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Loose faces (sloppy jowls?) versus LOSE FACE (the invisible man)
<<This pre-condition is intended to exclude Australian participation and it is a situation that illustrates how an Asian would interpret a response?from how a white man would interpret the same situation?>>
Careful, yap, your racism (and inferiority complex) is showing.
<<Offence is taken at the point when unsolicited John Howard proclaims that Australia is Australia and that Australia does not need the endorsement of Asia.>>
It is ridiculous to take offence at Howard's view on this alone. The previous Keating government did not improve relations with Asian countries. Keating sucked up to one of SE Asia's biggest dic-tators and murderers (Suharto), needlessly offended Dr. Mahatir (Malaysia) and so on.
Sure, Howard might be a "knob", but under his government we have proved that we can retain our "Australian-ness" (which is a mixture of many different ethnic groups and cultures) and engage more closely with the region.
The recent public donations of hundreds of millions of dollars for our neighbours Tsunami relief is unprecedented in this country, not to mention the billion dollar government aid package for Indonesia.
Australia's improving relations in Asia (before the Tsunami) puts the lie to Keating's statements of Asians not dealing with Howard.
Your idea of this asean plus 3 as one big happy family is a nice dream yap-baby, but not quite reality.
Look at recent tensions between Malaysia and Indonesia over disputed territory, every man and his dog claiming some small islands near China & Japan.
The two Koreas arguing over who can park their boats just there. Some people in TBT not quite as keen on their Liberation as the Chinese media would have us believe. The list goes on.
Howard's "refusal" to sign the "treaty of amity and co-operation" is in no way an attempt to keep the powder dry (legally) for an attack on any asian country, it is only insurance in the event of non-cooperation in the event of terrorist attacks.
To be honest I would be quite happy for Mr. Howard to sign the bleedin' "non agression" treaty to satisfy the Asean concerns, it wouldn't mean a darn thing as we have seen one or two other countries in the region sign treaties and then ignore the agreement!
Now back to your "yes means no" characteristic of Asians.
You have your custom with this, and you may well have subtleties of interpretation which allow some people to see the "no" through the "yes", but consider that we, the evil whiteman, may also have our own custom of honesty and forthrightness in saying what is what, rather than trying to mislead.
No-one is trying to be impolite, but simply honest. This is not something a racist like you has any reason to look down upon.