Author: Stephanie Garcia

SINGAPORE: George Yeo Goes to the Vatican

STEPHANIE GARCIA WRITES – First a South American becomes the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and now he wants to bring an Asian onto his Council for the Economy? Oh, how times have changed! In all seriousness, we couldn’t be happier for George Yeo, who was just appointed as a member of the Vatican’s new Council for the Economy earlier this month. The membership on the fiscally-focused council came after Pope Francis called him to be part of a special commission created last summer with the goal of ridding the Holy See of its scandalous reputation. Quite a tall order, but one Archbishop Goh believed Yeo was ready for: “We are pleased that Mr. Yeo has accepted this heavy responsibility and we have every confidence that he will make invaluable contributions to the Church through his work in this commission and do us proud.” The creation of the new council not only acknowledges the blunders that have marred the Church’s image in recent history, but it is atypical structures in church hierarchy. For one, Yeo’s membership is a stray from the previously strictly-European Vatican (albeit he is the only Asian member). Also, the Holy See steps out of its comfort zone by allowing lay Catholics to participate. In fact, seven of the fifteen seat holders are laypeople. Controversial? Singaporeans are ardent Christians, but they don’t seem to mind...

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SINGAPORE: Six Years a Stalker

STEPHANIE GARCIA WRITES – It has been said “imitation is the highest form of flattery.” Perhaps stalking is second highest? And the new frontier seems to be taking place on the cyber highways. Sure, stalkers may be a problem that has existed since the dawn of civilization, but Web avenues make this crime all the more difficult to take action against. Perhaps not many know these realities better than Leandra Ramm, an opera singer who was tormented by a cyber stalker for six years. Featured on “My Life is a Lifetime Movie,” the singer reports having received nearly five thousand death threats from Singaporean Colin Mak Yew Loong. He is also reported to have similarly threatened two other musicians, Krasznai Tuende Ilona from Hungary and Veronika Sakhno from the Ukraine. The difficulty in cyber stalking lies in the rub that citizens of one nation can be victims of residents across the globe. Lack of jurisdiction and inconsistencies in cyber legislation creates roadblocks in dealing with these issues. In a past Presidential Proclamation, The Economist reported President Barack Obama as stating, “Increasingly, stalkers use modern technology to monitor and torment their victims, and one in four victims reports some form of cyber-stalking—such as threatening e-mails or instant messaging—as part of their harassment.” In Ramm’s case, her stalker was finally arrested after the Secret Service intervened in 2011. He will finally receive sentencing in Singapore on December...

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SINGAPORE: Anonymous Hacktivists Strike

STEPHANIE GARCIA WRITES – The online vigilante group Anonymous is at it again, with media giant Straits Times as its newest victim. After threatening to wage cyber warfare with the Singapore government in a YouTube video on October 30, the international hacking organization executed attacks, not on the government, but on South East Asia’s biggest English language news outlet, Straits Times. Today Online, another publication under Singapore Press Holdings, reported that two days after the video post targeting the government, a portion of the Straits Times site was hijacked instead, with reporter Irene Tham’s blog page headlined, “Dear ST: You just got hacked for misleading the people!” The affected pages have since been taken down, with the reminder of the site operating as usual. How exactly were readers allegedly misled? The Messiah, the surname of the Anonymous member claiming responsibility for the Web attack (and the hacking of pop star Sun Ho’s fan site earlier this year), asserts that the Straits Times misreported the content of the video. Instead of clarifying that only the Singapore government was being targeted, Anonymous rules ST as guilty of giving readers the impression that all Singaporeans were at risk of attack. Furthermore, the original video urged Singaporeans to wear black and red and black out their Facebook profile pictures on November 5 in protest. The Messiah also promised to wreak devastation on the...

