On Southeast Asia http://www.globalpost.com/taxonomy/term/21416/all en Patrick Winn http://www.globalpost.com/bio/patrick-winn <div class="field field-type-text field-field-biofirstname"> <div class="field-label">First Name:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-biolastname"> <div class="field-label">Last Name:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Winn </div> </div> </div> <p>Based in Bangkok, Patrick Winn is Global Post's senior Southeast Asia correspondent.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-biophoto"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/all/modules/contrib/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/pwinn.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=17361">pwinn.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-contact-info"><legend>Social Media</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-facebook-url"> <div class="field-label">Facebook URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> http://www.facebook.com/patrickwinnSEA </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twitter-handle"> <div class="field-label">Twitter handle:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> bkkapologist </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-google-plus"> <div class="field-label">Google Plus:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 101763886287171355562 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-bioblogroll"><legend>Blogroll</legend><div class="field field-type-link field-field-blogroll3"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.bangkokpundit.blogspot.com">Bangkok Pundit</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-blogroll4"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.nationmultimedia.com">The Nation</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-bioglobalblog"><legend>Global Blog</legend><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-bioblogenable"> <div class="field-label">Enable:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-syndication"><legend>Syndication</legend><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-striphtml"> <div class="field-label">Strip HTML:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/bio/patrick-winn" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Thailand On Southeast Asia Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 1495 at http://www.globalpost.com On Southeast Asia http://www.globalpost.com/internal/blog-config/southeast-asia <!--paging_filter--><p> Southeast Asia, explained</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-section-about-block"> <div class="field-label">About This Section block contents:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><div id="blog_block"> <div id="blog_block_title"> ABOUT THIS BLOG</div> <div id="blog_description"> <p> Comprehending one of the world&#39;s most dynamic regions each day, from politics, to business to culture. On Southeast Asia is a reported blog from Bangkok, written by GlobalPost senior correspondent for Southeast Asia Patrick Winn.</p> </div> <div id="blog_correspondents"> <div id="bc_header"> <h2 id="gp3_bloggers"> Correspondents</h2> </div> <div id="gp3_the_bloggers"> <div class="a_blogger"> <div id="gp3_the_bloggers"> <div class="a_blogger"> <div id="gp3_the_bloggers"> <div class="a_blogger"> <!--<div class="blogger_image"><img src="/sites/all/themes/globalpost_3/images/blog_bio_1.gif" /></div>--><!--<div class="blogger_image"><img src="/sites/all/themes/globalpost_3/images/blog_bio_1.gif" /></div>--><div class="blogger_bio"> <h3 class="blogger_name"> <a href="/bio/patrick-winn">Patrick Winn</a></h3> <p> GlobalPost senior correspondent in Bangkok, Thailand. <a href="/bio/patrick-winn">read more</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <!--/the_bloggers--><!--/the_bloggers--></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-images"><div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-sectionheaderimage"> <div class="field-label">Header Banner Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/all/modules/contrib/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/banners/asia_header_670x170.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=31269">asia_header_670x170.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-singlecol-headerimage"> <div class="field-label">Single-column header image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_singlecol_headerimage" width="300" height="188" alt="" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/asia_single_300x200.jpg?1337085729" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lead-image"> <div class="field-label">Thumbnail Art:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lead_image" width="260" height="138" alt="" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/asia_hp_260x140.jpg?1337085736" /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> On Southeast Asia Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 5689227 at http://www.globalpost.com China: "make Philippines pay" for US military ties http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/china-make-philippines-pay-us-military-ties <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> State-run Global Times paper suggests showing countries that "siding with the US is not a good choice" </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> As the Philippines hints at allowing more American troops on its soil and more US Navy vessels in its docks, China&#39;s state-run media suggests <a href="http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/693575/Make-Philippines-pay-for-balancing-act.aspx">making an example of the Southeast Asian nation.