Flight attendants in Thailand are protesting against a soap opera, “War of Angels” (“Songkram Nang Fah”), which is said to be demeaning their profession.

The new soap opera focuses on the sexual scandal of a handsome married pilot, and a group of jealous air hostesses fighting for his love. The stewardesses can be seen cat fighting while on duty and wearing their uniforms (video below).

The trade union representing air crew has filed a complaint on Tuesday (Jan 22) to the culture ministry and the TV station that broadcasts the show to take it off the air.

The producers of the soap have apologised for the controversies caused and promised to tone it down with longer skirts and to stop having cat fights in uniforms; but have ruled out of cancelling the show.

Trailer of Songkhram Nang Fah (Hat tip to Asianpopcorn)


More than 8,000 high school teachers took part in an end-of-term exam in Shenyang, China… not as supervisors, but as examinees.

Chinese teachers sit exams with students
Teacher and students sitting the same exam on Jan 14 (Image courtesy of Shenyang Evening News)

The teachers are required to take the exams to test their professional knowledge on the courses they taught. If they score less than 80/100 points, they will be disqualified from receiving rewards and bonuses in future. [Crienglish]

I wonder how the teachers would feel if they score lower than some of the students.

South Korea’s MBC news has replaced their news anchor, Moon Ji-ae after enormous pressure from public. Moon Ji-ae was criticised for laughing at the end of live news on Jan 7.

Frankly, it was just a small giggle (video below)… it was inappropriate but not bad enough to cost her the job if it was happening on a common day. Unfortunately though, the headline of the day was a warehouse blast that killed 40 in Icheon; the public was critical of the laughing incident because of the circumstances.

MBC spokesperson has responded that they won’t be reinstating Moon Ji-ae in near future for the news anchor post. Her works on other shows are however not affected at the moment.

The ‘laughing’ incident (watching the first 10 seconds is enough, the rest are just repitition)

Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market held the first tuna auction in 2008 on early Saturday (Jan 5), with a 276-kg bluefin tuna caught off Aomori Prefecture sold for a five-year high of 6.07 million yen.

First tuna auction at Tsukiji fish market in 2008
Tsukiji’s tuna auction

A Hong Kong-based sushi restaurant chain won the bluefin tuna with the highest price; its price per kg came to 22,000 yen (~ $200).

The record-high price was 20.2 million yen (~ $185,000), or 100,000 yen ($900+) per kg, set in 2001 for a 202kg tuna caught in the same waters off Oma, the northernmost town on Japan’s main island.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Japan, the world’s biggest tuna-consuming country, to secure a stable supply of the fish with amid tightening controls on catches and rising fuel costs for fishing boats…

The international catch quota for bluefin tuna is being gradually reduced to preserve tuna resources; while higher fuel costs following a record-breaking surge in crude oil prices have forced an increasing number of Japanese fishing boats to discontinue the tuna harvest. [Kyodo]

The Tsukiji fish market (築地市場, Tsukiji shijō), formally known as The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. The market is located in Tsukiji in central Tokyo, and is a major tourist attraction for foreign visitors.

Time Magazine has picked its Top 10 Asia Stories of 2007

1. Pakistan in Crisis

Nov 11: President General Pervez Musharraf imposes emergency rule, hoping to cling to power in the face of multiple challenges.

2. Taliban Offensive

Sept 29: A Taliban suicide bomber kills 35 Afghan troops and two civilians in the year’s worst suicide bombing in Kabul.

3. North Korea Agrees to Disarm

Feb 13: Months after testing a nuclear device, North Korea agrees at six-party talks in Beijing to take the first steps towards disarmament.
Read the rest of this post »

Authorities in South Korea have solved the case of the death of a man who was alleged to have been killed by an exploding mobile phone battery.

Korean cell phone death
The ‘exploded’ mobile
phone in the case

Fact is the mine worker was accidentally struck by heavy machinery, and the co-worker who was at fault decided to create the exploded mobile phone story to cover up the accident.

The victim was found in a quarry where he worked on Nov 28 in Cheongwon County in North Chungcheong Province, with burns on his chest, fractured ribs and damaged lungs and heart. The mobile phone at his chest was burning and the battery melting… leading the media to believe in the co-worker’s claim that the mobile phone had exploded and caused the death.

The incident has caused havoc among South Koreans regarding the safety of their mobile phone. Phone maker LG (the phone used by the victim) has to issue statement calming down the public that their products have been rigorously tested and approved by independent agencies.

The police finding has managed to clear LG out of the box. The press reported that the co-worker has backed his machinery onto the victim accidentally and crushed the victim’s chest (with the mobile phone). It was uncertain if the mobile phone was set on fire by the co-worker or burnt because of the heavy impact.

Tokyo has unseated Paris as the world’s culinary capital. That’s according to Michelin Guides, the French bible of gastronomy, which announced a Tokyo edition Monday – its first outside Europe and the United States.

Michelin’s Tokyo guide awarded 191 stars to 150 restaurants in the Japanese capital, the most number of stars awarded in any city. Previously, Paris had the most stars, at 65.

The first Michelin guide was published in 1900 as a hotel and restaurant handbook for French motorists. It is published by the Clermont-Ferrand-based tire company of the same name.

A 42cm x 67cm calendar (for 2008) made of pure gold is on display at a jewelry store in Tokyo. The 6kg calendar is available at a price tag of 30 million yen (~ US$258,620).

Gold calendar in Tokyo Gold calendar in Tokyo
A model showing the gold calendar in Tokyo (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

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