The "A" List (Part 2 of 2)


Ten Asians making the news in America.

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5. John Choon Yoo — The President's legal (com)pass to Guantanamo Bay

Cassel: If the President deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?

Instant noodles rule the world!


It is the most popular processed food on earth, and by far the most controversial. Its supporters say it is the ideal food for the masses and one of the 20th century's great inventions. Its detractors call it a weapon of mass destruction and blame its high sodium content and preservatives for widespread malnutrition from the Philippines to Mexico.

instant noodles

Easy to prepare and stomach-filling, it has become the staple diet of the world's dispossessed and victims of war and disaster.

A wet and salty treat


"Daddy, what are we having for dinner?" we asked. My mother was in the hospital and my eight-year-old brother, my father, and I were on our own for food. What could three people who did not know how to cook, cook? We’d never made anything more than simple sandwiches.

The answer came in a box from the Korean grocery store.

Don't tell the Japanese instant noodles is really Chinese!


In 2000, the Japanese public voted instant noodles as the most important food invented in the 20th century. Little do they know that it was invented by a Chinese.

It is on record that Momofuku Ando (above) of Osaka, the founder of the giant food concern Nissin Food Products, invented instant noodles in 1958. What is almost never mentioned is that Ando, now 98, was born a Chinese named Wu Bai-fu.

How Wen Jiabao likes his noodles


Fearing political unrest due to runaway inflation, China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has made scapegoats out of noodle makers.

"China has 1.3 billion people. When you multiply a small problem 1.3 billion times, it becomes a huge problem." Wen Jiabao, China's Prime Minister, made that statement two years ago. Today he has his hands full dealing with exactly such a problem.

A tale of two terminals


The British and the Chinese both built airports. Who did it better?

In March 2008, two of the most groundbreaking airport terminals in history were opened within two days of each other. Both terminals were designed by British architects – the Richard Rogers Partnership for Terminal 5 of Heathrow (T5) and Norman Foster for Beijing International’s Terminal 3 (T3). Both were built at astronomical costs, of US$8.5 billion and US$3.5 billion, respectively, to deal with the rising numbers of international passengers.

Travel footnotes


Fell sick on your last trip? Your hotel room may be to blame.

I once had a boyfriend whose family members communicated with each other via scribbled notes, left where the intended recipient could not fail to see them. The house was a treasure trove of missives, but the one that really gave me pause was left by his mother on his father’s reading chair: “I see you are no longer using your cream. Congratulations on beating your fungus.” Yikes.

Arrested development


Will the Magic Kingdom ever make it to the Middle Kingdom?

Bob Iger, CEO and president of The Walt Disney Company, dreams of making his company a household name in China. He should be more careful what he wishes for.

Iger took control of the Magic Kingdom on October 1 last year. In the ensuing 14 months, Disney has become much more famous in North Asia, but for the wrong reasons: its name has been linked with two of the biggest corruption scandals in Taiwan and China.

News of Disney's involvement has left a bad taste in the mouth of Iger and his board of directors. Some investors are also beginning to be concerned. American legislation prohibits US companies from paying bribes to foreign nationals. There could be grave consequences for those found flouting this rule.

For Mickey's a jolly good fellow


On November 18, 2008, he turned 80. Arguably the most famous cartoon character on earth, everyone knows him as Mickey Mouse but few realise he started his life as a rabbit.

The saga of Mickey began when Walt Disney, son of an Irish immigrant, left Kansas City in 1920 to seek his fortune in Hollywood, armed with only US$40 in his pocket and a half-finished cartoon in his suitcase.

Disney was a great showman, and a genius animator and story-teller. But Hollywood closed its doors on him. It was Margaret Winkler, a New York distributor, who recognised his talent and commissioned a series of short animation stories.

Royal rumble


Barbara Millicent Roberts, known to her numerous admirers simply as Barbie, needs help. For many years Barbie had reigned supreme in the cut-throat business of selling dolls to young girls. Now she is being mobbed by half a dozen women led by Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, and she needs reinforcements to fend them off.

Ever since she made her first appearance in the American International Toy Fair on March 9, 1959 (which makes her 47 this year), the 11.5-inch blonde bombshell has captured the hearts of girls from six to 16 all over the world. Year after year, Barbie in various guises— the ballerina, the bride, the brunette, on the beach, in the kitchen, you name it — has flown off the shelves at dazzling speed. Mattel, its manufacturer, claims that three Barbie dolls are sold every second of the day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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