping, just pack up and say, “Min-
Locals say Shwedagon was constructed nearly 2,500 years ago to house eight sacred strands of the Buddha’s hair. Adorned with tons of gold and precious jewels, the pagoda is synonymous with Myanmar and stands magnificently at more than 100m tall. A cabbie informed me that a “no fly zone” had been enforced above and around the temple! Within the city, there’s the relatively more modest Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda. The reclining Buddha here measures a staggering 65m, and has the story of the Buddha’s life inscribed on the soles of its feet. Meanwhile, at the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, a towering marble Buddha sits at its heart. Made from a single block of green marble found in Mandalay, the statue was carried along the Irrawady River to Yangon by some 10,000 men! Unfortunately, I had to give the Kyaik-tiyo or Golden Rock Pagoda a miss. Built on a massive boulder that sits precariously on the edge of a cliff, it is a marvel that attracts many a tourist and devotee. The 10km climb up to 1,000m in altitude just got too
slippery for us, no thanks to heavy showers. Shopping in Yangon can turn into a real spree. From exquisite jades and rubies to colorful paintings by street artists, Yangon offers a treasure trove of goodies for the shopper. Mandalay, Amarapura, Mingun
belongs to Yangon, Mandalay remains Myanmar’s cultural centre. Generations of artisans have thrived here. Its streets are lined with hundreds of craftsmen, all deftly going about their work, seemingly oblivious to admiring stares, making wooden puppets and wonderful silk tapestries, marble carvings and bronze castings of the Buddha.
Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, home to the Burmese kings for centuries, sits on the banks of the Irrawaddy with Mandalay Hill as its landmark. From up the hill, many Buddha statues cast their watchful gaze upon this city dotted with hundreds of pagodas of every height and size.
However, the most memorable place in this area may be U Bein Bridge in Amarapura, some 11km south of Mandalay. It’s a picture-perfect scenery that no photograph can possibly do justice to. The world’s longest teak wood bridge, U Bein spans some 1.2km and is quite a sight to behold at dusk.
Mandalay is home to the Kuthodaw Pagoda, a temple surrounded by 729 inscribed slabs, each with its own stupa. It’s no wonder Kuthodaw is known as the “world’s largest book”.
If you take a boat and gaze up at it with the sun setting in the background, the bridge is just so majestic and imposing. Some 200 years old, the bridge is a testament to the richness of Myanmar’s culture.
Though the title of state capital
Georgia Asian Times February 1-15, 2012
Monks in deep maroon robes (a sweet pink shade for the nuns) are a common sight in this predominantly Buddhist nation, but the Mahagandhayon Monastery founded in 1914 is where you’ll find the greatest concentration of Buddhist clergy. Like a sprawling township, the monastery houses more than 3,000 monks, who live and study here. Armed with cameras of every size, curious visitors come in hordes. Every day, these visitors wait patiently for the monks to queue up for their meals for a good snapshot. The monks seem used to the attention but one senses flashes of annoyance, especially among the older boys. Yes, paparazzi tourists like yours truly can be a pain, but the younger boys seem to enjoy living life in a proverbial fish bowl. They often make funny faces for the camera. Upriver from Mandalay is Mingun – ancient and unperturbed by development, boasting tourist-friendly villagers. A relaxing, 45-minute boat ride will get you there, but do remember to slap on some local sunblock, or thanaka (a yellowish paste made from the bark of a tree), to protect yourself from the fierce tropical sun. Here, bullock carts (with the words ‘taxi’ painted on) and local guides will happily take you around. The younger generation speak English. Again, pagodas are a big attraction. The cracked and unfinished Mingun Paya is undoubtedly among the most amazing pagodas in Myanmar. The Mingun Paya steps (there are railings to hold on to) and the size of the building is awe-inspiring. If completed, the stupa would have been the tallest in the world at 150m.