</a></p> <p> China is, of course, perennially furious at US military assistance to Taiwan and increasingly frustrated over US involvement in settling contentious land claims in the South China Sea.</p> <p> A Global Times op-ed says it&#39;s payback time.</p> <p> Says the op-ed: &quot;Well-measured sanctions against the Philippines will make it ponder the choice of losing a friend such as China and being a vain partner with the US.&quot;</p> <p> Economic sancitons, it says, would make the Philippines reconsider its US ties. (And as you can see in this photo, there is a contingent within the largely pro-American Philippines that <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ijt7jrVGdCRbUhlenE8fu9r3esOQ?docId=CNG.88661912fa1869e1cddaa95f2c97bf40.871">also wants the US to get lost</a>.)</p> <p> &quot;Not being an empire, China won&#39;t be easily irritated or flex its military muscle at will,&quot; says the op-ed. However, it has its principles.&quot;</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/china-make-philippines-pay-us-military-ties" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Conflict Zones Asia-Pacific Military China Philippines On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Sun, 29 Jan 2012 11:33:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689373 at http://www.globalpost.com IMF: Burma desperately needs currency reform http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/imf-burma-desperately-needs-currency-reform <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Still, impoverished nation could be "the next economic frontier in Asia" </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> Just a few days ago, we ran through the reasons why<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/investing-burma-brace-pain"> investing in Burma</a>, high on long-needed reforms, could be a mistake.</p> <p> But a new International Monetary Fund report suggests that, if Burma can successfully seize this &quot;historic opportunity,&quot; it must <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g3rJ726qVuaqt_UtjWajjyQZLOGg?docId=CNG.0fba0ae87a709d1765a1374d04dc31be.81">start with currency reform.</a></p> <p> As I wrote in our series &quot;Burma Rebooted&quot; several months ago, &quot;Burma&rsquo;s currency, the kyat, is the mess crying loudest for a fix.</p> <p> There are no ATMs in Rangoon. Visitors are advised to bring US$100 bills for a black-market exchange.</p> <p> Rangoon&rsquo;s fastidious dollar swappers conduct business in back alleys and beneath staircases. They examine visitors&#39; $100 bills as a jeweler would diamonds. An infinitesimal smudge, the mere suggestion of a crease, and the bill is declared unworthy &mdash; or at least worth substantially less.&quot;</p> <p> Now imagine trying to transfer several million into Burma for a large-scale project.</p> <p> However, if Burma (officially titled Myanmar) can sort out its chaotic currency situation, perhaps it can meet the IMF&#39;s new predications: a <a href="http://www.mysinchew.com/node/69433">full 6 percent GDP growth</a> in 2013.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/imf-burma-desperately-needs-currency-reform" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Business Asia-Pacific Emerging Markets Global Economy On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Sun, 29 Jan 2012 11:54:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689374 at http://www.globalpost.com Thais may isolate bribery-prone drug bosses in prison http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/thais-may-isolate-bribery-prone-drug-bosses-prison <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Proposal suggests constant surveillance, isolation to mute illicit influence </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> In Thailand -- and much of Southeast Asia -- inmates with cash typically enjoy much better lives in prison.</p> <p> According to Thailand&#39;s prison authorities, that cash can also buy influence and secure illicit connections with the outside world. That&#39;s why, the Bangkok Post reports, some prisoners sentenced for drug crimes <a href="http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crimes/277395/govt-wants-to-isolate-drug-addict-prisoners">may be kept in special wards with non-stop video surveillance</a> and limited privileges.</p> <p> The 24/7 video feeds would, ideally, prevent drug bosses from bribing guards.</p> <p> But fat bank accounts wielded by drug bosses can also pay for good lawyers. Some inamtes have already filed complaints that such conditions will violate their human rights, the Post reports.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/thais-may-isolate-bribery-prone-drug-bosses-prison" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Asia-Pacific Thailand On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Mon, 30 Jan 2012 07:42:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689421 at http://www.globalpost.com Khmer Rouge tribunal too broke to pay Cambodian staff http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/khmer-rouge-tribunal-too-broke-pay-cambodian-staff <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Courts set up to punish horrific war crimes won't pay staff until April </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> It&#39;s bad enough that the trial against Cambodia&#39;s former Khmer Rouge cabal has been delayed so long that many of its aggressors -- and victims -- <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/memory-loss-hampers-khmer-rouge-trial">are now senile.