Issue 75 ■ March 2012
Exclusive to Emirates First Class and Business Class
CELLULOID CEILING Women in Hollywood EAST END REVIVAL London’s Olympic Ambition INDIA’S INFORMAL SECTOR A Hidden Powerhouse
Jean Christophe Babin Timely Innovation
New York 717 MadisoN aveNue east HaMptoN 23 MaiN street Las vegas ForuM sHops devikroeLL.coM
This issue March 2012
Exclusive to Emirates First Class and Business Class
Cover Story 28 Time Waits For No Man Jean Christophe Babin knows that time is precious. As president and global CEO of luxury watch brand TAG Heuer he’s driven by a pioneering spirit, which is reflected in the company’s record earnings. That growth looks set to continue as TAG Heuer keeps expanding the boundaries of three centuries of watchmaking by reinventing the mechanics of ultra-precision time measurement.
Features 34 New Homes for Singapore Hawkers
50 Building Business in China
Singapore’s street food is legendary, and both the
US developers are keen to capitalise on growth opportunities
government and corporations have stepped in to create a
in China. But doing business there can be fraught with
38 Chink In the Armour
54 The Celluloid Ceiling
Although companies spend millions on internet security,
With female scriptwriters behind some of the biggest movies,
videoconferencing equipment is often left vulnerable to
from Juno to Kung Fu Panda 2, it seems the gender barrier
has been lifted. But things aren’t that simple.
42 A Sinking Market
58 Lesson for the Eurozone
The slow global economy and a glut in freighters have
Wales packs less economic punch than Greece but it is in a
greatly reduced charter rates. That lowers the value of ships
far better position thanks to money transfers from the central
and is putting pressure on banks.
government. And therein lies a lesson for the Eurozone.
46 The Business of Dharavi
62 3-D Human Anatomy
At first glance, India’s largest slum seems a cliché of poverty.
Anatomy class has gone digital thanks to a free virtual body
But yet its thousands of informal businesses create an
designed by BioDigital Systems.
annual economic output estimated to range from $600 million to more than $1 billion.
Exclusive to Emirates First Class and Business Class
65 Horses and Courses The Emerald Isle offers the twin Irish passions of golfing and horseracing set against stunning scenery and a warm welcome from the locals.
70 Brazil’s First Family of Film The Barretos are the Brazilian aristocracy of the film world, having produced, directed and distributed Cannes winning and Oscar-nominated movies.
74 Preservation and Reservations 82
UNESCO World Heritage Sites can mean big business, but
it can also threaten the very places that need protection.
78 Hands On Cuisine Although in many cultures eating with your hands is traditional, in Western restaurants it is generally frowned upon. But that is now changing.
82 An Olympic Canvas 74
London’s East End is being revitalised by the 200-hectare Olympic Park. But to truly understand the area’s past and present you need to go on a guided tour.
86 The Right Stuff The 2012 Cadillac SRX is irrefutable evidence that General Motors is back with a vengeance.
88 Other Business
Portfolio takes a light-hearted look at the latest business news.
World business in a nutshell.
19 Observer Spotting and analysing business trends.
26 Column: Martin Fackler A Cautionary Tale
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BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF
US Volcker Rule Faces Harsh Criticism The world’s largesT banks have
would affect market-making, liquidity,
demanded a wish list of changes to a
foreign institutions and private equity
proposed US ban on proprietary trading,
and hedge fund investments. The restrictions may limit banks’
against the Volcker rule four months
trading profits – once a prime source of
before it takes effect.
Wall Street revenue. Banks including
Bankers and their trade associations
JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan
claim the rule would increase risk,
Stanley (MS) have shuttered or made
raise costs for investors, hurt US
plans to spin off their proprietary trading
competitiveness and be vulnerable to
groups in anticipation of the rule.
Citigroup is following suit, closing down
The rule, named after former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, was
its Equity Principal Strategies business. Standalone proprietary trading cost
included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act in
the six largest US banks a net loss of
an effort to restrict risky trading at banks
about $221 million from June 2006
that operate with federal guarantees.
through the end of 2010, according
Five US regulators released the 298-page
to a July report by the Government
proposal, seeking comment on how it
Accountability Office. n
seeking to escalate the lobbying effort
Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.
Notebook L’Oreal Eyes Growth
French cosmetics maker L’Oreal will speed up international expansion this year, with emerging markets’ share of sales growing up
million vehicles sold worldwide last year ensured general Motors regained its spot as the world’s top-selling automaker. gM had held the global sales crown for more than seven years before losing it to Japan’s toyota in 2008 as its sales tanked and the us car giant filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
million is the staggering debt owed by a penniless shepherd from the greek island of Crete, making him one of greece’s top state debtors. the 65-year old who lives in a hut and has a flock of 50 sheep allegedly cheated the tax system 17 years ago. the shepherd is one of over 4,000 people and 6,000 businesses and companies on a list of state debtors released recently highlighting the deficits and financial mismanagement greece is faced with.
billion merger deal between switzerland-based commodities trader glencore International and global mining company Xstrata has created the world’s fourth-largest diversified group,
to 40 per cent, according to Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Paul Agon. Agon denied speculation
million was the record price paid for Cezanne’s the Card players, making it the most expensive piece of artwork. Bought by the royal family of Qatar, the painting will go on display in the Qatar National Museum. the royal family has been collecting high-profile works of art in an effort to turn Qatar into a world-class cultural centre.
The World In Figures glencore Xstrata International. glencore, which already owns 34 per cent of Xstrata, has offered 2.8 of its shares for every one that shareholders hold in Xstrata.
billion net loss in 2011 posted by Nokia stands in stark contrast to the £1.5 billion profit made in 2010. the Finnish company’s phones are still the industry’s biggest seller, but apple iphones and google android phones are overtaking it in the growing smartphone market.
-a-year is how much the First premier platinum card can wind up costing its customers according to Cardhub, a creditcard-tracking website that has examined more than 1,000 credit card offers. First premier, which has 2.6 million customers, says it is helping consumers who would otherwise be rejected by most credit card issuers and therefore needs to price in risk through high fees and interest rates.
that L’Oreal could buy a perfume retailer or Italian hairdresser Rossano Ferretti. “This rumour is baseless. We do not want to take the place of our clients. But we want to acquire brands that we think have a global potential. This is what we did with Clarisonic in the skin care market,” he told
Le Figaro newspaper. Emerging markets comprised around 38 per cent of 2011 group sales and eight per cent 20 years ago. L’Oreal said it expected increased revenue and profits again this year, with emerging markets set to eclipse Western Europe as the biggest contributor to sales.
is the barrier that apple shares breached in February – a first in its more than 30 years as a publicly traded company. Wall street analysts expect the tech titan’s stock, already up 40 per cent in the last 12 months, to continue its ascent.
L’Oreal CEO Jean-Paul Agon is targeting emerging markets. Portfolio
Mandela Ousts Big Five south africa’s new banknotes,
the release of Mandela after he
which previously featured
spent 27 years in jail. Marcus said the new notes
now have Nelson Mandela as
would have enhanced security
the main illustration.
features, that they would be
sa reserve Bank governor
easier for blind or partially
gill Marcus and finance minister
sighted people to identify and
pravin gordhan Zuma said the
would be machine-readable.
use of Mandela’s image was
she pointed out that banknotes
part of the recognition of the
were only second in importance
former’s role in the fight against
to a country’s national flag in
apartheid, the liberation of
terms of identity.
the country and that he was
the current banknotes that
recognised as a leader around
depict the big five wild animals
will continue as legal tender
the announcement was made
until they are replaced
on 11 February, a date that
by the new design at a date
marked the 22nd anniversary of
to be announced.
images of african wildlife, will
North Africa’s Biggest Car Plant French firm Renault has
Melloussa. The area is near
the factory, which currently
produced under the Dacia
officially opened North
Tangiers, close to Europe, and
has the capacity to produce
brand for emerging markets
Africa’s biggest car factory
offers tax incentives. Renault
147,000 cars annually.
and Renault executives say
in the Moroccan town of
has invested $1.5 billion in
Low-cost cars will be
up to 10 per cent of the production could be sold locally. The plant employs about 2,000 local staff and intends to triple production by 2015. This could boost staff numbers to 6,000 and create up to 35,000 jobs indirectly. In recent years, Morocco’s economy has been expanding thanks to free trade deals with international partners, but unemployment remains an issue – especially for graduates. A number of other foreign car companies aim to open up
near the Renault plant, such
as Ford and Chinese and Indian manufacturers.
Notebook DUBAI EVENT NAME: DUBAI INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW WEBSITE: BOATSHOWDUBAI.COM DATE: 13-17 MARCH, 2012 VENUE: DUBAI INTERNATIONAL MARINE CLUB, MINA SEYAHI The Dubai International Boat Show, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is set to showcase the world’s best large luxury yachts and marine supplies to local and international potential buyers who are seeking the ultimate entertainment accessory. Highlights of the show will include world premiers, regional launches and award ceremonies. The event will host 11 members of the world’s most prestigious Superyachts Builder Association. The prized names include Abeking & Rasmussen, AMELS and Benetti who will unveil their latest yacht models and designs. Running alongside this show is the highly anticipated supercar promenade, an exclusive automotive event in the Middle East.
EVENT NAME: SMEINVEST WEBSITE: SME-INVEST.COM DATE: 5-7 MARCH, 2012 VENUE: DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE By generating nearly 46 per cent of the UAE’s GDP and being responsible for 86 per cent of total employment, the contribution made by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) is key to the region’s economy. This annual forum facilitates the needs of the SME sector by driving business, building business relationships with government buyers and showcasing new business opportunities for both suppliers and procurers.
United Arab Emirates
EVENT NAME: DUPHAT DUBAI 2012 WEBSITE: DUPHAT.AE DATE: 12-14 MARCH, 2012 VENUE: DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE More than 10,000 participants are expected to attend this three-day conference. Hailed as one of the largest annual pharmaceutical events in the world, it brings together experts in the medical field ranging from physicians and scientists to key decision makers. The conference will highlight new trends and technology through lectures and workshops delivered by well-known speakers from prestigious pharmaceutical associations.
EVENT NAME: WETEX 2012 WEBSITE: WETEX.AE DATE: 13-15 MARCH, 2012 VENUE: DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE This three-day conference will see professionals in energy, water and environment management discuss an array of important topics on conservation and green issues. The focus will be on advanced technology in the energy sector such as fossil fuel, nuclear, renewable power generation and conservation.
EVENT NAME: ARABLAB, THE EXPO 2012 WEBSITE: ARABLAB.COM DATE: 26-29 MARCH, 2012 VENUE: DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE Arablab is one of the largest trade shows in the laboratory sector to take place in the Middle East and Africa, connecting experts and specialist pioneers from more than 85 countries. Over 9,000 visitors and 750 exhibitors are expected this year. Participants include some of the biggest international companies. Portfolio
values form the backbone of our approach to Private Banking. Reliability, attention to detail, thoroughness â€“ these are the essential principles that enable us to offer our clients solutions of lasting
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BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF
Deforestation in some parts of the Amazon has affected rainfall, causing sporadic droughts.
Protecting the Amazon The rate of deforestation in the Amazon has fallen significantly, but environmentalists fear that there could be a backslide, reports Alexei Barrionuevo. Brazil has made great strides
measure now allows the president to
conserving the Amazon and a Congress
in recent years in slowing Amazon
decrease the lands already created for
in which agricultural interests in the
deforestation and showing the world
conservation. The government is granting
country’s rural north and northeast still
it was serious about protecting the
more flexibility for large infrastructure
hold sway. The furore comes as Brazil is
projects during the environmental
set to hold a United Nations conference
licensing process. And a proposal would
on sustainable development in Rio de
per cent over the past six years, as the
give Brazil’s Congress veto power over the
Janeiro in June.
government carved out about 60 million
recognition of indigenous territories.
The rate of deforestation fell by 80
hectares for conservation and used police
Rousseff promised to veto any revision
raids and other tactics to crack down
biggest backsliding that we could ever
of the Forest Code that granted amnesty
on illegal deforesters, according to both
imagine with regards to environmental
to landowners who had previously
environmentalists and the government.
policies,” said Silva, who now devotes her
deforested illegally. Then her government
Brazil’s former environment minister,
time to environmental advocacy.
negotiated a version of the code, approved
Marina Silva, became an internationally © 2012 New York Times News service
“What is happening in Brazil is the
Before taking office last January,
Now, a bill seeking to overhaul the
by the Senate in December, that would
respected defender of the Amazon. She ran
47-year-old Forest Code, a central piece
give amnesty to farmers who broke
for president in 2010 on the Green Party
of environmental legislation, is the most
the law before 2008 – provided they
ticket and won 19.4 per cent of the votes.
serious test yet of Rousseff ’s stance on
agreed to plant new trees. The House is
expected to debate the legislation once
But since Dilma Rousseff was elected president in late 2010, there have been
The debate over the law has revealed
signs of a shift in the government’s
the stark disconnect between a population
attitude toward the Amazon. A provisional
that is increasingly supportive of
again in March. The fight over the Forest Code has stoked the age-old struggle over
Observer development versus conservation in Brazil, a country that bears the weight of international pressure to protect the Amazon because its sheer scale could affect global climatic conditions. Rousseff, a former energy minister, has so far flashed a more pro-development stance, environmentalists say, shifting the balance from the administration of her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who appointed Silva. Agriculture represents 22 per cent of Brazil’s gross domestic product. The so-called ruralists in Congress say the old code is holding back Brazil’s agricultural potential. Environmentalists counter that
Large tracts of the Amazon were cleared as grazing for cattle, which is an inefficient use of the land. Intensive agriculture could double yields from the same area.
there is already enough land available to
heavily represented the less developed
Ministry calls “the largest reforestation
double production and that the proposed
north and northeast are in Brazil’s
programme in the world.” But who will
changes would open the door to a surge
Congress, a relic of the military
pay for all those new trees? And will
the government enforce the replanting
Last May, the House approved a
“The skewed proportional
requirements? “The small producers don’t have the money to replant,” Jank said.
more sweeping amnesty for those who
representation in Brazil has shown that
had illegally deforested, outraging
the environmentalists have much less
environmentalists and scientists.
power in Congress than they have in
of lands being exempted from the legal
There are also questions about the size
public opinion,” said Gilberto Camara,
requirement to preserve 80 per cent of
consultation with scientists,” said Carlos
director of the National Institute for
the trees in Amazon properties. The new
Nobre, a scientist at Brazil’s National
Space Research, which monitors Amazon
law would exempt “small” properties of
Institute for Space Research that
deforestation. Days after the House vote
up to four “fiscal modules,” which in the
specialises in climate issues.
last May, a poll by Datafolha showed that
Amazon are almost 1,000 acres. “That is
85 per cent of Brazilians believed the
a large property in any part of the world,”
resigned in 2008 after a backlash by
reformed code should prioritise forests
Nobre said. “I see great risk here if this
rural governors to restrictions on illegal
and rivers, even if it came at the expense
definition is maintained.”
deforestation she had put in place. But
of agricultural production.
“In the House, there was very little
Silva, who was raised in the Amazon,
she left what environmentalists consider
After weeks of debate, the bill
Despite the concerns, there is no denying that deforestation in Brazil,
an effective policy to control Amazon
the Senate approved in December
driven largely by clearing land for
deforestation. Among other tactics, da
was somewhat more palatable to
inefficient cattle grazing, has been
Silva’s government used satellite images to
environmentalists. Rather than outright
on a downward trend. Beyond that,
home in on deforesters, organised police
amnesty for past illegal deforestation,
a new generation of satellites over the
raids and blacklisted the worst offenders.
the Senate version lets farmers replant to
next two years will give Brazil access to
“The ruralists have pushed so much
avoid fines. The legislation now goes back
images from seven satellites, up from the
to change the Forest Code because the
to the House. “We have to reconcile the
government actually started enforcing
generation of income with sustainability,”
it under Marina Silva,” said Stephan
Izabella Teixeira, the current environment
other scientists are predicting that the
Schwartzman, director for tropical forest
minister, said after the vote.
Brazilian Amazon has a chance by 2020
policy at the Environmental Defence Fund in Washington. The vote in the House showed how
The government claims the code will
If people abide by the law, Camara and
to become a “carbon sink,” in which the
reforest about 60 million acres, much of
amount of forest being replanted is larger
it in the Amazon, which the Environment
than the amount being deforested. n Portfolio
O N E 2 W AT C H TExT: HildA d’sOuzA
High Demand for New Planes Global airlines will need 33,500 new planes valued at $4 trillion in less than two decades, with Asia accounting for about 35 per cent of the total, according to aircraft maker Boeing. Asia-Pacific carriers will require 11,450 new aircraft, worth $1.5 trillion, by 2030 according to Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president for commercial planes.
Tinseth, updating earlier Boeing estimates, said the biggest demand in the region will be for single-aisle aircraft that
normally seat between 90 and 200 passengers – the models most sought after in the budget-airline market. Of the 33,500 new planes needed globally, about 60 per
Thorsten Heins became the new chief executive of Research
cent will be for fleet expansion, with the remainder replacing
In Motion Limited (RIM) on 23 January, after four years with the
ageing stocks. In the Asia-Pacific region, 80 per cent will be
company. He joined RIM in 2007 as senior vice president and
for fleet growth.
became the chief operating officer (COO) in 2011. Taking the
Boeing said the world’s passenger fleet stood at 19,410
baton of leadership from its co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike
planes in 2010, and is projected to reach more than 39,500
Lazaridis, the 54-year-old German is optimistic that he can get
by 2030. To meet demand, Tinseth said Boeing will ramp up
the BlackBerry smartphone maker among the top three mobile
production of models including the next-generation single-aisle
phone companies worldwide.