The place was envisioned by King Bodawpaya, who also commissioned a gigantic 90-tonne bell to go with it. Unfortunately, he died before his dream could be realized. Like Italy, Myanmar too has its own leaning tower – the 30m-high Nan Myint Watch Tower. Built in 1822, the original structure paid homage to Myanmar’s architectural style of the early 19th century but was badly damaged in an earthquake. Bagan Beyond a doubt, the country’s 11th century capital, famously dubbed the City of Four Million Pagodas, is one of the most amazing destinations in South-East Asia, rivaled only by the great Angkor Wat. There are only some 2,000 pagodas in Bagan, and they date back to more than 1,500 years. While Father Time has been kind enough to leave most of the structures intact, Mother Nature threatened to wipe out these amazing temples, pagodas and stupas during a devastating earthquake that took place in 1975. More than half were damaged, and many were destroyed. Through careful restoration, however, the reddishbrown pagodas of Bagan regained much of their glory by the 80s. For a great vantage point from which to watch the sun disappear behind the stupas, you can make your way up the steep Shwesandaw Pagoda steps. It’s worth the effort and panic attack! The Dhammayangyi, Thatbyinnyu (the former being the biggest and the latter the tallest), Ananda and Shwezi-
gon pagodas are must-visits. Indulge also in a sunset boat-ride along the Irrawady River for a magnificent light show where hues of vermillion and blue swirl together on a stage of fluffy cotton clouds every evening. Shan State The Shan highlands, south-east of Mandalay, is synonymous with the breathtaking Inle Lake, a bowl of crystal-clear water held in place by the giant hands of an age-old mountain. Step out of the Heho Airport, and your senses are quickly awakened by the crisp, misty countryside air. On the day I arrive, the morning Shan market happens to be at Heho. What a treat. The morning market is held once every five days, with the traders moving like clock-work through various towns and villages according to schedule. The one constant thing about the Shan morning market is that it’s always one big party! Here, the various tribes come together, each bearing their wares and delicacies – from barbecued fish that look like baby snakes on skewers, to poultry that look like they’ve been on a steroid diet (seriously, the chickens are as huge as turkeys). The rosy-cheek tribeswomen come in their traditional wear and colorful headgear, adding to the market’s exotic allure. Here, you’ll find more of the local food produce than souvenir. English is not widely spoken, but there are warm smiles all around for the cameras. The morning market is certainly a great place to sample street food. From here, a car-ride to the Inle Lake takes about an hour. Hotels for every budget dot the banks. Hop into a boat, and you are literally on your way
to where the heavens blend seemlesly with the lake. Like a huge mirror, the lake reflects the surrounding hills and bright blue skies in the most mystical way. The lake is famed for its acrobatfishermen who row the little sampan by wrapping one leg around the oar. At the heart of the waterway are the villages of the Intha people, who live alongside tribes like the Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O, Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar. Mainly farmers, they live in humble bamboo and wood huts perched on stilts in shallow waters. The floating market makes for an interesting stop but don’t lose your footing because it could turn into a very soggy affair. There are many workshops producing handicraft. For a less materialistic pursuit, you might want to visit the floating Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and Nga Phe Kyaung (Jumping Cat Monastery). Watching the poor villagers make gold leaf offerings to the five Buddhas at Phaung Daw Oo in an act of worship is a humbling experience. The temple celebrates an annual festival at the end of September when the five Buddhas are taken on a procession around the lake. Meanwhile, inside the wooden monastery, you’ll see cats trained to jump through hoops – for a little treat ,of course! There are no official showtimes and no need for tickets, but a small donation to feed the agile felines is always appreciated. Courtesy: The Star
February 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Misc Asia Thai thief caught with 10,000 pairs of women’s underwear BANGKOK, January 25, 2012 (AFP) - Police in Thailand said Wednesday that they had apprehended a thief with more than a thousand pairs of women’s underwear in the trunk of his car. Police also found more than ten thousand pairs at the house of the 48-year-old Thai suspect, who was arrested late Tuesday with an accomplice after breaking into a building in Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Sega seeks stream of success with ‘Toylet’ games TOKYO, January 20, 2012 (AFP) Japanese games maker Sega is pushing beyond living rooms and barging into bar bathrooms with “Toylet” devices that are played by speed and volume of urine. The games use urinals fitted with sensors and small digital displays placed at eye level. Five titles are available, including “Hold, Manneken Pis!”, named after the iconic Brussels fountain depicting a small boy in the act. Players compete on the basis of volume. But in “Splashing Battle!” the user takes on the previous visitor in a virtual fight based on stream strength. In “Violent wind warning has been issued”, the player tries to blow up a virtual girl’s skirt with a digital wind, also dependent on the power of his flow.
Sega has so far installed about 130 Toylets at some 100 bars and restaurants across Japan for 150,000 yen ($1,900) each. The incentive for bar owners is the ability to show digital adverts after the games, once they have gained the players’ full attention. “This gives bar customers more things to talk about when they return from bathrooms to their tables,” said Hiroyuki Tanaka, Sega spokesman. The Toylets also acted as a subliminal incentive for men to take an extra step towards the urinals -- helping to prevent missed targets and keep lavatories clean, he added. “We have had good feedback from our customers that toilet cleanliness has improved,” he said.
