Asia's false bubble of security has been shattered and reality starkly revealed - no one is safe from terrorism. That it took a tragedy involving innocent tourists is shocking; that we were blinded by a belief of immunity was tragically misguided. Those are the reasons for Saturday night's appalling attacks in Bali which claimed the lives of scores of foreign tourists. Terrorists strike at the weak and vulnerable to maximise the effect of their crimes. Complacency made Asia a prime target. US President George W. Bush's declared war on terrorism focused attention on terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network. Asia became the focus with the war in Afghanistan and al-Qaeda's closeness to the Taleban rulers exposed the extent of its influence. Groups in Pakistan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia were shown to have al-Qaeda connections. Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and Maoist rebels in Nepal were recognised by the US as threats to peace. A new era of co-operation was created among Asian governments, especially between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Asean Region Forum. They have put aside rules of non-interference in internal affairs and established and strengthened security, policing and intelligence. Singapore and Malaysia have rounded up dozens of alleged members of the al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiah. which has been trying to found an Islamic state in Southeast Asia. American troops have been deployed in the southern Philippines to flush out Muslim extremists. But Indonesia, among Asean's poorest nations and beset by corruption and political infighting, has been less co-operative. Its leaders and officials have failed to act against key members of Jemaah Islamiah based on its soil. Animosities between Jakarta and Washington and Canberra have given terrorists the opportunity to thrive. Warnings of the threat have been given numerous times since the attacks in New York and Washington 13 months ago. The US, Britain and Australia have issued regular warnings to their citizens and diplomatic missions have been on constant alert. Hong Kong's authorities have been less stringent in issuing advisories. Amid the economic downturn that followed September 11, Bali has become a prime tourism destination. In recent months, Mr Bush's seemingly one-eyed interest in regime change in Iraq has shifted the spotlight from the threat of global terrorism. While Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has plainly been continuing to pursue procuring chemical, biological and perhaps even nuclear weapons, his links to international terrorism are unproven. The Bush administration would seem to have turned to Iraq for economic and historic reasons rather than to neutralise a threat to global peace. The other nations in Mr Bush's so-called 'axis of evil' - North Korea and Iran - have similarly dubious links to global instability. North Korea may have had such ties in the 1970s and 1980s, but economic hardship now makes this an impossibility. Iran's support of Hezbollah is uncontested, yet there is no proof of a connection with al-Qaeda. The allies' concentration on the 'axis of evil' nations has resulted in terrorists being given room to extend their activities. They have been able to construct bombs and sow fear through threats to further their war against the free world. Terrorists seek weaknesses in the global system. They find the flaws in security and strike at the heart of society. This time, unfortunately, the target was Bali. Coming on the heels of a wave of al-Qaeda-linked attacks over the past week - on US soldiers in Kuwait and a French oil tanker in Yemen - the tourist resort was the least likely choice - as far as tourists were concerned. The victims of the Kuta nightclub bombing represented nations allied to the war on terrorism - Australia, Britain, Germany and the US among them. Hong Kong, not directly involved militarily, but an ally nonetheless, also suffered. It was a tragedy waiting to happen. That it occurred in Bali should not have been surprising given the threats posed by extremist groups in Indonesia. The message is clear - Hong Kong people are as much at the mercy of terrorists as Americans, Britons and Australians. We cannot let down our guard and live in a cocooned world where we believe we are safe. Terrorism is as real a threat today as it was on September 11, 2001. It is a scourge that must be eliminated and this can only be done through vigilance and having in place the mechanisms to act. But there should also be no single focus to fighting terrorism. No one issue can be allowed to detract from the constant danger it poses.