737 MAX, which will undergo the final phase of wind-tunnel
At the helm of RIM, Heins faces the immediate challenge of staying competitive with rivals Apple and Google amid RIM’s
testing next week. Boeing is also considering rolling out a bigger version of its
tumbling share price, which lost nearly three-quarter of its
mid-size 787 Dreamliner to be called the 787-10X that can seat
value in 2011. Heins, a master’s degree holder from the
up to 320 passengers, or 40 more than the 787-9 model.
university of Hannover, is well aware that in order to regain
Tinseth meanwhile said capital markets and leasing companies
RIM’s smartphone market share he will have to keep its
will likely play an increasing role in financing aircraft deliveries as
innovation engine humming.
funds from European banks ease due to the continent’s debt crisis.
Indications are that the company is ready to roll out a new
The growth potential in the aviation market was underlined
version of BlackBerry software, called BlackBerry 10, as well
by a record order for Boeing at the Singapore Airshow, when
as the Blackberry Playbook 2.0. Heins believes that RIM does
Indonesian budget carrier PT Lion Mentari Airlines confirmed
have one major advantage over its competitors, and that’s
a 230-plane order worth $22.4 billion at list prices. The accord
corporate security. RIM keeps abreast of corporate security
includes 201 of the planemaker’s in-development 737 Max and
issues by speaking to chief information officers, and plan
29 extended range 737-900s.
security measures for corporate devices accordingly. Heins intends to capitalise on RIM’s dedicated following of corporate and government customers who want its proprietary messaging and security features. But Heins is also committed to paying special attention to consumer needs and delivering a powerful marketing strategy. On his appointment Heins said, “We have to do something dramatically different in the US to get our market share back. reuters
I’m here to fight. I’m here to win.” Whether RIM’s new products will deliver the wow factor to consumers will be closely watched in the months to come.
A Boeing 787 dreamliner at the singapore Airshow. Portfolio
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Top 10 reuters
HigHEsT grOssiNg HOllyWOOd Films OF 2011
African union Commission chairman Jean Ping opened the 18th African union (Au) summit earlier this year in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
African Union’s Grand Ambition
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
US domestic ($) 381,011,219
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I
The Hangover Part II
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
mOsT PirATEd mOviEs OF 2011 Rank
Worldwide Grosses ($)
The Hangover Part II
The African Union (AU) has adopted an ambitious plan to create
a continental free trade area by 2017 and has estimated that
I Am Number Four
Africa’s infrastructure would need about $60 billion over the
next 10 years.
The King’s Speech 6,250,000 Harry Potter and the 6,030,000 Deathly Hallows Part 2
The AU aims to create the free trade area outlined through a three-step plan. The first point would be the finalisation of the tripartite agreement among the East African Community (EAC), the
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), and
HigHEsT-grOssiNg iNdiE Films OF 2011
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) by 2014.
Midnight in Paris
emulate the tripartite agreement and come to similar agreements
between 2012 and 2014.
The Tree of Life
My Week with Marilyn
Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain
The next step would be to encourage other trade areas to
The final step would be to consolidate all the regional agreements into the CFTA between 2015 and 2016. The AU declaration also emphasised the need for its members to increase spending on infrastructure, implement major power projects such as hydroelectricity, oil refineries and gas pipelines, accelerate the construction of missing links and modernisation of railways, and increase the capacity of ports.
US domestic ($)
Observer Apple Apps Remain Favourite
new Android app for every three Apple apps, Flurry found. A year ago, they created two Android apps for every three Apple apps. While the study only tracked developers who design apps using Flurry’s tools, the shift suggests that Google’s bid to overtake Apple’s industry-leading App Store may be losing some steam. Apple has more than 550,000 apps in its store, compared with over 400,000 for Google’s Android Market. Both companies count on the array of apps to make their phones more enticing and lock in consumers who are already using the devices. Google has made quick gains on Apple since the first Android phones went on sale in 2008. In 2011, though, the growth in new apps for Android was about half the level of Apple, according to the firm, which tracks more than 55,000 developers. The study measured more than 65,000 new software projects over the
Google has turned Android into the most popular operating system for smartphones. And yet the platform may be losing ground to Apple’s iOS in a major area: new applications.
course of the year. Other research firms are seeing a similar slowdown in Android. A survey of about 2,000 developers conducted by Appcelerator
Relative to Apple, fewer apps were created for Android in
and IDC found that fewer programmers were “very interested” in
January than a year earlier, according to Flurry, a company that
developing for Android phones and tablets in November than in
analyses mobile-software data. Developers made roughly one
June, while their interest in iOS devices remained unchanged.
A Cautionary Tale ON THE NIGHT OF 12 JULY, 1993,
well as the national news media, have
source of jobs,” he said. “Fishing alone
the remote island of Okushiri was ripped
descended on Okushiri to seek lessons
cannot do it anymore.”
apart by a huge earthquake and tsunami
from its reconstruction. But Okushiri’s
Watanabe said he wished the island
that now seem an eerie harbinger of
message does not seem to be making a
had built sheltered coves where fish or
the much larger disaster that struck
difference. The country is being driven by
shellfish could be farmed. Others said
northeastern Japan last March.
an outpouring of national sympathy for
Okushiri could have used the government
In the half decade that followed, the
those displaced by the latest disaster, even
money to build factories to process locally
Japanese government rebuilt the island.
as some Japanese quietly question whether
caught fish, or to foster tourism on the
The billion dollars’ worth of construction
it makes sense to begin an expensive
largely pristine island.
projects included not just hefty wave
reconstruction of communities that were
defences but also entire neighbourhoods
withering long before the 2011 earthquake.
built on higher ground and a futuristic
Yasumitsu Watanabe, the head of
difficult, island officials said. Besides using
$15 million tsunami memorial hall for the
government funds, Okushiri borrowed
more than $60 million for its own building projects, a financial burden that will not be
But today, as Japan begins a decade-long $300 billion reconstruction of the northeast
paid off until 2027. “We have no reserves
coast, Okushiri has become something of
left, just debt,” Shinmura, the mayor, said.
a cautionary tale. Instead of restoring the
Okushiri’s bitter experiences have
island to its vibrant past, many residents
prompted some analysts in Tokyo to
now say, the $1 billion spending spree just
propose radically different approaches for
may have helped kill its revival.
rebuilding the northeast. Yutaka Okada, an economist at the Mizuho Research
The rebuilding did bring a surge of well-paying construction jobs. But
Institute, said Japan might fare better if it
that was the problem: Having grown
just gave lump sums to the latest tsunami
accustomed to higher salaries, many of the
victims. Some might pocket the money
remaining young people left the island in
and leave, he said, but others would use it to start new businesses, the sort of private
search of salaried work elsewhere. That accelerated the depopulation seen here and throughout much of rural Japan, as people, especially the young, are drawn to cities. The number of islanders has
The Japanese government spent billions of dollars on rebuilding the island of Okushiri after the 1993 earthquake and tsunami. Residents say the spending spree may have killed the island’s revival.
sector innovation that Japan often lacks. On Okushiri, the end of the reconstruction boom has belatedly forced that sort of entrepreneurship. To find new ways to earn money, Okushiri’s largest
fallen faster here than in other rural areas,
© 2012 NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
The reconstruction splurge actually made that kind of diversification more
dwindling to 3,160 last year from 4,679
Aonae’s fishing cooperative, said that it had
construction company, Ebihara Kensetsu,
when the 1993 tsunami struck.
been shortsighted to think that the island
has branched out, buying the sole tourist
“We didn’t use more of that
could go back to its original, fishing-based
hotel, selling bottled spring water and
reconstruction money to invest in new
economy. Even before the disaster, catches
even opening the island’s first winery.
industries to keep young people,” said
were declining from overfishing and global
Takami Shinmura, 58, the mayor of
warming. Worse, the number of abalone,
the central government,” the company’s
Okushiri’s sole town. “We regret this now.”
the island’s cash shellfish, never recovered
president, Takashi Ebihara, said. “This
from the tsunami, which damaged their
is true not only here, but in Tohoku and
habitat in shallow waters. “We need a new
Since the tsunami last March, hundreds of officials from the affected areas, as
“We can no longer depend so much on
Aaron Basha Boutique • 685 Madison Avenue • New York • 212.935.1960 • w w w.aaronbasha.com Athens
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WAITS FOR NO MAN
Jean Christophe Babin knows that time is precious. As president and global CEO of luxury watch brand TAG Heuer heâ€™s driven by a pioneering spirit, which is reflected in the companyâ€™s record earnings. That growth looks set to continue as TAG Heuer keeps expanding the boundaries of three centuries of watchmaking by reinventing the mechanics of ultra-precision time measurement, reports Nick Rice. Portfolio
March 2012 February 2012
YING AT 1,000 METRES ABOVE SEA
sparkling sales in 2011. Revenue grew 23
network that currently consists of nearly
level, Switzerland’s highest city, La Chaux-
per cent and doubled profits compared
130 brand-owned and franchised stores
de-Fonds, seems a small and unassuming
to 2010’s figures. TAG Heuer had a
around the world.
place. Nestled into the Jura Mountains, it
particularly solid year, smashing its
is the birthplace of architect Le Corbusier,
records for revenue and profitability in
around a series of departments dedicated
carmaker Louis Chevrolet and designated
2011 with particularly strong growth in
to creating TAG Heuer watches. The
as a UNESCO site for its universal
China and South Korea. That trend is
distinction of being a ‘world-first’ comes
set to continue as TAG Heuer launches
up time and time again. There are
new models and keeps building its retail
banks of new machines using a unique
I have arrived in Watch Valley – the
Arriving at the plant I am guided
cradle of the Swiss watchmaking industry
method of milling watchcases without
and the base from where TAG Heuer
oil lubrication. Another machine, again
continues to grow and develop. Before
the first of its kind, uses a robotic arm
meeting Jean Christophe Babin – the
and digital photography for the stone
man in the driving seat of TAG Heuer
and jewel setting in the movement. Babin
– I’m invited to drive myself to the
knows all the equipment first hand and
manufacturing plant in the Roadster,
tells me later that, “With these machines
a fully electric sports car specially
we go quicker and make no mistakes, it’s
designed by one of TAG Heuer’s
laser technology to the micron. Each
official partners, Tesla Motors.
jewel is checked before it’s placed,
TAG Heuer marked its 150th
resulting in close to 100 per cent
anniversary in 2010 and as part
accuracy, which turns into reliability
of the celebrations toured in this
and watch accuracy.”
car for 37,000 kilometres visiting
I also observe the scientific
16 cities worldwide. I notice in
simulation of extreme conditions used
the console of the Tesla is the
to torture watches and measure what
TAG Heuer Pendulum Concept
they can withstand. So if you were ever
– this timepiece was a world-first;
stranded in the oppressive humidity of a
a mechanical watch movement
tropical jungle, lost in the searing heat of
constructed without a hairspring.
the desert, abandoned in Artic conditions
It’s a reminder of the innovation,
or confined to the bottom of the ocean for
performance and precision exemplified
a year or two, you could take consolation
by the two companies. For Babin it also represents a solid TAG Heuer message, “By daring to innovate you achieve ultimate performance.” TAG Heuer is part of LVMH’s watches and jewellery division, which enjoyed
Charles-Auguste Heuer was appointed to the family firm in 1891. He focused on pursuing innovation just as his father Edouard had, which resulted in the Mikrograph and Mikrosplit in 1916, the first stopwatches capable of timing to 1/100th second.
in the knowledge that at least your TAG Heuer would survive. Since Edouard Heuer founded the company in 1860, TAG Heuer has remained at the forefront of horological technology. The company has succeeded Portfolio
with a series of landmarks that continues
more than three centuries of precedent
to this day.
with a new regulatory system at the core
In 1886 Heuer patented the oscillating
of the watch, the Mikrogirder 2000.
pinion, a clutch like component that
Needless to say, Babin was in good
is still at the core of virtually every
spirits. He has a naturally ebullient
mechanical chronograph. In 1916 Heuer
personality and boundless enthusiasm
revolutionised science and industry with
for the brand. Before discussing the
the world’s first mechanical stopwatch
latest groundbreaking creation, Babin
accurate to 1/100th of a second. This
expands on the emblematic dedication to
made the company the only choice as the
innovation and its vital application in the
official timekeeper of the Olympic Games
world of sport.
in 1920. By the 1960s TAG Heuer became the first Swiss watchmaker in space
“Innovation is a choice not a coincidence. Innovation is in the blood
“Innovation is a choice not a coincidence. Innovation is in the blood of this company. If you look at our history we have set many milestones across the generations.”
when American astronaut John Glenn wore a TAG Heuer stopwatch on the first manned US orbital mission. ALL THIS history came to rest upon the shoulders of Jean Christophe Babin. With no experience in the industry and coming from a career in consumer goods at Proctor & Gamble and consultancy with the Boston Consulting Group, the father of five says his masterstroke was bringing the founder’s great-grandson Jack Heuer back into the business. Heuer had left the family business before it was acquired by Techniques d’Avant Garde to form TAG Heuer in 1985. “With TAG Heuer there have only been six CEOs in 152 years, which explains our focus. When you change leadership
Jean Christophe Babin (R) had no previous experience in the watchmaking industry when he joined TAG Heuer in 2000. But he did have a passion for watches as he already owned 20 of them.
every two or three years, each new guy thinks he’s better than the last guy and wants to put his mark on the brand. But being a family company there was never the obsession to do things differently, because you respect your father and your grandfather. So thanks to Jack Heuer coming back, I was able to understand and capture the essence of the brand,” explains Babin. The commitment to innovation and a lifelong bond with the sporting world are two themes that continually inspire Babin. We met at the Geneva Exhibition 2012 where TAG Heuer stunned the watchmaking world with a new concept watch that both explodes previous chronograph capability and breaks from March 2012
TAG Heuer watches are tested for water resistance. The company patented its first water-resistant case in 1895.
“Then, as motor racing boomed after the war, we saw the natural application of measuring time to 1/100th of a second, because naturally cars go faster than people, so this is how our history began connecting TAG Heuer, more than any other brand, to motor racing.” Babin (R) with Tay Liam Wee (L), who grew Sincere Watch into Singapore’s largest watch retailer, and Formula 1 driver and former world champion Jensen Button (M). TAG Heuer has a close relationship with motor racing.
of this company. If you look at our
record achievements and safeguard
applied to the Olympic Games. Heuer
history we have set many milestones
legitimacy. As Babin reveals, “In the
re-established the integrity of sport.”
across the generations. Jack Heuer
1896 Olympics three runners crossed the
invented the first electronic 1/1000th of
finishing line at the same time. You had
BABIN’S ADMIRATION for TAG
a second device, the first self-winding
no video finish then, so no one knew who
Heuer’s accomplishments is evident in
mechanical chronograph, the first
had won the 100 metres! The integrity
his body language. His face lights up
analogue and digital quartz watches.
of sport had been betrayed because
and he shifts on his seat, animated and
So many innovations.”
eventually the jury, using the naked eye
gesticulating when talking about the
alone, decided it was person A – but
These forward thinking creations galvanised the brand’s association with
maybe it was person B or C. To avoid this
sport, where they are used as tools to
ever happening again Charles August
the war, we saw the natural application
Heuer, the founder’s son, worked to
of measuring time to 1/100th of a second,
develop the chronograph.”
because naturally cars go faster than
The revolutionary Microgirder 2000 can measure time to 10,000th of a second.
Babin continues with this anecdote to
“Then, as motor racing boomed after
people, so this is how our history began
highlight just how crucial TAG Heuer’s
connecting TAG Heuer, more than any
inventions were. “We didn’t choose sport.
other brand, to motor racing and our
Sport chose us. In 1916 we were the only
subsequent involvement with Formula
company capable of measuring beyond
One, Ferrari, McLaren, GT cars, the Tesla,
a fifth of a second. In the 1920s, after World War I, the Olympic Committee
Le Mans 24, Audi and so on.” These associations and the essential
restarted organising the Olympic
applications of TAG Heuer products in the
Games and Heuer was the only
world of sport have time and again proven
company they could appoint
vital. It was TAG Heuer’s timekeeping that
capable of recording time to
produced another unbeaten world record
1/100th of a second. You could
for the closest finish in the whole of motor
now guarantee the results
racing history. It happened in France, in
and the ranking and it was
the 2006 Race of Champions where top Portfolio
drivers from different racing categories go head to head. The winner, Mattias Ekström, beat Heikki Kovalainen by 2/10,000ths of a second (0.0002). That infinitesimal fragment of time corresponded to 10 millimetres of track between the two cars travelling at over 220mph. If the future holds jet plane or even spaceship racing in store, it’s a safe bet that TAG Heuer will be in charge of recording the time. In the present day, the company has the new Mikrogirder 2000. The sweeping hand counting the time on this watch moves so fast it cannot be seen by the naked eye. Spinning at 20 laps per second and breaking the 10,000th of a second barrier, it revolves faster than a helicopter blade. Revolutionary and evolutionary, the Mikrogirder
Tennis star Maria Sharapova sits in the electric Tesla sport car that TAG Heuer used to mark its 150th anniversary in 2010.
breaks new ground as it is not only a chronograph development but has also fundamentally reinvented the hairspring and balance wheel regulatory system invented by Christiaan Huygens in 1675. Every mechanical watch on sale uses the hairspring and balance wheel mechanism in some capacity – until now. As Babin affirms proudly, “It’s the first time ever that a company has broken the 10,000th of a second barrier. Broken, measured and displayed.” SO HOW did Babin and his team do it? “To go beyond what Huygens laid down 337 years ago we had to start from a blank page. Which meant reinventing entirely
“I love to challenge myself. We have challenged conventional watchmaking not to necessarily substitute it, but to prove that we could do better and grow further with different concepts.”
