No job, huge debts: stressed out Indonesia’s election ‘losers’ face bleak future

Political hopeful Yayat Abdurahman bet that he would be a winner among some 245,000 candidates in Indonesia’s election last week, but his dreams of public office are fading fast as the votes get tallied.So the stressed-out candidate checked into an Islamic healing centre where a cleric prayed for his future and doused him in flower-infused water as part of traditional cleansing ritual.“At the beginning I was optimistic and feeling confident,” he said.“I thought ‘I have to win, I have to get the…

The Chearavanonts, Thailand’s richest family, are getting richer helping China

Chia Ek Chor fled his typhoon-ravaged village in southern China and started a new life in Thailand selling vegetable seeds with his brother in 1921. Almost a century later, with the largest family fortune in the country, his descendants are becoming Chinese President Xi Jinping’s key economic allies.Chia’s son Dhanin Chearavanont is senior chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group, a vast conglomerate that is the world’s biggest producer of animal feed, shrimp as well as a top telecom firm in Thailand…

Heng Swee Keat appointed deputy prime minister in Singapore cabinet reshuffle

Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday moved one step closer to becoming the Lion City’s next leader after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong named him as his new deputy.Lee, 67, moved his two current deputies, Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, to senior minister roles.Heng, 57, will be the sole Deputy Prime Minister and will also continue as Finance Minister. The changes will take effect next Wednesday.Heng’s promotion comes after the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) last…

‘Seasteading’ couple Nadia Summergirl and Chad Elwartowski face arrest warrants after Thailand dismantles sea shack

Thai police will issue arrest warrants for Chad Elwartowski and his partner Nadia Summergirl, who have been accused of violating the country’s sovereignty by building an offshore “sea home” 14 nautical miles off the island of Phuket.On Monday, the Royal Thai Navy deployed three frigates to dismantle the shack as divers from the force’s SEAL team separated the hexagonal fibreglass structure from the underwater base and dragged the cabin back to shore to be used as evidence against the couple…

Australian father and son lifesavers die saving tourist in huge swell near popular Twelve Apostles

A father and son lifesaving team drowned while trying to save a tourist swept out to sea near one of Australia’s most famous sights off the south coast, officials said Monday.Ross Powell, 71, and his son Andrew, 32, died on Sunday after their rescue boat overturned in the surf during the rescue of a 30-year-old man near the Twelve Apostles, a set of 12 limestone stacks off the Victoria state coast.The tourist, whose nationality or name has not been released, had been wading at the mouth of a…

‘Malaysia revived China deals to boost Belt and Road Forum spirits’, country’s foreign minister says

Malaysia had pushed through fresh pacts to revive two stalled China-backed projects worth billions to ensure the two countries went into this week’s Belt and Road Forum in “renewed spirits”, Foreign Minister Saifuddin ­Abdullah said on Sunday.In an interview with the Post, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s top diplomat dismissed talk that the government had only grudgingly given the green light for resumption of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project and the Bandar Malaysia township.Malaysia’s…

Japan PM Shinzo Abe stays away from Yasukuni war shrine, offers tree instead

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering Sunday to Yasukuni Shrine, regarded as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism by its Asian neighbours.The offering for war dead was made on the occasion of a three-day Spring Festival through Tuesday at the Shinto shrine in Tokyo.But Abe, who has a strong conservative support base, will leave for an overseas trip on Monday and he has no plans to visit the shrine during the festival amid improving Japan-China ties that have been frayed over…

Checkmate Manila: pawns, paws and a grand chess game in the Philippine capital

It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in Manila’s Rizal Park and 62-year-old Johnny Siong is crooning his heart out to Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love For You. He’s doing it partly for amusement and partly to psyche me out – we’re three games in to our four-game, winner-take-all chess tournament and what began as a quiet mano a mano match has attracted an eager crowd of spectators. Young and old, big and small, they are all craning their necks to see if the local legend can defeat the fast…

The noodle museum dedicated to Korea’s soul food – and its Chinese creator

A huge statue of a Chinese chef hurrying with a delivery container in hand has drawn tourists to a grey-and-red brick building in South Korea’s oldest Chinatown in the port city of Incheon.Welcome to Jjajangmyeon Museum, an unusual facility dedicated to the country’s popular noodles served with brown sauce and its inventor, a Chinese immigrant.The renovated two-storey building with green window panes used to house the once-popular Gonghhuachun Chinese restaurant, the birthplace of the…

Indonesia election: why Prabowo Subianto is maintaining victory despite a likely win for Jokowi

As hundreds of supporters amassed outside his home on Friday, presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto railed against the “lying pollsters” whose quick counts showed incumbent leader Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, would win a second term.His team’s count, Prabowo continued, based on a sample of votes from 320,000 – more than one-third – of polling stations nationwide showed that he and his running mate Sandiaga Uno had won 62 per cent of the popular vote. It was his third declaration of…