Some Wednesday ASEAN links:
A candidate for local office in a remote Philippine village proved to be the ultimate sore losing after being defeated by a rival. Maotan Dalimbang Kasim, who was running for chairman of his village in Datu Montawal, burned down a daycare center upon receiving news that he had lost the election.
“Kasim and his brother Tatoh led an undetermined number of followers in setting the center on fire,” reported The Inquirer. “Police investigators in Montawal said the daycare center was razed to the ground, causing the loss of about 500,000 pesos ($11,550) in property.”
A military spokesperson said that both brothers were members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), an active rebel group in the southern Philippines. The official added that arson charges were pending. No injuries were reported.
Megan Young, recently crowned Miss Word, is also lucky to have avoided injury after the second floor of an orphanage she was visiting in Haiti collapsed. The Philippines’ first Miss World, along with the Miss World CEO and nearly 80 children, plummeted eight to 10 feet to the ground floor.
“I had the crown in one hand and the other hand instinctively holding up one of the decks in place with two people. There were lots of kids under the decks still and we just instinctively held on,” Young said. “It makes you realize there is so much more that should be done for these kids. It’s not the only orphanage out here in Port au Prince, and I am sure others are in a similar state.”
Though Young was unscathed, the Miss World chief and one of the children suffered hip and leg fractures.
Over in Singapore, threats from hacktivist collective Anonymous have prompted the nation’s information technology regulator to ramp up cybersecurity measures. Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said that it was observing “heightened vigilance,” denying that recent government-run website downtime was due to technical difficulties – not hacking.
The assurances from IDA follow an alleged attack on Singapore’s largest newspaper, The Straits Times, that managed to disrupt access to its website over the weekend. A YouTube video also surfaced, promising a “virtual protest” against Singapore’s tightening Internet regulations to coincide with Guy Fawkes’ Day (the inspiration behind the collective’s iconic white masks).
Finally, in Myanmar, ethnic rebels have begun meeting with government negotiators in hopes of spearheading a ceasefire – the first such peace talks of their kind. The talks are being overseen by Vijay Nambier, the special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, with Chinese officials also in attendance.
The meeting comes after four days of talks near the Chinese border, where a separate rebel group, alongside government officials, agreed to a majority of provisions set forth in an 11-point “common position” negotiation plan.
“The common position includes proposals for transforming the country into a federal system that would allow ethnic minorities to maintain independent authority within their own territories, and to have a framework for political dialogue, before signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement,” said Kyodo News. “The government is urging the rebels to agree to the nationwide cease-fire by the end of this month, before holding further negotiations over the framework for nationwide political dialogue.”
After fifty years of military rule, the government maintains that it is committed to holding political dialogues and reaching a peaceful solution.