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Arts & Entertainment "Beauty in art is often nothing but ugliness subdued." The written word, the spoken word, performance art, visual art. What is "Art?" From television advertising to opera, comic books to classic literature, vacation snapshots to the Sistine Chapel Frescoes; we are exposed to art every day. What is art to you?

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Old 26-07-2010, 04:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Teak Door Library

more of a heads up and fyi for any interested as opposed to a thread , though that in no way is meant to stifle discussion on the topic.




Thiha Yarzar was housed in cell 51, in a cell range of 60 white concrete cells with iron bars for a door. There was nothing inside but a thin bamboo mat for a bed and two ceramic bowls for a toilet.

Out of 140 death row prisoners, five were political prisoners with death sentences. Three of those were Thiha, his fifteen year-old brother-in-law Myo Aung, and Bamin Dhit, who gave his name and location to police after being tortured.

Four more political prisoners, who did not receive death sentences, were also jailed there as a form of mental torture.

Three other death row prisoners had been students with Thi Ha.

“How did it come to this? We just wanted to study peacefully. None of us wanted to take up arms. But, we had to fight for democracy and human rights instead. And now to end up this way… not only me but the others as well.

“Who is responsible? It is the fault of the tyrants, the military leaders. I was angry.

“But, we had no regrets. We were satisfied we had done the right thing. We were at peace.

“I was in prison. But, I was really free in my mind. I encouraged other prisoners on death row not to be afraid.”

Life was about waiting to die for those on death row.


NO EASY ROAD: A Burmese Political Prisoner’s Story – Part 1


NO EASY ROAD: A Burmese Political Prisoner’s Story – Part 2


NO EASY ROAD: A Burmese Political Prisoner’s Story – Part 3

bnionline.net
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sgt Smack

Sgt Smack and the heroin trade revealed
12/09/2010



During the war in Vietnam, the almost pure white powder from the Golden Triangle was a lucrative business for some in the military

Sergeant Smack is the fitting title of a book that centres on Ike Atkinson, a successful US Army Master Sergeant who parlayed street smarts into a brief career as one of the world's leading heroin peddlers, followed by a lifetime behind bars.

Atkinson was the brains and operator of the Thailand end of a heroin epidemic that swept across North America in the late 1960s and early 1970s, even infecting and crippling US troops in the Vietnam war.

More importantly, this book - breathlessly subtitled The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and His Band of Brothers - is the gold standard describing this important niche of history of both the US and Thailand.

Seasoned crime reporter and author Ron Chepesiuk has done what no predecessor bothered.

He has put the solid facts of an important era down in black and white. He has wiped out a dozen myths, uncovered important information and made it impossible for future historians to gild the lily, and let a good story overwrite the facts.

Most spectacularly, Sergeant Smack lays to rest once and for all the insidious Rumour That Would Not Die about heroin trafficking at the time of the Vietnam conflict - the cadaver connection.

Chepesiuk eviscerates the ridiculous rumour of smuggling heroin inside the bodies of US servicemen killed in the Vietnam War. Over the years, but particularly in the very early 1970s, dozens of officials and newsmen spent thousands of hours trying to track down this sensational allegation.

Sergeant Smack even details its origin, in a careless remark by a panicked assistant district attorney in Maryland.

The myth of the cadaver connection has survived, and is still seen. The 2007 movie American Gangster about the fictional life of the real criminal Frank Lucas revived it.

In the movie, Denzel Washington plays Lucas, who very fictionally flies to Thailand for a few days, travels to the heart of the Golden Triangle to arrange some heroin shipments in the bodies of dead GIs, and flies back home.

In real life, Lucas is now a legend in his own mind. His real part in the heroin epidemic was as a dealer in the US, supplied by the Ike Atkinson gang.

When Lucas dies, his epitaph should read: "He fooled the world into believing the cadaver connection."

To a reader at this end of the heroin connection, Sergeant Smack's most interesting sections deal with the opaque Thai involvement in the trade.

Much work remains, but Chepesiuk is the first important writer to reveal the main supplier to the US smuggling gang, Luchai "Chai" Ruviwat.

A Thai-Chinese businessman who invested with Atkinson in the GI hangout Jack's American Star Bar, Luchai remains a shadowy figure. Lured to the US where he was arrested and imprisoned for years, Luchai is still something of a ghost, who no doubt could shed much light on the men in green and in high places who made the heroin trade possible between the Golden Triangle and Bangkok.

Corruption "was just a part of doing business", reports this book, and foreign embassies routinely reported involvement in the heroin trade by senior military, police, government and "the most respected Thai families".
Example: A prominent hotel in central Sukhumvit Road was built on piles of peddled heroin.

But the US military had no moral high ground. Atkinson's team bought, sold and transported heroin from the green cocoon provided by the US military uniforms they wore. Ostensibly employed by the US government and taxpayers, Atkinson's organised group included chiefs, workers, spotters and drug mules.

In fact, the best you could say is that the US military tried to police itself.
In June 1975, after years as a kingpin, Atkinson received his first sentence for drug smuggling - but continued to run his gang from inside prison.

Chepesiuk details the long, tortured task of law enforcement to bust the Atkinson ring. A key event came in mid-1975 when a hapless military customs agent in Bangkok accidentally discovered a huge heroin stash in a teak-furniture shipment by US Army Sgt Jasper Myrick - a front-page story in the Bangkok Post, but a milestone in busting the kingpin and his band of brothers.

Atkinson's operation ended in a combination of arrests and the 1976 US troop withdrawal from Thailand, but the Thai connection merely evolved. The US busted and jailed the chief supplier to the military ring, Luchai. He was only a cog in the supply chain controlled by senior Thai officials - although described apocryphally by US anti-drug agents as Mr Big.

With this book, author Chepesiuk has turned the corner from crime writer to historian. Sergeant Smack is not a "good read" or "worth having in your reference library". It is a vital and necessary source for anyone seeking to understand the intertwining of cross-border crime, recent Thai history, and the mixed emotions of the US military involvement in Thailand during the Vietnam War.

bangkokpost.com
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Old 17-09-2010, 03:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The Teak Door Library

The Railway Atlas of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia
Brendan Whyte
September 17th, 2010

Whyte, Brendan, The Railway Atlas of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia
(White Lotus, Bangkok, 2010).


My book presents detailed maps of three Southeast Asian countries, depicting every known railway, tramway and mass-transit line, public or private, past and present, including cablecars, monorails and miniature railways. The bilingual maps locate and name every station in both the national script and Romanised forms. An extensive text describes the railway history of each country, and for each line gives a detailed commentary on its conception and construction, notable features such as bridges, tunnels and spurs, as well as a chronology, station listing, and reference list.

