Posts Tagged ‘Blacksmith Books’

Knowing Hong Kong’s place

June 30, 2013

US leaker Edward Snowden’s short, unhappy stay in Hong Kong highlighted the confusion about my adopted hometown’s status under Chinese sovereignty. The July 1 anniversary of the 1997 Hong Kong handover is a good opportunity to clear things up.

First, let me say that, like most Hong Kongers, I’m of two minds about Snowden, though perhaps for different reasons. I’ve held a US security clearance, and I didn’t take the responsibility lightly. I also can imagine the weight Barack Obama’s administration feels to protect the American public because, unlike the George W Bush people, it can’t bask in the belief that an attack that kills thousands of Americans is science fiction. It’s also a political fact that the Obama administration got more heat for a guy on an airplane with explosives in his underwear who was apprehended without causing damage than the Bush administration got for ignoring a memo that warned Al Qaeda was determined to strike the US and doing nothing to prevent the thousands of deaths that resulted from that tragedy (not to mention the phony war it drummed up in its aftermath), unless buying expensive shoes, sporting a bad haircut and flapping your overbite are anti-terrorism measures.

I also feel very strongly about the right to privacy and snooping into our personal lives. I’m quite sympathetic to the argument that the National Security Agency wasn’t collecting any more information than Google, phone companies and big data aggregators do. To me, that means we should be fully exposing and debating what those private companies do, rather than expanding these hidden privileges to the government.

Snowden presented Hong Kong with an unwelcome dilemma. It was caught in the middle of a dispute involving two of its most important partners. His disclosure of US spying at Chinese University of Hong Kong rightly raised questions about the US-Hong Kong relationship. Snowden’s revelations of US cyber espionage on the mainland provided juicy political ammunition for China to counter US accusations of China’s hacking of US targets. But the US-China relationship is far more important than anything Snowden could offer. So getting him out of their hair Hong Kong was a good thing for all.

It was troubling to see Cyd Ho, one of Hong Kong’s leading pan-democratic politicians, ask Beijing to reveal its position on Snowden before Hong Kong courts heard his case. But it’s not Hong Kong’s place to get in the middle of a Sino-American dispute, unless Hong Kong itself is the subject.

But far more wrongheaded than Cyd Ho’s deference to Beijing was the stream of US politicians bloviating about Snowden taking his secrets to China, as if Hong Kong is just another city in China. The whole point of Hong Kong’s status as a special administrative region (SAR) of China is that it’s not just another city in China.

The Basic Law, the mini-constitution for post-handover Hong Kong, guarantees the former British colony a “high degree of autonomy” in its domestic affairs for 50 years, with Beijing having a leading role in defense and foreign affairs only. (Snowden’s connection to foreign affairs gives local politicians an excuse for deferring to the mainland.) That high degree of autonomy includes freedom of expression and western style civil liberties that remain distant dreams in the mainland. Hong Kong has more than 7 million people, its own currency, its own courts and its own official language. There’s still a border between the Hong Kong and mainland, and citizens of each need permission to cross it. Deng Xiaoping summed up relationship best: “one country-two systems.”

The Hong Kong government makes it own laws with the help of an elected legislature. The electoral system isn’t terribly fair, but as much blame for that lies with the British and Hong Kong elite as Beijing. The British ruled undemocratically for 150 years and only began caring about giving Hong Kong’s masses a voice when the clock was running out. The local Chinese elite the colonial government leaned on were largely disinclined to cede power.

The relationship between China and Hong Kong is not analogous to the US government and a state. It’s more like the US relationship with Puerto Rico; few American would say that a person who went to Puerto Rico had thrown himself into the arms of the US intelligence services. But the US and Puerto Rico are in some ways closer than Hong Kong and China: Chinese citizens cannot freely visit, live and work in Hong Kong and vice versa.

As I wrote in Hong Kong On Air, everyone wondered how well “one country-two systems” would hold up after the handover. The problem, in these ensuing years, hasn’t been the structure but Hong Kong’s elite.

Hours after the handover (and completely unrelated to it), the Asian economic crisis hit the region as currencies collapsed. The crisis began China’s transformation from a supporting player amid the Asian tiger economies to the region’s leading dragon. Before the handover, Hong Kong expected to be the rich teacher to the mainland, but Hong Kong and China’s economic fortunes were abruptly reversed. Since the handover and the SARS epidemic of 2003, Hong Kong’s economy has become far more dependent on the mainland.