Hollywood star Leonardo di Caprio (L), a brand ambassador for TAG Heuer, is pictured with Babin and Jack Heuer (R), the great-grandson of the company’s founder.
the regulation system so that instead of
watch industry technologies which have
a balance wheel and hairspring, we used
nothing to do with watchmaking.”
beams. If you take skyscrapers, they are
Babin concludes, “I love to challenge
built with oscillating beams. If you have
myself. We have challenged conventional
an earthquake the beams will keep the
watchmaking not to necessarily substitute
building stable but provide the ability
it, but to prove that we could do better
to absorb an eight Richter Scale shock.
and grow further with different concepts.
Basically, no one ever thought about
Because of our innovations we have pushed
applying this theory to watchmaking. We
to the highest level of mastery. I cannot
replaced the famous hairspring with an
accept the statement that it is not possible.
oscillating beam and imported into the
I hate the idea that it’s impossible.” n
NEW HOMES FOR SINGAPORE HAWKERS Singapore’s street food is legendary, and both the government and corporations have stepped in to create a tourist-friendly experience, reports Gisela Williams.
“JUST LOOK AROUND,” SAID Malcolm
an open-air Asian version of Happy Days:
Lee, a 27-year-old Singaporean chef, as
a circle of what looked like a dozen or so
he gestured toward the dozen or so street
traditional pushcarts and stands were
food stands surrounding our table. “I
accessorised with decorative birdcages,
doubt that one of these hawkers is under
1960s-era furniture and old street signs. A
the age of 40. When this generation is
mix of tourists and locals filled a third of
gone, their recipes will probably go with
the many tables.
them. Their children want to be bankers
Lee and I did a lap to get our bearings
or lawyers. Who wants to slog it out six
and then started ordering. Soon our table
days a week, morning through night, in a
was overflowing with dishes: chicken rice,
hot, dirty environment?”
bak kut teh soup, rojak (a salad of turnip,
Lee himself slogs it out all week –
brown sweet prawn paste sauce), fried
restaurant, the Candlenut Kitchen, which
oyster omelettes and popiah (a spring
specialises in Peranakan food, a labour-
roll made with a crepelike skin). It was
intensive traditional style of cooking that
a greatest-hits collection of Singaporean
is generally considered Singapore’s true
hawker food. The atmosphere may have
been kitschy and tourist-friendly, but the
We were at the Singapore Food Trail at the Singapore Flyer, a huge Ferris wheel
food was authentic enough. Lee squeezed some lime and added
that’s a top tourist attraction. The Food
chilli sauce to a helping of hokkien
Trail is a new spin on hawker centres,
noodles – an amazingly rich, fragrant dish
a Singaporean tradition in which cooks
of stock-coated egg and rice noodles and
sell their signature dishes to admiring
prawns. I followed suit.
customers for low prices. Loving essays
“Singaporean cuisine is hawker food.
have been written about hawker centres;
This is where we eat every day,” Lee said.
food enthusiasts come from around the
“I wouldn’t come all the way here for
world to sample them.
hokkien noodles, even though these are
But the Food Trail is something
© 2012 NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
pineapple and bean sprouts, with a thick,
not behind a hawker stand, but at his
really good – sticky and flavourful. I go
different: a hawker food court, which,
to this street in Chinatown, near my
like mall food courts, is organised by a
restaurant, that people call Chinatown
large corporation. Promoted as a tourist-
Food Street. But for tourists, this particular
friendly way to explore world-class street
hawker court is a great introduction to
food, these hawker food courts are a
local street food.”
growing phenomenon in the city. The
Lee went on to say that although he
question on our minds was: would the
approved of any project that supported
food live up to expectations?
local food, he generally avoided food
The Food Trail had the atmosphere of
courts because they were corporatePortfolio
for tourists, difficult to navigate.
owned. “In some cases, they charge higher
join forces, renting out tiny spaces within
rent and sometimes even a percentage
larger ones that are usually owned and
The food court at the Singapore Flyer
of the sales,” he said of the new food
regularly checked by the government.
was conceived by the dining business arm
courts. But as we dug into the popiah,
(Most of the centres were built in the mid-
of Select Group Partners Preferred, a food
he acknowledged that the food was full
’80s to relocate hawkers from the streets
service company. An ad was placed to
of complex flavours and made with care.
and to regulate hygienic conditions.)
initiate an island-wide search for the best
“The hawkers here are not cutting back
While the city just completed a 10-year
“heritage” hawkers (those who have a long
on quality. The dishes are just a little bit
programme of upgrading 90 hawker
tradition of selling a particular dish); 17
more expensive than what you’d find at
centres at a cost of 420 million Singapore
respondents were selected.
local hawker stands.”
dollars (about $325 million), they can still
At an average hawker centre, the cooks
be intimidating, frenetic and, especially
A few days later, I picked up Justin Quek, one of Singapore’s most acclaimed
Shine Amore serves food at a stall at Rasapura Masters, an upscale hawker food court that seats 960, in Singapore. Promoted as a tourist-friendly way to explore world-class street food, hawker food courts are a growing phenomenon in Singapore.
“Everyone has their favourites,” he said, “and you tend to always go back to the same places because they know you and you know their food. When I catch a taste, it stays in my mind. It inspires the food I cook.”
Rasapura to another new food court, Food Republic Beer Garden (which has a fully stocked “street bar” and frequent live music sessions), in a parking lot near the St. James Power Station, an entertainment centre close to Sentosa Island, but Quek wanted to make sure I had the original hawker experience and told the taxi driver to take us to an area near the former Jackson Centre on MacPherson Road. “Everyone has their favourites,” he said, “and you tend to always go back to the same places because they know you and you know their food. When I catch a taste, it stays in my mind. It inspires the food I cook.” He took me to a small, grungy street food centre with about eight stalls, sat me down and made a beeline for Lao Zhong Zhong Fine Spice. He returned and gave me a quick tutorial. The star was the thick, pungent spicy sauce, into which Outdoor eating at the Satay Club, a hawker centre. The Singapore government is planning to build another 10 hawker centres over the next decade.
we dipped everything. “This is so good sometimes you just can’t stop eating it,” he said between bites. He didn’t think the hawker culture
celebrity chefs, at his new Franco-Asian
(Surprisingly, restaurants from the
restaurant, Sky on 57, on the top of the
celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Daniel
would die out anytime soon, but like Lee,
almost-215-metre-tall Marina Bay Sands,
Boulud on the floors above were not.)
he felt strongly about preserving it.
than a year ago. Quek had agreed to
ONE OF Quek’s favourite stands was
was pleased to hear that the government
show me around the resort’s Rasapura
Yong Tau Foo, which he described as
was planning to build another 10 new
Masters, a sprawling, upscale food
“very Singapore-style tofu.” There were
hawker centres over the next decade. “It’s
court that seats 960. It features a mix of
also several stalls selling Thai curries and
good news because it will keep rental costs
Singapore food stalls like Lau Di Fang,
sushi. “These new hawker courts are more
and food prices low,” he wrote. “I hope it
which serves a much-beloved dish called
commercialised,” Quek said, “but Rasapura
will inspire the next generation of young
scissors-cut curry rice, and Ng Ah Sio’s
did a good job selecting their vendors.”
hawkers with creative ideas and give a
A few weeks later Lee wrote me that he
a casino mall complex that opened more
bak kut teh soup. The place was mobbed.
The original plan was to continue from
new identity to Singapore street food.” n Portfolio
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CHINK IN THE ARMOUR Although companies spend millions on internet security, videoconferencing equipment is often left vulnerable to hackers, reports Nicole Perlroth. ONE AFTERNOON IN JANUARY, A
Moore has found it easy to get into
Moore, a chief security officer at Rapid7,
several top venture capital and law
rooms around the globe via equipment
a Boston-based company that looks for
firms, pharmaceutical and oil companies
that most every company has in those
security holes in computer systems that
and courtrooms across the country.
rooms; videoconferencing equipment.
are used in devices like toaster ovens and
He even found a path into the Goldman
With the move of a mouse, he steered
Mars landing equipment. His latest find:
a camera around each room, occasionally
Videoconferencing equipment is often left
zooming in with such precision that he
vulnerable to hackers.
could discern grooves in the wood and
© 2012 NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
In this case, the hacker was HD
hacker took a tour of a dozen conference
Businesses collectively spend billions
“The entry bar has fallen to the floor,” said Mike Tuchen, chief executive of Rapid 7. “These are literally some of the
paint flecks on the wall. In one room, he
of dollars each year beefing up security
world’s most important boardrooms – this
zoomed out through a window, across a
on their computer systems and employee
is where their most critical meetings take
parking lot and into shrubbery some 45
laptops. They agonise over the confidential
place – and there could be silent attendees
metres away where a small animal could
information that employees send to their
in all of them.”
be seen burrowing underneath a bush.
Gmail and Dropbox accounts and store
With such equipment, the hacker could
on their iPads and smartphones. But
TEN YEARS ago, videoconferencing
have easily eavesdropped on privileged
rarely do they give much thought to the
systems were complicated and erratic,
attorney-client conversations or read trade
ease with which anyone can penetrate a
and ran on expensive, closed high-speed
secrets on a report lying on the conference
videoconference room where their most
phone lines. Over the past decade,
guarded trade secrets are openly discussed.
videoconferencing – like everything Portfolio
else – migrated to the internet. Now,
would never know in any case.) But with
have seemingly gone out of their way to
most businesses use internet protocol
videoconference systems so ubiquitous,
make themselves vulnerable. In many
videoconferencing, a souped-up version
they make for an easy target.
cases, they are not only putting their
of Skype – to connect with colleagues and
It certainly would not be the first time
systems on the internet, but setting them
customers. Most of these new systems
hackers had exploited holes in office
up in a way that allows anyone to listen
were designed with visual and audio
hardware. After a security breach at the
in unnoticed. New systems are outfitted
clarity – not security – in mind.
US Chamber of Commerce last year, the
with a feature that automatically accepts
chamber discovered that its office printer,
inbound calls so users do not have to press
thousands of businesses were investing in
and even a thermostat in a chamber-owned
an ‘accept’ button every time someone
top-quality videoconferencing units, but
apartment, had been communicating with
dials into their videoconference. The
were setting them up on the cheap. At
an internet address in China.
effect is that anyone can dial in and look
Rapid 7 discovered that hundreds of
last count, companies spent an estimated
With videoconferencing, companies
$693 million on group videoconferencing from July to September of last year, according to Wainhouse Research. The most popular units, sold by Polycom and Cisco, can cost as much as $25,000 and feature encryption, high-definition video capture, and audio that can pick up the sound of a door opening 90 metres away. But administrators are setting them up outside the firewall and are configuring them with a false sense of security that hackers can use against them. Whether real hackers are exploiting this vulnerability is unknown; no company has announced that it has been hacked. (Nor would one, and most
around a room, and the only sign of their presence is a tiny light on a console unit,
“Whether real hackers are exploiting this vulnerability is unknown; no company has announced that it has been hacked. (Nor would one, and most would never know in any case.) But with videoconference systems so ubiquitous, they make for an easy target.”
or the silent swing of a video camera. RECENTLY, MOORE wrote a computer program that scanned the internet for videoconference systems that were outside the firewall and configured to automatically answer calls. In less than two hours, he had scanned three per cent of the internet. In that sliver, he discovered 5,000 wide-open conference rooms at law firms, pharmaceutical companies, oil refineries, universities and medical centres. He stumbled into an attorney-inmate meeting room at a prison, an operating room at a university medical centre, and a venture capital pitch meeting where a company’s financials were being projected on a screen. Among the vendors that popped up in Moore’s scan were Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize, Sony and others. Of those, Polycom – which leads the videoconferencing market in units sold – was the only manufacturer that ships its equipment – from its low-end ViewStation models to its high-end HDX products – with the auto-answer feature enabled by default. In an email, Shawn Dainas, a Polycom spokesman, said the auto-answer feature had several safety elements built in that could be activated by a customer, including password protections, automute and camera control lockup, adding that Polycom also offered a camera lens cover. He said the “security levels have
Mike Tuchen, left, chief executive of Rapid7, with chief security officer HD Moore in the company’s boardroom in Boston. March 2012
been designed to make it easy for our customers to enable security that is
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) attends a video conference with US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Governments and their departments have tight security measures, unlike many companies.
Defense, banks – put their systems behind
appropriate to their business.”
the firewall,” Weinstein said. “That doesn’t
Of the Polycom videoconference systems that popped up in Moore’s scan,
mean there aren’t exceptions. If you talk
none blocked control of the camera, asked
to outside companies, you need to decide
for a password or muted sound.
if you want to be accessible or totally secure. I could never leave my house and
“Many Polycom systems are sold, installed
be secure. But I want to be accessible. It’s a
access security, with auto-answer enabled
choice people make.”
and maintained without any level of by default,” says Moore. “It boils down to whether organisations are aware of the risk, and our research indicates that many, even well-heeled venture capital firms, were not aware and do not implement even the most basic of security measures.” Tuchen of Rapid7 said that as a short cut, businesses put their videoconference
In some cases, Moore discovered he could leap from one open system into its address
Intel CEO Paul Otellini gives a demonstration on encrypted videoconferencing. Although all videoconferencing systems are equipped with security measures, they are often not used.
book and dial into the conference rooms of
properly,” he said, and “is often skipped.”
Moore’s initial scan but an entry labelled
other companies, even those companies that put their system behind the firewall. That was the case with Goldman Sachs. The bank’s boardroom did not show up in “Goldman Sachs Board Room” popped up
systems outside the firewall, allowing them to receive calls from other companies
IRA WEINSTEIN, a senior analyst at
in the directory of a law firm that Goldman
without having to do any complex network
Wainhouse Research, a market research
Sachs videoconferences with. Moore did
configuration. The safer way to receive
firm that specialises in media conferencing,
not disclose the name of the law firm and
calls from other companies, Tuchen said,
disputed the notion that most companies
said that because he was afraid of “crossing
is to install a “gatekeeper” that securely
keep their systems outside the firewall.
a line,” he did not dial into Goldman Sachs.
connects calls from outside the firewall.
“The companies that really have to worry
But, this process “is complex to configure
about breaches – the Department of
Said Tuchen, “Any reasonably computer literate six-year-old can try this at home.” n Portfolio
A siNkiNg mArkeT The slow global economy and a glut in freighters have greatly reduced charter rates. That lowers the value of ships and is putting pressure on banks, reports Keith Bradsher.
© 2012 New York Times News service
he skyscrapers and
of the worst markets ever for the global
The oversupply is putting financial
immaculate beaches of Singapore
pressure on the shipowners that
look out on one of the world’s
As recently as several weeks ago,
bought them and the already struggling
largest parking lots: kilometres of empty
large freighters that can carry bulk
European banks that financed many of
cargo ships, as far as the eye can see.
commodities like iron ore or grain were
fetching charter rates of $15,000 a day.
Shipping industry leaders hold little
cargo holds, off the coasts of southeast
Now, brokers and owners say, the going
hope of a quick recovery. “If the tunnel
Malaysia and Hong Kong. And dozens
rate is $6,000 a day – if customers can
is 2012, I can’t see any light at the end of
of newly built ships float empty near the
even be found.
it,” said Tim Huxley, the chief executive
Similar fleets bob at anchor, with empty
giant shipyards of South Korea and China,
Although the fault lies partly with
of Wah Kwong Maritime Transport
their owners from all over the world
doldrums in the global economy, the
Holdings, a Hong Kong-based shipping
reluctant to accept delivery during one
bigger factor is a glut of new freighters.
line with 29 bulk freighters and tankers.
world leaders in ship financing because
monitoring an industry benchmark, the
boom, which continued through the
many of the biggest fleet owners are based
Baltic Dry Index of bulk freighter
spring of 2008, the world’s shipowners
there. But many have abruptly stopped
charter rates, which has lost more than
could hardly place orders for freighters
lending money to shipowners. Some, as
half its value since the start of the year.
fast enough. But because of the long lead
they scramble to muster capital to meet
The index is at its lowest level since
times in shipbuilding, those vessels only
tougher reserve requirements demanded
January 2009, during the depths of the
now are being delivered by the hundreds
by European banking regulators, have
economic downturn after the bankruptcy
– into a very different, much less robust
even tried to raise money by asking some
of Lehman Brothers. And as charter
international economy than when they
shipowners to prepay loans in exchange
rates plummet, so do prices of the vessels
for a discount.
themselves. A large tanker that sold for
Back during the global commodity
$137 million in early 2008, the Samho
For the shipping industry, the glut means not only lower charter fares but
There is a scant secondary market
also steep declines in the value of their
for ship loans right now, except at deep
vessels. The bigger losers, though, could
discounts that banks are loath to agree
eventually be some big European banks,
to, according to shipping finance experts.
many of which are already struggling with
Even for loans on which the vessel is still
big losses on their holdings of government
worth more than the mortgage, these
bonds from Greece, Italy and other
experts say, the discount demanded is
heavily indebted European nations.
about 20 per cent.