They said the man admitted to stealing and collecting women’s underwear since the age of 18. “He smelled them all the time even while driving,” said police Major General Saroj Promcharoen. The suspect will be charged with stealing property, though not the underwear for now because there is no plaintiff, police said.
Warren Buffett plays ukulele in China New Year gala BEIJING, January 22, 2012 (AFP) – The online version of a glitzy television gala marking the Chinese Lunar New Year on Sunday featured a video of US billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett singing and playing the ukulele. The 81-year-old investment guru appeared in a room in an unknown location, sitting in front of a huge train set, wearing a black jumper and singing the American folk song “I’ve been working on the Railroad”. China is preparing to say goodbye to the New Year of the Rabbit and welcome the New Year of the Dragon — which starts on Monday — with fireworks and dumplings, in the nation’s most important annual, family holiday. The country’s state-run television CCTV broadcasts a glitzy gala every year on Chinese New Year’s Eve, but it was unclear whether Buffett’s segment would be featured on television as well as on the earlier web version of the show.
The 45-second video, available on CCTV’s website, is titled “Buffett sings and plays (the ukulele), offering his vocals for CCTV’s online Spring Festival (show).” Buffett, who holds a stake of nearly 10 percent in Chinese auto group BYD, is no stranger to China. In September 2010, he and fellow billionaire Bill Gates triggered huge media hype when they hosted a banquet in Beijing for China’s super-rich to discuss charitable giving. The philanthropist has long been seen as a model investor by China’s growing legions of rich, many of whom hope to emulate the investment guru’s feats as the nation’s economy grows.
Georgia Asian Times February 1-15, 2012
Words of Wisdom Consider the tune, not the voice; consider the words, not the tune; consider the meaning, not the words. Bhutanese Proverb The blind person never fear ghost. Burmese Proverb One sesame seed won’t make oil. Burmese Proverb The stupid person, scorned by neighbors, may suddenly become wealthy and wise. Cambodian Proverb Eloquence provides only persuasion, but truth buys loyalty. Chinese Proverb Distance tests the endurance of a horse; time reveals a man’s character. Chinese Proverb He who does not love his own mother tongue is worse than a rotten fish. Filipino Proverb
Church asks Pacquiao to be ‘bible ambassador’ MANILA, January 30, 2012 (AFP) - The influential Catholic church in the Philippines said Monday it had asked boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao to follow in the footsteps of NFL hero Tim Tebow and become a “bible ambassador”. Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who presides over the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) bible ministry, said church leaders had approached Pacquiao with the idea, but received no feedback from the 32year-old fighter. “We asked him to partner with us in promoting the reading of the Bible among Catholics,” David told reporters. “We told him: ‘You would be a big help to us brother Manny’, but he has not pledged his partnership yet.” He said Pacquiao could follow the example of the Philippine-born National Football League star Tebow, a devout Christian dubbed by some in the press as “God’s quarterback.”
“Tim Tebow became very popular by promoting the word of God,” David said. “Some have referred to Manny Pacquiao as the Tim Tebow of the Philippines.” Tebow, born in Manila in 1987 to a Baptist missionary couple, has emerged as America’s hottest football star with his come-from-behind heroics for the Broncos. Tebow has been very vocal about his Christianity and recently pledged to help fund a $3 million hospital in the southern Philippines. Pacquiao is regarded as one of the greatest boxers in history, amassing a 54-3 win-loss record with two drawn bouts. He holds a record eight world titles in as many weight divisions. Pacquiao, who is also a politician and recently elected to the Philippines’ lower house of parliament, often cites God as the source of his success, and wears a rosary around his neck before and after his fights.
Life is like a wheel, sometimes your up sometimes your down. Filipino Proverb Fish and guests smell when they are three days old. Indian Proverb Garlic is as good as ten mothers. Indian Proverb Fallen blossom doesn’t return to the branch, a broken mirror can not be made to shine. Japanese Proverb
But the ultra-rich sportsman has not escaped intrigue, and reports of him womanising and gambling have become rich tabloid fodder. In an interview with Philippine TV station ABS-CBN this month, Pacquiao said he had recently renewed his faith and given up vices following an “encounter with God” during a dream. In the dream, Pacquiao said he found himself in a forest, where a bright light shone, believed to be God, asking the fighter why he was veering away from Him.
