What I read last week:- the dangers of calling it ‘bullying’, what phosphate ban says about tea-party politics and others

It’s not because I’m too arrogant to think people might be interested in what I’m reading, but there are some great reporters/ writers out there and just wanted to share some of their thoughts and stories that have enriched me…

America’s Dish Detergent Wars

The author uses the response of some citizens to the government’s attempt to ban phosphate in dish detergent to talk about Tea Party paranoia

Pakistan Flood Victims Tell Their Story

An AP multimedia piece by a friend of mine who covered the devastating Pakistan floods. Hear the impact from the victims first hand. Caution – pretty heart-wrenching stuff

Stop Calling it Bullying

The author says the first step to tackle this is to stop calling it ‘Bullying’. He says, “Bullying is an flaccid, outdated, archies comic-era term. It’s so quaint and toothless — like saying DeNiro bullied Nick Nolte’s family in Cape Fear…. or saying the Khmer Rouge was ‘Peevish.'”

33 Thais in miraculous rescue

A hilarious and (dare I say it) pretty accurate satire about the state of Thai politics and attitude using the Chilean miners’ example. Only this time, 33 Thais were stuck trying to cross the Sukhumvit road (for those who are not familiar with Thailand, this is a major tourist area) and how it took over 2 months for the government to rescue them.

Asia HIV programmes fail to reach sex workers

Ok, full disclosure, I wrote this story based on a first-ever regional meeting where policy makers, U.N. staff and sex workers sat down to discuss HIV prevention efforts. I spoke to an inspiring Burmese lady who runs a very successful sex worker outreach programme. She told me, “Sex workers are mothers, daughters, possibly important and responsible members of their family…. people who look down, stigmatise and discriminate against them – can they say they will not become a sex worker themselves if they had similarly difficult background and needs?”

Papua floods displaces thousands, kills 145

Another story I did, this time on the flash floods that has devastated the Indonesian-ruled part of Papua, which is resource-rich but poorer than many other parts of the Indonesia archipelago. Aid agencies and donors I’ve spoken to have expressed their frustration over the restrictions in the area (because there are pro-indepenent movement and activists) which has prevented many agencies from working there, and which also means disasters such as this are sometimes ignored due to lack of information. Even local Indonesian media seems not very interested… an aid worker told me, “It’s almost like saying ‘let them all die’.”

Liu Xiaobao and Illusions About China

The author says Nobel Prize to the dissident is a challenge to “the West to re-examine a dangerous notion that has become prevalent since the 1989 Tiananmen massacre: that economic development will inevitably lead to democracy in China.”