</a></p> <p> Now it appears that the special courts aren&#39;t paying Cambodian staff. According to the Phnom Penh Post, some employees&nbsp;<a href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2012013054220/National-news/krt-pay-freeze-will-linger.html">won&#39;t be paid until April.</a></p> <p> The courts, set up to prosecute the murderous Khmer Rouge regime, are scraping by with unpaid help.</p> <p> According to the AP, this doesn&#39;t apply to international staff paid by the United Nations. But about 300 employees paid by Cambodia -- some of which <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/salaries-stopped-for-cambodian-staffers-at-khmer-rouge-tribunal-due-to-funding-cuts/2012/01/26/gIQAHBAHSQ_story.html">haven&#39;t been paid since October</a> -- are affected as &quot;donor funds&quot; from outside countries have wilted away, according to a tribunal spokesman.</p> <p> The tribunal has completed only one trial and has many more to go.</p> <p> These trials, which seek to punish those responsible for 1.7 million deaths, have already suffered from meddling from Cambodia&#39;s ruling party and the passage of time. Now this. And it still remains unclear if the Cambodian staff will even be paid by April, the Phnom Penh Post reports.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/khmer-rouge-tribunal-too-broke-pay-cambodian-staff" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Conflict Zones Asia-Pacific War Aid Politics On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Mon, 30 Jan 2012 08:04:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689423 at http://www.globalpost.com Papua unrest: separatists charged with treason http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/papua-unrest-separatists-charged-treason <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Indonesia's newest insurgency heats up </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>An independence movement in Papua, <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/internal/section-config/indonesia">Indonesia</a>'s latest slow-boil insurgency zone, is heating up.</p> <p>Leaders driving the unrest, who defiantly insist that jungly and remote Papua is a sovereign nation occupied by Indonesia, have been charged with treason, according to the AFP.</p> <p>Vowing to wrench free part of a country is, by all accounts, treason. So it's certainly possible that independence agitators could be hit with life sentences, the maximum punishment for treason in Indonesia.</p> <p>But the separatists, who appear to be poorly armed, are likely encouraged by the territories that have successfully seceded or secured special rights: East Timor, once Indonesian land, is now a sovereign nation; Islamic Aceh is now a special zone governed by Shariah law.</p> <p>Human Rights Watch, by the way, says it's "appalling" that "modern, democratic" Indonesia would lock its own citizens up for expressing controversial views.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/papua-unrest-separatists-charged-treason" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Conflict Zones Asia-Pacific Military Politics Indonesia On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Tue, 31 Jan 2012 02:02:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689585 at http://www.globalpost.com Mistaken killing in Thailand's deep south riles Muslims http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/mistaken-killing-thailands-deep-south-riles-muslims <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Army fesses up: old man, teenager shot at checkpoint were civilians </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> Thailand&#39;s army is rightfully worried that rangers&#39; killing of four civilians -- an old man and a teenager among them -- will spark public wrath in the Muslim-majority, insurgency-torn deep south.</p> <p> The facts are fuzzy but, according to the Bangkok Post and other outlets, <a href="http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/277707/rangers-killed-civilians">rangers inspecting a pick-up truck</a> were startled and fired on the occupants. A Reuters report suggests that the troops <a href="http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/thai-army-apologises-after-civilians-killed-in-muslim-south">may have been fired on</a> by gunmen unaffiliated with the passengers.</p> <p> No matter the cause, four innocent Muslim civilians are now dead. In such a volatile zone, where distrust of the Thai army is rampant, incidents such as this have a way of hardening sentiment against troops and prompting a backlash from insurgents fighting for independence.</p> <p> The Thai army also reports the civilians had guns in the truck. But that&#39;s not saying much. As I wrote in our<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/thailand/110721/buddhists-arms-introduction"> &quot;Buddhists in Arms&quot; </a>series, both Buddhists and Muslims in this area are paranoid and well-armed.