Jame DiBiasio

Jame DiBiasio


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The Story of Angkor

The lost civilization of Angkor left no written records, and only its ancient stones can tell the tale. The Story of Angkor exposes the history of this oncemighty Southeast Asian empire through the secrets hidden inside the temples and buildings located around the city of Siem Reap. It guides the reader into Angkor’s most spectacular monuments and the kings who commissioned them.

The Classical Angkor period, from its founding in 802 AD by Jayavarman II, to its mysterious demise, produced hundreds of temples, reservoirs, and other monuments. But why were they built? What did they represent? The Story of Angkor answers these questions. Through an exploration of ancient culture, religion, trade, warfare, ecology, and politics, it gives meaning to the mysterious faces of the Bayon and decodes the beautiful but violent bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat. It also presents Cambodia’s early history and Angkor Wat’s “discovery” by nineteenth-century explorers.

Written in a concise, accessible style, with photos and maps, The Story of Angkor presents an in-depth analysis of the ancient Angkor civilization that will appeal to both readers and travelers.


Jame DiBiasio

I prefer pitches via email in the morning (between 9am and 11am). I sometimes respond if I'm not going to cover the story you pitch me. If emailing, my ideal email length is 2–3 paragraphs and I would prefer not to receive follow-up emails. I never check newswires for new story ideas. Pitches from PRs who understand what I cover, and have good-quality clients that are relevant - welcome. I love repeat collaboration. Pitches from PRs who don't understand the clients/industry they purport to represent - goodbye. I run a specialist news service so please do your homework!

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Biography

Jame is founder and editor of DigFin, a news website covering digital finance and fintech, as well as a provider of content services. Visit www.digfingroup.com.

Jame has been a financial journalist in Hong Kong since 1997. In 2000 he founded AsianInvestor magazine, covering asset management. From 2013-2016 he served as editorial director at Haymarket Financial Media, responsible for its titles covering various finance industry segments. He has also worked at Institutional Investor in Hong Kong …


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In January I posted about completing a sci-fi manuscript. I sent it to my agent. "My" is not as possessive as it sounds she's thrown some of my fish back into the sea. This new story is a catch, though. She's going to represent me. No guarantees it'll get picked up, but I'm happy that someone…

Jame Dibiasio

WHY “NOMADLAND” IS A BETRAYAL

I enjoyed the film “Nomadland” for Frances McDormand’s acting, the stately cinematography, and the pleasure of allowing a character study to unfold in its own good time. When I came out of the theater, I thought, wow, that was a great movie.

Something about it bugged…

Jame Dibiasio

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Boom! Today I completed a manuscript for a sci-fi thriller. It's an epic, topping out at about 107,000 words.

I began working on the novel three years ago, although at the time it was a different story. I probably deleted almost as much material as that which made it into the final…

Jame Dibiasio

Today was supposed to be fun: my book “Who Killed the King of Bagan?”, about the temple-city that was Burma’s founding capital, is now available in paperback.

This weekend we also learned that the Burmese military has staged a coup, arresting Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National League for Democracy. The NLD had recently won a crushing electoral victory. The generals, who had appeared to usher in a limited democracy with expanded civil liberties in 2012, couldn’t face the truth.…


Community Reviews

Who Killed the King of Bagan by Jame DiBiasio is a booked about the history of ancient Bagan and its political landscape. The titled question is about King Anawrahta, the founding father of Bagan Empire. His death was quite a mystery in the history and the writer gives us to find out more about him and his death. The book also tells about the successors of King Anawrahta, famous pagodas in Bagan, short chapter on Buddha and the brief chronicle of early civilization in Myanmar.

When I was young, I Who Killed the King of Bagan by Jame DiBiasio is a booked about the history of ancient Bagan and its political landscape. The titled question is about King Anawrahta, the founding father of Bagan Empire. His death was quite a mystery in the history and the writer gives us to find out more about him and his death. The book also tells about the successors of King Anawrahta, famous pagodas in Bagan, short chapter on Buddha and the brief chronicle of early civilization in Myanmar.

