Little Bits of Asia

A while back I asked about EU policies toward China. There’s now a section on the Europa server devoted to just that question.

“There will soon be more people living in the city of Bombay than on the continent of Australia. … Bombay is the future of urban civilisation on the planet. God help us.” (p. 3)

“[W]orldwide, a billion more people a year buy tickets to Indian movies than to Hollywood ones. … When every other country’s cinema had fallen before Hollywood, India met Hollywood the Hindu way. It welcomed it, swallowed it whole and regurgitated it. What went in blended with everything that had existed before and came back out with ten new heads.” (p. 321)

“What is a South Asian? Someone who watches Hindi movies. Someone whose being fills up with pleasure when he or she hears, Mere Sapnon ki rani or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Here is our national language; here is our common song.” (p. 323)

“A wide assortment of cousins and uncles peoples the marriage. One works on an oil rig in Abu Dhabi; another is a property dealer in Bombay who spent six years in Nigeria getting rich off the currency scam in the 190s.” (pp. 430-31)
— From Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta

“[Ms. Zhang] has come to realize what all people who want to change China eventually learn: the current system is at a dead end, but its death is not in sight.” (p. 273)
— From Wild Grass by Ian Johnson

“Anita Jain reported in the Financial Times last week that India has ’10 discount airlines planning to enter the market over the next 18 months.'”
— From Slate

“On July 18th, Shanghai’s first budget airline made its maiden flight from Shanghai?s Hongqiao Airport.”
— From the Economist’s August 2005 Shanghai update

And finally, back on July 9, the perceptive Mark Leonard had a terrific article in the dead-tree edition of the Financial Times on China’s role in global economics and politics. It’s online here.

The Last Foreign Correspondent

This is really a case of two stories in search of a common theme: a theme, that is, which goes beyond the rather random unifying factor of the work of Shanghai based ‘foreign correspondent’ Fons Tuinstra. In fact both points emerged from browsing his blog.

In the first place we have the problem with the uses and abuses of statistics – an issue which surfaced once more this week with the outrageous use of the carefully crafted 7% Japanese GDP growth number (those looking for a rather more jaundiced – not to say realistic – view on this, could do worse than consult Bloomberg’s ever intelligent William Pesek).

But Fons target this week is not the investor-seeking financial press, but rather his own compatriots, the Dutch politicians, and how they have turned the creative use of statistics into an art form, for, as he says:”Dealing with figures is an art: the Dutch call themselves the Chinese of Europe, for a good reason.”
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