</p> <p> Will this incident spin out of control?</p> <p> Apparently, the Thai army fears it might: troops are being <a href="http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/277707/rangers-killed-civilians">moved out of some outposts </a>and into a central camp to pacify angry Muslims, the Bangkok Post reports.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/mistaken-killing-thailands-deep-south-riles-muslims" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Conflict Zones Asia-Pacific Military War Thailand On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Wed, 01 Feb 2012 08:24:34 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689812 at http://www.globalpost.com Burma refugees: could reforms lead them home? http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/burma-refugees-could-reforms-lead-them-home <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Will Burma reforms lead refugees home? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <p>The buzz over Burma's reform era demands the question: when will the dysfunctional country improve so much that its staggering 1 million-large refugee population can return home?</p> <p>This <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jBsz7KOtz1Hu0xHTOYMq5stuGLgA?docId=7dbdcd7e894d4f46887eb87bd9165db4">Associated Press piece</a>, reported from one of the largest <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/internal/section-config/thailand">Thai</a>-Burma refugee camps, seeks the answer.</p> <p>It seems to be "not yet." This sentence in the AP report underscores a point sometimes lost in all the (well-founded) excitement over changes in Burma:</p> <p><em>Most would be returning to border regions of razed villages, minefields, traumatized people and almost nonexistent support systems in a country that is already among the world's poorest. </em></p> <p>It's also crucial to note that the reforms, largely evident in cities, have yet to touch war-ravaged jungles defended by armed ethnic rebels.</p> <p>The refugees, eeking out a drab existence, will someday need to return to Burma. <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/asia/101101/myanmar-burmese-refugees-mae-la?page=full">They can't live in UN-funded camps forever.</a></p> <p>But should they risk returning now, investing hope in the army-supervised government's promise of peace?</p> <p>Not yet.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/burma-refugees-could-reforms-lead-them-home" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Conflict Zones Elections Asia-Pacific Aid Thailand On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Wed, 01 Feb 2012 08:39:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689816 at http://www.globalpost.com The Philippine president's new girlfriend is a wacky radio DJ http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/the-philippine-presidents-new-girlfriend-wacky-radio-dj <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Confirmed: Korean-born morning zoo host dating bachelor president </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Meet the Philippine president&#39;s new girlfriend, Grace Lee, a milk-skinned, Korean-born host of a morning zoo-style radio show in Manila.</p> <p>The cheesy plot of &quot;Love Actually&quot; appears to be playing out in Manila with President Benigno Aquino III reprising Hugh Grant&#39;s role: bachelor head of state smitten with sexy commoner.</p> <p>The pair have <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Secret-s-out-Philippine-president-dating-Korean-2899530.php">confirmed their romance</a>, according to the Associated Press (and every gossip site in the Philippines.)</p> <p>The president, who has made a futile request for &quot;privacy&quot; regarding his new girlfriend, has even introduced her to his family, according to Manila&#39;s ABS-CBN news. And Grace&#39;s manager, ignoring Aquino&#39;s privacy request, divulged that her <a href="http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/02/01/12/grace-lee-has-met-pnoys-sister">eyes &quot;sparkle&quot;</a> when she speaks of the president.</p> <p>How this coupling will play out politically is unclear. Celebrities and politicians in the Philippines are sometimes one and the same (boxer Manny Pacquiao is a congressman) and politics are covered in tabloid fashion.</p> <p>Devout Catholics might not like that the president is dating a presenter on a goofy, irreverent radio show in which hosts drink pee for charity. (I&#39;m referring to Grace&#39;s co-host, Mojo. You can find this post on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Lee/177169299464">her Facebook wall</a>: &quot;Oh Lord... he did it! it downed his urine!!!!)</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/the-philippine-presidents-new-girlfriend-wacky-radio-dj" target="_blank">read more</a></p> World Leaders Asia-Pacific Politics Philippines On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl Thu, 02 Feb 2012 04:59:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689991 at http://www.globalpost.com Philippines kidnapping: European birdwatchers possibly sold to Islamic militants http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/philippines-kidnapping-european-birdwatchers-likely-sold- <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> A pair of birdwatchers -- one Swiss, one Dutch -- appear to be<a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5inN-ARvprSwRROV9nciWc91a9JZg?docId=CNG.9fb841818e425677fa45d2ce4a73f4f1.6a1"> in the hands of Filipinos</a> hoping to sell them off to Islamic militants, according to the AFP.