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SINGAPORE: Un-Neighborly Brawl Goes Facebook Viral

STEPHANIE GARCIA WRITES – There are all types of neighbors, ones that lend a cup of sugar, ones whose names we never learn, and ones who play their music loudly. Of course, the worst of all are the ones who play their music loudly and then physically abuse their elderly neighbors for complaining about it. On Saturday, September 28, two female police officers responded to a situation in which 65 year old Madam Toh Siew Hong was being attacked by her 41 year old neighbor, Casey Sabrina Ng. In a span of twenty minutes, Madam Toh allegedly suffered over fifty blows at the hands of her neighbor, an incident recorded by a camera installed by the victim’s family. The video was uploaded to Facebook by Toh’s daughter-in-law, where it attracted viral attention. Madam Toh’s daughter, Ms. Yap, claims that the camera was a precaution they felt was necessary after multiple threats from Ms. Ng since earlier that month. Yap insists that Ng had been a difficult neighbor since moving to the Chai Chee flats in January, often playing loud music late at night. She believes her mother was beaten because Ng thought she was the source of complaints made against her. Following the dispute, Ng was taken to the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric evaluation and Toh was admitted to Changi General Hospital, where she was given facial...

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SINGAPORE: Malaysia Only Wants to be Friends in Secret

STEPHANIE GARCIA WRITES – As Singapore’s president, Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam, made his first diplomatic visit to neighboring Malaysia, Singapore news outlets stressed the importance of a strengthened relationship, while Malaysia sang a better-off-without-you tune in its own media. The Straits Times and Singapore-based Channel News Asia stressed the value of the visit and focused on President Tan’s desire for increased connectivity between the countries, who were both founding members of ASEAN and believe in its potential. Both publications repeatedly quoted President Tan, although Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s remarks were absent. Channel News Asia, for example, quoted President Tan in saying, “Improved connectivity through projects such as the High Speed Rail Link will further enhance our economic cooperation and people-to-people interactions. We are dreaming big together, so our peoples will gain an enriching and secure future together.” Does Prime Minister Najib Razak want this too? Who knows. The largest English language newspaper in Malaysia, The Star, had absolutely nothing to say about the visit. In fact, just two days before the visit, The Star featured a story titled “When Singapore and Malaysia Were One,” highlighting the adjustment of families who had been torn apart during the split. Interestingly, the perspectives of the narrators all stressed an affinity for their beloved home country and described the struggles of adjusting to the foreign and newly fast-paced Singapore or their deep...

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Asia Media Podcasts

Asia Media International Staff

ASIA MEDIA INTERNATIONAL is a student-driven publication of Loyola Marymount University’s Asia Media Center – a vital part of LMU’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS), in an alliance with the university's award-winning Dept.of Political Science, and with the influential Pacific Century Institute.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and Executive Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief:
Jay Seo

Aashna Malpani, Yi Ning Wong

Savannah Nunez

Katrina Crosby

Staff Writers [Beat]:
Nadia Aljojo
Kate Barkley [Australia]
Murad Basrawi
Alexis Cruz [Qatar]
Truman Daly
Jacqueline Dilanchyan
Bobby Fretz
Ephiphany Hulburd
Diana Jablonski [Malaysia]
Matthew Lange [Asian Profiles,Anime]
Frances Magsalin [Korea/Kpop]
Beth McLaughlin
Rachel Oakes
Hiromi Ochi [Singapore]
Dylan Ramos
Fassa Sar [Film]
Tiara Salvabilla
Gloria Santillan [Korea]
Sebastian Segura [Russia]
Elizabeth Soelistio [Indonesia]
Nicolas Swaya
C.J. Stone [Japan]

Special Correspondent:
Clementine Todorov

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Evan Sun

Video Team Editor:
Momokoo (Yuchan) Deng

Emeritus Managing Editors:
Savannah Nunez
= Sabrina Verduzco
= Mary Grace Costa
Kelcey Lorenzo

Contribuing Editors Emeritus:

Robert Dylan Fields
Eriko Lee Katayama
Ryan Lippert
Adrian Narayan [India]
James Royce [Australia]
Miranda Pak [Hong Kong]
Lamiya Shabir [Pakistan & Islam]
Yunfei Suo [China]
Erisa Takeda [Japan Politics]
Ryan Urban [Singapore]

Emeritus Associate Publishers:
Jeremiah Fajardo
Brian Chris Canave
Peyton Cross

Emeritus Executive Editor:
Lexie Tucker

Emeritus Executive Senior Editor and Senior Writing Instructor:
Ben Sullivan

Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Prof Tom Plate


Gareth C.C. Chang, Tom Plate, Jennifer Ramos, Kal Raustiala, Jeremiah Fajardo, Ben Sullivan, Greg Treverton