Tales from the Trail

Asian fusion is on APEC’s sartorial menu

FINANCIAL/APEC

The APEC summit gives world leaders a chance to play a little dress-up and trade-in their typical business suits for the traditional wear of the host country.

This year it’s in Singapore and we’ve got a description, but no photos yet, of what the leaders will wear for the group shot on Nov. 14.

Long-sleeved linen shirts with mandarin collars for the men, and a V-necked blouse with elaborate embroidery and lace for the women will be sported by President Barack Obama and the leaders of the 20 other nations attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next month.

This year’s outfit was created by local Singapore designer Wykidd Song, the Straits Times reported, and is inspired by the Peranakans,  a local term for the descendants of the Chinese who settled in the Malay Archipelago from the 17th century.

“The Peranakan culture is a rich blend of the Chinese and Malay cultures with some influence from the Portuguese, Dutch, British, Thai, Indian and Indonesian cultures as well, ” the Singapore Tourist Board says on its web site. APEC

from FaithWorld:

If Hillary goes to Jakarta, can Barack be far behind?

Is U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Jakarta a hint that President Barack Obama will pick Indonesia as the first Muslim country he visits in his drive to improve U.S. relations with the Islamic world? There were lots of other suggestions when he first mentioned this back in December, including Egypt (the New York Times pick) and Morocco (judging by what might have been a write-in campaign on our comments page).

My tip at the time was either Indonesia or Turkey. In recent weeks, Turkey's star has probably faded as its relations with Israel soured recently. Those strains came after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan angrily accused Israeli President Shimon Peres of "knowing very well how to kill" in Gaza during a debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos and then stormed off the stage. (Photo: Hillary Clinton with Jakarta schoolgirls, 18 Feb 2009/Supri)

Clinton said all the right things today, like telling the country where Obama spent four years as a boy that it was proof that modernity and Islam can coexist. "As I travel around the world over the next years, I will be saying to people: if you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity and women's rights can co-exist, go to Indonesia," she said at a dinner with civil society activists. Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda reciprocated by telling her Indonesia shared the United States' joy at Obama's election and she should tell the U.S. president "we cannot wait too long" for a visit.