Basil Karatzas, the chief executive
Commerzbank in Germany and the
of Karatzas Marine Advisors, a ship
Lloyds Banking Group in Britain are
brokerage and finance advisory firm in
among the institutions that have publicly
Manhattan, estimated that European
said they were reducing their exposure to
banks hold about $500 billion in shipping
loans on their books and face nearly $100
Societe Generale in France also
billion in losses to restructure them. The
has been looking for ways to reduce
banks’ “biggest concern is what is the
its holdings of shipping loans and
write-off, and how do you treat it from
instead focus on providing financial
an accounting point of view,” Karatzas
advice to shipping companies, according
said. “They do not know how to deal
to two people with knowledge of the
with these losses.”
Banks in Europe have long been the
Dream, was repossessed by bankers late last year and sold recently in Hong Kong for $28.3 million. The world’s tonnage of large freighters is climbing by more than 10 per cent a year, with 1,650 large freighters for bulk commodities expected to emerge from shipyards this year alone. As long as
“There is a scant secondary market for ship loans right now, except at deep discounts that banks are loath to agree to, according to shipping finance experts.”
Shipowners, meantime, are nervously
Empty freighters anchored off Singapore. A glut of new freighters and a weak global economy has severely impacted charter rates. March 2012
the shipped tonnage of world trade is
coming years, which would eventually
creeping up at an annual rate of only two
to three per cent a year, the oversupply
Worldwide lending for ships totalled
can grow only more burdensome for the
about $100 billion last year, down only
seaborne freight industry.
slightly from previous years, according
Making the glut especially acute right
to industry estimates. But as much as
now is the fact that shipyards have
three-quarters of last year’s loans were to
delivered a large number of vessels to
refinance or restructure previous loans
owners since the beginning of the year.
that the borrowers were struggling to
Just as some car buyers wait to buy a car
repay, shipping finance executives said.
at the start of a model year – because
Harley Seyedin, the president of the
it will hold its resale value longer –
American Chamber of Commerce in
shipowners have traditionally taken
South China, said that many construction
delivery of as many vessels as possible
projects had slowed to a crawl, with barely
in January, so as to have a full calendar
enough work being done for developers
year’s use before a vessel reaches its first
to persuade their bankers to continue
birthday, said Natasha Boyden, an analyst
financing projects already under way.
at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York. Buyers who might be tempted to refuse delivery of vessels can lose their deposits,
Yet the growing glut of vessels, combined with seasonal factors, could skew the reliability of shipping as a
which are typically up to 40 per cent of the contract price of the ship. But it is getting harder to borrow money from struggling banks to pay for the remaining 60 per cent – particularly with resale values now much lower than the prices at which contracts were signed four or five years ago. Freight rates are now close to operating costs for many bulk freighters, leaving almost nothing to pay the mortgage, so
“Worldwide lending for ships totalled about $100 billion last year, down only slightly from previous years, according to industry estimates.”
more old vessels may be scrapped in the
A bulk carrier loads iron ore in Australia. Brazil and Australia are two countries where bulk carriers are most in demand.
global economic indicator. Bad weather lately off Australia and Brazil, the two countries where bulk freighters are most likely to take on iron ore and other cargo, has made companies leery of chartering vessels and risk waiting for days for ports to reopen after storms. Further confusing the picture is that the cost to ship a container from China to the United States or Europe actually jumped in the first two weeks of this year, as factories rushed to fill orders before shutting down for up to a month for the Chinese New Year. But that could be a misleading metric, because container rates temporarily surge every year for the last sailings before the Chinese New Year. Even if world trade does not slow in the coming months, the shipping industry still has a long way to go before cargo demand can catch up to capacity. Meantime, bulk freighters, container
ships, tankers and refrigerator ships by the hundreds may continue to bob idly in the waves, their hulls showing wide bands Dozens of newly built ships are emerging from the giant shipyards of South Korea and China. Their owners are reluctant to accept delivery due to market conditions.
of paint that would be submerged if the vessels were fully laden. n Portfolio
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THE BUSINESS OF DHARAVI
slum in Mumbai, Shaikh Mobin’s shanty is cleaved like a wedding cake, four layers high and sliced down the middle. The missing half has been demolished. What remains appears ready for demolition, too, with temporary walls and a rickety corrugated roof. Yet inside, carpenters © 2012 NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
At first glance, India’s largest slum seems a cliché of poverty. But yet its thousands of informal businesses create an annual economic output estimated to range from $600 million to more than $1 billion, reports Jim Yardley.
AT THE EDGE OF INDIA’S GREATEST
are assembling furniture on the ground floor. One floor up, men are busily cutting and stitching blue jeans. Upstairs from them, workers are crouched over sewing machines, making blouses. And at the top, still more workers are fashioning men’s suits and wedding apparel. One crumbling Portfolio
Workers remove fabric from drying racks at a fabric dying factory owned by Mohammad Mustaqueem.
countries, there is only one economy. But
eyesore, a symbol of raw inequality that
in India, there are two.”
epitomises the failure of policymakers
India is a rising economic power,
to accommodate the millions of rural
even as huge portions of its economy
migrants searching for opportunity in
operate in the shadows. Its “formal”
Indian cities. It also underscores the
economy consists of businesses that pay
determination of those migrants to
taxes, adhere to labour regulations and
burnish the country’s global image. India’s
The recycling area of Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India. More than a warehouse for the poor, Dharavi contains a hive of workshops with an annual economic output of more than $600 million.
“Economic opportunity in India still
“informal” economy is everything else:
lies, to a large extent, in urban areas,”
the hundreds of millions of shopkeepers,
said Eswar Prasad, a leading economist.
farmers, construction workers, taxi
“The problem is that government hasn’t
drivers, street vendors, rag pickers, tailors,
provided easy channels to be employed in
repairmen, middlemen and more.
the formal sector. So the informal sector is
This divide exists in other developing countries, but it is a chasm in India:
where the activity lies.” Dharavi is Dickens and Horatio Alger
Experts estimate that the informal sector
and Upton Sinclair. It is ingrained in the
is responsible for the overwhelming
Indian imagination, depicted in books or
majority of India’s annual economic
Bollywood movies, as well as in the Oscar-
Dharavi are 60,000 structures, many of
growth and as much as 90 per cent of all
winning hit Slumdog Millionaire. Dharavi
them shanties, and as many as one million
employment. The informal economy exists
has been examined in a Harvard Business
people living and working on a triangle of
largely outside government oversight and,
School case study and dissected by urban
land barely two-thirds the size of Central
in the case of slums like Dharavi, without
planners from Europe to Japan. Yet merely
Park in Manhattan. Dharavi is one of the
government help or encouragement.
trying to define Dharavi is contested.
Indian misery. It is also a churning hive
FOR YEARS, India’s government has
Dharavi, Dharavi is a slum, a huge slum,”
of workshops with an annual economic
tried with mixed success to increase
said Gautam Chatterjee, the principal
output estimated to be $600 million to
industrial output by developing
secretary overseeing the Housing Ministry
more than $1 billion.
special economic zones to lure major
in Maharashtra state. “But I have also
manufacturers. Dharavi, by contrast,
looked at Dharavi as a city within a city,
Mobin, whose family is involved in several
could be called a self-created special
an informal city.”
businesses in Dharavi. “In most developed
economic zone for the poor. It is a visual
shanty. Four businesses. In the labyrinthine slum known as
“Maybe to anyone who has not seen
world’s most infamous slums, a cliché of
“This is a parallel economy,” said
It is an informal city as layered as
Mobin’s sheared building – and as fragile. Plans to raze and redevelop Dharavi into a “normal” neighbourhood have stirred a debate about what would be gained but also about what might be lost by trying to control and regulate Dharavi. Every layer of Dharavi, when exposed, reveals something far more complicated, and organic, than the concept of a slum as merely a warehouse for the poor. Said Hariram Tanwar, 64, a local businessman, “Dharavi is a mini-India.” THE ORDER was for 2,700 briefcases, custom-made gifts for a large bank to distribute during the Hindu holiday of Diwali. The bank contacted a supplier, which contacted a leather-goods store, Mohammad Mustaqueem, a Dharavi property owner and garment manufacturer, in one of his garment factories.
which sent the order to a manufacturer. Had the order been placed in China, it probably would have landed in one of the huge coastal factories that employ thousands of rural migrants and have
A Labyrinth at the Heart of Mumbai
Dharavi may no longer be Asia’s — or even Mumbai’s — biggest slum, but it is still its most iconic. By some estimates, the slum is home to one million people in an area about two-thirds of Manhattan’s Central Park. Land that once was on the outskirts of Mumbai has now been swallowed by the city and has been subject to multiple rehabilitation attempts since the 1970s.
In India, the order landed in the
Dharavi workshop of Mohammed Asif. Dharavi
soft, black leather, an informal assembly
New Transit Camp
et Sh ty .
cramped room doubling as a dormitory: briefcases were due in two weeks. “They work hard,” Asif said. “They work from eight in the morning until 11 at night because the more they do, the more they will earn to send back to their families. They come here to earn.” Leatherwork is now a major industry
in Dharavi, but only one. Small garment factories have proliferated throughout the slum, making children’s clothes or
women’s dresses for the Indian market or export abroad. According to a 2007
1960s Matunga Labor Camp
line, except that the factory floor is a the workers sleep above, in a loft. The
Dharavi grew outward from the neighborhoods of Koliwada and Chambda Bazaar. By some estimates, this is one of the most densely populated areas in Dharavi, more than six times as dense as daytime Manhattan.
In Kumbharwada, most dwellings are used as home and production space. The neighborhood is named after the community of potters, the Kumbhars, who migrated from India’s northwest in the 19th century.
The 13th Compound is at the heart of Dharavi’s recycling industry. An estimated 80% of Mumbai’s plastic waste is recycled in the slum, in some 15,000 single-room factories.
Poon Wala Chawl
D H A R A V I
Asif ’s work force consists of 22 men, who sit cross-legged beside mounds of
Koliwada is often considered Dharavi’s original neighbourhood — it was settled by a fishing community in the 17th century. Unlike most of the slum, the area has many old self-standing houses and small patios.
The Slum Rehabilitation Act of 1995 relocated some slum dwellers from huts to new developements. Most of Dharavi’s high-rise structures like the Rajiv Indira project, completed in 2002, were built under this act.
made China a manufacturing powerhouse.
Central Park, Manhattan
The New Transit Camp started as a temporary relocation site for dwellers as new developements were built around the slum. The site later became permanent.
Sources: Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research, PUKAR; Dharavi.org; Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture and Environment, KRVIA; Government of Maharashtra; Satellite imagery by GeoEye
study sponsored by the US Agency for International Development, Dharavi has at least 500 large garment workshops (defined as having 50 or more sewing
THE NEW YORK TIMES
machines) and about 3,000 smaller ones. Then there are the 5,000 leather shops. Portfolio
N.Y. Times News Service Date: 01/03/11
other slum and set up there.”
And the food processors that make snacks
for more than half the city’s population.
for the rest of India.
Many people live in slums because
Dharavi still exists on the margins.
they cannot afford to live anywhere
Few businesses pay taxes. Few residents
embroiderers and, most of all, the vast
else, and government efforts to build
have formal title to their land. Political
recycling operations that sort, clean and
affordable housing have been woefully
parties court the slum for votes and have
reprocess much of India’s discarded plastic.
inadequate. But many newer slums are
slowly delivered things taken for granted
also microversions of Dharavi’s informal
elsewhere: some toilets, water spigots.
And then still more: printmakers,
“We are cleaning the dirt of the
“They are talking about redeveloping
country,” said Fareed Siddiqui, the general
economy. Some newer migrants even
secretary of the Dharavi Businessmen’s
come to Dharavi to learn new skills, as if
Dharavi,” said Mohammad Khurshid
Dharavi were a slum franchising operation.
Sheikh, who owns a leather shop. “But
“Dharavi is becoming their steppingstone,”
if they do, the whole chain may break
TODAY, MORE than eight million people
said Vineet Joglekar, a civic leader here.
down. These businesses can work because
live in Mumbai’s slums, according to some
“They learn jobs, and then they go to some
Dharavi attracts labour. People can work here and sleep in the workshop. If there is
estimates, a huge figure that accounts
redevelopment, they will not get that room so cheap. They will not come back here.” MATIAS ECHANOVE, an architect and urban planner, has long argued that Dharavi should not be dismissed as merely a slum, since it operates as a contained residential and commercial city. He said razing Dharavi, or even completely redeveloping it, would only push residents into other slums. “They are going to create actual, real slums,” he said. “Nobody is saying Dharavi is a paradise. But we need to understand the dynamics, so that when there is an intervention by the government, An Indian boy copies from the blackboard during a third-grade Hindi exam at Habib Raza School.
Radheshyam Nehrua, 15, dries plastic chips on the roof of a plastic recycling shed in Dharavi.
it doesn’t destroy what is there.” Dharavi’s fingerprints continue to be found across Mumbai’s economy and beyond, even if few people realise it. Asif, the leather shop owner, made leather folders used to deliver dinner bills at the city’s most famous hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace. The tasty snacks found in Mumbai’s finest confectionaries? Made in Dharavi. The exquisite leather handbags sold in expensive shops? Often made in Dharavi. “There are hundreds of Dharavis flourishing in the city,” said Mobin, the businessman. “Every slum has its businesses. Every kind of business is there in the slums.” But surely, Mobin is asked, there are things not made in Dharavi. Surely not airplanes, for example. “But we recycle waste for the airlines,” he answered
Indian workers wash sheets and clothes at Dhobi Ghat, a communal laundry. March 2012
proudly. “Cups and food containers.” n
Commercial real estate companies in the United States and Canada are building malls and residential developments in China, drawn by an expanding middle class.
Building Business in China US developers are keen to capitalise on growth opportunities in China. But doing business there can be fraught with difficulties, reports Terry Pristin.
© 2012 NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
ITH THE SLOWDOWN
States, announced with some fanfare that
David Simon, disclosed that his company
in commercial building in
it would begin developing malls with two
was in “serious discussions” about
the United States, some US
partners. Four malls were built in so-called
opening outlet centres in China with a
developers are planning projects in China,
second-tier cities, like Hangzhou, which
joint-venture partner and would make a
hoping to capitalise on an immense,
has 5.5 million people according to its
decision in a couple of months.
increasingly urbanised market with a
municipal website. But in 2009 – before
rising middle class. In recent years, annual
three of the malls had opened – Simon sold
Taubman Centers, the developer of
consumer spending has been growing by
its interest and left China. The company
the only major mall currently under
about 18 per cent.
told analysts that the cities lacked enough
construction in the United States
middle-income consumers to make the
(City Creek Centre in Salt Lake City),
with obstacles. In 2005, the Simon
centres profitable. Simon said it lost $20
is planning a foray into China. Last
Property Group, the largest shopping
million in the venture.
summer, Taubman bought TCBL, a retail
But developing in China can be fraught
centre owner and operator in the United March 2012
But in October, Simon’s chief executive,
Another major US mall company,
consulting company based in Beijing.
52 The roofs of Jian Ye Li, a residential and long stay housing project which an Atlanta developer is turning into luxury apartments, in Shanghai
Robert Taubman, the chief executive, said
American real estate, including Hines
the director of Asia Pacific real estate
the company planned to build, acquire
Interests of Houston, Tishman Speyer
investment for Russell Investments.
and update malls throughout China. “It
of New York and Ivanhoe Cambridge
will be the full spectrum of what we do
of Montreal, are developing projects in
IN RECENT months, the government
here,” said Taubman.
China – all with Chinese partners.
has been trying to bring down home
Other well-known names in North
To gain access to the huge Chinese
this policy appears to be easing). The
language and cultural barriers, nurture close
Chinese have also been encouraging more
relationships with receptive local partners,
development of mixed-use communities
and deal with layers of bureaucratic
outside the urban cores and more
complexity as well as opaque and
consumer spending – and developers have
unpredictable regulatory and legal systems.
been responding accordingly.
“You don’t want to get involved in a
Hines, the developer of the Galleria malls
legal action because it won’t go anywhere,”
in Houston and Dallas, completed the
said Daniel Winey, a managing principal
first phase of one mixed-use development
at Gensler, an international architectural
– the 18-hectare California Place in New
firm with a long track record in China.
Jiangwan Town in Shanghai – before
Gensler was the design architect for the
selling its stake in 2010 to two Hong Kong
Shanghai Tower, a supersize 121-storey
developers. In June, Tishman Speyer, whose
office, hotel and retail building under
properties include Rockefeller Center, began
construction in the architecturally striking
development of the Springs, an even larger
Pudong section of Shanghai.
project north of Pudong.