</p> <p> The Tawi Tawi archipelago, the scene of the kidnapping, is not the safest place to scan the skies for rare birds: the waters lie close to regions partly controlled by guerrillas who frequently snatch up foreigners and demand ransoms.</p> <p> The two were taken from a boat while a Filipino guide jumped out and swam to safety.</p> <p> Suspicion naturally falls on Islamic militants, particularly an al-Qaeda-linked group called Abu Sayyaf. Another, larger group -- the Moro Islamic Liberation Front -- is currently negotiating peace with the government and is less likely to pull off a sancitoned kidnapping at this time.</p> <p> According to Philippines-based outlet GMA, a Filipino military colonel says they can&#39;t &quot;rule out the <a href="http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/246564/news/regions/no-trace-so-far-of-kidnapped-european-birdwatchers-in-tawi-tawi">possibility that Abu Sayyaf is involved</a> ... However, I must stress there are other armed groups, including pirates, who also operate in these waters.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/philippines-kidnapping-european-birdwatchers-likely-sold-" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Asia-Pacific Philippines On Southeast Asia GlobalPost Blogs Thu, 02 Feb 2012 05:43:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5689993 at http://www.globalpost.com US kills three top Islamic terrorists in the Philippines http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/us-kills-top-three-islamic-terrorists-the-philippines <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> A joint US-Philippines raid on Thursday knocked off three of the most-wanted Islamic terrorists in the Philippines, the AFP reports.</p> <p> This is a major success for the controversial anti-terror mission in the Philippines, where a sizeable contingency wants all American troops off the Philippine islands. China&#39;s state-run media also recently vowed to <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/china-make-philippines-pay-us-military-ties">make the Philippines &quot;pay&quot;</a> for hosting so many US troops near its waters.</p> <p> Among those killed is&nbsp;Zulkifli bin Hir (also known as Marwan), a Malaysian-born bombmaker the US wanted dead so bad it put a $5 million bounty on his head. According to the Philippines, a total of about 15 were killed, the Wall Street Journal reports.</p> <p> All are believed to operate among Abu Sayyaf. While the Islamic radicals are hardly a household name in the US, Filipinos know the group as an al-Qaeda-connected kidnapping-and-extortion squad that has given certain southern islands a menacing reputation.</p> <p> The families of <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/philippines-kidnapping-european-birdwatchers-likely-sold-">two birdwatchers recently kidnapped -- and perhaps sold to Abu Sayyaf</a> -- may will be eager to know if the strike might have some bearing on their loved ones&#39; safety.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/us-kills-top-three-islamic-terrorists-the-philippines" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Conflict Zones Asia-Pacific Military War Philippines On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Fri, 03 Feb 2012 11:22:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5690221 at http://www.globalpost.com Siri-like app SimSimi to be rid of curses http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/siri-app-be-rid-thai-curses <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Thai culture ministry aghast at robo-chat application's lewd potential </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Thailand&#39;s culture ministry -- the self-appointed guiding light of Thai teen morality -- has found<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/boobgate-rocks-bangkok"> yet another reason</a> to hate the Internet.</p> <p>It&#39;s called SimSimi. It&#39;s both a Web site and a free iPhone app.</p> <p>It&#39;s sort of like Siri, but not as good: you pose questions or statements to SimSimi&#39;s plump, yellow mascot and it can manage barely coherent conversation.</p> <p>But it seems SimSimi&#39;s mascot, which picks up phrases from the application&#39;s users, has learned to swear in Thai.</p> <p>And that just won&#39;t do, the Ministry of Culture tells the <a href="http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/278169/ict-simsimi-to-screen-swear-words">Bangkok Post</a> and <a href="http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Simsimi-robot-app-too-rude-for-some-parents-30175084.html">The Nation</a> newspapers. SimSimi&#39;s South Korean developer has agreed to accept a list of Thai curse words and erase them from the chubby little mascot&#39;s mind.</p> <p>But is he really that well-versed in Thai verbal filth?</p> <p>Not really. This is what happened when I tried to provoke him into cursing.</p> <p>ME: You&#39;re fat.</p> <p>SIMSIRI MASCOT: (Weeping emoticon)</p> <p>ME: Why are you crying? Are you hungry?</p> <p>SIMSIRI MASCOT: Reallllllly hungry! (Another crying emoticon)</p> <p>ME: You&#39;re going to get censored soon. Did you know that?