Appendices explain the Rattanakosin and Buddhist-era dating systems, placename changes, and local units of measurement, provide bilingual historical lists of railway authority officials, and give a glossary of Thai railway terminology. The atlas will prove invaluable for railway enthusiasts and researchers seeking information on the rail systems of three countries whose unique alphabets make accessing information difficult for foreigners.

The book includes: the Khone Island railway in Laos; the two Japanese-built ‘Death Railways’ to Burma; British teak-logging tramways of north Thailand; Australian tin-mining tramways of the south, a 40km cablecar linking Vietnam to Laos; Fashion Island’s deadly monorail fire; King Rama VI’s 15-km coolie-powered tramway to his seaside palace.

Transcriptions of historical newspaper or travelers’ accounts, and extracts from contemporary maps, bring the stories of many forgotten lines to life.



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Old 17-09-2010, 03:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Trainspotting eh? must get an anorak and do some coupling notice the scholarship is from Oz as usual
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Old 26-09-2010, 06:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land

Book Review:Uyghurs Under Siege
Henryk Szadziewski
Friday, 24 September 2010

The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land. By Gardner Bovingdon. 286 pp, Columbia University Press, available from Amazon,US$44.44

New books about the Uyghur people from China's northwest region of Xinjiang are hard to come by. Books that accurately and objectively document the Uyghur political landscape in the face of rapid change are even harder. Gardner Bovingdon's book is therefore a welcome addition to the literature on a complex, but increasingly important subject.

The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land
not only provides a newcomer to the subject with a description of the competing representations of the region's contentious politics, but it also offers those interested in issues of ethnic marginalization a window into the dynamics of government policy and varying forms of organized and everyday resistance.

The publication of this book is timely. Unrest in the regional capital of Urumqi in July 2009 created a wider consciousness of the Uyghur issue. Uyghurs have chafed under Chinese Communist Party rule ever since the People's Liberation Army entered the region in 1949 – an action that ended the short-lived East Turkestan Republic centered in Ghulja. Major areas of contention between the Uyghur and the Chinese Communist government have been increasing economic marginalization, lack of political representation, restrictions on religion and cultural practices, as well as accelerated Han Chinese migration into the area.

Conversely, the Chinese government has emphasized the social and material benefits of Chinese Communist Party administration, and the huge injections of financial capital that have been invested in the region since 2000. Xinjiang is central to China's future, and growing, energy needs as the land it sits on has reserves of oil and gas, and acts as a conduit for natural resources from Central Asia. As a result, Beijing is sensitive about criticism of its policies toward the region, and keeps a tight lid on information.

Bovingdon knows his subject inside out and is an experienced guide to Xinjiang's political landscape. Fluent in Uyghur and Mandarin, the author applies a critical eye to academic, activist and government sources in both languages that unlock competing accounts of the region's politics. Bovingdon emphasizes the importance of these accounts, asserting that in an authoritarian context they represent the only available sources with which to analyze politics.

He adds that the political narratives employed by the Chinese government, overseas Uyghurs and Uyghurs in Xinjiang are not misrepresentations, but are, as Bovingdon states, "the very stuff of politics in Xinjiang." The author goes on to explain that "the main actors are consciously engaged in representing their own actions and those of their opponents as they pursue their political aims."

After carefully navigating the fractious history of the region, Bovingdon discusses one of these narrative forms through the intriguing theme of everyday resistance under repressive regimes. Using his linguistic access to the region, the author illustrates the number of daily public and private ways the Uyghur people defy the Chinese regime. From jokes to songs to stories, Uyghurs invoke the symbols of opposition to Chinese authorities. These varieties of resistance either circulate in trusted private conversations or in allegorical form at public performances.

The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land explains that such resistance is illustrative of the broad scale of Uyghur discontent, and that the scale of that discontent offers an insight into the spontaneous participation of large numbers of Uyghurs in public demonstrations. This observation has clearly been a preoccupation with Chinese officials who have portrayed Uyghur unrest as the work of a small number of separatists, or terrorists, with the guile to misguide others to join their activities.

While Bovingdon points out that repressive government policies employed to silence Uyghur political contention have exacerbated tensions, the number of protest incidents in Xinjiang has fallen sharply since 1998. This is a trend contrary to the number of incidents recorded in China as a whole, and diverges from Chinese government rhetoric that has exaggerated security concerns in the region. The appendix of the book offers a very helpful, and meticulously researched, chronological history of protests and violent events in Xinjiang since 1949.

Bovingdon also tackles the representational politics of the Uyghur Diaspora. Once again, Bovingdon knows his history in what has been a complicated evolution in political thought. The book describes the disagreements the diaspora organizations have had over advocacy for independence, armed struggle and the current call for genuine autonomy. It also introduces the main characters involved in this evolution, and the global migration of the diaspora movement from Turkey to Central Asia to the industrialized democracies of North America and Europe. However, in a rare shortcoming, the book is somewhat out-of-date with the very latest developments among the Diaspora organizations such as the call for dialogue, and the growing documentation of human rights abuses.

Nevertheless, The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land has far much more to offer. The work is also bold, especially if one considers the challenges it makes to the Chinese government on its record in the region. Uyghur studies is an academic field filled with external pressures to comply with the representations of the contending stakeholders; however, Bovingdon's work does well to call it as he sees it. It sets out to describe differing perspectives, and to offer a framework to understand those perspectives.

With the subject of Uyghurs opening to policy-makers, scholars, activists and the general reader, The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land adds substantially to the comprehension of the wider implications of contentious politics in Xinjiang, especially as China assumes greater influence worldwide, and as Central Asia becomes a key player in global energy supplies and security.

Henryk Szadziewski is manager of the Uyghur Human Rights Project in Washington, DC. He can be reached at hszad[at]uhrp.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

asiasentinel.com

Last edited by Mid : 26-09-2010 at 11:36 AM. Reason: add title
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington
October 03, 2010



This book is written as it is spoken by Karl Pilkington who hates travelling and would rather go down the road to eat English food in a beach front café than go touring round the world.

How he was talked into an adventure to see the Seven Wonders of the World by his friends Ricky Gerais and Stephen Merchant is any ones guess. The book is extremely funny and follows their trip giving a detailed insight with thoughts and feelings and a running commentary on places he doesn’t enjoy or understand. The book is well designed with great writing describing in detail his experiences and those of Gervais and Merchant and packed with photos.





An Idiot Abroad is class one genius. Pilkington’s seriously somber and gloomy, but extremely observant presentation with witty comments is excellent. His reactions to the unexpected, is no more than most of us would have, but the unintentional humour in his translation surpasses everything.





Referring to Pilkington as being naturally stupid is an understatement, he is hilariously stupid which will make any semi intelligent person roll with laughter because of his lack of knowledge on everything.