Many private equity investors that
Lisa Love, a Vogue editor, with Robert Taubman, the CEO of Taubman Centers. Taubman is planning to build, acquire and update malls in China.
prices by tightening credit (although lately
market, they have had to brave significant
Portman Holdings of Atlanta and its
flocked to China in 2007, when real estate
partners have nearly finished transforming
prices in the United States were soaring,
Jian Ye Li, a cluster of 1930s traditional-
have since left the country. In China, real
style residential buildings in Shanghai, into
estate specialists point out, what gets built
a mix of luxury apartments and furnished
depends more on the government’s current
housing for temporary stays. Portman was
goals and policies than on market forces.
the designer and one of the developers of
“It’s such a policy-driven market that you
China’s first mixed-use development, the
have to time not just the market cycles but
1990 Shanghai Centre, where the Portman
also the policy cycles,” said Martin Lamb,
Ritz-Carlton hotel is located. Portfolio
on leasing and builds up the confidence
Richard Vogel, a senior vice president at
seems to offer the greatest opportunities for
of the retailer,” said Siu Wing Chu, a
Ivanhoe Cambridge. In the first week,
foreign investors. US developers have played
senior director at the international
shoppers virtually emptied the H&M
only a minimal role in the tightening office
and Zara stores, said Vogel, who is based
Of the commercial property sectors, retail
market in Beijing and Shanghai. Hines
Ivanhoe Cambridge, the Canadian firm
in Shanghai. “They had to schedule
developed the new 21st Century Tower, a
that developed Mary Brickell Village
additional deliveries to keep their shelves
49-storey office building in Pudong with
in downtown Miami, says it has had
filled,” he said.
a Four Seasons Hotel, but sold its stake in
success in teaming up with the Bailian
2010 to a Hong Kong company.
Group, the Chinese department store
IN 2008, the private equity firm Blackstone
chain, to redevelop La Nova, a lacklustre
bought a vacant shopping mall in Shanghai,
to their management contracts in China,
80,000-square-metre shopping centre in
called Channel 1, and brought in tenants
but few foreign companies are developing
Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.
like H&M, Zara and Sephora before selling
or investing in the hotels themselves,
Ivanhoe Cambridge made the centre more
it to a Hong Kong investment company.
said David Ling, in charge of China
inviting and persuaded its partners to
“Private equity companies have been net
and Southeast Asia for the consulting
focus on so-called fast fashion.
sellers over the past 12 months,” said Chris
Western hotel brands are rapidly adding
company HVS Global Hospitality Services. But some foreign retail developers are
When the centre opened last April,
CBRE in China.
“But some foreign retail developers are venturing into second- or even third-tier cities – populous places where the modern shopping centre is often a novelty. ”
of a mature consumer market for its
Although Simon blamed the absence
venturing into second- or even third-tier cities – populous places where the modern shopping centre is often a novelty. That strategy is of course not without risks. “There’s not a lot of historical data to do your planning,” said Sanjay Verma, Cushman & Wakefield’s chief executive for Asia and the Pacific. Retailing specialists say local mall developers are not seeking foreign capital but can profit from Western expertise in design, merchandising and attracting the right mix of tenants. “Partnering with
Brooke, the president and chief executive of
129,000 people showed up, said
somebody with experience will help them
frustrating experiences in China, other retail specialists say the giant mall company encountered other problems that are common there, including a difficult relationship with its state-owned partner. Before joining Russell Investments, Lamb was in China to develop shopping centres anchored by Wal-Mart stores. Just getting a copier was an exercise in frustration that required three different licenses, he said. “Once we had Chinese employees, one of them said, ‘You should have asked me. My brother would have gotten it for you,”’ Lamb said. He also pointed out in China, a contract is considered more of a guide than a legally binding document. “We were always told, ‘If you have a dispute with your tenant, take them out to dinner,’” he said. Despite the potential pitfalls, companies with the breadth of a Simon or a Taubman have the potential to succeed in China, but others may face insurmountable challenges, because China’s fast-growing development companies see no need to share their profits, said Jack Portman, a vice chairman of his family’s company. “If you’re not already there with existing relationships, it’s probably too late,” he
Shanghai’s vacant Channel 1 shopping mall was bought by the private equity firm Blackstone in 2008. They brought in tenants and then sold their stake. March 2012
said. “Unless you have something special to contribute, they don’t need it.” n
Kathryn Bigelow on the set of The Hurt Locker, which earned her the best director Oscar in 2009.
The Celluloid Ceiling With female scriptwriters behind some of the biggest movies, from Juno to Kung Fu Panda 2, it seems the gender barrier has been lifted. But things arenâ€™t that simple, reports Paul Harris.
mainstream Hollywood comedy Couples
Retreat. According to Melissa Silverstein, co-founder of the Athena festival, and the woman behind the acclaimed ‘Women and Hollywood’ blog, the four women were awarded: “For their creativity and their sisterhood.” It is the word “sisterhood” that is key. The talent possessed by the women is not in doubt. It is their self-conscious decision to openly promote themselves in solidarity with other women that is different in a movie world dominated by men. It also goes against an enduring Hollywood myth: that women let into the Tinseltown boys’ club won’t help each other out. “There is a mythology that women can’t be friends with each other because they have to compete for jobs. We have to get beyond that,” said Silverstein. There has never been a greater need. Much media attention focuses on the big-name women directors behind major films or whose projects have walked off with top awards. After all, Kathryn Bigelow’s best director Oscar in 2009 for The Hurt Locker was meant to have put female directors on the map. Just look at Catherine Hardwicke, who directed major Hollywood movies such as Twilight, full of the sort of action and adventure meant to
be the preserve of male directors. Starring Kristen Stewart, Twilight was such a smash that it was the biggest ever opening weekend for a female director. Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie has just directed her first film, the Bosnia war story In The Land
of Blood and Honey, which garnered a Golden Globe nomination. But, like a surprise twist in the third reel, that is not the whole picture. Far from it. “It is really easy to be misled by a few high-profile cases. We can all name a few very successful female directors,” said Professor Martha Lauzen, an expert on women in film at San Diego State University in California. Nor is that just Lauzen’s personal opinion: since the late 1990s she has collected annual data on what jobs women are doing in Hollywood, both behind the scenes and on camera. Her statistics are shocking for the almost total lack of progress they show over more than a decade. In a dig at the notion that everything is equal in Hollywood, Lauzen’s report each year is called simply ‘The Celluloid Ceiling’. The latest Celluloid Ceiling figures for the top 250 US films produced in 2011 have just been released. They make grim reading. Women made up only five per cent of Hollywood directors last year, a
he AthenA Film FestivAl, which opened at Barnard College in New York on 9 February, is a
showcase aimed at celebrating women film-makers and rewarding their art and successes. Now in its second year, the festival consists of screenings, awards and the usual parties, but with a feminist slant. Among those getting accolades was a group of women in Hollywood known as ‘the Fempire’. The Fempire consists of screenwriters Diablo Cody, Dana Fox, Liz Meriwether and Lorene Scafaria, who between them have worked on films that range from the quirky indie smash hit Juno to the big March 2012
Female directors are often stereotyped as being only good at making films for women audiences. The Hurt Locker challenged this perception as it was a war film set in Iraq.
Angelina Jolie on the set of her directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey.
as far back as 1998 the figure was seven
directors is actually going down.” But other groups with agendas like the
per cent. “That is a kick in the gut,” said
Fempire are springing up. They seek
Silverstein. But elsewhere progress is
not to enter the Hollywood boys’ club
hardly fast-track. In total, women made
but to replicate it. Step forward Trudie
up 18 per cent of behind-the-scenes roles
Styler, actress and the wife of pop star
in Hollywood in 2011 – against 16 per
Sting. Styler has set up a production
cent in 2010. But that, again, is only an
company called Maven Films with
increase of one percentage point over
producer Celine Rattray, who recently
1998. About 38 per cent of films employed
won a Golden Globe for The Kids Are All
one or no women in the senior jobs that
Right. The company is aimed at taking on female talent and promoting women-led projects. Its first film is set to be Imogene, a project from rising comedy star Kristen Wiig. It will also star Annette Bening and be written and directed by women. Other deals have been struck with big names such as Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett and Sarah Jessica Parker. “We’re not making some angry stand,” Styler told Grazia magazine in a recent interview. “But we are two female filmmakers in what is a male industry, and so we’re very supportive of female-driven projects... there’s a plethora of actresses out
the survey studied. Overwhelmingly, the pattern in Hollywood is not of progress towards greater female empowerment, but of stagnation or even retreat. In this context the huge amounts of publicity given to the work of women like Bigelow and Hardwicke seem like tokenism at best. “People tend to see them as evidence of creeping progress, that things get a little better each year, and so then we don’t need to think of it as a problem,” said Lauzen. “But in reality the numbers are stable. Surprisingly so. And the number of women
drop from seven per cent in 2010. Even
Top and above: Kathryn Bigelow with her 2009 Oscar. The Hurt Locker won six Oscars in total.
there who are looking for meatier roles and we’re reaping the benefits of that.” But the decision of women in Hollywood to start forming their own networks raises the question of why Hollywood remains so gender-divided. Of course, it is not alone. Numerous commentators in Davos earlier this year
“But in reality the numbers are stable. Surprisingly so. And the number of women directors is actually going down.”
at the World Economic Forum have noted the lack of women present as the planet’s major woes are discussed. In fact, at Davos only 17 per cent of delegates are women. Meanwhile, it has been pointed Portfolio
Dana Fox, Diablo Cody and Lorene Scafaria are among a handful of influential female Hollywood scriptwriters.
They also have to defeat the idea that
reporters on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today
women are only good at movies that
programme are men. But at least in some
women are believed likely to watch. After
of these areas progress is being made. In
all, Bigelow's Oscar-winner was a war
Davos the number of women attending,
film and the biggest female-directed hit
despite being so small, was at its highest
last year was Kung Fu Panda 2, a family
yet – up from nine per cent in 2002.
animation feature not aimed at a specific
Meanwhile Hollywood still stands out in its intransigence and – at the high-profile
gender market. There are also a few signs of optimism
out that about 84 per cent of guests and
Top and above: Diablo Cody won Best Original Screenplay for her work with Juno at the 2008 National Board Of Review of Motion Pictures.
level of director – for going backwards.
elsewhere in the ecology of Hollywood.
There is likely to be no easy solution.
While the giant studios that produce and
on the recent rise of women journalists
“I don’t think there is a magic bullet,”
market most of the main Hollywood films
in the movie industry could not resist a
said Lauzen, citing Hollywood studios’
are bastions of male dominance, especially
sexist cliché of a “cat fight” in its headline:
testosterone-fuelled corporate culture and
the higher up you go, the media that
“Hollywood hellcats throw down over
it’s “clubbable” atmosphere.
reports on those behemoths is increasingly
Silverstein agrees: “It is a very small club
woman-led. In fact, many of the highest
But it is a potentially important
and there are very few woman decision
profile Hollywood journalists are women.
development. With more women reporting
makers at the top level.”
Queen of the pile is the legendary Nikki
on the world of movie-making, it is more
Finke, founder and editor of the website
likely that the issue of women’s roles in
Deadline Hollywood. Then there is Sharon Waxman, editor in chief of its rival website The Wrap. Meanwhile, Bonnie Fuller has started the gossip website Hollywood Life. But it’s not just online that women rule the roost. At the Hollywood Reporter – often considered the trade leader of the movie industry – the editorial director is Janice Min. This mini power-shift has itself led to the occasional sexist backlash. A report by the New York Observer
and behind those movies will get greater
Both Lauzen and Silverstein believe that true change in the film industry – which lags notably behind television – will mean getting women into more behind-thescenes roles, especially powerful positions. Of course, that is precisely where the groups like the Fempire and Maven Films will come in. Women have to start projects and help other women along, gradually transforming the world behind the camera so their choices and tastes can eventually affect the world in front of it. March 2012
coverage. Problems often get solved only when attention is focused on them. So for long-time observers, there is at least a sense that in the next 10 years some form of progress will be made. But for now a lack of women in power in Hollywood is still hiding behind the success of a few big names. “You don't see a lot of overt sexism. But you do see a lot of denial,” said Lauzen. n
Lesson for the eurozone Wales packs less economic punch than Greece but it is in a far better position thanks to money transfers from the central government. And therein lies a lesson for the Eurozone, reports Landon Thomas Jr.
David Nash, a local artist, with his sculpture in the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. The British government's money transfers prop up regions, like Wales, keeping them from the kind of collapse suffered in Eurozone nations like Greece.
Most people do not think of Britain –
Britain’s Greece. For decades,
home to many of Europe’s most outspoken
dependent on transfers from richer
Wales, like Greece, has been
euro sceptics – as having a monetary
countries like Germany. For Britain,
plagued by persistent deficits and
union. But it does, and these money
such a transfer is accepted as the cost of
uncompetitive industries. Yet unlike
transfers are the essence of what makes
keeping the union together.
Greece, which teeters on the edge of
Britain’s common currency a success in
By contrast, Europe’s richer nations,
bankruptcy and faces a possible exit from
knitting together a collection of regions
led by Germany, resist institutionalising
the Eurozone – the 17 European Union
and historically separate countries
any substantial flow of money toward
members that use the euro – this semi-
with different languages, cultures and
Greece apart from a modest amount
autonomous country suffers no threat
of development aid long made available
of running out of cash or being forced
© 2012 New York Times News service
budget deficits will become increasingly
his could have been
As a sovereign nation, Greece has had
to Europe’s poorer regions for specific
to abandon the British pound, which it
free rein to recklessly spend and borrow,
projects. In Germany, the notion of a
shares with other members of Britain’s
the result of which is its near-bankrupt
so-called transfer union, which many
own political and monetary union:
condition. Wales, by comparison, has
economists see as essential to any
Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.
limited tax and borrowing capabilities,
enduring common currency, is still
This year Wales, including the fading
and the money it gets each year to fulfil its
slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog
spending needs comes automatically from
in one of Britain’s poorest counties, is
the British Treasury.
expected to receive about £14.6 billion,
And therein lies the lesson for the
As a result, Greece, along with Portugal and Ireland, is dependent on negotiating individual bailouts with the European
or $22.6 billion, from the central
Eurozone: Until it can find a way to
Union and the International Monetary
government. The money is used to cover
ensure that its poorer nations can
Fund in a torturous process that risks
what Wales cannot raise itself from taxes
manage their fiscal affairs, countries like
collapse at almost any turn.
Greece and Portugal that run constant
“Wales is part of a fiscal union, a nation
Blaenau Ffestiniog was once a thriving town of more than 10,000 people that produced slate slabs for roofing. But decline set in when its slate industry was undercut by cheaper products from Spain and China. March 2012
state in which the political culture is
about 2.9 billion euros a year in structural
ability of workers to move easily from
cohesive enough to legitimise these
funds, or $3.7 billion, devoted mostly to
one place to another, and roughly similar
fiscal transfers,” said Kevin Morgan, an
specific development projects.
economist at Cardiff University who is
It is not just Wales that benefits from
an expert on Britain’s north/south divide.
British transfers. In 2011, Wales, Scotland
blaenau FFestiniog (pronounced
“But what works at the national level
and Northern Ireland together received
Blay-NIGH Fes-TIN-ee-og) presents a
breaks down at the supranational level.”
£54 billion, or $83.7 billion, a sum that
stark tableau of just how such a currency
is almost twice the level of British
area works to soften the wide disparities
even within Britain about the value of
military spending. The yearly transfer
even within a relatively small and
its union. But they are driven more by
payments total about 3.5 per cent of
cohesive country like Britain.
political and cultural divisions than
Britain’s GDP. Robert Mundell, the
monetary ones. The Scottish national
Nobel Prize-winning Canadian economist
a thriving industrial town of more than
leader Alex Salmond is pushing for a
whom many see as the intellectual father
10,000 people, churning out slate slabs
vote that might provide Scotland with
of the euro, cited a willingness to move
that roofed houses the world over. The
independence from Britain, while
money from richer areas to poorer ones
residue now covers the hills that surround
as a crucial component of any nation
the town, casting a pall that mirrors its
or group of nations bound together by
economic condition. Since undercut by
a successful monetary union, pointing
cheaper slate varieties from Spain and
to Britain and the United States as
China, the mines no longer provide many
examples. The other central requirements
jobs, and the town’s steadily shrinking
of an effective currency zone, he argued,
population is now below 5,000.
As in the Eurozone, there are questions
“Wales is even poorer than Greece, generating a gross domestic product equal to $23,100 per person, compared with Greece’s GDP of $26,900 per person.”
were free trade in goods and services, the
More than a century ago, Blaenau was
It is a proud settlement where virtually
Cardiff, the Welsh capital, is a popular tourist destination. Since the 1990s Cardiff has seen significant development with a new waterfront area at Cardiff Bay.
remaining vague on whether the Scots should then abandon the pound to adopt the euro. In terms of economic contribution to their respective monetary unions, Wales and Greece are roughly equal, packing a fairly weak punch of about three per cent. Both are heavily dependent on public spending. Wales is even poorer than Greece, generating a gross domestic product equal to $23,100 per person, compared with Greece’s GDP of $26,900 per person. Despite the similar economic profiles, Britain is far more generous with Wales than the EU is with Greece. Compared with the nearly $23 billion in funds London sends to Wales every year, which is used to bolster local tax revenue and pay for services like health care and education, Greece receives on average Portfolio
everyone is bilingual. Conversation at
supplement his diet, he says he manages
the town’s fortunes, economically as well
work and in and around town is mostly
to get by. “The welfare state – it’s pretty
as psychologically. “People see themselves
in Welsh rather than English. While more
good, isn’t it?” he said with a wink.
in a declining town,” said Bob Cole, the
people are leaving Greece as the economy
But such a safety net does not come
chairman of the local group that has
worsens, greater language and cultural
cheap. Of the money flowing to Wales
pushed for the project. “We are saying,
barriers make it harder for Greeks to
this year, 42 per cent is destined to pay
‘Look, we are now on the up.”’
move easily to Germany or Italy than
for health and social services, including
for a resident of Blaenau to settle in
free prescription drugs and home day
to such projects, the transfer payments
Birmingham or London, perhaps never
care for the elderly, a critical support for
from Britain’s more prosperous south keep
towns with a rapidly aging population
the town alive as its tax base shrivels and
demand for welfare services increases.
