Obama: An Asian American?


They are calling him the first post-racial president. But is playing the race card and claiming him as one of our own.

Post-racial and bi-coastal: in the four short years since catapulting to global recognition from little-known Chicago politician, Barack Obama, the junior US Senator from Illinois, has meticulously outlined himself as many things to many people.

Rudd in Beijing


To be honest, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Mandarin isn’t all that great. But try telling that to the students of Beijing University.

Rudd, 50, made his first trip to China in early April as Australia's head of state. Rudd is an old Beijing hand, having stayed in the Chinese capital for three years in the late 1980s. Not many Chinese, in Beijing or otherwise, had noticed the smiling official from the Australian embassy then. The fact that he could speak fluent Mandarin – in a city where many foreigners are Chinese experts – aroused little interest.

Bun Rany Hun Sen: Financier


Wife of CAMBODIA's Prime Minister Hun Sen

Bun Rany, 52, runs the Red Cross, gives help to HIV and the disabled and coordinates relief efforts for victims of natural disasters. In May, she prevailed over her husband to ban 3G services so Cambodians would not download pornographic materials over their phones.

Asia's former First Ladies go shopping


What do former First Ladies who are ousted from power do when they feel restless? Retail therapy, of course.

In November, two of Asia's most famous — some would say infamous — women were doing the shopping thing. But while Khunying (Lady) Potjaman, 51, wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was buying up a storm; Imelda Marcos, she of the big hair, heavy diamonds and 3,000 pairs of shoes, had decided to go the other way — the former First Lady of the Philippines was launching a jewellery collection.

Closing in


Shanghai Gang boss Jia Qinglin is probably feeling the heat as Lai Changxing offers to squeal on him.

Patience has its own rewards. For Lai Changxing, 48, China’s most famous economic fugitive, a seven-year wait has finally begun to bear fruit.

From road king to road kill


The bell is tolling for Zhang Rongkun who once had a net worth of US$605 million.

It took Zhang Rongkun 34 years to claw his way up from nothingness to having a net worth of 10 billion yuan. It took him just three years to topple himself from that lofty height, to become a prisoner of state and a witness in one of the biggest scandals in modern China.