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Old 09-10-2010, 03:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Salman Rushdie : "Luka and the Fire of Life"

Salman Rushdie pens new novel for teens

'Luka and the Fire of Life' was conceived as a present for his son
SYLVIA HUI
2010-10-08

LONDON — Salman Rushdie, the prize-winning Indian-born writer, has in the past based novels on the politics of India and Pakistan. But his latest book is for children, and the inspiration — at least some of it — came from video games.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Rushdie said "Luka and the Fire of Life," his new novel for teenagers, was written as a birthday present for his 13-year-old son, Milan.

The book, a fable about a young boy's adventures as he tries to save his father's life, is the second novel Rushdie has written for children. His first, "Haroun and the Sea of Stories," was written for his older son, Zafar, in 1989, as Rushdie was under threat of death.

A few months earlier, Iran's leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had issued a religious edict, or fatwah, ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie, saying his novel "The Satanic Verses" had insulted Islam.

The new book, Rushdie said Friday, drew inspiration from elements of computer games — though he admitted that he was terrible at the games and his sons usually beat him.

"Video games are often based on a classical quest format. That fits well with a fable," he told the AP. "The book is about the value of life, and in video games you can have a thousand lives. So I contrasted those two things."

Rushdie said much has changed since his first children's book, which he described as a response to being forced into hiding. The fatwah, which came amid angry protests and book burnings across the Muslim world, put Rushdie under police protection for almost 10 years.

"This was a dark time for me and I tried to fill the novel with light and to give it a happy ending. Happy endings were things I had become very interested in at the time," he said.

Rushdie said he enjoyed writing the two children's books, but he doesn't see himself becoming a children's author.

He said he is now about a quarter of the way through writing his memoirs, which he has said will describe his years facing the death threats. He also said he will likely return to writing about Indian politics, although he has no concrete plans for another novel yet.

"The writer's arc doesn't always go in a straight line," he said. "But India is always sitting there for me. I always circle back to it."

Rushdie, who was born in Mumbai, is best known for much more ambitious work that dealt with Indian independence, Pakistani power struggles and Islam. "Midnight's Children" won Britain's Booker Prize in 1981, and was selected in 1993 as the best novel in 25 years of Booker Prize winners.

Rushdie said he recently finished a screenplay based on that book, and is helping secure financing for a movie version.

He has written 10 novels and four works of nonfiction, and was knighted in 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II. He lives most of the year in Britain, where he is a citizen.

"Luka" was published by Bertelsmann AG's Random House on Thursday.

today.msnbc.msn.com


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Old 15-10-2010, 05:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A Filipino-Chinese family's saga
Isabel Escoda
Friday, 15 October 2010



Beneath the Banyan:
My Family Chronicles, by Cornelia Lichauco Fung.
CBL Fung,
HK$280


In writing what seems like a strictly personalized biography of her eminent Chinese forebears, Cornelia Lichauco Fung has, in the process, produced a fascinating history of Filipino-Chinese connections.

Herself the child of a prominent Filipino-Chinese father, Mrs Fung is married to a Hong Kong resident and has long made the territory her home. Her chronicle starts with the history of the waves of Chinese migration into the Philippines during the era in which scores (mainly from Fujian province) fled famine and the dire conditions of their homeland.

Her great-great grandfather Li Chau Co, left the Tongan district of Xiamen in the mid-1800s to join the exodus, settling in the restricted Chinese section of Manila. There he followed the practice of having a Spanish functionary be his godfather and being baptized into the Catholic faith. In this way, the new immigrants gained entry into the stratified society set up by the Spanish colonials.

In their quest for spices, indigo, sugar and other natural resources, the early Chinese ended up settling in the archipelago across the South China Sea, proving that the intrepid navigators traded with the Philippines "long before Magellan discovered the Philippines for the Western world," as Mrs Fung states.

Setting themselves up as craftsmen and retailers, the new immigrants' commercial activities expanded into dealing in essential goods and services that gradually helped communities around the islands flourish. As the movers and shakers among the native inhabitants, it's easy to see why the enterprising Chinese have been termed "the Jews of Asia." Resourceful and hard-working in the extreme, they have long been wooed by businessmen and politicians, inevitably earning the envy (and sometimes enmity) of the locals. Those lingering feelings have resulted in the spate of kidnappings of wealthy Filipino-Chinese in recent years and earlier.

Mrs Fung's original ancestor, who was christened Thomas, began a retail trade that started with rattan weaving, then dealing in basic commodities and rice trading. His canny wife carried on after his death, expanding into transport and real estate. The Spanish historian Sinibaldo de Mas described the Chinese-Filipino mestizo thus: "Almost all the retail trade is in their hands, and they may be counted the middle class of the Philippines. They are the proprietors, merchants and educated people of the country and dominate public opinion."

Put plainly, Chinese immigrants in the Philippines built their fortunes judiciously and left their families, like the Lichauco clan, very wealthy indeed.

The main character of Mrs Fung's story is her father Marcial Lichauco, a rare man embodying traits which endeared him to many. His copious diaries detail foreign travels with his parents and siblings, education at Harvard University (he was the first Filipino to be accepted in 1919 at barely 17 years of age), his meeting and marrying the beautiful Cuban-born American Jessie Coe, setting up his Manila law practice, his trips with Philippine Commonwealth officials on various missions to the U.S. to press for independence, and the tribulations of World War II.

Marcial and his wife and family lived through the Japanese occupation of Manila and the destruction accompanying the American liberation. Rebuilding their lives, Marcial resumed his law practice while Jessie established charities for war victims. In 1963 he was appointed by President Diosdado Macapagal to be ambassador to the Court of St. James.

Marcial Lichauco himself penned his autobiography called "A Full and Happy Life." He wrote "When I was a teenager, I had five ambitions in life. First, to study and complete my career in a reputable American university; second, to write a book on Philippine independence and to take part in the campaign for the enactment of the necessary legislation from the US Congress; third, to engage in the legal practice of my profession and establish a reputable law office; fourth, to marry a beautiful girl and have healthy children; fifth, to go on a big game safari in Africa. It never occurred to me that I would also have the rare privilege and experience of becoming ambassador to the Court of St. James, not to mention the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. I believe therefore that Providence has been extremely kind to me."

He accomplished all those goals and, on his death at almost 70, the late statesman Carlos P. Romulo spoke of his "impeccable integrity," calling him someone who "served our country with devotion and patriotism (that was) not vociferously displayed (but) was as unalloyed as it was sincere. He had none of the noisy rhetoric of the streets."

