ball! (formerly Jesselton), destroyed byrnthe Japanese and rebuilt after the war, therndense jungle presses through the hillsrnand comes right down to the sea. Therndistant volcanic mountain, which givesrnthe town its name, can be seen from thernport. The fish and vegetable markets, facingrnthe offshore islands, were cxceptionall-rnlarge and clean. Unlicensed peddlersrnwere gently moved on by the police.rnThe markets offered a great range of exoticrnfruits, fierce little sharks, and 100-yearoldrneggs — long buried and surroundedrnb a hard black crust. Video games havernnot vet reached Borneo, and the boys stillrnplav the pinball machines.rnhi a surprisingly elegant antique shop,rnall sizes and styles of Chinese potteryrn(“mavbc Ming, very old”) fell into tworncrude categories: with cracks $170, withoutrncracks $340. When the owner immediatelyrnagreed to a reduction of 50rnpercent, I fled the shop in haste and confusion.rnI was refused admission to Fridayrnpravers in the gaudy new state mosquernthat dominates the southern side of thernhot (90 degrees) and humid (95 percent)rntown. But I saw the beautifully displayedrncultural artifacts in the Sabah Museum,rnand had a superb lunch of satay and noodlernsoup in flic museum restaurant. Therntoilet scats had been torn off in the lavatoriesrnand a sign depicting a man squattingrnwith his feet on the rinr of the bowlrnread: ‘TOon’t use this position. Keep feetrnon floor,” The museum disclaimed anyrnresponsibilitv’ for injuries to squatters whornfall off or into flie toilet.rnThe day I arrived in Manila, 12 peoplcrnwere killed as 10,000 farmers demonstratedrnin front of Malacafiang Palace. Myrnwell-informed source there believesrnCorazon At[uino is idealistic and incorruptible,rnenjoys great popular support,rnand will survive the opposition of the relativelvrnsmall number of communists andrnof Muslims in flic south. The economy,rnvhich had been sloping downward, hasrnnow leveled off.rnI’he first impression of the city—thernantiriiesis of Singapore —is overwhelminglyrndepressing. It is ugly, crowded,rnnoisy, dirh’, smelly, polluted, poor, andrnpacked with beggars. The minimumrnwage (often not paid) is fliree dollars perrnda’; the average income is $700 per year.rnThere is not one attractive street or buildingrnin downtown Manila, which has becomerna huge brothel for Japanese businessmen.rnChild prostitution is quiterncommon.rnToiuist interest is verv slight, hitramuros,rnthe run-down quarter built by flicrnSpanish, contains, within the old cityrnwalls, the Church of San Agustin, thernCathedral, and Fort Santiago, where thernJapanese kept prisoners in barbaric conditionsrnduring their occupation of therncountr)’. Philippine Village, near flic airport,rnhas houses and handicrafts from differentrnregions, but the atmosphere isrndrear)’ and depressing. I’he signs in therncity are in English, and most people havernsome knowledge of that language. Onernboy approached me and politely remarked:rn”Good day, sir. Please enjoyrnyourself Have a good time in our fairrncih’. And give me one dollar!”rnI spent one afternoon at the handsomerngrounds and clubhouse of the ManilarnPolo Club, whose elegant members survivedrnthe Marcos regime, send their childrenrnto American universities, and seemrnto control half the wealth of the country.rnDuring the chukkers, under a heavy grayrnsky, the girls squealed with excitement.rnAs I left the cit’, thousands of demonstratorsrnwere marching on the PresidentialrnPalace.rnIn modern China, one sees the sadrnremnants of a great culture that has degeneratedrnand been destroyed. I arrivedrnin Canton on the first day of the lunarrnNew Year, which lent a faintly festive airrnto an essentially drab and dust}-, thoughrnfriendly and orderly, city of seven million.rnFirecrackers exploded and vastrncrowds of people (who recalled Asianrnhordes swarming into battle) packed flicrnstreets and parks. Many of flie liundredsrnof snrall private shops were open on thernmost important holiday of the year.rnYoung couples obsessively snapped photosrnof the one pampered and adoredrnchild they are legally allowed to have.rnSoldiers and police were inconspicuous;rnMao suits, propaganda banners, andrnportraits of political leaders were scarce.rnAlmost everyone now studies English,rnand almost no one speaks it. A rare signrnin Roman letters read: “Ceneral Fleadquartersrnfor Lamps Busines.” Canton’srnproximity to Hong Kong and the coastrnmakes it more “Western” flian otiier Chineserncities. Only yokels stare at foreigners.rnIn the squat dwellings and sidernalleys off the main streets, families arerncrammed in with shops and stalls, laundryrnhangs in the foul air, caged birdsrnchirp, and music blasts.rnMy guide looked as though he hadrnbeen sent from central casting to play arnsadistic torturer. 1 ipping in China is officiallyrnforbidden and gratefully received.rnThe Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, thernClassical Learning Academy, the publicrnparks, and the vast zoo (v’ith seedy-lookingrnpandas) were all hideously ugly. Irnsaw no building constructed before 1880.rnSeveral enormous hotels, built with foreignrncapital, have reeentiy opened andrnthe best double rooms cost $80 per night.rnThe ten-dollar lunch at the NorthernrnGarden restaurant, served b’ automatonrnwaitresses, was elaborate and excellent.rnThe atmosphere of Canton is a cross betweenrnMddchen in Vnifonn and J 984.rnHong Kong —with Kandy, Bali, andrnPenang—is the most lively, interesting,rnand attractive place in Asia. The temperaternclimate is a pleasant change from flicrnsweltering towns of the south. It has arnscenic harbor equal to fliose of San Francisco,rnSydney, and Rio, as well as Englishrnorder and efficient transportafion. Therncable-car ride to Victoria Peak is charming,rnand the view is spectacular. ThernHong Kong/Kowloon fcrr’ (ten cents forrnthe upper deck) is the best buy in the Orient.rnThere is a fine beach at Repulse Bayrnand luxurious shopping in vertiginousrnmalls with looping Piranesi staircases.rnThere is exotic fifth and congestion onrnthe sampans at Aberdeen and on the narrowrnladder streets tiiat snake into flic hills.rnOne especially abject beggar humiliatedrnhimself by thumping his head on thernground and clanging his tin cup, but hernwas ignored bv the crowd that swirledrnaround him.rnCanton is only three hours away byrntrain. Macao, 45 minutes by hydrofoil,rnhas crumbling Portuguese buildings andrnsuperb Portuguese food. ‘I’he Chinesernare noisy and messy feeders. But if yournavoid fish lips, pig snout, bear paws, andrnmonkey brains, ‘ou can eat ver’ well inrnHong Kong. All the dishes are served atrnonce, wifli the soup last. When I askedrnfor a glass of water, I was told there wasrnnone; then I was brought hot water, bottledrnwater, and finalh, as I persisted, arnglass of cold water.rnOn the second da’ of the New Yearrnholiday I took an hour’s boat ride to tiiernisland of Cheng Chan. There were hundredsrnof live-in fishing boats in the harbor,rndecorated with flags and lights, andrndozens of restaurants on flic sea front. Itrnseemed like a run-down resort at thernwrong end of the Mediterranean. W/lienrn1 objected to an inflated bill for drinks,rnthe proprietor immediately halved it tornthe correct amount. It is bad luck tornquarrel at flic beginning of the ve;ir. Arngaudy Taoist temple was devoted to worlULYrn2000/39rnrnrn