A man in love mistakes a pimple for a dimple. Japanese Proverb A good medicine is bitter to the mouth. Korean Proverb Even a man with a three-foot long mustache must eat to be a nobleman. Korean Proverb Bit by bit, in the end it becomes a hill. Malay Proverb The potato grows in silence, the iron corrodes in silence. Malay Proverb If you endeavor, the fate will favour you. Mongolian Proverb What is a joke for a cat will be death for a mouse. Mongolian Proverb The dead will go to the village where the cock doesn’t crow. Thai Proverb Water in the mouth before eating; water in the eyes when the bill comes. TIbetan Proverb The person who gets stuck on petty happiness will not attain great happiness. TIbetan Proverb Happy hours are very short. Vietnamese Proverb Man is the flower of the earth. Vietnamese Proverb
“I woke up crying. I remember I was crying in my dream and when I touched my pillow, it was wet,” he said. “If I had died last year or in the last two years, I’m sure I would have gone straight to hell. My faith in Him was there, 100 percent, but behind it, after prayers, I would still do evil things.” Pacquiao said he now immersed himself in Bible study and spent more time when not in training with wife Jinkee and his four children, according to ABS-CBN.
February 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
LIFESTYLE Banned books hot property in censored Vietnam
HANOI, January 26, 2012 (AFP) - From irreverent cartoons to “depraved” short stories, Vietnam’s pop culture is attracting the attention of print censors who experts say are struggling to accept an increasingly brash literary scene. After years spent keeping political texts off the printing presses, authorities are setting their sights on the growing market of publishing for young people, with several books prohibited in recent months. Nguyen Thanh Phong, whose collection of comic rhyming slang was recently banned, said his illustration of two gormless-looking soldiers kicking a grenade to each other may have caused the censors’ ire. The caption reads “Being a soldier you must always get noticed”, an attempt to poke fun at the inflated, heroic image of the country’s military. “I just thought it was funny,” said Phong. The 26-year-old artist said censorship only increased people’s desire to read the book, entitled “The murderer with a pus-filled head”, which aims to reflect the street patois of Vietnam’s youth. Phong said his book sold 5,000 copies in two weeks but was then discontinued, stoking under-the-counter demand that pushed prices to as
much as 100,000 dong ($5) -- more than double its official cost. Censorship has proved a headache for Vietnamese publishers eager to capitalise on a potentially rich seam of revenue from the nation’s 28 million under-18s, but it has also given texts an enticing air of notoriety. “It’s an unintended public relations chain effect -- in Vietnam, any banned books become best-selling, because people are curious,” said Phong. The controversy “sparked the interest of a lot of people who would never have even bothered to read it in a bookstore,” said Vietnam expert Edmund Malesky, Associate Professor at the University of California, San Diego.
Vietnam scholar Carl Thayer said more books are being produced aimed at young people, but that “pop culture is definitely at odds with official ideas of Vietnamese culture”.
undergone ‘treatment’ and been sanitized,” said Nguyen.
“Since Vietnam is an authoritarian regime, its officials have no way of accurately capturing true public opinion... Deep in their hearts they are fearful of political humor and more overt political publications because it challenges their power and legitimacy,” he said.
“It provides hard copy of facts and ideas that freely circulate in private conversations,” he said.
Reporters Without Borders, which ranked Vietnam 165th in the world for press freedom out of 178 countries in 2010, has said the one-party state retains a tight grip on all media. Vietnamese officials were unable to provide figures on the number of books banned each year and did not confirm the specific reason for the decision to take Phong’s book off the shelves. Dang Thi Bich Ngan, deputy director of the culture ministry’s Fine Arts Publishing House, said sales of “The murderer” were stopped because of changes made to the approved draft.
The publishing industry is seeing a boom in titles for teenagers, varying from non-fiction to translations of the internationally best-selling “Twilight” vampire series.
It did not take long to track down an illicit copy of “The murderer” on the streets of Hanoi. One bookseller said she did not keep it on her shop’s shelves and offered to fetch one from the storeroom. But her sales pitch came with the warning that it had corrupted the Vietnamese language: “Do not show it to your children!”, she said. Many people simply went online to read Phong’s book on the numerous Internet sites hosting copies. “Those who object to the book said if these sentences are circulated on the internet, it’s ok, but not in books. I think because they think books are very noble, like a holy land of knowledge,” Phong said. Censors have indicated a willingness to negotiate a revised version. Phong said he expects some illustrations will be removed and replaced with different popular slang and is confident a new book would not be seen as diluted.