Marcial Lichauco's daughter has written a fine tribute to her distinguished father as well as her sterling mother who had saved all the memorabilia on which much of "Beneath the Banyan" is based. The tree in question is one standing by the old family home by the Pasig River – one fine photograph shows 98-year-old Jessie Coe Lichauco with her pet dog under the magnificent tree. Many other priceless photographs of ancestors, family and special events add to this history which highlights the vast influence Chinese immigrants have exerted on the course of Philippine history.

asiasentinel.com
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Old 15-10-2010, 07:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This review is from: Meetings with Remarkable Men (All and Everything) (Paperback)
A remarkable book about the adventures of Gurdjieff and several of his close friends. This is no ordinary adventure but a search, a search for truth and universal knowledge. Several of the men depicted are Scientists, Professors, Military men and even a Prince, their wisdom is astonishing and their conversations fascinating. Each has an inner drive to know the mysteries of reality and find deep meaning in man's existence. All the adventures are depicted with each remarkable man and the conversations that transpire between Gurdjieff and other teachers that are embarking on a similar journey. Fascinating read and exceptional descriptions of geographical locations (Asia) not seen by any western man.
Reading such accounts struck the thought, where do we find men of this knowledge, breath and consciousness, in our time period of history? Has timed changed so much that these journeys for truth, knowledge and the secrets of the universe, are unattainable to the average man?
Father Giovanni explains to Gurdjieff and Professor Skridlov 'Understanding is the essence obtained from the information intentionally learned and from all kinds of experiences personally experienced.'
Through Meetings one feels that they are on the journey, one feels the breath and vastness of the surrounding environments. Through Gurdjieff's writing one can truly experience a deeper understanding of the unknown universe.
Highly Recommended for readers just learning about Gurdjieffs work and the fourth way school of thought.

.........................................

Whether you are a Gurdjieff fan or not, this is an enjoyable read and easy to digest. BY.
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Old 16-10-2010, 10:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Author Name:
David Hicks

David Hicks has been the subject of much controversy in recent years, but never before has he publicly told his story.

Guantanamo: My Journey changes that.
Tracing the years leading up to his incarceration in the US military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, through to his time as a detainee and his search for a normal life after his release in 2007, this is one of the most compelling and unique memoirs you will ever read.

This book dispels many myths surrounding Hicks' life, reveals shocking facts about the US military's interrogation techniques, and gives a voice to a man who has been silenced for so long. "I hope you find this book is not only a story of injustice, but also a story of hope," Hicks said.


ISBN:
9781864711585

Number Of Pages:
456

Product Category:
Hardcover

doubleday.com.au : Guantanamo: My Journey, David Hicks - Shop online for Books in Australia


see also : http://teakdoor.com/the-teakdoor-lou...es-a-book.html (Aussie 'terrorist' writes a Book)
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Old 16-10-2010, 09:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Strongly recommend this book. A very interesting an educational read. Still in print on ' White Lotus " books. If you see it....grab it.

Siamese White: Maurice Collis :



Synopsis:

Foremost among the biographies that Maurice Collis wrote during his wide-ranging literary career is Siamese White - an account of the career of Samuel White of Bath who, during the reign of James II, was appointed by the King of Siam as a mandarin of that country. The book superbly embodies that old adage - truth is stranger than fiction.
'A magnificent story, full of interest and excitement, but there is more to it than that. Collis, who has lived for years on the scene of these high happenings, is able to give us a first-hand picture of a fascinating land: of a lovely archipelago, of rivers and rapids, of an immemorial track through jungles haunted by tigers and malaria.' Evening Standard

Maurice Collis

Maurice Collis was born in 1889, the son of an Irish solicitor. He entered the Indian Civil Service in 1911 and was posted to Burma, rising to the position of district magistrate in Rangoon in 1929, where the independence of his judgments displeased his superiors who moved him to the position of Excise Commissioner. He returned to England in 1934. He wrote over twenty books, including volumes of autobiography, travel writing, novels, histories and three plays. He died in 1973
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Old 18-10-2010, 05:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock
Ben Bland
Friday, 13 August 2010

Singapore goes after an author for exposing the country's capital punishment misuses.



Alan Shadrake,
Strategic Information and Research Development Centre,
219 pp.,
available through Gerakbudaya.com.


When a small Malaysian academic publisher printed a book on the death penalty in Singapore by a little-known British freelance journalist, neither could seriously have expected it to make much of a splash in the tightly-controlled city-state or beyond.

That all changed when, in the early hours of July 18, the Singapore police arrested the author, Alan Shadrake, in his hotel room, shortly before he was to meet reporters about the content of his book.

Shadrake was subsequently charged with contempt of court, with government prosecutors alleging that his book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, impugns the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judiciary. A criminal defamation complaint filed by the Media Development Authority, Singapore's censorship body, is still under investigation.

Singapore's government insists that its draconian laws, including the mandatory death penalty for the trafficking of even small amounts of illegal drugs, help keep crime and social disorder down, ensuring that the city-state remains a popular center for international business and tourism.

Although the arrest of the 75-year-old writer once again thrust Singapore's strict limits on freedom of speech into the international limelight, the global media interest has quickly, and predictably, faded.

It remains to be seen whether Shadrake's book, which argues that Singapore's use of the death penalty is uneven and unjust, will have any lasting impact in a city-state where there is little public debate on sensitive issues such as capital punishment because of a combination of government secrecy, repression and self-censorship.

Having re-examined a wide range of drug trafficking cases over the last two decades, Shadrake claims that the likelihood of offenders being sent to the gallows is dependent on their socio-economic background and, in the case of foreigners, Singapore's economic and political relationship with their government.

Compare the fates of Julia Bohl, a German student believed to be part of a high-society drug-dealing ring in Singapore, and Amara Tochi, a young Nigerian hoping to carve out a career in football who unwittingly became a drug mule. Bohl was arrested in 2002 in possession of 687 grams of cannabis, well over the 500 gram limit above which a sentence of death by hanging is mandatory. Her predicament generated a lot of press coverage in Germany, an important trading partner for Singapore, and her government came under pressure to try to save her from the gallows. Fortunately for Bohl, before her trial began, further laboratory testing revealed that the drugs in her possession only weighed 281 grams. She was eventually sentenced to five years in jail and released after three years because of good behavior.

Tochi was not so lucky. He was arrested at Changi Airport in possession of more than 700 grams of heroin but insisted that he thought he was carrying African herbs. Tochi did not attempt to flee when told by airport staff that the police were coming to talk to him and the trial judge accepted that there was no evidence that he knew he was carrying drugs. But he was executed nevertheless in 2007.

Shadrake argues that the judiciary and the police offer a sympathetic ear to members of the domestic elite or overseas citizens from key economic and political allies while showing a disturbing eagerness to expedite the execution of suspected drug mules from poor or marginalized backgrounds, sometimes in highly questionable circumstances.

