asia & asians

An Iraq War All His Own

Los Angeles Times
February 5, 2007
By Alex Tizon

OLYMPIA, Washington – The soldier stands in his living room eyeing all the cool soldier stuff he never got to use in a real fight. Like the helmet with not a single ding and the sleek body armor with not a scuff. The gear piles high on the carpet. First Lt. Ehren Watada is giving it all back and, out of courtesy, packing it up. The Army had treated him with the utmost respect until the moment it decided to court-martial him.

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Singapore Mandates Soul

The Seattle Times
June 16, 2002
By Alex Tizon

SINGAPORE – When last America took serious interest in this tiny island republic, it was over the 1994 caning of a pimply teenager named Michael Fay, from Dayton, Ohio. In the media frenzy, Singapore was depicted as an authoritarian state where one should not expect to vandalize cars without accepting the punishment — three whacks with a rattan cane — as Fay eventually did. But Singapore is trying to loosen up, and the government has appointed a task force to figure out how to do it.

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Aquino Pursues the Gentle Fight

The Seattle Times
May 2, 2002
By Alex Tizon

In one of the most famous true-life fables of good vs. evil in the late 20th century, the good guy wore yellow, and she wasn’t a guy. Corazon Aquino, the demure housewife who overthrew Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the “people power” revolution of 1986, still wears her trademark yellow, her fighting color, and for good purpose: She’s not done with the revolution.

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On The Bund

The Seattle Times
October 15, 2000
By Alex Tizon

SHANGHAI – My adventure involved young pasty-faced hookers with no sense of time, an old man with a live eel, and a gigantic purple rocket ship. It all happened in the span of an hour. I was in a fuzzy-headed stupor at the time. Chronic insomnia plagues me; more so when I’m traveling. Upon arrival I was running on 15 minutes of shut-eye over two days. Sleeplessness pushes me into one of two mental states: the first turns me into a droopy misanthrope; the second makes me a best friend to all, like an affectionate drunk. Evidently I arrived drunk.

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The Forgotten War (Remembered)

The Seattle Times
June 25, 2000
By Alex Tizon

Gerald Foley, a crinkly-eyed, stooped-over old veteran, sips his latte at the local Starbucks, trying hard not to talk about the time he killed four men with a shovel. They were enemy soldiers who were trying to kill him. Foley won. He earned a Bronze Star. But he won’t talk about it right away. He must ease into it. And he must be cautious these days when talking about killing of any kind, even in the context of war, and especially in the context of an ambiguous war, which the Korean War most certainly was.

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Pudong Rising

The Seattle Times
May 28, 2000
By Alex Tizon

SHANGHAI – It is one of the most dazzling skylines on Earth. Contained within its periphery are the world’s tallest tower, tallest hotel and soon-to-be tallest office building. And it’s all the more remarkable that the skyline, and the city around it, were built within the past ten years. It is only half finished. The area is called Pudong, a 200-square-mile city within a city. It is Shanghai’s Manhattan. It is China’s jewel. When Chinese leaders want to show off their nation’s economic potential, they point to Shanghai, the country’s largest and richest city. Shanghai leaders point to Pudong.

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Medal of Honor, 56 Years Late

The Seattle Times
May 28, 2000
By Alex Tizon

He was killed by a sniper’s bullet, his body found at the edge of a wheat field on the outskirts of a town named Castellina, Italy. He was still clutching the M-1 rifle he fired so relentlessly that Fourth of July afternoon 56 years ago. For more than a half-century his body has occupied a narrow plot at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Seattle, his birthplace, the hometown that never knew him.

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The Rush to ‘Gold Mountain’

The Seattle Times
April 16, 2000
By Alex Tizon

FUZHOU, China – Last month a popular deputy governor was put to death by the central government via a bullet through the heart. His crime: accepting bribes in exchange for smuggling people out of the country. Hu Changqing, a small, round man with horn-rimmed glasses on a cherubic face, was the highest-ranking official yet executed for graft, and his sentence the most forceful statement to date in the government’s newest campaign to stop its citizens from illegally migrating abroad.

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