He added the book “captures all the cool sayings of what they call the 9X generation, those born in the 90s”, a generation surprising older Vietnamese with its “free-spiritedness”. Conservatives in Vietnam have found themselves scandalized by the tide of youth culture -- from the antics of popular singers to brazen fashion statements on the streets.
Thayer said Vietnam’s black market “thrives because it meets a need”.
Another controversial book, a collection of short stories by journalist Nguyen Vinh Nguyen, was banned and its publisher fined for “disseminating depraved and pornographic ideas, not in accordance with Vietnam’s traditions and customs”. “Readers really want the sort of products of a free publishing environment, rather than what they are given now, which are books that have
His optimism is perhaps echoed in another quintessentially Vietnamese street saying from his book. An image of a whole dead dog on a dinner plate accompanies the phrase: “Don’t worry, things will be alright, because dog meat is always served with shrimp sauce”.
Georgia Asian Times February 1-15, 2012
HEALTH Long hours at work doubles depression risk: study WASHINGTON, January 25, 2012 (AFP) - British white-collar workers who spent 11 hours or more at work each day faced double the risk of depression as those who worked seven-eight hours a day, said a study published on Wednesday. The research, published in the open-access science journal PLoS ONE, followed more than 2,100 civil servants -- who had no previous depressive episodes or psychological risk factors -- for an average of nearly six years. Those who worked long days were 2.3 to 2.5 times more likely to have a major depressive episode, said the study led by Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London. The link remained the same even when researchers made adjustments for factors such as alcohol and drug use, social support or lack thereof, and strain at work. Still the total number of depressive cases was only 66, or a rate of 3.1 percent, less common than the five percent rate seen in the general population. “Although occasionally working overtime may have benefits for the individual and society, it is important to recognize that working excessive hours is also associated with an increased risk of major depression,” said Virtanen. The study did not draw conclusions about why the link exists, but said it could be related to factors that were not studied -- such as work-family conflicts, prolonged increase in stress hormone levels and difficulty unwinding after work. Also, since the study was limited to British civil servants, a larger population sample would be needed to determine if the link exists among blue collar workers or private sector employees, its authors said.
Doctors should check blood pressure on both arms: study PARIS, January 30, 2012 (AFP) - Measuring blood pressure on both arms rather than only one can reveal an elevated risk of heart disease or even death, according to a study released Monday. In a review of medical literature, researchers at the University of Exeter found that a difference in the so-called systolic blood pressure between arms can be a useful indicator of the likelihood of heart trouble. People with high blood pressure -- also called hypertension -- have an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia, previous research has shown.
High blood pressure is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as 140 over 90 millimetres of mercury or more. Mercury is used in blood-pressure gauges. The first number measures maximum heart pressure (systolic), while the second measures pressure when the heart is in a resting phase (diastolic). Published in the British medical journal The Lancet, the findings suggest that botharm blood pressure checks should become standard practice, the researchers said. The probe reviewed 28 studies with data on the difference in systolic blood pressure between arms.
They concluded that a gap of 15mm of mercury or more was linked with an increased risk of the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet. It was also associated with pre-existing cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood supply to the brain and can contribute to dementia. Above this threshold, death rates due to cardiovascular problems likewise went up. Most such cases are “clinically silent” and double-arm checks would better identify those at risk, the study said.
Chemicals linked to lower vaccine response in children WASHINGTON, January 24, 2012 (AFP) - Chemical compounds widely used in fastfood packaging, waterproof clothing and non-stick frying pans were linked in a study out Tuesday to lower immune response by young children to routine tetanus and diphtheria immunization shots. The study, in Tuesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), is the first to show how perfluorinated compounds can negatively affect the response to vaccines. PFCs can be transferred to children before birth via the mother, or after birth from exposure in the environment, according to the report. “The negative impact on childhood vaccinations from PFCs should be viewed as a potential threat to public health,” said study lead author Philippe Grandjean with the Harvard School of Public Health. Grandjean appeared alarmed because routine childhood immunizations “are a mainstay of modern disease prevention.” Researchers “were surprised by the steep negative associations, which suggest that PFCs may be more toxic to the immune system than current dioxin exposures,” said Grandjean. PFCs have thousands of industrial and manufacturing uses, and most Americans have traces of the chemical compounds in their bodies.
