Clarification on the Star's Gua Tambun article

And so the last story featured for this year is… me. A couple of weeks ago I was invited by the Perak Heritage Society to a visit to some prehistoric cave sites in Perak, to raise awareness for some of the spectacular sites that are present in the state, and also to highlight the need for conservation for these sites. Among those present in the tour was a reporter from the Star, one of the largest local English dailies in Malaysia, who produced this story focusing on me and my research, despite my request NOT to be prominently featured. More distressingly, there were a number of errors, factual and inferred, attributed to me that I feel I should address here.

Art of our ancestors
The Star, 29 December 2008
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Asia fights to stem loss of cultural treasures

This feature from the Myanmar Times talks about the illegal antiquities trade in Southeast Asia, particularly how antiques from all over Southeast Asia exit this region through Thailand (and Singapore, too). The underground demand for such artefacts have led to tighter (if somewhat hard to enforce and control) laws on the export of artefacts, but also to a secondary market in manufacturing antiques for sale, to be passed off as the real thing!

Asia fights to stem loss of cultural treasures
The Myanmar Times, 22 December 2008
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The hobbit’s a new species! Again. Or not.

You know it’s a sign of hobbit-fatigue when a new claim about the hobbit pops up, and all you can say is, “…uh-huh.” This new claim swings the pendulum back to the “new species” camp, after a new study compared the cranial morphology of the hobbit with a simulated 3D model of a hominid with the same size. The correlations in the 3D model seem to indicate that the hobbit fits the parameters of a small hominid rather than a human, deformed or otherwise.

Of course, this is not the last we are going to hear about the issue. I doubt detractors are going to accept the hobbit-as-a-separate thesis on the basis that the hobbit’s cranium fits the prediction by a computer model. Incidentally, the Journal of Human Evolution has a whole series of papers published around the same time about the Flores skeletons and archaeological material, including descriptions of the Hobbit skeletons.

‘Hobbit’ Fossils Represent A New Species, Concludes Anthropologist
Science Daily, 17 Dec 2008

Size, shape, and asymmetry in fossil hominins: The status of the LB1 cranium based on 3D morphometric analyses
Journal of Human Evolution, 04 December 2008
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New book on Preah Vihear's history to be published

The Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Cambodia will soon publish a book detailing to ancient and recent history of the Preah Vihear temple bordering Thailand and Cambodia.

Preah Vihear book to be published
Phnom Penh Post, 17 December 2008
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Vietnam’s history told through its riverbeds

Viet Nam News has a longer feature on the current exhibition at the Vietnam History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City featuring artefacts from the riverbeds of the southern provinces.

Artifacts reveal ancient culture [Link no longer active]
Viet Nam News, 12 December 2008
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How Hue went from endangered to sustainable

In this the fifteenth year since the Vietnamese city of Hue was inscribed as a World Heritage City, Unesco’s representative to Vietnam has noted how concerted efforts from local authorities have turned a state of heritage endangerment to proper sustainability.

Hue revival leads to sustainability [Link no longer active]
Viet Nam News, 12 December 2008
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New exhibition features artefacts from Vietnam's rivers

Vietnam Net Bridge reports on a new exhibition at the Vietnam History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City featuring artefacts recovered from the rivers of Vietnam’s southern provinces. It’s a picture-rich article worth a visit.

Antiques from southern rivers
Vietnam Net Bridge, 11 Dec 2008
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