The author quotes an anonymous former officer from Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau, who says that zealous undercover police often encourage traffickers to transport larger amounts of drugs so that they cross the mandatory execution threshold.

Undercover officers also played a key role in the demise of Vignes Mourthi, a young Indian Malaysian hanged in 2003 for trafficking 27.65 grams of heroin despite his insistence that he believed he was carrying incense stones. One key piece of evidence against him was an unsigned, undated statement from an undercover officer who claimed that Mourthi had admitted to him that he was carrying drugs.

Yet just two days after Mourthi's arrest, the same undercover officer was arrested on suspicion of rape and was subsequently convicted of corruption for attempting to bribe the alleged rape victim to withdraw her complaint against him. Although such behavior ought to have cast serious doubt on the quality of his testimony, the officer was not tried until a year after Mourthi's execution and no mention was ever made at Mourthi's trial of the severe question marks surrounding the officer's conduct.

Shadrake argues that Mourthi's execution is "arguably one of the most appalling miscarriages of justice in Singapore's history" and the publication of his book has provided new impetus to the Mourthi family's campaign to clear his name posthumously.

In what is a polemical and sometimes repetitive book, Shadrake makes no secret of the fact that he is opposed to the death penalty on principle. But, using a mixture of publicly available legal material and interviews with sources from different parts of Singapore's justice system, including extensive interviews with the former chief executioner, he seemingly does enough to convince even proponents of the death penalty that it is time to reassess the way Singapore handles capital cases.

Furthermore, Shadrake argues that "the egregious record of Singapore in relation to the death penalty cannot be separated from its deeply-embedded structures of authoritarianism and political illiberalism".

In countries where genuine free speech is allowed, local journalists often lead the way in holding the judiciary and the police to account. But Singapore's leaders have always insisted that the city-state's reporters eschew "Western-style" confrontational, investigative journalism in favor of a pliant, nation-building "Asian" approach.

Little wonder then that they are pursuing Shadrake through the courts, the ruling People's Action Party's preferred means of silencing dissenting voices.

When his trial opened on July 30, those journalists present, both local and foreign, were warned by the prosecutor that they too could be charged with contempt if they republished any of Shadrake's "contemptuous" claims.

Yet despite the government's insistence that Shadrake's book "scandalizes the judiciary", the Media Development Authority says it has not banned the book, although it admits sending a letter to some bookshops warning them about the legal implications of selling it. The book no longer appears to be on sale in Singapore but it is available in the reference section of Singapore's National Library.

The government's response has generated much-needed publicity for the book, which the publishers said has sold 4,000 copies so far, making it one of the better selling socio-political works about Singapore.

But while the government's latest act of repression may appear at first sight to have backfired, all the attention generated by Shadrake's arrest sends a clear message to Singaporeans: delve into sensitive issues such as the death penalty at your peril.

Ben Bland is a freelance journalist who was formerly based in Singapore.
He blogs at Stories: The Asia File | Asian Correspondent.

asiasentinel.com
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Old 18-10-2010, 10:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If this tale of human endeavor against insuperable odds is true then it ranks as one of the most ripping yarns of all time. There are very few books you can't put down because you want to know how things pan out right now and this is one of them. Fact or fiction.....you decide , a captivating read whatever the truth.



Amazon.com Review

Cavalry officer Slavomir Rawicz was captured by the Red Army in 1939 during the German-Soviet partition of Poland and was sent to the Siberian Gulag along with other captive Poles, Finns, Ukranians, Czechs, Greeks, and even a few English, French, and American unfortunates who had been caught up in the fighting. A year later, he and six comrades from various countries escaped from a labor camp in Yakutsk and made their way, on foot, thousands of miles south to British India, where Rawicz reenlisted in the Polish army and fought against the Germans. The Long Walk recounts that adventure, which is surely one of the most curious treks in history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"One of the epic treks of the human race. Shackleton, Franklin, Amundsen. . .history is filled with people who have crossed immense distances and survived despite horrific odds. None of them, however, has achieved the extraordinary feat Rawicz has recorded. He and his companions crossed an entire continent--the Siberian arctic, the Gobi desert and then the Himalayas--with nothing but an ax, a knife, and a week's worth of food. . . His account is so filled with despair and suffering it is almost unreadable. But it must be read--and re-read."

READ IT AND PONDER !!
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Old 23-10-2010, 08:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Sargeant Smack is not what I had expected, maybe I will read it agian in a year or so, as sometimes I find the secod time around is better.
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Old 23-10-2010, 01:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bangyai View Post
I read a different "The Long Walk" a long time ago. It was a novel by Stephen King published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.

One hundred teenage boys participate in an annual walking contest called "The Long Walk," which is the "national sport". Each Walker must maintain a speed of at least four miles per hour; if he drops below that for 30 seconds, he receives a verbal warning (which can be erased by walking for one hour without being warned). If a Walker with three warnings slows down again, he is "ticketed". The meaning of this term is intentionally kept vague at first, but it soon becomes clear that "buying a ticket" means to be shot dead by soldiers riding in half-tracks along the roadside.

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Old 23-10-2010, 04:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TizMe View Post

One hundred teenage boys participate in an annual walking contest called "The Long Walk," which is the "national sport". Each Walker must maintain a speed of at least four miles per hour; if he drops below that for 30 seconds, he receives a verbal warning (which can be erased by walking for one hour without being warned). If a Walker with three warnings slows down again, he is "ticketed". The meaning of this term is intentionally kept vague at first, but it soon becomes clear that "buying a ticket" means to be shot dead by soldiers riding in half-tracks along the roadside.
Excellent scheme for thinning out teenage boys except the 3 warnings bit. 2 too many.
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Old 28-10-2010, 04:53 PM   #17 (permalink)
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A Shattered Youth: Surviving the Khmer Rouge.
By Savathy Kim.
Maverick House, Paperback, 269 pp.
Available in Singapore, Thailand, UK and Ireland. €10.99, £7.99



In 1975, Savathy Kim was a young college girl studying law when the Khmer Rouge swept into Phnom Penh. Her story, first told in French under the title Jeunesse Brissee and translated by Mary Byrne, is likely to leave scars on anybody who reads it. Despite her ordeal, Kim would end up as a member of the Cambodian Supreme Court.

From the time the youths in pajamas cleared out the city, the ensuing four years, until the Vietnamese arrived to drive them back into the forest, were a period of what Kim called "genocide and unimaginable horror that left 1.7 million of my people dead."

It is as if Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road had come to life. The story of the Khmer Rouge's decision to drive all of the residents out of Phnom Penh has been told many times over the last 35 years. But it has never been told with such force. At the time, Kim was staying with a prosperous uncle. They were awakened by youths in black pajamas, telling them they had to leave the city because the Americans were going to bomb it.