A quarter of the town’s population receives unemployment benefits and the
The town is embarking on an ambitious
While the EU contributes substantially
For some here, that dependence is galling
average income is a mere £10,600, half
project to make it more appealing to
– especially now as Scotland’s bid for
the national average. The town lost its last
tourists, including the construction of a
independence gathers steam.
dentist five years ago.
mountain biking complex. Local officials
“There are just too many people
hope that the investments will reverse
“We have a better understanding of what to do with our money than a bunch
chasing too few jobs,” Phil Rogers, a slate
of millionaires in London,” said Paul
mason, said one evening recently on the
Thomas, the town official who represents
town’s threadbare main street. Rogers
Blaenau at the local county seat and who
says he is earning no more today than he
is also a member of Wales’ nationalist
did 10 years ago, but while times are hard
party, Plaid Cymru. But as the bite of the
and he often traps squirrels and rabbits to
recession grows worse and the need for help from the south becomes more acute, such a view is distinctly a minority one. “It’s good to be part of the United Kingdom,” said Glenys Lloyd, a local inn owner. “I was born in Wales, but in the end I’m British, aren’t I?” n
Greece is dependent on negotiating individual bailouts with the European Union. There is no central mechanism where richer countries support poorer ones.
Students wear 3-D glasses while looking at a projected computer model of a human body at the New York University School of Medicine. The 3-D virtual body represents an unusual collaboration between industry and academia.
3-D HumaN aNaTomY Anatomy class has gone digital thanks to a free virtual body designed by BioDigital Systems, reports Natasha Singer.
© 2012 New York Times News service
eople wear 3-D glasses
imperfect stand-ins for the living. Death –
for new movies like The
and embalming fluid – take a toll.
Adventures of Tintin. But for
So, in an adjacent classroom, a group
the heart pump. “It’s like a living digital textbook,” said John Qualter, a research assistant
medical school? The answer is yes at the
of students wearing 3-D glasses made
professor of educational informatics at
New York University School of Medicine,
by Nvidia, a graphics processing firm,
the medical school who helped design the
which is using 3-D technology to update
dissected a virtual cadaver projected on
a rite of passage for would-be doctors:
a screen. Using a computer to control
the stereoscopic view, they swooped
creation of BioDigital Systems, a medical
The virtual human body is the
through the virtual body, its sections as
visualisation firm in New York that
Medical Centre in Manhattan last
brightly coloured as living tissue. First, the
Qualter helped to found. It develops
December, students in scrubs and
students scrutinised layers of sinewy pink
animations of the anatomy for drug
surgical gloves hovered over cadavers on
muscles layered over ivory bones. Then,
makers like Novartis, medical device-
gurneys, preparing, as would-be doctors
with the click of a mouse, they examined
makers like Medtronic, television
have for centuries, to separate rib cages
a close-up of the heart, watching as deep
shows like Mystery Diagnosis and
and examine organs. But the dead are
blue veins and bright red arteries made
In a basement lab at NYU Langone
visualisation to improve knowledge of
revenue and improve health education.
December at NYU, represents an
complex health topics,” Qualter said. His
“Once the BioDigital Human is really
unusual collaboration between industry
firm hopes to position the virtual body as
being used by a lot of people, we can
and academia. The companies, which
the health education equivalent of Google
originally paid BioDigital to develop
Maps – available as a free, easy-to-use
medical animations of certain body parts
public website and in an upgraded, fee-
a digital human model will help medical
for commercial purposes, agreed to let the
based professional version. “We want to
students understand anatomy more deeply
design firm freely use the digital models
become a scalable model,” Qualter said, “a
than they can by dissecting cadavers
for educational purposes. In recognition
Google Earth for the human body.”
alone. But the virtual body certainly offers
The virtual body, introduced in
It is too soon to tell whether studying
of NYU’s involvement, the company has
In the NYU lab, Chana Rich, a 21-year-
pledged a small share of future revenue to
Qualter anD his business partner,
the medical school.
Frank Sculli, a software engineer,
old first-year student from Fairfield,
founded BioDigital Systems in 2002 to
Connecticut, dissected an older, female
testing an early incarnation of an
help companies and institutions use 3-D
cadaver. But the dead woman had
storytelling to make medical topics more
undergone a number of surgeries during
comprehensible and compelling. For
her lifetime, and her body was now
cadaver further on its new medical
instance, the firm created an animated
missing its appendix, spleen and right
education website, biodigitalhuman.com,
heart to demonstrate how an implant
lung. “She’s skinny and female,” Rich said,
with the aim of providing a searchable,
from Medtronic could fix a prolapsed
“so sometimes it’s hard to visualise the
customisable map of the human body.
heart valve. At NYU, the firm worked with
“In a cadaver, if you remove an organ, you cannot add it back in as if it were never removed, plus, this is way more fun than a textbook.”
projection room, isolating the liver of
But the medical students were merely
BioDigital plans to develop the virtual
A few minutes later, Rich was in the
Right now, Qualter said, the site is available only in a beta version. But in the coming months, the company plans to offer its code to, say, health websites that want to embed images of the respiratory system, or to doctors who want to show animations of prostate cancer surgery to patients. “We wanted to use our data
the virtual cadaver and examining the blood vessels connected to it. “In a cadaver, if you remove an organ, you cannot add it back in as if it were never removed,” she said as she adjusted her 3-D glasses. “Plus, this is way more fun than a textbook.” But her colleague, Susanna Jeurling, a first-year medical student from Washington, disagreed. Dissecting a real
the medical school to develop animations
cadaver, she said, gives students a unique,
of operations for surgical education.
tactile understanding of the body. “I don’t
Those kinds of commissions helped
think this will ever replace cadavers,”
make BioDigital successful as a small
said Jeurling, 24. “There’s something
business. But its executives concluded
about being able to hold it and turn it
that its growth potential would be
in your hand.”
limited if they remained focused on one-
say they have no plans to phase out
year, they decided to combine all of their
dissection, an educational method
commissioned medical illustrations into
that dates back to the Ptolemaic era.
one virtual human.
The 3-D digital human body is merely
“As a private company, as a service
The 3-D virtual body is like a living digital textbook. March 2012
Administrators at the medical school
off projects for limited audiences. Last
a complementary teaching method,
business, we can make a couple of million
said Dr Marc Triola, associate dean for
dollars annually,” Qualter said. But, as a
educational informatics. “It’s an amazing
product firm with a searchable map of
blend of one of the oldest medical
the human body to market, he said, the
education techniques and the absolute
company has greater potential to increase
newest,” Triola said. n
The besT of leisure and lifesTyle
Horses and Courses The Emerald Isle offers the twin Irish passions of golfing and horseracing set against stunning scenery and a warm welcome from the locals, report Andrew Marshall and Paul Marshall.
a golfer lines up a putt at Tralee Golf Course in County Kerry. March 2012
The Tralee links course was designed by arnold Palmer and is situated in a beautiful corner of ireland with the race track only a few furlongs away.
here are 27 racecourses
other. Adding to the whole Irish ‘Horses
certainly the most famous Derby winner in
in Ireland – more per head of
and Courses’ experience are the locals you
recent times was the outstanding but ill-
population than any country
meet at the tracks, who have a tremendous
fated Shergar who never came out of third
gift of making you feel welcome.
gear in cruising to victory under Lester
in the world, from world-class tracks to smaller ‘country courses’ where flat
Whether you are gambling on the right line for some of the blind tee shots at Royal
race days are held throughout the year.
County Down or hoping for a winner at
is Rathsallagh Country Club, a top-quality
Ireland also boasts over 300 golf courses,
the Irish Derby, here’s six of the best race
parkland option beautifully laid out by
including picturesque parkland layouts
courses and golf courses where you can
Christy O’Connor Jr and Peter McEvoy
and legendary links, that dot the coastline
watch and play.
on 250 acres of superbly natural terrain
like gems – created by nature and linked together to form a necklace of beauty. From the unique one-day beach race
© 2011 New York Times News service
Piggott in 1981. curragh.ie
races, national hunt or ‘jump’ races and
Play: In close proximity to the Curragh
dotted by mature oak and beech trees. It The curragh (counTy Kildare) Watch: A short drive from Dublin is
features several lakes and small streams that meander across the fairways with immaculate greens. rathsallagh.com
meeting at Laytown, a major racing
‘The Curragh’ one of the world’s most
festival such as Galway, a world-class links
historic and famous horse-racing venues
such as Royal County Down or a lesser-
staging around 20 fixtures annually. The
known parkland course like Rathsallagh,
two-day Boylesport Guineas Festival in
there’s no better way of experiencing the
May, the Budweiser Irish Derby Weekend
at Tralee on Ireland’s picturesque south-
“real Ireland” than spending a day at the
in June/July and the Oaks Summer Racing
west coast. A highlight of the Irish
races and combining it with playing 18
Carnival Weekend in July are the major
racing calendar is the internationally
holes of golf.
meetings. The Irish Derby features some
renowned ‘Rose of Tralee Pageant’ held
of the globe’s finest thoroughbreds, owned,
in conjunction with a four-day racing
on the Emerald Isle you are never far from
trained and ridden by masters of their
festival in August. The history of the
a horse race or a golf course and often they
professions, competing for a prize of
racecourse dates back as far as 1767, and
are only a short gallop away from each
¤1.3 million. Probably the best, and
is intertwined with that of the famous
The great thing is that wherever you are
Tralee (counTy Kerry) Watch: Several days racing are held
laytown in County Meath holds the only officially approved beach-racing event in europe.
pageant, which is contested by girls from
beach. The racecourse itself is a section of
Ireland and around the world, attracting
the three-mile long golden strand, with
an estimated 100,000 people to the area.
the races taking place when the tide goes
goracing.ie Play: Representing the first European design of Arnold Palmer, Tralee Golf Club is a traditional links and although only built in 1980 has gained a reputation right up there with the big guns of Ireland’s west coast links. The 590-yard par 5 2nd is a standout hole – a sweeping dogleg right with the beach as a constant hazard for slice-prone golfers. From the tee block, there are panoramic views of the entire course with the Dingle peninsula on the horizon. traleegolfclub.com
out. Don’t miss this quirky event on the
layToWn (counTy MeaTh) Watch: People come from far and wide
Irish racing calendar. goracing.ie Play: Established in 1909, this littleknown traditional links course is situated right next to the beach where the annual race meet takes place. Laytown & Bettystown as it is officially known boasts the distinction of having produced not one, but two Ryder Cup players in Des Smyth and Philip Walton. The 475-yard par 5 18th is a fun finish with two blind shots, including a tricky approach to a green hidden in the dunes. landb.ie sligo (counTy sligo) Watch: Sligo racecourse is nestled in
to witness this unique spectacle held on
a picturesque spot surrounded by the
the beach in Laytown in early September
Benbullen and Knocknarea mountains.
each year – the only officially approved
The journey here is all part of the
beach-racing event in Europe. Marquees
experience, passing through some of the
are erected to use as weighing rooms,
most beautiful countryside in Ireland.
jockey’s room and bars on a field above the
The racing has an exciting local feel
a golfer crosses the bridge at the famous 606 yards par-5 16th at the K Club’s Palmer Course
with competitive cards making for very
Ireland Championships since 1923, past
lively action, especially the early August
winners include Padraig Harrington and
meetings riding on the continued buzz
Paul McGinley while players such as
Races featuring seven mid-summer racing
from the Galway Races. goracing.ie
galWay (counTy galWay) Watch: Starting in late July, the Galway
Hagen, Locke, Watson, Faldo and Clarke
days and nights bring not just Galway city
Play: County Sligo Golf Club is one of
have also sampled the delights of Rosses
but the whole of Ireland to a standstill.
Ireland’s great golf courses located on the
Point. The 455-yard par 4 17th has to be
The Galway Races is probably the most
Rosses Point peninsula, six kilometres
one of the toughest holes to par in all of
lavish and sociable fixture in the Irish
from Sligo. Established in 1894, the
Ireland – a severe dogleg sweeps uphill
Racing World – the racing equivalent
present Championship links were designed
and to the left on the second shot, with a
of the Ryder Cup. It is not only a great
in 1927 by the famous golfing architect,
green that is large but slopes severely from
sporting event, but also a unique social
Harry S. Colt. Home to the West of
the back. countysligogolfclub.ie
occasion filled with atmosphere, passion
it's not only about the horses, fashion is also an important part of the Galway races.
The Killanin stand at the Galway races. This seven day event brings ireland to a standstill.
The sign says it all about the irish passion for horses. Portfolio
and ‘craic’, and attracts both the true race
line from the tee and then hit it straight.
goer and socialites alike. The excellent
Miss the fairways and you are severely
racing, oyster bars, jazz bands, trade
punished as a minefield of bunkers, gorse
stands, race card competitions and even
and rough awaits. Bring plenty of balls.
a best-dressed lady competition are
all part of this classic Irish experience.
galwayraces.com Play: Galway Bay Golf & Country Club is situated on the picturesque Renville Peninsula, one of west Ireland’s most historic sites, with the golf course literally peppered with historic remains including the mystical Rathnapours ring fort dating back to the 16th century. Designed by Christy O’Connor Jr, the course winds its way along the shoreline of Galway Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, but its not a links, and has a distinct parkland feel – a rolling landscape combine with water hazards, manicured fairways and top-drawer putting surfaces to ensure a true but fair test. Gary Player described the 178-yard 13th as one of the finest par 3s he has ever seen or played.
A five-mile drive from Downpatrick is Royal County Down’s lesser-known neighbour Ardglass, a beautiful golf course that hugs the coastline with the sea coming into play on eight holes. The par-3 12th is probably the signature hole drawing comparisons with the famous 17th hole at Pebble Beach.
downpatrick is the oldest racecourse in ireland, and one of the friendliest.
galwaybaygolfresort.com doWnPaTricK (counTy doWn) Watch: Situated in the stunningly beautiful County of Down, Downpatrick, in addition to being one of the friendliest racecourses in Ireland, is also the oldest, because racing started here in 1685. The race meetings are always cosy, intimate affairs with flat and jump racing on offer. The highlight of the year is the
Testing royal County down is laid out beneath the brooding Mountains of Mourne and enjoys a magnificent setting along the shores of dundrum bay.
exciting Powers Whisky Ulster National run in late February over 3 ½ miles.
downpatrickracecourse.co.uk Play: ‘Royal County Down’ – the very words are enough to have you running back to the clubhouse shaking with fear. Laid out beneath the brooding Mountains of Mourne and enjoying a magnificent setting along the shores of Dundrum Bay, this superb track is never out of the world’s top ten. Designed by Old Tom Morris for the princely sum of four guineas back in 1889, this is one tough examination for any player, and with so many blind shots, the main challenge is to find a March 2012
horse-racing in ireland is a family affair.
Brazilâ€™s First FAmily of film The Barretos are the Brazilian aristocracy of the film world, having produced, directed and distributed Cannes winning and Oscar-nominated movies, reports Larry Rohter. Bruno Barreto behind the camera on the set of the successful 2000 romantic comedy Bossa Nova. Portfolio
ometimes they limit themselves simply to producing
“there is before the Barretos and after,”
movies, though on many other
said actress Sonia Braga, who first came
occasions they have also written, directed
to international prominence in the
or actually filmed them. But by any
mid-1970s in Dona Flor and Her Two
standard the Barretos – Luiz Carlos and
Husbands, directed by Bruno Barreto and produced by his parents. “They are people who live, breathe and eat cinema, and the result is that they’ve built up a patrimony that continues to endure.” Born in Brazil’s arid northeast, the family patriarch, Luiz Carlos Barreto, now 83, was raised in the coastal city Fortaleza. He has a boyhood memory of watching Orson Welles filming the never-released Four Men on a Raft at a beach there and being “fascinated by all that equipment.” But when he moved to Rio de Janeiro at the age of 17, it was to play football semiprofessionally and work as a journalist. From the late 1940s on he worked for Cruzeiro magazine, similar to Life or
Lucy and their children, Bruno, Fabio and Paula – are the first family of cinema in Brazil. Since the founding of the family production company, LCBarreto, 50 years ago, the Barretos have, in one capacity or another, helped make more than 80 films, the latest of which, Lula, Son of Brazil, opened in the United States in January. © 2012 New York Times News service
In the history of Brazilian cinema,
Those films – in a variety of styles and genres ranging from romantic comedies like Bossa Nova to political dramas like
Memoirs of Prison – have won prizes at Cannes, been nominated for Academy Awards, jump-started the careers of actors and directors and set box-office records.