Despite that development, grassroots Hong Kong recognizes that loving China and doing business with it doesn’t mean loving the Communist Party’s rule. People here rose up against a plan to put mainland propaganda into the school curriculum and continue to campaign for free, direct election of Hong Kong’s chief executive, its head of government. Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers turn out annually to commemorate the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown that still cannot be spoken of across the border.

But Hong Kong’s elite have always been dependent on whoever’s in charge. Propaganda about Hong Kong and Singapore as the world’s freest economies notwithstanding, local tycoons got rich by kowtowing to leadership for favors and licenses. For example, property is the source of most wealth in Hong Kong and the government owns all the land, not exactly the way Adam Smith drew it up. Hong Kong’s rigged electoral system gives those tycoons disproportionate say in the legislature and lets Beijing chose the people who choose the chief executive. These so-called leaders put far greater emphasis on “one country” than “two systems” and skew outsiders’ views of Hong Kong. Their laxity about safeguarding Hong Kong’s prerogatives represents the small circle that elects them, not the majority of Hong Kongers.

What the tycoons and their acolytes fail to recognize is that they have the most to lose if Hong Kong really does become just another Chinese city. Fortunately, the people who ride the subway instead of Rolls Royces and Bentleys keep standing up to prevent it from happening. At least some of us recognize where our best interests really lie.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Air Asia Indonesia performance doesn’t fly

June 23, 2013

Air Asia founder Tony Fernandes says “Indonesia is the jewel in our crown.” If he’s serious, he’d better upgrade his royal caretakers.

I’m a longtime Air Asia flyer. I’m used to the budget carrier’s no-frills, pay-for-it-if-you-want-it approach laden with creative surcharges, and I’m resigned to its at best indifferent customer service. But my experience with Air Asia Indonesia was a shock.

First, there’s the absolutely tacky – and in many jurisdictions likely illegal – practice of requiring that each passenger pay in advance for baggage, whether they have any or not, rather than being straightforward and simply adding that mandatory charge to the base fare. While Air Asia has always dug up ways to charge for services, it’s never gone to this extreme, making customers buy something regardless of whether they want or need it. That goes against the entire Air Asia ethos.

Far worse was the experience when I tried to fly Air Asia Indonesia from Bali to a family wedding in Makassar. My wife’s youngest brother was getting married, so she and our six year old daughter both had key roles in the ceremony. En route to the airport – I’d been on assignment for Fodors.com – we got caught in Bali’s extraordinary traffic as it prepares for major international meetings later this year, and arrived at 2:40pm for a 3:30pm flight.

The employee at the desk refused to check us in, even the plane had not even arrived at the airport. And, of course, Air Asia wouldn’t consider rescheduling our flights or refunding our money. We asked him for let us talk to the supervisor; this employee claimed he was the supervisor. We asked him to let us talk to the people at the gate to see if they could help us – again, the aircraft hadn’t arrived yet, so it’s not as if boarding had already begun – and he refused. As my wife pleaded and our daughter cried, the employee seemed to delight in our predicament, rather than show any desire to help us.

We appealed to other airport personnel, including the security staff, to assist us. They recognized the absurdity of the Air Asia employee’s behavior and tried to intervene on our behalf. Again, the Air Asia employee refused to show any common sense or common decency. Instead, he became confrontational and aggressive toward us. We were in a completely ridiculous situation, but it was clear that the person who could fix it wouldn’t.

Fortunately, we found an alternative flight to Makassar with another carrier at substantial additional cost, and missed nearly all of the evening ceremonies due to the later flight time. All of this unhappiness could have been avoided if this one Air Asia Indonesia employee had chosen cooperation rather confrontation as his mode of customer service. When purchased our new tickets, we couldn’t help notice that the Air Asia ticket counter’s thick glass window had been broken; apparently we are not the carrier’s first dissatisfied customers in Bali.

Perhaps worst of all, I wrote to Air Asia about the incident via its website with full details, including the name of the employee. I got an acknowledgement that the item was received but no further response. I tried to follow up without success, then began the whole process again, and again got no reply. No one at Air Asia had the guts to stand up and say the employee followed our rules and we stand by his actions, or to apologize and say they’d try to ensure future customers didn’t face similarly suffer in situations that could be fixed so easily.

So let me now ask Tony Fernandes whether he thinks his employees took good care of Air Asia’s crown jewel in this case. I look forward to his response.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Hangover awaits Macau after 2012 feast

January 13, 2013

Macau celebrated the new year in style. On the first working day of 2013, Macau announced casino revenue for December reached 28.2 billion Macau patacas (MOP; US$3.5 billion), a new record, topping the MOP27.7 billion reached in October last year. December registered 19.6 percent year-on-year revenue growth, the biggest increase since April.