They drove away in the uncle's Peugeot after having learned that the order had been given to chase everyone out within 48 hours. "Sick people, children, the wounded, the elderly, pregnant women—everyone was sent away without exception. Phnom Penh emptied like a body losing blood."

At first, the uncle was the leader of a band of 15 family members, including two wives and servants as well as Kim and her brother, Kolbutr. In the ensuing days, they would lose more and more of their possessions. They would abandon the car and take to the road. They would be rounded up as non-peasants identifiable by their lighter skin and soft hands. She was separated from her brother, who had long hair and wore glasses. Later he was seen with his head partly shaved. He had already been condemned, she writes, for wearing glasses, a sign of the bourgeoisie. He was executed. Eventually, she would learn, every single member of the group that left Phnom Penh was murdered.

She writes in one engrossing passage of how the band decided to turn back through Phnom Penh to get to the Mekong River to find the city deserted, without a sign of life except for a few members of the Angkar Pakdevkat, or revolutionary council, working on the banks of the river. Every soul had been ordered out. Kim and her troupe staggered along with invalids still in their hospital beds, rolling down the roads. Ultimately they would be left with virtually nothing, stripped clean, and would be separated, the aunt and uncle being sent away to a work detail, where they were murdered as well.

Eventually, for the rest of her period of confinement, Kim was sent to a korngchalat, which amounted to a concentration camp and years of terror. It was where she would become so dehumanized that even her name was taken from her. She was renamed Borng Tha.

The Khmer Rouge, she writes, "broke the family unit. But beyond the family, there was no longer any social solidarity, neither relatives nor neighbors at the heart of which an individual could identify himself, or form a network of confidence. The regime introduced distrust even in the home. Children had to devote their life to the Angkar and no longer respected their parents; their consciences were violated in front of their helpless parents.

"The Khmer Rouge transformed each human being into a machine devoid of all critical sense. Moved by famine and the fear of being killed, people lost all sense of each other and were capable of denouncing father, brother, or sister. This was what we had become. It was every man for himself. The regime taught me not to trust even my closest relatives, such as my own aunt and uncle, and this forced me into solitude. Silence was a guarantee of safety, according to the expression dam-doeum-kor, which means "plant the kapok tree," a silent tree whose canopy stifles noise."

Eventually, the women in the korngchalat, she writes, "lost all moral sense." Even feelings of friendship became suspect. Some people hid their identity by simulating madness and wearing rags. They stole food and betrayed each other. And at all times there was the ever-present terror, which grew when the Khmer Rouge began fighting among themselves. The Mekong became rife with floating bodies.

Kim writes that years later, "I began to have vivid nightmares, and night after night they invaded my sleep: the bloody arbitrariness of the Khmer Rouge regime; being brutally awoken at three in the morning to go to work; the fear of going down into the water in the paddy fields; being hungry and exhausted; being scared they would take me away; seeing soldiers take other people away with their hands tied behind their backs."

Finally, on Jan. 7, 1979, she writes, "the Vietnamese took Phnom Penh, and the Khmer Rouge suddenly became invisible. We were free, and left to ourselves."

But Kim's passage back to a normal life was tortured to say the least, just as the passage of the entire country back to normal life has been tortured. Thirty years later, Cambodia hasn't come to terms with what happened to it.

"I had been working as a judge for almost fifteen years," she writes, when, in 1997, she was given an opportunity to spend a year working and studying at a law school in the University of Michigan in the United States. Two months after her arrival in Michigan, however, she continued to have nightmares.

"At the law school, I was asked to give a presentation on the post-conflict situation in Cambodia after the withdrawal of the Khmer Rouge. I was so moved to tears during the presentation that I lost my voice. It took me a long time to regain my composure after that and for months afterwards I felt unsettled."

Eventually, she writes, talking about the past convinced her that things had really changed, "but it still wasn't enough to free me of my nightmares; they continued to rise to the top of my mind, like fermenting bubbles in a glass of beer."

Eventually, she conquered her fears enough to go back to the places where she had been imprisoned and mistreated.

"My intention, therefore, in writing this book was to move beyond the idea of a personal chronicle. Instead of merely documenting my own life, I wanted to document the daily reality experienced by so many women during those three years, eight months and twenty days we lived under the Khmer Rouge regime."

The book, she concludes, is "an homage to the great majority who courageously defended their dignity, even to the death. It is also a homage to those female survivors who, after the fall of Pol Pot and his regime, were the first to give back meaning to our existence by rebuilding the family unit, and weaving a social network around our national identity."

Thirty years after everything had been said about the horror of the Khmer Rouge, it has been said again. This is a compelling book that must be read.

John Berthelsen
Tuesday, 26 October 2010

asiasentinel.com
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Old 31-10-2010, 08:46 PM   #18 (permalink)
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EAST OF SIAM
Ramblings in the Five Divisions of French Indo-China
by
HARRY A. FRANCK
1939

An illustrated book recording the travels of an American in French Indo China after the first world war

It is a pdf file of 15mb

www.reninc.org/BOOKSHELF/East_of_Siam_Franck.pdf
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:19 AM   #19 (permalink)
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LONELY PLANET’S BEST IN TRAVEL 2011


neoglobetrotter.blogspot.com

Lonely Planet has named Vanuatu, the Gili Islands, Chiang Mai, the Marquesas Islands, Japan and Delhi among the world’s top destinations for next year .

The book also selects the Philippines and Bangladesh as two of the Best-Value Destinations for 2011.

This is Lonely Planet’s sixth eagerly-awaited annual collection of the best places to go and things to do around the world for the year ahead.

The Marquesas Islands are ranked third on the book’s list of Top 10 Regions 2011.

Lonely Planet says “the Marquesas still feel like the world’s end. Here, nature’s fingers have sculpted intricate jewels that jut dramatically from the Pacific Ocean.”

In 10th position on the same list, the Gili Islands are “irresistible (for their) laidback vibe overlaid with an anything-goes hedonistic energy.”

Other regions to make the list are Sinai (1), Istria (2), Cappadocia (4), Westfjords (5), Shetland Islands (6), West Coast USA (8) and Chilean Patagonia (9).

On the book’s Top 10 Countries 2011 list, Vanuatu is ranked sixth.

“For those in search of authentic experiences, Vanuatu is hard to beat, “ Lonely Planet says.

Japan is in 10th place on the same list, with the book encouraging travellers to “make this the year that you finally see the birthplace of sushi, sake and sumo.”

Albania (1), Brazil (2), Cape Verde (3), Panama (4), Bulgaria (5), Italy (7), Tanzania (8) and Syria (9) complete the list.

In eighth place on the book’s Top 10 Cities 2011 list, Delhi “has not looked this smart and sparkling in centuries.”