“Crucially, Luiz Carlos Barreto covered movie stories and got to know directors like Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Glauber Rocha and Carlos Diegues.” Look, first as a reporter and then also as a photographer. He met Lucy, then a music student, while on an assignment, and they married in 1954. Crucially, Luiz Carlos Barreto covered movie stories and got to know directors like Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Glauber Rocha and Carlos Diegues, associated with what by the early 1960s was evolving into the Cinema Novo movement. That eventually led to an invitation to write the screenplay of
From left: Brazilian filmmakers Paula Barretos, luiz Carlos Barretos and lucy Barretos at their apartment in New york. since the founding of their family production company 50 years ago, the Barretos have helped make more than 80 films. March 2012
Assault On the Pay Train, a commercial success in 1962 and one of the first films of the gritty, socially engaged Cinema Novo to win attention and awards at international festivals. “From the beginning the Cinema Novo was a movement that was as much political and ideological as cinematic,” Luiz Carlos Barreto, his bushy eyebrows rising and falling, said during an interview in January at the family’s New York apartment on the Upper West Side. When
the backyard listening to a conversation
Assault On the Pay Train, which had all those elements, exploded at the box office, that gave us credibility.” He was then enlisted as the cinematographer on Pereira dos Santos’ Barren Lives and as cinematographer and producer of Rocha’s Earth Entranced, both of which won prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. True to the Cinema Novo’s
and explain things to me, like the dialectic
between the Italian neo-realist director Roberto Rossellini, in Rio for a film festival, and Glauber Rocha and other leading figures of the Cinema Novo. “It was very exciting, like a seminar on film, to hear them discussing Eisenstein’s films and all of that,” Bruno Barreto said of those days during a telephone interview from Rio. “They were always very encouraging to me and gave me tips. Glauber in particular would always stop of editing, perhaps because that was a way
of explaining things to himself.” By the mid-1960s Lucy Barreto, now 78, was also getting involved in the production company, which eventually also set up a distribution arm. Directors and actors who have worked with the Barretos describe her as the
“From the beginning the Cinema Novo was a movement that was as much political and ideological as cinematic.”
most pragmatic member of the team, a characterisation she embraces. “For me everything is a question of cost and benefit,” she said emphatically, shaking her head and her flaming red hair. “I’m a details person. If you think a film is going to gross X, then its cost can’t exceed Y. This is a risky business, and you can’t be guessing.”
motto that all that is necessary to make a
Both Luiz Carlos and Lucy Barreto have
film is “an idea in the head and a camera in the hand,” both of those influential
also tried their hand at directing, he with
works, as well as many others that went
a documentary, This Is Pele, and she with
on to great success in Brazil and abroad,
Grupo Corpo: A Brazilian Family, about
were edited in the small guest house
the dance troupe of that name. But both
behind the Barretos’ home in Rio.
say they prefer producing.
“Luiz Carlos was 10 or 12 years older
“I don’t have the temperament to be
than most of the rest of us, which meant
a director,” he said. “I don’t have that
he was one of the few to have a home
obsession, that neurosis you have to have.
and wife, the normal life of a married
I don’t want to define the temperament
man,” Diegues recalled. “So his house
of a director – ” His daughter, Paula,
became a home away from home for all of us, a place where we not only worked, but plotted and planned on behalf of Brazilian cinema.” Attentively observing all this were the Barretos’ children. Bruno, the oldest, born in 1955, has vivid memories of afternoons like one when he was 10 and sitting in
top: Fabio Barreto directed O Quatrilho, which was Oscar-nominated in the Best Foreign language Film category in 1996. middle and above: two years later his brother, Bruno Barreto, received the same nomination for directing Four Days in september.
laughingly broke in to say, “so as not to complicate things with your sons.” But, Barreto continued, being a director “creates a deformity in people’s souls. You become the inventor of lives, situations. You become an alchemist.” His shift from cinematographer and screenwriter to producer was more the Portfolio
result of circumstance than design. During
of them. “Fabio is more intuitive, while
would take place in the Amazon; Lucy
his years as a reporter, he had come to
Bruno is more cerebral in his approach
and Paula are at work on a film about the
know many politicians and bankers – the
to cinema. He has an incredible technical
American poet Elizabeth Bishop’s 16-year
people who held the key to obtaining the
knowledge, and even when he was 20,
sojourn in Brazil, with Bruno Barreto as
money needed to make films – and so was
when we were making Dona Flor, he had
able to “open doors for the rest of us,” as
the bearing of a person who was older.”
Pires has already signed on to play the
But in December 2009, less than a
aristocratic landscape architect Carlota de
Diegues put it.
month before Lula had its premiere in
Macedo Soares, Bishop’s lover, in the film,
ended, its finish hastened by political
Brazil, Fabio Barreto, who is two years
which is scheduled to begin shooting in
repression, some of the movement’s
younger than his brother, was in a serious
May. This will be Pires’ fifth movie with
leading figures, like Glauber Rocha, had
car accident that left him in a coma. Though
the Barretos, so by now she knows what
difficulty adapting. But not the Barretos:
he now responds to some external stimuli,
In the 1970s and 1980s their production
after installation of a brain pacemaker in
“They speak frankly to each other,
company had global hits like Dona Flor
May 2011, he remains incapacitated. “I’m
without subterfuge,” she said. “There’s
and Diegues’ Bye Bye Brazil, and in the
religious, so I have a lot of hope and faith,”
always a clarity that I think ends up
1990s they twice won Oscar nominations
his mother said. “I think that if he survived
improving the film, which is, after all,
for best foreign-language film, for Fabio
the trauma, which was so severe, it was so
their common point of interest. When
Barreto’s O Quatrilho and Bruno Barreto’s
that he can return to us.”
there are divergences, they seek a
When the Cinema Novo period
Four Days in September (1997). “The boys are both very fine directors, and sweethearts to work with, but they are very different in their approach,” Braga, who has filmed with both brothers, said
Brazil’s former first lady marisa leticia (C) poses with luiz Carlos and lucy Barreto who produced the film lula O Filho do Brasil (lula, son of Brazil), which centres on her husband’s life, former President of Brazil luiz inácio ‘lula’ da silva.
Though Luiz Carlos and Lucy have been
consensus. But they never stop being a
giving more authority to Paula in recent
family, so at times it’s mother talking to
years, both remain active. He wants to
sons, husband talking to wife. That aspect
move the company into animated films
is always there, and in the end, you get
and has been seeking partners for one that
caught up in their passion.” n
UNESCO World Heritage Sites can mean big business, but it can also threaten the very places that need protection, reports Steven Erlanger.
But World Heritage can also be an odd
orld Heritage is
it is designed to protect with all the less-
big business, bringing
savoury aspects of mass travel, from chain
business, giving recognition to traditions
hordes of tourists to poor
hotels and restaurants to the impact of
(like premodern tribal dances and giant
countries that can use the jobs and the
thousands of sport-shoed feet treading on
French family meals) that might have
cash. It can also overwhelm the very sites
little aesthetic value to any group except
Tourists visit the Saint Paul Subterranean River in Sabang, western Philippines, one of the countryâ€™s major tourist attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is under threat from climate change.
the one that practices it. Whatever the merits, the United
the Leaning Tower of Pisa (the whole Piazza del Duomo, to be fair) and Venice
Nations Educational, Scientific and
and its lagoon. Jordan has Petra and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has
Wadi Rum. France even lists the banks
embraced the concept. In fact, UNESCO
of the Seine.
loves heritage so much that it has created two treaties to enshrine it. The first, the World Heritage
Russia has the Kremlin, Red Square and Lake Baikal. The United States lists Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and
Convention, dating from 1972, builds
the Everglades (cited as endangered).
on the notion of the US national parks
Independence Hall is on the list, but not
system, which was set up to defend a
the White House. Funny, that.
wild landscape before it disappeared.
Luxembourg pretty much lists itself;
The second, the Convention for the
Afghanistan includes the sad remains of
Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural
the great Buddhas of Bamiyan, blown up
Heritage, was introduced in 2003 to
by the Taliban.
defend traditions, not places, and is more controversial. Some 188 nations have ratified the
The Marshall Islands has one listing only: the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site. Some distinction, to put it
first convention. To date, there are 725
gently: to cite for preservation a place of
cultural, 183 natural and 28 properties
devastation consecrated to the potential
combining the two, in 153 countries. The
end of everything.
World Heritage list represents a catalogue
In his book Disappearing World: The Earthâ€™s Most Extraordinary and
of marvels. Italy, needless to say, includes
Endangered Places, Alonzo Addison, a director in UNESCOâ€™s external relations department, arranges sites in varying degrees of distress from a variety of causes, including conflict, theft, development, pollution, invaders and tourism. Conflict is the most obvious threat, whether in Afghanistan, Kosovo or around the Preah Vihear temple on the border of Cambodia and Thailand, where there have been three armed clashes since the temple was listed. The Darfur crisis has done extraordinary damage to the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to the northern white rhinoceros there, killed for horns by militias seeking to buy arms, Addison notes. But most troubling may be the unintended consequences of mass tourism. Nations want to promote these sites for income. And good or bad,
Crowds of tourists head for Angkor Wat in Cambodia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has more than 200 hotels nearby, putting pressure on the temple complex and the environment.
Addison said in an interview, “The world is more global and some sites can’t deal with all the tourists,” whether it’s Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat. (UNESCO is now trying to put Machu Picchu on the list of endangered sites.) In 2008, The New York Times wrote about the impact on a little town in northern Japan after the naming of the long-disused Iwami silver mines as a World Heritage site. With about 400 inhabitants and little infrastructure, Omori was inundated with hundreds of thousands of tourists, wanting to check off the new site. Norimitsu Onishi’s article described how one 90-year-old man woke up one day to find three tourists relaxing on a sofa inside his house. “The dark side, of course, is consumption,” said Francesco Bandarin, assistant director-general of UNESCO and head of its World Heritage Centre, speaking of the consumerism that so often surrounds heritage sites. “And consumption and preservation do not go together.” If a site is “within an hour of REUTERS
a harbour,” he added, “it becomes inundated by a flood of tourism and geysers of money.” Angkor, long isolated by war and the
More than 2,400 tourists visit Machu Picchu daily during the dry season, creating huge erosion problems.
Khmer Rouge, he said, now has 200 hotels nearby. “This is a big problem now,” Bandarin said. “The tourism industry has a lot of power in many poor countries but a short-term vision.” UNesCo Has drawn more criticism for its second convention, which focuses not on place, but on traditions. The Intangible Cultural Heritage list has been adding what are called “elements” only since 2008. So far, 139 countries have signed the convention, but not the United States. As Addison said, “Even the word ‘intangible’ is hard for average people to get their heads around.” There are 267 traditions enshrined
so far, with 27 described as “in need of urgent safeguarding,” including “the watertight-bulkhead technology of
Leptis Magna, a Roman city in Libya, has escaped mass tourism so far. But this could change when the new government starts promoting tourism. Portfolio
Chinese junks.” The regular list includes oral traditions and performances, social rituals and crafts – from Cambodia’s Royal Ballet to Indonesian puppet theatre. And, perhaps peculiarly, the French gastronomic meal. Cecile Duvelle, the anthropologist in charge of UNESCO’s section for Intangible Cultural Heritage, fiercely defends it to those who think the idea too vague and subjective. “The word ‘intangible’ is recent, but the concept is old: the idea of nonmaterial culture and REUTERS
traditions,” she said. The point, she emphasised, is not to “preserve and protect, which is to freeze something, but to safeguard.” Traditions can change as they are passed down, she noted, as a kind of living heritage that is
Protesters gathered outside Bangkok’s UNESCO building to demand the delisting of the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site in 2011. Fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops over the 12th century temple has turned into Southeast Asia’s bloodiest border dispute in years.
continually recreated and evolving, yet
last April where some 60 celebrity chefs
concerns about its implications for
provides a sense of identity. In return
largely prepared meals elsewhere that
intellectual property rights, Washington’s
for listing them, governments commit to
were trucked in and warmed up on
ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion,
specific actions to promote, support and
portable workstations for celebrity guests
says that: “World Heritage is critically
encourage them, whether it is a matter of
and the news media.
important.” Countries fight hard “for
altering or creating curriculums or even stopping deforestation.
Now there is talk, at least, of taking the
the cultural branding rights,” he said.
recognition away because the state has
He points out that Herbie Hancock,
not done much to safeguard the tradition
a UNESCO goodwill ambassador,
tHe traditioNs on the list are
except to advertise it abroad under the
would like to see jazz recognised as an
not judged on whether they are especially
slogan, “So French, So Good!”
beautiful, let alone marvellous. Rather, they represent the world’s diversity.
While the United States has hesitated to sign the Intangible convention, citing
And Paducah, Kentucky, is pushing for quilting. n
Their inclusion implies that they may be in danger from modernisation and globalisation. “The value,” Duvelle said, “is for the community, not for the world.” Inclusion on the list can, however, lead to manipulation. The French gastronomic meal, enshrined in 2010, is one example. It is meant to preserve the lavish family occasion that marks major life events: births, communions, weddings, birthdays, exam results, deaths. It recognises “that the French community puts a gastronomic meal at the centre of its celebration of REUTERS
life,” said Duvelle, herself French. UNESCO was not pleased that threestar French chefs used the designation to try to promote themselves, culminating in a grotesque celebration at Versailles March 2012
The Lascaux Cave in southwestern France contains some of the most well-known Upper Paleolithic art, estimated to be 16,000 years old. It was closed to the public in 1963 in order to preserve the art.
Hands On Cuisine Although in many cultures eating with your hands is traditional, in Western restaurants it is generally frowned upon. But that is now changing, reports Sarah Digregorio.
Julie Sahni vividly rememberS the first time she had to eat with utensils. Sahni, a New York-based cookbook author and cooking teacher, grew up in India eating the traditional way, with her right hand. Then, in college, she won a dance competition that would take her to Europe. How, she wondered, would she eat? The answer was a three-day immersion course in Western dining etiquette, which progressed from soup (don’t let the spoon clatter on the bowl) to green beans (spear them without sending them into your neighbour’s lap) and finally to a slippery hard-boiled egg. Sahni, 66, mastered the knife and fork, but she has never really liked them. “Eating with the hands evokes great emotion,” she said. “It kindles something very warm and gentle and caressing. Using a fork is unthinkable in traditional Indian eating. It is almost like a weapon.” Eating with the hands is common in many areas of the world, including parts of Asia and much of Africa and
© 2012 New York Times News service
the Middle East. But until recently, you would have been hard-pressed to find many restaurants in the United States or Europe – especially those with $20 or $30 entrees – where digging in manually was encouraged. Now, several high-profile chefs are asking diners to get their hands dirty, in the belief that it heightens the
Patrons eat with their hands at Chef Roy Choi’s restaurant, A-Frame, in Los Angeles. Several high-profile chefs are encouraging diners to dig in manually, in the belief that it heightens the sensual connection to food and softens the formality. Portfolio
sensual connection to food and softens the formality of fine dining. When the chef Roy Choi surveys the busy dining room of A-Frame, his restaurant in Los Angeles, only one thing can dampen his mood: cutlery. “I see people cutting kalbi ribs like a steak, and it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard,” he said. A-Frame, whose eclectic menu Choi says was inspired by Hawaiian cuisine, is utensils-optional. Although a basket of silverware is provided at each table, when the grilled chop or market salad arrives, servers advise customers that they’ll be missing out if they pick up a fork. “Then there are a lot of questions like ‘Am I really supposed to?’ and ‘Is there something else I need?’” Choi said. “But the moment we answer ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ people usually just go for it.” He had thought he might have to provide finger bowls, as many restaurants do in other countries, but hands-on eating proved to be much neater than expected. “You eat with conviction and passion when using your hands,” Choi said. “I hope that people let their guard down and throw out some of the rules we have regarding etiquette and connect like animals.” Etiquette, as a matter of fact, is central to most traditions of hand-to-mouth March 2012
eating; the artfulness and ritual of the practice is part of what people love about it. Hand-washing often comes first. In Muslim communities, a prayer of thanks comes next. Only then can one reach – with just the right hand – to eat. And dining with the hands is not necessarily easy: In some regions, including parts of India, it is most polite to use your thumb, pointer and middle finger, and to let only the first two joints of those fingers touch the food.
“They regard this essential aspect of the cuisine with a kind of embarrassment.” Details differ from place to place, but often rice or flatbread is used to ferry food to the mouth as in Indian roti and naan, Ethiopian injera or Middle Eastern pita. Central and Southern Africans pound root vegetables or corn into starchy mashes like fufu or ugali; you’re meant to pull off a bite-size ball and use it as an edible scoop. Sahni refuSeS to eat Indian food with a knife and fork, even in the most formal South Asian restaurants in New York. “I don’t care if I’m all dressed up, if everyone else is eating with a knife and fork, if the wine pairing is $80,” she said. “It’s essential.”
The A-Frame restaurant offers a menu inspired by Hawaiian cuisine. Dirrane Cove eats a crispy okra dish with her hands during dinner at the upscale New York restaurant Tulsi.
When she reaches in with her right hand, others are often happy to follow suit. But it wasn’t always that way. She remembers an Indian restaurant in Manhattan that, in the 1970s, had unofficial sections for Indians and nonIndians. She says the owners explained that Indians didn’t want non-Indians to see them eating with their hands and that Westerners didn’t want to see it, either. Today, the writer Amitav Ghosh says he doesn’t go to Indian restaurants in Portfolio
Hemant Mathur, owner and chef of Tulsi, encourages patrons to forego cutlery.
