A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘southeast asia

[ISL] Biman Prasad in the Fiji Times on Singapore versus Fiji

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In the opinion piece “Singapore and us”, one Biman Prasad notes the ways in which Fiji has fallen behind a Singapore that was once its peers. While Fiji is not as lucky as a Singapore placed in the middle of global trade routes, its ethnic conflicts definitely did hurt the island’s potential.

Certain commentators in this country tend to selectively compare Fiji with Singapore. They highlight that Fiji, like Singapore, is a multi-ethnic country and they claim Fiji needs to adopt similar restrictive policies to maintain stability and achieve economic success.

On the surface, these comparisons and justifications might sound reasonable. Singapore, after all, is the third-richest country in the world, ranking behind only Qatar and Luxembourg, according to Forbes magazine 2014 top 10 richest countries in the world.

Singapore’s rise to the top has been both rapid and spectacular. In the 1960s, Singapore and Fiji had a similar GDP per capita. Today Singapore is well ahead, with a GDP per capita of nearly $US55,000 ($F117,975) with Fiji’s about $US4500 ($F9652). The country turned 50 just recently and it is justifiably proud of its achievements.

Some political opportunists and journalists tell us that to emulate Singapore’s success, we need, among other things, a restrictive media law. This a pie in the sky theory. While there are many things that Fiji can learn from Singapore, there are some things our country does not need to emulate or adopt. This becomes clear when we look at Singapore in greater detail.

[. . .]

It was able to transform itself from a slum with a per capita income of $US500 ($F1066) in 1965 to $US55,000 ($F117,975) today. This means that if one were to divide the total value of its output with the total population, every individual in Singapore today is worth $US55,000 ($F117,975). Singapore progressed faster than many other countries at a similar level of development in 1965. It has been able to improve living standards of its people through better health, better housing, better education and employment opportunities for all its people.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 25, 2015 at 10:22 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that Toronto has been ranked as the most liveable city in the world by the Economist.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about the allure of learning something difficult.
  • Centauri Dreams describes circumbinary planet Kepler-453b.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to an attempt to date the Gliese 504 system, reports on a new definition for planets, and suggests that the abundances of biologically necessary material on planetary surfaces and atmospheres is quite variable.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the latest on the war in the Donbas.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas is trying to crowdfund the last four courses he needs for his doctoral degree.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that it has moved to www.joemygod.com.
  • Language Hat considers the third wave of Russian emigration to the United States.
  • Language Log displays a decorative Japanese dialogue written in romaji, Roman script.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes who Tea Partiers think should benefit from bankruptcy.
  • Marginal Revolution notes Singapore spends little on education as a proportion of its GDP, a consequence of its very low birth rate.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that Uber does work better than traditional taxis in the outer boroughs of New York City.
  • Strange Maps considers fire maps of old.
  • Torontoist looks at the story of Toronto’s first parks commissioner, John Chambers.
  • Towleroad quotes George Takei’s explanation why Star Trek did not feature gay characters and looks at a Swiss Catholic bishop facing jail time for inciting anti-gay violence.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers if the lessons of ancient Greek democracy are relevant for us post-moderns.
  • Window on Eurasia notes divisions on the Russian left over Crimea, suggests China is benefitting from Russia’s new dependence, notes that the United States did not recognize the Donbas in the Cold War, and quotes a Ukrainian writer who suggests that the Serb republics in the former Yugoslavia show the likely future of the Donbas states.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes chain Second Cup’s reboot of its Toronto cafes.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that the Rosetta probe’s comet is approaching perihelion.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper connecting stellar metallicity to a galactic habitable zone.
  • The Dragon’s Tales updates us on the Donbass war.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Swiss Catholic bishop’s approval of murderous homophobia.
  • Language Log notes that the Spanish of Jeb Bush is actually pretty decent.
  • Languages of the World looks at the complex grammar of the Mohawk language.
  • Towleroad notes the fight for same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
  • Window on Eurasia is critical of Russia’s claims to a unique position in Crimea.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper suggerting that ocean worlds are likely to experience runaway glaciation and links to another looking at exoplanet WASP 14b.
  • Will Baird of The Dragon’s Tales is not fond of the new names for Pluto and Charon, and notes evidence that the Earth had a magnetic field from a very early point.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the import of Donald Trump for the Republican Party.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the uniqueness of Singapore on its upcoming 50th anniversary of independence and approves of the novel The Mersault Investigation.
  • Peter Watts at his blog reports on sundry things.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer speculates what might happen if Sanders get selected as Democratic candidate and black voters don’t turn out.
  • Towleroad notes how one homophobe in New York City made the mistake of attacking a married couple of West Point graduates.
  • Understanding Society examines the social construction of technical knowledge.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the impact of Crimean Tatar activism in the diaspora.