Earlier studies have shown that PFC concentrations in mice similar to those found in people suppressed immune response. The negative effects of the compounds on people however have not been well studied. The experts studied data on infants at the National Hospital in Torshavn, on Denmark’s Faroe Islands, during 1999-2001. Of those studied, 587 children participated in follow-up examinations at ages five and seven, when they were tested for immune response to tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations. The level of PFCs were measured in maternal pregnancy blood serum, and in the blood serum of children at age five, to determine prenatal and postnatal exposure. The results show a link between exposure to PFCs and a lower antibody response to tetanus and diphtheria vaccines than normal. A lower level of antibodies increases the risk that the children will not have an adequate immune response for long-term protection against tetanus and diphtheria, according to the study authors.
“A two-fold greater concentration of three major PFCs was associated with a 49 percent lower level of serum antibodies in children at age 7 years,” the report read. The PFC concentrations “are similar to or slightly below those reported in US women,” while most serum PFC levels in the children at age five “were lower than those measured in US children aged 3 to 5 years in 2001-2002,” the report said. Bisphenol A (BPA), another chemical compound widely used in cans, beverage bottles and in some dental fillings, is a suspected “endocrine disruptor,” which can result in breast and prostate cancer and affect the developing brains of infants and children.
February 1-15, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
February Horoscope Dragon (2000 1988 1976 1964 1952 1940 1928 1916 1904) Do you want to test your wealth luck? There is a fine line between gains and losses this month. If you randomly gamble, the results will tell you whether or not luck has been on your side. If you act on the latest news, you are making decisions based on what is happening in the financial world. An informed decision can prevent you from being rash with your cash. Snake (2001 1989 1977 1965 1953 1941 1929 1917 1905) You can start to imagine that things are going to go awry because you expected certain things to take place in a certain order. Instead of bringing an air of pessimism around your situation you could perceive the changes as being diverted well ahead of some sort of obstruction. You plan ahead so that you can be prepared, and part of being prepared is being able to handle the unexpected. Does that mean you needed to have built more contingencies into your plans? Not necessarily. It means that because you knew you had a clear direction, you can now change your course slightly and find another path to where you are going. Treading through unfamiliar territory could prove to be rather thrilling. Horse (2002 1990 1978 1966 1954 1942 1930 1918 1906) Whilst you may experience a sense of unbridled enthusiasm as you gallop into this month, the energies of the new Dragon year can push you towards extremes. On the one hand, this makes you quite a live wire and others love the buzz of being in your company because you make everyone feel that anything is possible. On the other hand, you can find that your flames of fervor burn out too quickly and your liveliness can fizzle out. Rein yourself back from charging ahead. You can find that if you pace yourself at a gentle trot throughout Tiger month you will find that you have plenty of physical, mental and emotional reserves to draw upon. When you take life at a steady pace you can make things happen the best way because you are not going to panic when there is a hiccup. You know you have the time and space to get back to breathing easily. Goat (2003 1991 1979 1967 1955 1943 1931 1919 1907) There is something this month that is making you frown and turn the corners of your mouth down. This does not mean that all the things that make you smile have vanished into thin air. It does suggest that you are paying a lot more attention to what is troubling you than what is comforting you. It is wise not to ignore your problems and to deal with them. Dealing with them is not the same as remaining downhearted about things. Remaining pessimistic rarely offers you a glimpse into how you can unravel a knotty situation. Borrow some of the can-do attitude from the Tiger ruling the month and you can start to find a solution. Monkey (2004 1992 1980 1968 1956 1944 1932 1920 1908) IJust when you thought you were holding things together the direction of the wind can change and you are blown about in a different direction. Disruption and chaos are let loose once more. The first thing you do when you find yourself being thrown off balance is to pick yourself up and inspect what has happened around you. You might find that as you clear things up, you realize certain things are beyond your control. If you can see that certain situations are not going to be going your way this month, you can let go of them, for the time being. Turn your attention to those situations where you know you can make a difference. Rooster (2005 1993 1981 1969 1957 1945 1933 1921 1909) If your luck is such that this month, it is not the time for you to receive what you want, so you need to be a little patient. There is the old Chinese saying that what truly belongs to your will make its way to you. This does not mean you can stay under the duvet and good things will automatically fall out of the sky. You still need to get out of bed and get on with your day. Trust that if something truly belongs to you, luck will deliver it to you when the time is right.