London and New York because eating
of touch is integral to good eating, he eats
Hollywood. “It brings us back to our
with hands is discouraged. “They regard
just about everything except soup with his
childhood, and it seems to lighten the
this essential aspect of the cuisine with a
hands. He even named his new cookbook
mood in the room.”
kind of embarrassment,” he said.
after the practice: Eat With Your Hands,
In the United States, most run-ofthe-mill restaurants, with the exception
to be released in April. “I eat with my hands today, and not just
A glimmer of this idea has even made it to the White House. When the New York chef Marcus Samuelsson prepared
of Ethiopian spots, do not forbid the
because it would be a serious shame to let
the state dinner for India’s prime minister
practice, but do not encourage it, either.
utensils slow me down,” Pelaccio writes.
in 2009, he included a bread course
“It has become a sort of philosophy of
(unusual at such events) of naan and corn
mine – a metaphor for life.”
bread with dips. “What could be better
One Manhattan restaurant that does encourage it is Tulsi, Hemant Mathur’s upscale Indian outpost in midtown.
In Los Angeles, Bistronomics, a
than for people who don’t know each
Upon delivering dishes like goat curry
long-running pop-up restaurant inside
other, from all over the world, to break
with roti or stewed chickpeas with puffy
Breadbar, presented a no-utensils menu
bread together?” he said.
bread, servers tell patrons they are best
last spring. The $65 prix fixe, created
eaten with the hands.
by the chefs Jet Tila and Alex Ageneau,
US fine dining evolves, flatware may
included dishes like salt cod croquettes
become more and more optional. “I
and Fatty Cue, the chef, Zakary Pelaccio,
with zucchini puree and grilled lamb
think there will be a four-star restaurant
provides silverware but hopes that the
chops with carrot confit. The chefs plan
where knives and forks are used, but not
nature of his signature dishes, like chilli
another dinner like it this spring.
for every course,” he said. “‘Great’ does
At the New York restaurants Fatty Crab
crab and barbecue, will inspire diners to use their hands. Convinced that the sense March 2012
“It creates more of a social atmosphere,” said Tila, who grew up in
In fact, Samuelsson expects that as
not have to mean one narrative, the European narrative.” n
A woman looks towards the 2012 Olympics stadium in London’s East End. A core part of London’s Olympic Games bid was to revitalise the area.
An Olympic CAnvAs © 2012 New York Times News service
London’s East End is being revitalised by the 200-hectare Olympic Park. But to truly understand the area’s past and present you need to go on a guided tour, reports Elaine Glusac.
EvEn on uncharactEristically
of other construction-site rubberneckers
epicentre of the competition, which begins
sunny days, it’s a lonely walk from the
clogging the sidewalk.
27 July. Though sailing races will be held
closest tube stop to London’s forthcoming
The tourist crush was seemingly
in Weymouth and Portland, and football
200-hectare Olympic Park. But after
what the Olympic bid committee had in
matches around the country, most of the
reaching the 80,000-seat Olympic
mind when it proposed London’s East
games will take place in this industrial
Stadium – skeleton in place and awaiting
End, about a dozen Underground stops
wasteland now poised for a turnaround.
its exterior sheeting – I found hundreds
northeast of fixtures like Big Ben, as the
But long before the Olympics came to Portfolio
Essentials Culture town, the East End played a leading if
as we ascended the Greenway, a seven-
The tour ended at the View Tube, a
shadowy role in London’s history. In
kilometre elevated footpath that follows
neon green shipping-container-turned-
past decades, few tourists may have felt
the area’s sewage system and skirts
community centre. Its Container Cafe,
compelled to visit an area known for
Olympic Park (“Sometimes we get a
posted with local artwork and populated
abandoned warehouses and Jack the
whiff, but it smells quite good today,” our
by lingering coffee sippers, offers the
Ripper’s murder spree. Now two tours
guide observed). Roughly 1.6 kilometres
tour’s only glimpse of residents in the
reframe the area, in the first case as a
from our start, we joined other groups
Olympic area, a mix of scruffy artists,
shining new home for the Olympics,
milling in front of the construction
quiet pensioners and working-class
and in the second as a collection of vivid
zone to survey the stadium, the distant
mothers shepherding their children to an
neighbourhoods that once absorbed
stingray-shaped aquatics centre designed
the worst of the bombing in World
by Zaha Hadid, and the Orbit Tower,
War II, gave birth to the Salvation
a viewing platform designed by the
converting the stadium to a home for one
Army, inspired George Orwell and Jack
sculptor Anish Kapoor. Strolling north,
of the area’s professional football teams;
London and now is home to a mix of
we glimpsed the white cube that will
the swim centre to a community pool;
striving immigrants and artists.
host basketball games and the elliptical,
and the athlete’s village to affordable
“The bid was predicated on a part of
wood-clad velodrome by Hopkins
housing. But a tour of Olympic Park
London that was sorely in need of help,”
Architects nicknamed the ‘Pringle’.
reveals little about local life in East
After the Games, plans include
said Steven Back, a Blue Badge guide with Tour Guides, who led me and 12 other visitors on a two-hour Olympic Walk departing from the Bromley-byBow tube station. “The East is the only direction in which London could grow.” Standing before the restored 1776 House Mill, Back described the area during the years before the Industrial Revolution as “London’s breadbasket,” where agricultural fields banked the Lea River, and mills processed grain. Industrialisation transformed the area, introducing soap factories, leather tanneries and chemical plants that polluted the air and water but remained downwind of posh districts to the west. Pockets of gentrification in East London predate Olympic efforts. Shouldering a tripod, a cameraman stopped to ask directions to nearby 3 Mills Studio, the largest sound-stage
Never Let Me Go and Sherlock Holmes II, and currently engaged in preparing for the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies. Despite a few apartment buildings and funky houseboats lining the canals, the Olympic vicinity of East London felt empty, with construction cranes appearing to outnumber people. That sense of desertion changed March 2012
in London, used by the filmmakers of
British artist Anish Kapoor unveiled a scale model of his design, the ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’, for London’s Olympic Park in March 2010.
Visitors are already being drawn to London’s 200-hectare Olympic Park. In the background is the finished version of Kapoor’s Orbit viewing platform.
London, which is considered Britain’s
one-on-one tours that range from one
minutes late. I found my tall, bearded
gateway for immigrants, with large
to four hours. The organisation’s 22
escort, a retired engineer’s model-maker,
concentrations from Bangladesh, Africa
volunteer guides cover the five East
patiently waiting outside the Hackney
and the Caribbean.
London boroughs, as well as Camden
Central train station.
in Central London. For a more insiderly tour of the
Arrangements require emailing the
Hackney made a jumbled first impression. Ethnic restaurants range from
East End, I contacted the new London
Greenwich-based service at least two
African to Vietnamese. A Greek Orthodox
Greeters service. Founded last February,
weeks before a visit. I expressed an
church is nearby a fashion school. A
London Greeters offers free, resident-led,
interest in art, aiming for Shoreditch or
Victorian-era theatre has a weedy tree
Hoxton on the list of neighbourhoods I
growing on its roof.
22 volunteer guides cover the five East London boroughs, as well as Camden in Central London.”
would visit. Three days later, I received
A fuller picture of the area began to
what sounded like a less-than-perfect
form in the Hackney Museum, where
match. A man named Graham Woods was
artefacts included a recreated World
available on my designated date to show
War II air raid shelter with cot and gas
me around Hackney, a working-class area
mask, and exhibitions that charted Asian
with little presence in guidebooks. But in
immigrant waves. Afterward, crossing
premeeting emails, Woods enthusiastically
London Fields (a former meadow for
detailed three itineraries. We settled on
slaughterhouse-bound livestock that is
a two-hour itinerary for which I was 20
now a park with towering London plane Portfolio
trees), we entered a neighbourhood of subsidised apartments built after World War II. As we watched a boy kicking a football on a fenced-in lawn, Woods explained that the brick row houses replaced areas bombed by Nazi pilots aiming for East End factories. His own family’s home here was destroyed, he said. “They said I flew through the window,” Woods said, describing the bombing that left his family uninjured but homeless. “I was two years old. I don’t remember.” We passed three Middle Eastern teenagers in hoodies, a bricklayer tuckpointing an apartment bearing a REUTERS
‘Sold’ sign, and stylish couples hastening down the residential streets en route to The Hopkins Architects-designed velodrome has already been nicknamed the ‘Pringle’.
busy Dalston Lane, where Woods took my arm to avoid careening double-decker buses as we crossed. Now in a bohemian pocket known as Dalston, we looked in on a café called FARM:shop, which grows much of its own produce, raises fish in tanks surrounding the tables, and draws 20-something laptop-tappers at this between-meals hour. We stopped to see the flower-filled Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, a community garden in an abandoned rail yard, then climbed four storeys to the top of a onetime paint factory, now home to the funky Dalston
Customers in the FARM:shop, which grows much of its produce in the East End.
Roof Park with raised herb beds and a bright turquoise shed-cum-bar. In the former factory next door we peeked into Arcola Theatre, spying on a pair of sweaty actors blocking a fight scene onstage, and an eclectic music club called Cafe Oto where hipsters clad in retro plaid capris and muscle Ts chatted over the jazz on the sound system. Though our two-hour plan stretched into three, Woods insisted on escorting me by train to my next appointment in nearby Shoreditch.
The Olympics, I learned from my first guided exploration, has already created An aerial view shows the London 2012 Olympic Games Park, with the Parklands area in the foreground. March 2012
A shop front on Columbia Road in Hackney. This working-class area is being put on the tourist map by the Olympics.
a new destination in the East End. But the Greeters service gives the existing place a face. n
HE LAST CADILLAC SRX I drove had a lot going for it, but it had two fundamental
weaknesses: the engine and the gearbox. The then standard 3.0-litre V6 only started exhibiting some torque at around 5,100 revs. But when you did a kick down you’d land at around 2,000 revs, which meant every time you wanted power it wasn’t there. In short, the engine was underpowered and the gearbox didn’t mate with it properly. Fortunately, the 3.0-litre and the turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 – which was plagued by turbo lag and nonlinear power delivery – has been consigned to the scrapheap. The 2012 SRX comes standard with a new 3.6-litre direct-injected V-6 with continuously variable valve timing
THE RIGHT STUFF The 2012 Cadillac SRX is irrefutable evidence that General Motors is back with a vengeance, reports Guido Duken.
that delivers 308 horsepower (230kW) and 359 Nm of torque. Even better news
by a button marked ‘eco’, which sits next
is that peak torque is achieved at a low
to the gear lever. In eco the transmission
2,400 rpm and continues through to
switches to a fuel-conscious algorithm
5,300 rpm. That’s a definite improvement
that gears up early and resists downshifts.
on the old 3.0-litre engine with its output
Sport mode definitely increases
of 265 horsepower (197kW) and 302 Nm.
performance, but I didn’t note much of a
I didn’t have to drive more than 500 metres to make up my mind that the
decrease in eco mode. The SRX has always had its suspension
3.6-litre engine is miles better than its
set on the right side of sporty, and
predecessors. Acceleration is smooth,
although it’s been tweaked for a smoother
continuous and the revs aren’t shy of
ride you’ll be disappointed if you’re
red lining at 7,200 rpm. The six-speed
expecting a super cushy limousine ride.
automatic has been carried over from the
Hit a rut hard and you’ll feel it, but in
previous 3.0-litre V-6, but its computer has
normal conditions the ride is comfortable,
undergone a thorough reeducation. The
smooth and never sloppy. The four-wheel
transmission now upshifts and downshifts
independent suspension system makes for
predictably, always landing in the sweet
good cornering at speed, with little body
spot as far as power is concerned, with the
roll, aided by the standard all-wheel drive.
net result that the SRX now inspires the
The rack-and-pinion hydraulic steering
driver with a confidence that was lacking
system – which offers a variable-effort,
in previous models.
speed-sensitive steering system as an
The six-speed automatic has four
The six-speed automatic comes with new software and has four driving modes. The button marked ‘eco’ switches to a fuelconscious algorithm.
option – is biased towards sport sedan-
modes. There’s ‘normal’ for everyday
style driving. The steering resistance
that works in concert with the standard
use, while moving the shifter to the
requires an ounce of effort, the feedback
left accesses sport mode. In sport,
is good and the SRX goes exactly where
braking system. No problem with the
the transmission holds gears longer,
you’re aiming it. In my opinion the SRX’s
stopping power, but the brake pedal feels
downshifts earlier, and resists moving
cornering ability is beyond reproach for a
fairly lifeless, something I noticed on the
into the top gears. Manual control is also
Camaro as well.
available, if sport mode isn’t to your liking.
Stopping power is handled by the
The cabin is well insulated from the
The fourth transmission mode is accessed
StabiliTrak electronic stability control
outside world, with little wind noise and Portfolio
tyre noise is absent except on some of the rougher tar roads. As for the interior, the Cadillac designers have applied the maxim if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In other words the 2012 SRX looks the same as the previous model. The dash still features Cadillac’s familiar pop-up navigation, the cargo area still has the U-Rack storage setup, and the sound system is still the potent eight-speaker Bose unit. However, interior door lock switches have been added to the door panels (and retained on the centre console) and Bluetooth is now standard on the base model. IN FACT, the SRX puts some of its competitors to shame with an array of standard equipment that includes leather-
The SRX has an extra stowage space under the cargo area floor. The cargo area itself still has the popular U-rack storage system.
trimmed seating, keyless access, rear-view camera system, front seats with eight-way
along with a chromed-out grille that
fact, this luxury crossover has been a
driver’s adjustment, power sunroof, and a
comfortably straddles the line between
certifiable hit for General Motors that
rear floor console with audio controls and
glam and gangster. The hunched rear
has brought in new buyers from all sorts
end gives the SRX an aura of menace.
of desirable demographics. When I drove
The base SRX comes standard with
the previous SRX I thought close but
expressive ‘art and science’ design to date
18-inch wheels, while the 20-inchers on
no cigar. But now, thanks to the new
with some fine attention to detail such
the Luxury Collection model have a new
engine, the General Motors folks have
as its vertical tail lamps that are actually
every reason to be grinning like Cheshire
The exterior is Cadillac’s most
small fins, a fine touch of nostalgia
In the US the Cadillac SRX has moved
cats. The SRX is now a major league
without being kitsch. Cadillac’s iconic
from number nine in its segment to
contender for anyone who has $45,000
vertical headlamps dominate the front
number two behind the Lexus RX. In
to spend on some good wheels. ■
A Taxing Drive It was at least the fifth raid
The Italian police are working hard at netting tax offenders. Their modus
targeting wealthy Italians since
operandi is to set up checkpoints where
a December sweep at the posh
they stop motorists, mainly targeting the
Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort,
drivers of luxury cars.
where 251 high-end cars were stopped, including Ferraris and
halted more than 350 vehicles,
Lamborghinis. Rome, Portofino on
mostly luxury SUVs and Porsches. At
the Italian Riviera and Florence
checkpoints, including one adjacent to
have also been targeted.
In Milan in January the police
the fashionable Corso Como, the police
Italian authorities are applying to
got the driver’s license and registration,
luxury-car owners the same logic they
¤30,000 for 2010 and 2009. Another 19
which they passed on to the national
displayed more than a year ago, when tax
luxury cars were owned by businesses,
tax agency. The tax authorities will use
agents started tracking down the owners
which posted a loss in the previous year.
the data to check if the cars’ owners had
of yachts berthed in Italy’s harbours to see
This is a serious problem for the Italian
declared enough income – and of course
if they were current on their tax payments.
government, which estimates that tax
paid the right amount of income taxes –
In the raid in Cortina D’Ampezzo, tax
evasion costs the country about ¤120
agents found that 42 luxury car owners
to justify their lifestyles.
had declared income of less than
billion a year in lost revenue.
‘Winterpeg’ Buys Snow While Europe dealt with a severe cold snap, the Canadian city of Winnipeg had the opposite problem. gETTy imagES
Winnipeg – often nicknamed ‘Winterpeg’ for its harsh winters – enjoyed its third gETTy imagES
mildest January in
Untying the Knot
more than a century
most married couples check into
with an average
hotels for a romantic break, but a new
Jim Halfens, who said he spotted a
concept in the Netherlands is more of
gap in the market in a country where
a break-up affair by providing couples
the average divorce can easily run into
with a swift and cheap divorce.
five figures and take months to
temperature of -10.8 Celsius. The warm temperature caused a snow shortage for the first time in 48 years for the annual Festival du Voyageur, a popular snow-sculpting event that attracts
The concept, called the ‘Divorce
it is the brainchild of entrepreneur
complete. Halfens uses a number of
international artists. As a result the city had to truck
Hotel’ helps husbands and wives to
high-end boutique hotels around the
in 200 loads of fake snowflakes for the event.
arrange all the necessary legal
country, including the Carlton
documentation to end their marriage
ambassador Hotel in The Hague.
The story has been pretty much the same over the rest of Canada, creating a shortage of real snow.
over the course of just two days.
The Canadians can thank a flip-flop in air pressure
They meet a mediator and a series of
process and are rigorously screened
patterns for the mild winter, which has funnelled
lawyers behind closed doors who will
by the divorce hotel legal team. if the
warmer southwest air across the Prairies. Nearly all of
split assets, agree alimony payments
husbands and wives are squabbling,
the country’s main grain-growing region has received
and arrange visitation rights – all for
or barely on speaking terms, they are
below-normal precipitation since 5 November.
a fixed fee.
deemed unsuitable for the process.
Couples have to apply to use the
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