When I was young, I learnt that King Anawrahta was killed by a bull. It was more of a folklore. It said the bull was actually the tree spirit who had malice to the King so it transformed itself to the form of a bull and attacked the King on the elephant. I found the story groundless. As I grew older, I read another similar story. In it, while the King tried to kill the raging bull, he fell down from his elephant and the bull killed him and dragged his body. It’s somewhat acceptable but the fact that his body was never found is totally bizarre. He’s the great King with abundant followers. It’s hard to believe his corpse was never found.

To dismiss the bull theory, Jame has to presented plausible suspects and their motives. In the list of suspects, it includes the remnant of Pyu people and a group of Mon ethnic people whose land Anawrahta had invaded. Another convincing suspects are the various religious groups which Anawrahta tried to eradicate in order to make Theravada as the main religion of his kingdom. His queen and his son also make it into the list but their motives are not that strong. Kyansitha, another well-known king in Bagan era, is a suspect with rational motives, too.

The first half of the book focuses on Anawrahta’s reigns but the remaining half tells you about the other Kings and the pagodas they built in Bagan. Interlacing with the stories of its regional and foreign affairs, the writer gives a fascinating book for those who are interested in history of Bagan. He had referenced from local and international historians and several chronicles to fact check the foggy history and analyze on them.

Jame’s epigrammatic of writing is quite entertaining. An enjoyable and informative read as it gives me some new perspectives on Bagan history. 3.4 out of 5.

As a Burmese, I’ve known 70% of the history in this book. I was keen to find out about the culprit who killed Anawrahta. although the titled question is not answered in the book as there is no believable historical fact for it. It is more like a rhetorical question with speculations we have to live with. But I found an acceptable story of how he was murdered. . more


The Story of Angkor

The good news is that this is a short book. The bad news is it makes for dry reading.

I picked this one up to read in connection with a tourist visit to Angkor Wat. While it does contain some interesting and useful information, I found it hard to follow as a Westerner. Lots of foreign names, places and cultures to keep track of. I think it would easier if I had a broader knowledge base of the history of SE Asia, which I unfortunately don’t.

The book does cover the building of the great Angkor monu The good news is that this is a short book. The bad news is it makes for dry reading.

I picked this one up to read in connection with a tourist visit to Angkor Wat. While it does contain some interesting and useful information, I found it hard to follow as a Westerner. Lots of foreign names, places and cultures to keep track of. I think it would easier if I had a broader knowledge base of the history of SE Asia, which I unfortunately don’t.

The book does cover the building of the great Angkor monuments and filled in some gaps I had after my guided tour. But aside from some information related to the layout of the temple and some interesting facts surrounding the mistaken assumptions made by colonialists about the Angkor culture — it was a very dry historical text. . more


10. Eurozone crisis

It also revealed debt problems in the eurozone. Greece’s admission to cooking its books touched off the eurozone crisis, ending in yet more QE. The eurozone crisis nearly destroyed the European Union, and although “Grexit” was prevented, the sour taste of the crisis led to a populist backlash that fed the flames of “Brexit” in 2016 – and saw the US elect Donald Trump.

Although the West had begun to recover, 2020 ushered in the deepest crisis yet, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. This is not yet a financial crisis: it’s a traditional, if terrible, recession. But it is so deep that a financial crisis may yet lie in the cards.

This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Jame DiBiasio, author of Cowries to Crypto: The History of Money, Currency and Wealth illustrated by Harry Harrison and published by OANDA, a global leader in online multi-asset trading services. It is available on amazon.co.uk, priced at £19.99.

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Last updated: 13th April, 2021

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  • ASIN &rlm : &lrm B00IKNFT96
  • Publisher &rlm : &lrm Silkworm Books (15 July 2013)
  • Language &rlm : &lrm English
  • File size &rlm : &lrm 3721 KB
  • Text-to-Speech &rlm : &lrm Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting &rlm : &lrm Enabled
  • X-Ray &rlm : &lrm Not Enabled
  • Word Wise &rlm : &lrm Enabled
  • Print length &rlm : &lrm 159 pages

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The good news is that this is a short book. The bad news is it makes for dry reading.