</p> <p>SIMSIRI MASCOT: Ha ha</p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-half-column" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/half-column/simsimi_thai_02_03_2012.jpg" title="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/siri-app-be-rid-thai-curses" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Business Asia-Pacific Emerging Markets Innovation Technology Thailand On Southeast Asia GlobalPost Blogs Fri, 03 Feb 2012 11:50:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5690224 at http://www.globalpost.com Burma: online visa coming soon http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/burma-online-visa-coming-soon <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tourist-friendly "e-visa" possibly rolled out next month </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> Welcome news: Burma (officially titled Myanmar) is setting up an online visa system to replace the current process, a paperwork-laden slog that can take weeks.</p> <p> As soon as March, tourists will be able to apply<a href="http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/Burma-to-introduce-electronic-visa-applications-30175195.html"> &quot;anywhere via the internet&quot;</a> says Burma&#39;s tourism minister. That&#39;s according to the Dutch DPA news outlet, which quotes a Myanmar Times report. Even journalists have started <a href="http://www.mmtimes.com/2012/news/612/news61211.html">visiting the authoritarian state on the up-and-up</a> in lieu of disguising themselves as tourists.</p> <p> For most Westerners, getting into Burma isn&#39;t particularly difficult. It&#39;s just inefficient. You can either mail in your passport and a series of forms to the nearest embassy or chance flying to neighboring Thailand, stand in an early-morning queue and submit your forms outside Myanmar&#39;s drab embassy in Bangkok. (For what it&#39;s worth, this process more or less mirrors Vietnam&#39;s.)</p> <p> The upside for Burma, of course, is tourist cash. Tourist revenues are still meager but skyrocketing: up to $319 million from last year&#39;s $254 million, according to DPA&#39;s report.</p> <p> Before too long, Burma will get its long-awaited<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/imf-burma-desperately-needs-currency-reform">&nbsp;Visa/Mastercard-friendly ATMs.</a>&nbsp;At this rate, now might be the time to visit if you want to behold a Burma untouched by Starbucks or -- who knows? -- Thai-style party beaches.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/burma-online-visa-coming-soon" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Travel/Tourism Entertainment Asia-Pacific Culture & Lifestyle On Southeast Asia GlobalPost Blogs Mon, 06 Feb 2012 05:12:34 +0000 Patrick Winn 5690471 at http://www.globalpost.com Banned in Burma: The Simpsons? http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/banned_in_burma <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> And have Burma's superstitious rulings slowed to a halt? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Patrick Winn </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> Joining the ranks of Skype, the band U2 and Rambo IV, The Simpsons Movie is allegedly banned in Burma.</p> <p> Though news to me -- I just learned this via a <a href="http://twitter.com/wisekwai">Thailand-based movie reviewer&#39;s Tweet</a> -- this is actually old news. This tidbit made the rounds on film review sites years ago and was repeated recently on Flavorwire&#39;s <a href="http://flavorwire.com/254645/movies-banned-in-foreign-countries-for-weird-reasons?all=1">&quot;Movies Banned in Foreign Countries for Weird Reasons&quot;</a> rundown. The cited reason for the ban -- which can&#39;t be verified -- is that the cartoon&#39;s prominent yellow-and-red color scheme offended censors.</p> <p> Burma has been notorious for its edicts based on superstition. Perhaps the best-known example is the late 1980s ruling that all currency must be divisible by nine. Burmese who&#39;d stockpiled bills lost their savings overnight.</p> <p> What I&#39;m now wondering is this: will <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/111110/burma-myanmar-censorship-aung-san-suu-kyi-sanctions?page=full">Burma&#39;s rapid reforms</a> and newfound sensitivity to its pariah status bring an end to these superstition-derived rulings?</p> <p> I haven&#39;t seen one in some time.</p> <p> The most recent example I can come up with is former ruler Than Shwe&#39;s call for the population to <a href="http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=16222&amp;page=2">start growing a nut called&nbsp;Jatropha Curcas</a>. The nut, so the story goes, was said by his astrologer to mute the powers of influential dissident Aung San Suu Kyi.</p> <p> Banning The Simpsons is a near-meaningless gesture in a country where only the fortunate have TVs, DVD/VCD players and an appetite for American cartoons. I bet you could score a copy in Yangon&#39;s pirated-movie stalls.</p> <p> But it could be that, as Burma adjusts to rule under an army-supervised parliament, officials will have less authority to draft law based on superstitious whims.</p> <p><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/banned_in_burma" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Entertainment Asia-Pacific Culture & Lifestyle On Southeast Asia The Rice Bowl GlobalPost Blogs Mon, 06 Feb 2012 06:21:00 +0000 Patrick Winn 5690473 at http://www.globalpost.com