For 2012 overall, gaming revenue topped MOP304.1 billion, or US$38 billion, growing 13.5 percent from 2011 to set another new record. All this in a year when the traditional growth engine of high roller VIP play sputtered, the long awaited opening of Sands Cotai Central in two star-studded phases in didn’t pack much sizzle, and tourist arrivals barely grew.

The situation is reminiscent of 2008 when mainland officials first tightened the reins on travel to the Macau, inducing panic and even talk of bankruptcy among casino operators, yet revenues grew 31 percent, topping MOP100 billion for the first time. When licensees gathered for a trade council meeting, one mogul reportedly declared, “Thank God for bad years.”

This year may not deliver such a happy ending. There won’t be any major resort openings during 2013 (nor, in all likelihood, 2014). Macau’s critical transition to mass market focus is still in its early stages. Vacationers who’ve come once must be convinced to lavish their limited leisure budgets and time again on return trips. That’s a growing challenge as Chinese travelers spread the wings further afield and more Asian destinations add casinos to their list of attractions. Moreover, Macau remains almost completely reliant on mainland and Hong Kong visitors and has failed to blossom in the broader international tourism market.

This year’s completion of Beijing’s leadership transition could mean tighter controls on money moving across the border into Macau as part of broader crackdown on corruption. However, VIP volume has staged a mild recovery since November as uncertainty over the potential impact of the Xi Jinping regime gives way to the reality of the new team moving into place. That trend could continue as the year progresses.

Opening of the high speed rail line from Beijing late last year, with an intercity link that drops passengers within yards of the Zhuhai side of the Macau border gate, could boost visitor arrivals. So could operation of a new 24 hour border crossing that’s awaiting approval from Beijing.

But even if more visitors can come, Macau has to do better at giving them reasons to visit. Many of the pieces are already there. Now it’s about assembling them properly, filling in the gaps, and perhaps the greatest challenge, providing the human software to support the billions of dollars in hardware.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Royal hoax hand wringing misses point

December 18, 2012

The nurse found hanged following a prank call in connection Kate Middleton’s hospitalization in London was buried in her native India on Monday. was Jacinta Saldanha’s suicide has sparked outrage, mainly directed at the Australian radio hosts Mel Grieg and Michael Christian who called the hospital posing as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. But the disc jockeys, already fired and abjectly apologetic, are merely symptoms of a larger problem.

A much loved woman killing herself and leaving two children motherless over a perceived disservice to the British royal family is the most compelling reason yet to abolish the monarchy. My five year old daughter believes in the fairy tale world of princesses; it’s long past time for Britain to drop this ludicrous mythology. The monarchy is a vestige of times when nations were ruled not by laws and consent of the governed, but heredity reinforced by lies. Pretending there’s a royal family more worthy than the rest of us by accident of birth and frequently flawed marriages insults both people’s humanity and intelligence.

Britain has long encouraged and exploited interest in its royal foolishness. This year’s royal wedding was just the latest example of how Britain uses (and lavishly funds) the monarchy to spur tourism and domestic consumption. Complaining about media violating royals’ privacy is as hypocritical as going to a porn movie and complaining because there’s nudity.

Banishing the British monarchy to the dustbin of history could provide the added advantage of exposing the world’s remaining potentates to the cold light of reality they and their subjects deserve. All people are created equal; accepting that now will avert future tragedies and let all people, not just handsome princes and fair young maidens, reach their potential. We don’t need to keep believing in fairy tales to create happy endings.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

GOP inside scoop: still chilly on Romney

August 18, 2012

“On behalf of Fox News, let me call this session of America’s Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to order. Vice President Cheney, you have the floor.”

“Thank you, Roger. When we all met about a year ago, there was broad agreement that to defeat Barack Obama we want this presidential election to be about Obama and not about our candidate. To achieve that, it was essential to find the most anodyne, inoffensive, bland candidate possible. And given the field of contenders that emerged, it became clear that our best choice was Mitt Romney. Karl, please continue.”

“Thank you, Master. We believed we had the perfect Stepford candidate in Mitt Romney. A man with no principles, no convictions he’s not willing to change to get ahead, a truly empty vessel of ambition with a recognized Republican pedigree, ready to do precisely as told on the campaign trail and in office. It was like W all over again, but not quite as stupid.”