I picked this one up to read in connection with a tourist visit to Angkor Wat. While it does contain some interesting and useful information, I found it hard to follow as a Westerner. Lots of foreign kinds and cultures to keep track of. I think it would easier if I had a broader knowledge base of the history of SE Asia, which I don’t.

The book does cover the building of the great Angkor monuments and filled in some gaps I had after my guided tour. But aside from some information related to the layout of the temple and some interesting facts surrounding the mistaken assumptions made by colonialists about the Angkor culture — it was a very dry historical text.


The Biggest Financial Scandals This Century

Enron, 2001

This Houston energy conglomerate was widely considered one of America’s leading companies – until it filed for bankruptcy, revealing its success to be nothing more than an elaborate accounting fraud. The scandal was so traumatic that it destroyed the company’s auditor, Arthur Anderson, and prompted the US Congress to pass the Sarbanes-Oxley law putting onerous controls on public companies.

Philip Carret was an investor and founder of Pioneer Fund, one of the first mutual funds in the United States. Carret ran the mutual fund for 55 years, during which time an investment of $10,000 became $8 million. That suggests he achieved a compound annual return of nearly 13% for his investors. Q1 2021 hedge Read More

Lehman Brothers, 2008

Lehman was a storied investment bank, the fourth largest in the US at the time of its demise. The financial giant and other banks got rich buying bundles of home loans and repackaging them as securities with spurious credit ratings, to be sold on to pension funds and other investors. When enough borrowers quit paying their mortgages, the global financial system nearly collapsed, saved only by government intervention.

Bernie Madoff, 2008

Madoff was a pioneer on Wall Street, ushering the first electronic trading for stocks and founding NASDAQ. But he was also a fraudster who built an investment fund that was just a Ponzi scheme. His investors wanted to withdraw to cover other losses from the fallout of Lehman’s collapse, forcing Madoff to admit the money didn’t exist.

Olympus, 2011

The board of Japan’s leading manufacturer of optical equipment ousted the company’s recently appointed president and CEO, Michael Woodford. The British native had uncovered a huge conspiracy to hide over $1.5 billion in corporate losses, a practice that had been going on for two decades. The fallout wiped 80% off the company’s share price and led to multiple arrests, as well as highlighted the risks of Japan’s opaque corporate culture.

LIBOR scandal, 2012

The London Inter-Bank Offered Rate is the means for setting interest rates on $350 trillion of derivatives and credit instruments, such as mortgages. It has been set daily by a consortium of leading banks that compare bids and offers – but criminal settlements by Barclays Bank, sparked by whistleblowers, revealed rampant corruption, with bank traders manipulating the price to benefit their banks’ other businesses. In the US, municipal borrowers alone lost billions to rigged prices. Banks must stop using LIBOR to write derivatives contracts by the end of 2021.

1MDB, 2015

1Malaysia Development Berhad was a state-owned fund meant to invest in power and infrastructure, but media revealed $700 million of its money was found in the personal bank account of then-Prime Minister, Najib Razak. This was the tip of the iceberg: the US Department of Justice says up to $4.5 billion was diverted from 1MDB funds by alleged criminal banker Jho Low, with the help of Middle East parties Goldman Sachs was also caught up for having underwritten 1MDB bonds for unusually high fees. Najib was later convicted and jailed.

Mossack Fonseca, 2016

This Panama-based law firm provided tax evasion and shell companies to help rich clients dodge international sanctions. The extent of their work on behalf of global elites came to light following a data leak from a whistleblower, whose identity remains unknown. The so-called Panama Papers documented the legal and illegal ways rich people and corporations hide their money from governments. Mossack Fonesca closed in 2018 but nothing has changed for how rich people use secrecy.

Equifax, 2017

A longstanding American consumer credit-reporting company, Equifax aggregates credit information about 800 million consumers and 88 million businesses worldwide. The company revealed it had suffered a cyber-security breach in which criminals accessed private financial data for over 149 million consumers, including credit-card details. Equifax executives were later found to have illegally sold his company stock before revealing the breach.