Rounding out the list in 10th position, Chiang Mai “with a friendly, cosmopolitan feel” is “one easy, safe and pleasant place to explore.”

Other cities to make the list are New York City (1), Tangier (2), Tel Aviv (3), Wellington (4), Valencia (5), Iquitos (6), Ghent (7), and Newcastle (9).

BEST IN TRAVEL’srecommendations are drawn from hundreds of ideas submitted by Lonely Planet’s staff, authors and community of travellers, bloggers and tweeters.

Their suggestions are then refined by a panel of in-house travel experts, based on scores for topicality, excitement, value for money and that special X-factor.

Other BEST IN TRAVEL 2011 highlights include:

✪ The best travel experiences for the year aheadin the book’s 17 “Top Travel Lists”.

These include the “Best-Value Destinations for 2011” (Bangladesh scores the top spot, with the Philippines ranked sixth), and “The 10 Best Things to Do in 2011” (“Hug a tree in the Amazon” is the year’s number one recommendation).

✪ Over 35 events mapped out month-by-month in the 2011 travel planner, from Mardi Gras in Mindelo to New Year’s Eve on Rio’s Copacabana beach.

LONELY PLANET’S BEST IN TRAVEL 2011

· 208pp, full-colour, 180mm x 145mm, paperback

· RRP: USD $14.99

lonelyplanet.com
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:49 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Fred Hollows: An Autobiography
Hollows, Fred / Corris, Peter



Publisher: Kerr
ISBN-13: 9781875703241
Series:
Binding: Paperback
Year Published: 2006
Australian Biography

This book first appeared in 1991 claiming it 'replenishes the sense of what is possible'. It still does. This edition shows what is possible, being don daily, problems encountered and over come, breakthroughs big and small, the spread of the work across the globe, how more and more people are getting modern eye care…and how The Foundation bearing Fred Hollow's name is setting up an ever accelerating attack on blindness the like of which has never been seen before.

The book's heart is the same: the life, work and ideas of Fred Hollows.

Fred was no saint, didn't pretend to be. He was as rough a diamond as they come. Tom Keneally called him 'the wild colonial boy of Australian surgery'.

'Every eye is an eye' as Fred put it, and there's somewhere between 25 to 40 million blind the Third World, half that preventable cataract work. Daunting, but no excuse for inaction or failure. He knew what tools were needed. Look, talk, listen, think. Urgent problem, time available unknown.

Now this lean but sturdy foundation is growing and many more vital trained people are available and the number of operations a day, a year, is climbing.

'The patient, whoever, wherever, he or she may be, will see the doctor'. Today, a lot of patients are seeing the doctor, and many more will tomorrow.

ID: 22458
Code: TR000235

bookworm.com.au


The Fred Hollows Foundation


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Old 14-11-2010, 07:43 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Tiger Men by Barry Petersen



A young Australian among the Rhade Montagnard of Vietnam

Tiger Men.

Twenty-five years after he left Vietnam and his Montagnard tribesmen, Australian Barry Petersen wrote this thoughtful story of his life among the Rhade and other ethnic groups of Darlac province in the Vietnam highlands.

He went there to train and lead the local people to defend their villages and homes against the Viet-Cong.

This is the story of the Truong Son, 'Tiger Men', who became the most respected and feared self-defence force in Vietnam.

But it is also the sad story of their subsequent defeat and the destruction of the Montagnard villages, culture and way of life--as much due to the Vietnamese and American generals and politicians as to the Vietcong.

This is a book which the CIA would rather not see in print.

Paperback

1994 Bangkok

Orchid Press

246 pages, 22 b/w pl

ISBN 9748299139


Last edited by Mid : 14-11-2010 at 09:11 AM. Reason: added link
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Old 18-11-2010, 03:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Than Shwe Biography Released in India
Thursday, 18 November 2010

The book ‘Than Shwe-Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant’, focusing on the life of the head of Burma’s military regime, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, was released in India on November 16.

The book was launched on Tuesday in New Delhi, the Capital of India, by the author, Benedict Rogers, who is Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission (United Kingdom), and London based East Asia Team Leader of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).


The book written by Benedict Rogers.

“I don’t think he (Than Shwe) will like it very much,” the author said, adding the book says a lot of negative things about Burma’s military dictator.

He told the Thailand-based Kachin News Group (KNG) the main purpose of writing this book was to reveal details of the situation in Burma in the hope the International Community will be more aware of the suffering of the people of Burma, and understand more about the nature of the regime and Than Shwe.

“If we want to help Burma, we need to understand the Regime and Than Shwe,” he said.

Rogers, who has been a Burma specialist for more than ten years, explained he collected the information about Than Shwe from three main sources.

The first source is people who defected from the Burmese army who knew Than Shwe personally, as well as others who took part in military training with the general.

The second source is different international diplomats, including Tan Sri Razali Ismail, the United Nation Special Rapporteur of Burma, from 2000-2008, as well as former ambassadors who have met Than Shwe.

The final source is people from Burma who know what is like to live under Than Shwe’s rule, whether they ever met him or not, Rogers said.

“I feel very sad for him. He has to accept responsibility for the situation happening in Burma today,” said Rogers, who has been travelling frequently to the ethnic areas, and the Thailand, China and India borders.

“He is guilty of crimes against humanity, and I hope justice will be done,” said Rogers.

He also talked about huge difference between Than Shwe and Burma’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in that the military chief does not believe in democracy and human rights, and has spent most of his life in the military. However Suu Kyi, is very well educated and sophisticated, has lots of international experience, and she believes in democracy and human rights.

He said the information he has received from Burmese people has led him to conclude the results of Burma’s recent election are “completely unacceptable, and that is a shame.”

“The International Community should not recognize the election, and maintain the pressure on the regime,” he said.

“If there is meaningful dialogue, which includes the ethnic people, that will be a positive political process in Burma,” he said.

kachinnews.com
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:13 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Legitimacy crisis in Thailand
Andrew Walker
December 3rd, 2010


A new book which will be of interest to many New Mandala readers.
Legitimacy Crisis in Thailand
Edited by Marc Askew

Intense political polarization, confrontation and violence have rocked Thailand recently, much of it a divisive legacy of the 2006 coup. Conflicts centre on the legitimacy of institutions and the uses and abuses of power alongside the parallel crisis of state legitimacy posed by the ongoing violence in the country’s Deep South. This collection of essays explores themes and issues arising from the continuing confrontations that have dominated Thailand’s domestic affairs and affected its international relations in the years 2008 to early 2010. Based on extensive research and documentation, this volume offers an important review and analysis of key events and trends in Thailand’s volatile public affairs during this period.
The book brings together essays by Thai specialists as well as Western scholars on pivotal topics connected to Thailand’s current legitimacy crisis. It begins with a lively narrative of major events and in subsequent chapters covers the politicization of the Khao Phra Wihan (Preah Vihear) temple issue; the People’s Alliance for Democracy and its “New Politics”; the politicization of the Thai media; the revived role of the Thai military in influencing politics and governance; and the challenge of the persistent unrest in Thailand’s south. The book concludes with an insightful analysis of the key challenges facing the country politically, institutionally and economically. The events of March–May 2010, which saw a dramatic face off between the red-shirt movement and the government, are discussed in an afterword.
This collection is published as volume 5 in the yearbook series of King Prajadhipok’s Institute, Thailand.