“Stupid is underrated.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more, Secretary Baker. As I was saying, Romney’s spinelessness and overall lack of character and personality seem like a winning formula. So it came as a shock to discover – credit where credit is due to our opponents – that even a cardboard cut-out of a man like Romney could leave any footprints. Who knew he had a dog, that he had a car, that he had rope? Who imagined that he had a dancing horse? Did any of you ever hear of Palestinian culture or a known Polish soldier? Who would have dreamed there was anything wrong with being your average billionaire next door?”

“Another sign of how that Kenyan Muslim socialist is polarizing the country with his lies.”

“I couldn’t agree more, Ambassador Bolton. But to focus on the future, we need to find a candidate that will seem as innocuous as possible to the American public, someone with no history, no achievements whatsoever, that will give our opponents absolutely nothing to use against him and provide no distraction from Obama.”

“Is there anyone out there who is more white bread than Mitt Romney?”

“Ahem…”

“Of course, black people can be white bread, too, Condi…”

“Thank you, Karl.”

“You’re just not one of them…”

“May I interrupt?”

“Go ahead, Ari.”

“We’re talking about finding someone who’s as close to white bread as possible. But everyone in public life has a history, has a past, has a record, no matter how much they try to cover it up and deny it…”

“What’s your point, Ari? I’m living on borrowed time.”

“Sorry, Mr. Vice President. My point is that if we want white bread, then why not just nominate white bread?”

“Pardon me, are you saying we should nominate a slice of white bread to be the president of the United States?”

“Of course not, Mr. Vice President, Don’t be ridiculous. I’m saying we should nominate a loaf of white bread.”

“That’s the most cynical thing I’ve ever heard, dripping with utter contempt for the American public and the political process.”

“I like it, too, Secretary Baker. How do you think it would poll, Karl?”

“You’ve got the white, which offers an extremely effective contrast with Obama. You’ve got the bread, slang for money in my generation, again a strong contrast…”

“I’ve been sitting here, listening quietly to all of this…”

“And no one told you to change that, Peggy…”

“I felt I had to, Grover, because it seems to me we’re missing a fundamental point. There are a lot of people in this country today that won’t accept white bread. There are Republicans – and Democrats – who don’t want to bring additional carbs in their already difficult lives. There are Republicans, Democrats and independents who won’t accept processed flour. There’s the entire issue of gluten. So I think that we need to think about all of these issues very carefully before we choose a nominee for this election that’s so terribly important.”

“Peggy has a point. Maybe we need to offer the electorate something less controversial than white bread. What about a burger?”

“Karl, have you forgotten my cholesterol?”

“Sorry, Mr Vice President…”

“Something everyone likes…”

“Orange juice. Gets us a lot of traction in Florida.”

“And it’s a morning drink… Morning in America. That’s always been a winner for our side.”

“But we’re going to face a lot of questions with orange juice. Fresh squeezed or frozen? A growing percentage of juice and even oranges come from overseas these days. It could make our candidate the issue again, not Obama.”

“Orange juice and questions both give me acid. We need something more solid, less controversial…”

“Popcorn.”

“No, that’s the movies, that liberal Hollywood crowd. Not the element we’re going for.”

“I’ve got it. A chocolate chip cookie. Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?”

“I agree that people like sweets, but you still have to contend with chocolate allergies, processed flour…”

“Oatmeal raisin?”

“Too lefty.”

“Not to mention fruity.”

“And we’ve gotten awfully far from white bread.”

“Right. It’s got to be plain, inoffensive, likeable but not overpowering or particularly attractive.”

“Whoever invents that will make a fortune…”

“Wait, how about vanilla ice cream.”

“I like it.”

“Everyone does. Who doesn’t like ice cream?”

“And what’s plainer than vanilla?

“Now, with something so white, to broaden its appeal, something brown as a running mate…”

“As always, you make a compelling argument, Condi. But you can’t put two cold candidates on the same ticket.”

“So are we all agreed on vanilla ice cream?”

“Run down the assets for us, Karl.”

“Vanilla ice cream provides a clear color contrast with Obama. It’s very likeable, very desirable, but not the least bit memorable. It’s totally easy to swallow. It’s completely malleable, can be bent and shaped to any position we want. And there’s a huge bonus.”

“What’s that, Karl?”

“It melts away by inauguration day, and then we can run the country any way we want.”

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Next Hong Kong handover due in 2017

July 1, 2012

Fifteen years ago today was the apex of Hong Kong’s time as the center of the universe. My novel Hong Kong On Air recalls that incredible time.

Fifteen years later, you can debate whether China has become the center of the universe or whether Hong Kong is better or worse now. What’s certain is that Hong Kong has become far more dependent on China. The Asian economic crash of 1997 that immediately followed the handover – but had its causes elsewhere – and the 2003 SARS epidemic combined to turn the tables on the relationship between Hong Kong and China. It may have been a coincidence brought about by events, or it may be the product a calculated strategy by Beijing, but today Hong Kong needs China far more than China needs Hong Kong.

