Personalities

Find out what Asia’s movers and shakers are up to ­– and how they spend their private time 
  1. When Adriano O Mantiel, a 46-year-old maintenance worker in Rizal province near Manila, wiped ash from his mobile phone screen on January 12, 2020, he knew something was wrong. “I thought that it was rain. But when it happened, my allergies immediately reacted,” he recalls. “I began sneezing. My eyes became very red and I had trouble breathing.” He was reacting to the eruption of Taal Volcano 70km south of Manila in Batangas province – its first seismic activity in more than 40 years. Images…
  2. Shafiq Did not know if he would never go home again, after escaping war in Afghanistan for a life in the refugee camps of Peshawar, Pakistan. The United States toppled the Taliban government in 2001, but even then his home country was in the grip of a terrible drought. By 2006, however, Shafiq had found hope enough to return – as a result of Dr Tetsu Nakamura’s efforts to bring water to Afghanistan’s previously dry lands.For nearly 30 years, Nakamura worked and lived in Afghanistan, helping…
  3. Filipinos who have returned home after fleeing oppressive work conditions in the Middle East face an uphill battle to claim a rehabilitation cash grant offered by the government and start a new life to make up for lost foreign currency earnings.Mary Ann Silva, 42, who is among a group of women that recently arrived in Manila after pre-terminating their work contracts, said she asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) how she could get the 20,000 pesos (US$392) grant for…
  4. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen marks 35 years in office today, a landmark that divides opinion in the politically tense Southeast Asian nation. According to his critics, his longevity has been achieved through murder, repression, endemic corruption and dictatorial power – from his still-shrouded actions as a Khmer Rouge deputy commander in the 1970s to the bloody coup he orchestrated to take power in 1997. After dissolving the country’s largest opposition party in 2017, he has turned…
  5. When Singapore’s ISS International School held a community event last month, a concerned Hong Kong family approached the school’s admissions department. They wanted to discuss the growing network of Hong Kong-based parents considering sending their children to study in Singapore.“They wanted to assist their colleagues and friends in Hong Kong to be able to admit their children should they feel … relocating out of Hong Kong to Singapore developed from a conversation into a reality,” said Paul…
  6. A new sport-comedy caper starring a former Japanese wrestling champion and a motley cast of Tamil actors is set to entertain audiences in India.Sumo, directed by S.P. Hosimin, revolves around an unlikely friendship between a surfing teacher and a sumo wrestler who gets washed up on a Chennai shore – a story borne out of the filmmaker’s fascination with sumos and his desire to pen an ode to the growing ties between India and Japan.“Sumo wrestlers are cherubic gentle giants and loved by everyone,…
  7. More than a year after Malaysian authorities carted out hundreds of boxes of designer handbags and caches of expensive jewellery from her home, former self-styled ‘first lady of Malaysia’ Rosmah Mansor is once again the talk of the town, thanks to viral recordings of her ‘scolding’ her husband, erstwhile prime minister Najib Razak.Malaysian anti-corruption authorities this week released recordings of phone calls they say took place between Najib and various individuals linked to the 1Malaysia…
  8. Having amassed decades of experience working outside of his home country, Singaporean-born businessman K.K. Chua is a big advocate of young people taking their careers overseas – honing the explorer’s spirit, as he called it.But China, he said, was no longer the place to be.“My advice for young Singaporeans trying to go into China is this: there are better places, more spaces for you to grow elsewhere,” said the Hong Kong-based president of Asia-Pacific at American make-up brand Mary Kay…
  9. A bush fire came so close to destroying Kate Shone’s home on New Year’s Eve that the flames left singed leaves in her backyard.She considers herself lucky, but is ready to move at a moment’s notice as authorities forecast a return to scorching temperatures in Australia on Friday after rain and cooler temperatures this week provided a brief respite from blazes that have wreaked havoc across the southern states of Victoria and New South Wales.“I haven’t unpacked my car. People have been told to…
  10. A female Chinese tourist was stabbed in the head in an unprovoked knife attack by a woman in an Osaka discount store over the weekend. The tourist, who has not been named but is reported to be 31 years old, was attacked from behind on a flight of stairs inside the main Osaka outlet of the Don Quijote discount store on Saturday afternoon. The woman sustained stabbing and slashing injuries to the back of her head and was later admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment. Another woman accused…