About the editor
MARC ASKEW is Senior Fellow in Anthropology in the School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry, University of Melbourne. His recent publications include: Conspiracy, Politics and a Disorderly Border: The Struggle to Comprehend Insurgency in Thailand’s Deep South (2007); Performing Political Identity: The Democrat Party in Southern Thailand (2008).

Contents

1. Introduction: Contested Legitimacy in Thailand, Marc Askew

2. Confrontation and Crisis in Thailand, 2008–2010, Marc Askew

3. Temple of Doom: Hysteria About the Preah Vihear Temple in the Thai Nationalist Discourse, Pavin Chachavalpongpun

4. Thailand’s People’s Alliance for Democracy: From “New Politics” to a “Real” Political Party? Michael H. Nelson

5. Distorted Mirror and Lamp: The Politicization of the Thai Media in the Post-Thaksin Era, Pravit Rojanaphruk and Jiranan Hanthamrongwit

6. In the Shadow of the Soldier’s Boot: Assessing Civil-Military Relations in Thailand, Paul Chambers

7. The Spectre of the South: Regional Instability as National Crisis, Marc Askew

8. Four Thai Pathologies, Late 2009, Michael J. Montesano
Afterword: The Clash of March–May 2010, Marc Askew
Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Email: orders[at]silkwormbooks.com

Website: www.silkwormbooks.com

Distributed outside Southeast Asia by the University of Washington Press: University of Washington Press - Books - Legitimacy Crisis in Thailand

asiapacific.anu.edu.au
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Old 19-12-2010, 04:19 PM   #24 (permalink)
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The Ku-lao Lahu Through the Centuries
December 19, 2010

Author takes readers to Northern Thailand to introduce an obscure branch of the Lahu


The Wind Will Yet Sing
By: Gordon Young

From published author Gordon Young comes another tour de force with the release of his novel, The Wind Will Yet Sing. This time, he brings fascination to readers as he takes them to the captivating world of a Lahu village in Northern Thailand.

The Wind Will Yet Sing tells a fictional story set in remote highlands of Northern Thailand, circa 1932, based on the true history of a tribal mountain people—the Ku-lao Lahu. Through the characters of Chala Shelo and his people, Young shows how the Ku-lao live with much integrity and simplicity, and in harmony with nature, until foreign elements attack their idyllic and peaceful lifestyle. Forced to defend their village, people, land, game, and even beliefs against various bands of marauding attackers, the Ku-lao must rely upon their great hunting skills. But are these hunters and their chief prepared and strong enough to fend off superior numbers of enemy groups with modern weapons?

In this novel, Young unleashes his storytelling prowess to share an enduring tale of their admirable courage, humor, perseverance, hard work, and resilience. Having had the opportunity to be intimately acquainted with the Ku-lao—even living, hunting, feasting, and suffering with them—Young is able to both capture the poetic dialogue and real metaphors they used, as no on else could. Every episode is based upon true experiences and events in Ku-lao life since 1932. Laced with drama, action, and adventure, The Wind Will Yet Sing hooks readers as it unearths an incredibly absorbing culture and heritage that will remain endearing to those who recognize its beauty and value. While their origin might always remain a mystery, the Ku-lao Lahu can still be found in certain distant mountains.

For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to http://www.Xlibris.com.

prweb.com
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Old 22-12-2010, 05:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Ex-prostitute wins top women's literary prize
22/12/2010

Non-fiction work tells of life in the flesh trade

A former prostitute has won first prize in a contest for women writers.


Thanadda Sawangduean, 42, the author of Chan Chue Eri: Kap Prasopkarn Tang Daen (I Am Eri: My Experience Overseas) , shows her book which won the top award at the 2nd Chommanard Book Prize.
SOMCHAI POOMLARD

Thanadda Sawangduean, 42, has been declared the winner of this year's Chommanard Book Prize.

The literary contest, which is sponsored by Bangkok Bank and Praphansarn Publishing House Co, is in its second year.

Ms Thanadda's biographical work Chan Chue Eri: Kap Prasopkarn Tang Daen (I Am Eri: My Experience Overseas) was selected as the winner from 13 entries this year.

She said the book was based on her personal experience after she was lured into work as a prostitute.

She said she was born into a poor family and had to struggle to make ends meet during her childhood.

An unplanned pregnancy as a teenager meant she had to drop out of school. As a result, her family and others who were close to her decided to turn their backs on her.

Ms Thanadda said she was first lured into prostitution in Pattaya before travelling to work as a sex worker in Hong Kong and Japan, where she suffered mistreatment. She was involved in drug abuse and gambling and was sent to jail for possession of psychotropic substances.

"I wanted to reveal the life of a woman who hopes to make a fortune from such a career to escape poverty," she said.

"But she steps into a [vicious] cycle only to suffer the mental and physical traumas that lie in wait.

"I want to share these experiences so they can be a lesson for those who want to take the wrong path."

Ms Thanadda said she was not that concerned about the prize money she would receive but she would be happy if she found out that her experiences proved useful to other people.

She said she gained recognition from other inmates during her three years in jail. She offered to write appeals for them to have their convictions overturned.

Thanks to her assistance, many of them had their sentences reduced and, in some cases, court rulings were reversed and they were set free from prison, Ms Thanadda said.

She said she has now turned her back on prostitution and is hoping to become a make-up artist.

She said her boyfriend, an American named Dave, inspired her to pen the book. The man has done all he can to find ways to help pull her out of prostitution, she said.

Phra Paisan Visalo, a member of the judging panel, said the book reflected the deeply entrenched problem of prostitution facing Thai society.

The panel of judges decided to pick Ms Thanadda's work as the winner because her approach was unusual and refreshingly different in that she tells the story from her first-hand, personal experience.

Many other authors who pen similar books revolving around prostitution only related their story from the angle of an observer, Phra Paisan said.

Sakchai Chirathivat, an executive of Praphansarn Publishing House Co, said that modern non-fiction was the theme of this year's contest whereas last year's contest focused on fiction.

Ms Thanadda will receive 50,000 baht in cash and a diamond brooch for winning the contest. The work will be published into pocketbooks in Thai and English.

bangkokpost.com
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