CY Leung takes the helm today as Hong Kong Chief Executive as the unelected head of the territory, chosen by a handful of handpicked Beijing loyalists. Beijing has promised that five years from today the chief executive being sworn in will be chosen in a free, democratic election by all the people of Hong Kong. If Hong Kong and China hope to enjoy a new version of the golden times Hong Kong On Air describes, that promise must be kept. Everyone who loves Hong Kong and everyone who loves freedom should join hands to convince Beijing to keep its word.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.

Hard ten coming for casinos in Macau

June 26, 2012

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the real start of Macau’s gaming liberalization. The contracts that brought American casino operators Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands to Macau were signed in late June 2002.

Less than two years later, the first Vegas-style casino, Sands Macao, opened. Macau was on its way to becoming the world’s largest gaming destination, with more than five times the casino revenue of Las Vegas last year. Casino operators have pocketed billions in profits from their Macau operations.

It’s been an easy ten years since liberalization, but now Macau casinos face a difficult decade ahead. They must contend with increasing competition from other Asian gaming destinations and among themselves. There’s also uncertainty about the continued flow of players across the border from mainland China, by far Macau’s main market, as Beijing goes through a wrenching leadership change.

But most of all, the casinos must handle the uncertainty of license renewal. As I wrote in Asia Times, gaming concessions will expire by June 2022, giving the Macau government more leverage to demand more from the casinos now. There also a chance that licenses won’t be renewed for one or more of the current concessionaires, most likely an American one, and no clear timeline or guidelines on the criteria for renewal. For casinos, that adds up to a lot of gray hairs and brown noses in the decade ahead.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.

Titanic lands in Singapore

December 31, 2011

One hundred years after its fateful maiden voyage, the Titanic has landed in Singapore. The blockbuster exhibition of facts and artifacts runs through the centennial of the infamous ocean liner’s sailing in April at the Marina Bay Sands’ ArtScience Museum.

Singapore’s casino resorts both include a museum among numerous non-gaming attractions the government required in the bidding for a gaming license. The Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa and its counterpart are both state of the art facilities with impressive designs and price tags to match.

As I report in the December issue of Macau Business, the Titanic exhibition showcases the extraordinary versatility of the ArtScience Museum and the skill of its curatorial staff. It’s well worth the rather stiff S$24 (US$18.50) price of admission, even if you have no prior interest in the ship, have never seen the movie, and loath its theme song.

There are other titanic happenings in Singapore’s casino industry that you can read about soon in Asia Times. Until then, thanks for your interest and support throughout the year. Best to you and your loved ones for 2012.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie. See his biography, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.

Galaxy creates new star in Macau

December 21, 2011

Since opening in May, Galaxy Macau resort has changed the game in the world’s largest gambling market. As I report in Asia Times, the resort has shuffled market shares, making parent company Galaxy Entertainment Group a heavyweight contender among Macau casino operators. Last week, Galaxy Macau opened a state of the art cineplex, highlighting the market savvy underpinning the resort’s success.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie. See his biography, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.

Tennis bows out in Bali

November 2, 2011

The last WTA tournament of 2011 is also the finale for women’s pro tennis in Bali. The season-ending Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, successor to the Wismilak International that made its Bali debut in 2001, moves to Sofia, Bulgaria, next year under new sponsorship.

As reported in Asia Times, the Bali tournament may have been a victim of its own success as it failed to find local stakeholder support. Tournament director Kevin Livesey hopes to bring a new event to Bali and says that building grassroots support will be a top priority if he succeeds.

Meanwhile, enjoy this year’s finale. Action gets underway Thursday, 5.30pm local time with what could be biggest slugfest of the tournament, world number 16 Peng Shuai meeting former top fiver Nadia Petrova. The nightcap matches defending champion Ana Ivanovic against Roberta Vinci, winner of three tournaments this season. Friday at 5.30pm, world number nine Marian Bartoli, Bali runner-up in 2009, faces Anabel Medina Garrigues, then Bali stalwart Daniela Hantuchova battles hard serving Sabine Lisicki. Each day’s winners meet in Saturday’s semifinals, with victors meeting in the final Sunday

If you’re in the neighborhood, come on down to the Bali International Convention Center at the Westin in Nusa Dua or watch on StarSports. Otherwise, follow along on the tournament website. Just don’t think about November in Bulgaria next year.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie. See his biography, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.


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