Dog (2006 1994 1982 1970 1958 1946 1934 1922 1910) It can feel like the world is against you at the moment. Something you thought was straightforward and mundane turns out to be a pain. There is no need to struggle along on your own. Your Dog personality is hesitant to weigh others down with your troubles. How do you know you will be perceived as a nuisance? Your own motto is that a friend in need is a friend indeed. Trust that you are not the only one who believes there is a reward in lending an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and a tissue to dry up the tears. What upsets you this month will not bother you for too long if you open your heart to a trusted friend. Pig (2007 1995 1983 1971 1959 1947 1935 1923 1911) If you did not let go of the old, it would be hard to find space for the new to come into your life. Not only are you ready to turn over a new leaf in your life, you are ready to open a new volume with a different assortment of adventures. Before you can become fully engaged in the next part of the story, you need to close the old book and return it to the shelf of memories. Treasure what has happened because it was part of the path you needed to walk on to get to where you are today. Look ahead and march bravely into the future. Rat (2008 1996 1984 1972 1960 1948 1936 1924 1912) The Year of the Water Dragon encourages a greater sense of optimism. Even in challenging times, remain clear and confident about the future you intend to create. Youâ€™ll attract powerful resources in support of your dreams. Do your best to go with the flow. The easiest path to happiness and success demands a willingness to be accommodating to others as you make a sincere effort to understand their perspective. Events that seem small or insignificant will become much more important later in the year. Trust your intuition about when to make course corrections. Ox (2009 1997 1985 1973 1961 1949 1937 1925 1913) Those who were able to negotiate a change of heart from you in the past will find that you are being quite immovable this month. They may complain that you are being unreasonable and you can give them all your own reasons which are perfectly reasonable to you. They may plead for you to change your mind and you can decide that your mind is perfectly sound and does not need to be changed at all. By exercising self-restraint and not allowing others to provoke you into losing your temper in a confrontation, you can indeed stand firm and exude an air of poise. This may cause others to change their positions and stand alongside you instead. Tiger (1998 1986 1974 1962 1950 1938 1926 1914) When you meet your own month, Tiger month in a Dragon year, you have even more get-up-and-go than usual. On the one hand, this makes you pretty unstoppable. It would be foolish for anyone to try and slow you down. On the other hand, you could forget to look properly to see if there is any danger from traffic when you come to cross a road. If you hear a voice calling, it could be that they are warning you of oncoming traffic. No matter how unstoppable you feel, it would be wise to heed any warnings to slow down. Rabbit (1999 1987 1975 1963 1951 1939 1927 1915 1903) Leave behind any old feelings from the past year. Baggage such as disillusionment, frustration and anxiety are not getting put on the train for the next leg of your journey. Bundles of delight, excitement and optimism are all on board. You need to make sure you hop on and sit in your reserved seat. Did you know that luck has reserved the seat next to you and will make a wonderful traveling companion? You did want luck to come along with you this month, didnâ€™t you? When luck is with you, you can expect a smoother journey and you will not be spilling your drink. To make sure luck will be beside you, you need to catch the train. Allow plenty of time to get to the station. Be ready for luck this month.
Georgia Asian Times February 1-15, 2012
ART “Song Byeok: Departure”
Former North Korean Propaganda Artist Debuts in the U.S. January 30, 2012, Atlanta – A world renowned Korean contemporary artist and satirist Song Byeok will present twenty acrylic paintings, including six pieces not yet seen by the public, at The Goat Farm Arts Center, February 17-26, 2012.
By masterfully blending iconic imagery from Eastern and Western cultures, Byeok’s expanded visual vocabulary and social commentary speak to the fundamental human need for freedom and hope for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.
The exhibit titled “Song Byeok: Departure” is brought to Atlanta by his representatives Gregory Pence (Director of Operations) and Mike Lee (Project Manager) of SB-ATL Group 501©(3).
“It is time to reform and open North Korea, so that North Koreans can see what the real world is,” says Song. “Freedom of speech has nothing to do with North Korea. Here in South Korea, people can draw what they want. So every painting reflects the artist’s distinctive personality.”
Before escaping North Korea, Song considered his propaganda work for Kim Jong il an “infinite honor”. “How could I, just a commoner, meet Kim Jong-il? He is the sun,” the artist recalls. His paintings – rife with anti-imperialist slogans and socialist realist imagery – reflected a limited worldview perpetuated by the hermit state. Song’s faith in the “Dear Leader” was eventually betrayed in the 1990s, however, when famine struck and the regime responded by continuing to allocate resources predominantly to cadre members, party elites, and the military. Among the millions of North Koreans who perished during this period – dubbed “The Arduous March” by Kim Jong il – were Song’s mother and sister. His father meanwhile drowned during an attempt to cross the Tumen River to secure food in China, and Song himself was later captured, brutalized, and forced into hard labor at a prison camp. Now a free citizen living in democratic South Korea, Song no longer has to represent the mythical reality once dictated to him by North Korea’s propaganda machine. He has taken full advantage of his artistic freedom by celebrating democratic ideals in paintings that honor the North Korean people and satirize Kim Jong il, now deceased.