[LINK] “Meet Vietnam’s Gay Power Couple: U.S. Ambassador and His Husband”

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The power couple in question, described by Bloomberg’s John Boudreau, is not Vietnamese. Even so, that they have such an apparently high-profile position says much.

Since their December arrival in Vietnam, U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius and his husband have become the most prominent gay couple in the Southeast Asian country.

Osius and Clayton Bond landed with their toddler son shortly before the government abolished its ban on same-sex marriage. Now the couple, who recently adopted an infant girl, find themselves ambassadors of the nascent LGBT rights movement spreading across the country.

“A lot of young people have reached out to me on Facebook, to say: ‘We are happy to see somebody who is gay and is happy in his personal life but also has had professional success’,” Osius said in an interview. “I don’t think of it as advocating as much as supporting Vietnamese civil society in doing what it is already doing.”

The Communist government’s revised marriage law, while not officially recognizing same-sex marriage, and its tolerance of pride events has made Vietnam a leader in gay rights in Southeast Asia, potentially opening up opportunities to attract the tourist “pink dollar” and business executives seeking a more tolerant environment.

Yet young gay Vietnamese say they can be ostracized in a patriarchal society in which heterosexual marriage and parenthood are seen as the path to happiness. The legal changes also sit oddly in a country that more broadly curbs political dissent, Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in an e-mail.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • James Bow reflects on Mulcair’s decision to ignore the debates boycotted by Harper, and examines the decline of the Bloc Québécois.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly reflects on the social forces pressuring people, especially women, to smile.
  • Centauri Dreams reflects n the pessimism over the potential of interstellar expansion in Kim Stanley Robinson’s new Aurora.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study examining the links between concentrations of elements in stars and their exoplanets, shares art of HD 219134b, wonders about distributions of brown dwarfs in nearby interstellar space, wonders if a lithium-rich giant star known as HD 107028 swallowed its planets, and imagines compact exoplanets made of dark matter.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a study of the growth of the state of Tiahuanaco, and imagines what a durable Russian-American relationship could have been.
  • A Fistful of Euros looks at dodgy Greek statistics.
  • Joe. My. God. shares the new New Order single, “Restless.”
  • Language Hat celebrated its thirteen anniversary and looked at the ephemeral St. Petersburg English Review of the 19th century.
  • Language Log examines the origins of modern China’s standard language, and looks at the reasons why French texts are longer than English ones.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines settler violence in Israel.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how charity, in an age of global income disparities, is inexpensive, and notes the economic issues of Cambodia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Cilla Black.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at Ossetian demographics and examines the growth of Kazakhs in Kazakhstan after 1991.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle likes the Cosmonaut Volkov heirloom tomatoes.
  • Towleroad reports on a push for marriage equality on the Navajo reservation.
  • Understanding Society examines the concept of microfoundations.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia’s war in Ukraine has been underachieving, argues Ukrainians should not count on change in Russia, reports on a Russian writer who wants the Donbas to be separated from Ukraine as a buffer, looks at ethnic Russian identity and propensity to emigrate in Kazakhstan, and looks at the identity of Belarusians in Siberia.

[ISL] “Is East Timor Illegally Putting Together a National Soccer Team With Brazilian Players?”

Jack Kerr of Vice reports on something that actually does look quite sketchy.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation may be turning a blind eye to the illegal movement of players into Asia.

Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor has been improving steadily in recent years, and just recently moved ahead of Indonesia, the country it broke away from at the turn of the century, in the FIFA rankings.

[. . .]

A large part of Timor’s improvement has been done through the recruitment of Brazilians with no discernable links to this poorest nation in Asia. And neither FIFA, the AFC or the local FA will say how they qualify.

According to FIFA regulations, a player born in one country can play for another country if they have lived there for five years as an adult, and get citizenship. But none of Timor’s Brazilian contingent appear not to have lived or played in the half-island nation as adults—if at all.

[. . .]

They would also qualify to play for the Asian side if they had parents or grandparents from there. However, despite a Portuguese colonial legacy in Timor-Leste, there is no strong history of immigration between the two countries.

“Until 2000, I would say there was no migration, and since then it has been limited, mostly via marriage,” says Damien Kingsbury, a Melbourne professor who specialises in politics and security in Southeast Asia, particularly Timor-Leste.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm


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