OneCoin, 2017-2019

The biggest scam to date in the world of cryptocurrency. OneCoin was a Ponzi scheme promoted as a cryptocoin, but there was no underlying blockchain technology. Bulgarian fraudster Ruja Ignatova, who had hyped OneCoin as a challenger to Bitcoin, disappeared in 2017 after siphoning up to $4 billion in investor funds she remains at large. OneCoin’s dubious status as crypto’s biggest scandal may not last: in October 2020, the US government charged BitMEX, a leading crypto derivatives exchange, with money laundering.

Hin Leong Group, 2020

Singapore has become a hub for commodities traders – and a string of increasingly big financial scandals, capped by this year’s admission by Hin Leong Group that its profits were fabricated and its collateral of fuel for ships, used to secure bank loans, had long since been sold. The scam was revealed by extreme volatility in March and April sparked by the economic recession caused by COVID-19.


How tech companies left the banks behind | Jame DiBiasio

In 2008, Western governments bailed out commercial banks and embarked on massive interventions in the currency with programs like “quantitative easing”. It’s no coincidence that the Bitcoin protocol ­– creating the first cryptocurrency defined by software, not by government – went live in early 2009.

Banks however didn’t pay any attention to this. Nor were they interested in developments in Africa: in 2007, a Kenyan telecom company launched the world’s first mobile payments service, called M-Pesa. The debut of Apple’s iPhone was the same year and instantly became the trendy must-have for the smart set, but banks didn’t see how it could be relevant to their actual business.

It’s possible that without the GFC, banks would have cottoned on to these developments a lot faster. The fallout of the crisis, however, saddled banks with reams of new regulation. The City and Wall Street experienced a boom in hiring, but not of bankers or traders: instead, they onboarded hundreds of thousands of experts in compliance, auditing, and risk management.

In other words, banks in Europe and the US were distracted by politics, reputational damage, and red tape. Instead of racing to improve their service to consumers and small businesses, financial institutions coasted on outdated IT and the blindness (or arrogance) of incumbents.

By the time banks noticed Silicon Valley startups were eating their lunch, it was too late. Technology companies, though, knew that mobile phones had the power to put financial services in people’s pockets – and that a great customer experience would put crusty banks in the shade.

Banks were slow to realize how the digital revolution was transforming their business. The first evidence of its threat emerged in China. Here, a pair of giant, incredibly aggressive internet companies, Alibaba and Tencent, had added payments to mobile apps originally designed for gaming, shopping and messaging.

In almost no time, a billion people switched their spending habits to these apps although users still have to retain deposits with a domestic bank, the data – transactions, user preferences, habits – was horded by the internet companies. The banks had become “dumb pipes”, mere plumbing. The value, and the profits, rushed to the tech players.

The impact in the West hasn’t been as severe. Banks may not be popular, but people trust them with basic safety, and Western banks are far more competitive and entrenched than those in China.

Besides, the first assault on traditional finance hasn’t been from Big Tech companies like Facebook but niche “fintechs” that attack specific bits of a bank’s business. These startups are agile but lack a bank’s scale or customer base, so banks have learned to coopt these.

Big Tech is finally wading into battle, however. The likes of Amazon, Facebook and Google have vast user numbers. Although the public and politicians have grown a lot more wary of these companies, they are embedded in society this year, with Covid-19, their necessity is apparent for all to see.

And they are now moving into finance. Facebook, wishing to take a page from the Chinese superapps, is attempting to enter payments with its Libra coin project. WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app, is venturing with banks in India. Google is experimenting with lending, starting in Southeast Asia. Amazon is partnering with JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to get into insurance.

Banks have belatedly begun to catch up. Those with the greatest resources – the JP Morgans, Goldman Sachs and Citis of the world – are learning to be agile, to share data with strategic partners, and to put their vast compliance infrastructure to work as an advantage against tech companies still learning the regulatory ropes.

Community and regional banks, coops, credit associations and other smaller players, though, face an epic threat from Big Tech. If they are to remain relevant, they are going to have to radically change how they operate. They are now playing on Big Tech’s court.

Cowries to Crypto: The History of Money, Currency and Wealth by Jame DiBiasio and illustrated by Harry Harrison is published by OANDA, a global leader in online multi-asset trading services. It will be available from 1 September on amazon.co.uk, priced at £19.99.

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