“The more eyeballs we can get to see Song Byeok’s works of art, the better,” Greg Pence, a former Fulbright researcher of Korean nationalism and Song’s protege, explains. “His art understandably flows from a very raw and wounded place that runs contrary to his usual soft-spoken and cheerful disposition. Song retains his sense of optimism, knowing one day North Koreans will learn the truth about the outside world.” “North Korea has the ‘mother’ of all personality cults,” says Goat Farm owner Anthony Harper. “Kim Jong-il was the central figure behind a brand of race-based nationalism that survives off of repression, the control of information, and a massive untruth. Song’s art offers a rare chance to see a piece of the truth that would normally carry a hefty penalty for disloyalty. He’s a talented artist. If Song is bold enough to create the work then others should be willing to give it a public platform. I hope this U.S. exhibition has legitimizing effects. If so, Song’s voice will become more pervasive.” “Song Byeok: Departure” is the artist’s first international exhibition, and his first trip to the United States. He will lecture about his life and art at a number of Georgia’s prestigious institutions, including Emory University on Tuesday, February 21. The Dartmouth
Asian Pacific American Alumni Association supports this project. GALLERY HOURS FOR SONG BYEOK: DEPARTURE • Friday, February 17: Opening Night 7pm10:30pm, Auction at 10:00pm. All proceeds will go towards Dari Community, a North Korean refugee center in Ansan, ROK. • Saturday, February 18th: 9:30am-12pm, 1pm5pm & 6pm-10:30pm • Sunday, February 19th: 9:30am-12pm, 1pm6pm • Monday, February 20th: 1pm-5pm, Emory
Class Visit 6pm-7pm, 7-9:30pm • Tuesday, February 21st: 1pm-5pm*, 6pm9:30pm • Wednesday, February 22nd: 1pm-5pm* & 6pm-9:30pm • Thursday, February 23rd: 1pm-5pm & 6pm9:30pm* • Friday, February 24th: 1pm-5pm & 6pm10:30pm • Saturday, February 25th: 9:30am-12pm, 1pm-5pm & 6pm-10:30pm • Sunday, February 26th: Last Day of the Exhibit in Atlanta! 9:30am-12pm & 1pm-6pm * = Artist will be away for scheduled event VENUE: The Goat Farm, The Rodriguez Room, 1200 Foster Street, Atlanta, GA
National Association of Chinese-Americans NACA gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following sponsors and friends:
Who We Are
A non-profit community organization dedicated to 1) promoting deeper understanding and closer cultural, educational, scientific and business relations between the U.S. and China, 2) providing leadership training, educational and scholarship funding, and engaging in humanitarian endeavors, and 3) encouraging Chinese-Americans to participate in the American political process while preserving the Chinese heritage.
NACA wishes everyone a Happy New Year in 2012, the Year of the Dragon!
What We Do
全美华人协会 恭祝各位朋友龙年大吉! NACA 5483 Redbark Way Dunwoody, GA 30338 Phone: 770.394.6542 Fax: 770.394.9911 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.naca-atlanta.org
Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel | Southwest Airlines | Marriot Atlanta Marquis | Jeffrey M. Smith, Esq. | Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia | Asian American Heritage Foundation | China Research Center | DeKalb County Economic Development Authority | East West Bank | Georgia Perimeter College | Georgia Power | General Trucking | MBM International Logistics | Aqua Bistro | Atlanta Hawks | Canton House Restaurant | Crown Import LLC | General Wholesale |Home Depot | ING | Ms. Ethel Mar | Ms. Maggie Mers | Northlake Thai Cuisine | Oriental Pearl Seafood Restaurant
Bridging Cultures – Hosting various delegations between the U.S. and China, and taking on projects that promote business, economics, trade, culture, and education exchanges between China and Georgia. Building Leaders – Providing leadership opportunities and mentoring for college and high school students, and young professionals. Benefiting Communities – Co-hosting and supporting community activities, donating to other non-profit organizations to support their cause, and partnering with and providing scholarship funding to local community colleges and schools.
Bridging Cultures | Building Leaders | Benefiting Communities