Virus brings two foes together, Japan and China

Virus brings two foes together, Japan and China

Beijing (AFP) – As China faces increasing isolation, with some countries closing off borders over coronavirus fears, an unlikely friend has emerged — historical arch-foe Japan.After decades of war and animosity, donations and Japanese ballet dancers shouting their support are among the gestures that have endeared Japan to Chinese people and state media.News that the Japanese government sent a plane bearing thousands of pieces of protective garments for the hard-hit central city of Wuhan received more than 170 million views on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.The flight, the fifth of its kind c… (more…)

Breaking news and barriers: South Korea’s first female anchor

Breaking news and barriers: South Korea’s first female anchor

Seoul (AFP) – Under gleamingly bright studio lights, Lee So-jeong reads straight from a teleprompter, rehearsing her lines ahead of the primetime newscast for South Korea’s national public broadcaster, KBS.Five times a week, she is beamed into living rooms across the country leading its “News 9” bulletin, after she broke into a decades-old boys’ club in a society that is technologically and economically advanced, but still culturally male-dominated.South Korean television news broadcasts have long followed the same format: a serious-looking older male anchor announcing the day’s major developm… (more…)

Veteran writer KS Maniam mourned by literary community

Veteran writer KS Maniam mourned by literary community

Tributes are pouring in for veteran writer KS Maniam who passed yesterday aged 78 at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre.Born as Subramaniam Krishnan in Bedong, Kedah in 1942, he succumbed to cancer of the bile duct.His novels included The Return (1981), In A Far Country (1993) and Between Lives (2003). KS Maniam also wrote poetry, plays and short stories.In mourning the loss, writer/publisher Amir Muhammad said: “An event for KS Maniam in conjunction with KL being the Unesco World Book Capital of 2020/1 would not be out of place.”A literary giant has left us. Rest in Power, KS Maniam,” wrote… (more…)

Bare-faced robbery: thieves steal 6,000 hygiene masks in Japan

Bare-faced robbery: thieves steal 6,000 hygiene masks in Japan

Tokyo (AFP) – Thieves in Japan have made off with some 6,000 surgical masks from a hospital, with the country facing a mass shortage and a huge price hike online due to the coronavirus.Four boxes containing the face masks disappeared from a locked storage facility at the Japanese Red Cross hospital in the western port city of Kobe, a hospital official said on Tuesday.”We still have a large number of masks — enough to continue our daily operations at the hospital, but this is so deplorable,” the official told AFP.Police have launched an investigation as they suspect the thieves intend to resel… (more…)

Taiwan embraces cute mascots for virus prevention campaign

Taiwan embraces cute mascots for virus prevention campaign

Taipei (AFP) – While China deploys stern communist slogans in its battle against a deadly new coronavirus, democratic Taiwan has embraced cuddly mascots and humour to ease public anxiety and educate on best practices.Images of cute animals have featured in daily social media updates from government agencies to tackle disinformation and prevent the spread of infections.The health ministry has deployed a cartoon “spokesdog” — a Shiba Inu called Zongchai — that has proved a hit with hashtags of his name going viral and posts shared hundreds of thousands of times.Recent contributions have includ… (more…)

Love in the time of coronavirus: A quiet Valentine’s Day in China

Love in the time of coronavirus: A quiet Valentine’s Day in China

Beijing (AFP) – It was supposed to be a whirlwind tour of China for Jiang Lanyi’s boyfriend: classical gardens in Suzhou, modern art in Shanghai, ice-skating in central Beijing.Instead, the 24-year-old and her Ukrainian partner have spent more than two weeks holed up in her parents’ house in northeast Liaoning province to avoid the new coronavirus.Couples around China settled for a quiet Valentine’s Day this year, with COVID-19 intruding as an unwelcome third-wheel in romantic celebrations.The new disease has infected nearly 64,000 people and killed more than 1,350 in China, triggering transpo… (more…)