• Stronger Faith : Today's story about Islam and the tsunami in Indonesia (page 7) emerged from staff writer Scott Baldauf's conversations with his Muslim interpreter. "She told me that she thought that the disaster had brought many people closer to God. I asked her to introduce me to some of those people. One day, she and my driver rounded up some friends for tea and a chat."
Unlike Afghanistan or Pakistan, where Scott says that many of the most ardent believers he's met have come from the lower classes, these were college kids who live in middle-class homes. "With his shaved head, Rully is someone who would not look out of place at a heavy metal concert in California," says Scott. "These are active choosers of their faith. They've obviously thought through these questions, and are not parroting their parents or a mullah."
• Choosing Casinos : Correspondent Simon Montlake says that Singapore's move into casino gambling (page 1) surprised him. "It's a curious thing for squeaky clean Singapore to do. This is a country where until recently you couldn't chew gum. But Singaporeans are known for traveling overseas to gamble."
He says that Singapore is adopting the Las Vegas model of marketing itself as a family-friendly destination plus gambling. "Singapore is already known as a safe, family-oriented place with shopping, pristine zoos, parks, museums, and luxury hotels. In announcing their plans, officials emphasized that the two casinos will have entrances separate from the host hotels."
David Clark Scott