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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘southeast asia

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

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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

[URBAN NOTE] “Bangkok is Sinking Into the Earth”

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Via Towleroad I came across Patrick Winn’s Global Post article looking at the hard fate facing Bangkok, either relocation further inland or an expensive seawall to avoid being flooded out.

Thailand’s capital is both glitzy and gritty, a city of glass towers and cement hovels teeming with nearly 10 million people.

All that steel and concrete and humanity sits on what was once marshland. The ground beneath is spongy and moist. Imagine a brick resting on top of a birthday cake. That’s Bangkok — and it’s sinking into the Earth at an alarming rate.

Thailand’s disaster specialists have been warning of this coming calamity for years. One expert has said he’s “worried about Bangkok resembling Atlantis.” Another previously told GlobalPost that the city will be under five feet of water by 2030.

Previous estimates showed that Bangkok is sinking more than three inches per year. But newer data suggests the rate is closer to four inches per year.

The predictions for 2100 are even more dire. By then, Bangkok will be fully submerged and unlivable.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 7, 2015 at 6:20 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes that John Tory supports the decriminalization of marijuana.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers if there might be a hot Jupiter orbiting a pulsating star.
  • The Dragon’s Tales wonders if multicellularity in cyanobacteria three billion years ago helped drive the Great Oxidation Event.
  • Far Outliers notes the 1878 introduction of football to Burma.
  • A Fistful of Euros notes that Europe is muddling through in the Mediterranean versus migrants and observes that even the optimistic scenarios for economic growth in Greece are dire.
  • The Frailest Thing considers the idea of a technological history of modernity.
  • Language Log notes an example of multiscript graffiti in Berlin.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how the Confederate cause won the Civil War despite losing the battles.
  • Marginal Revolution argues that default will do nothing to make the underlying issues of Greece business-wise better.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the intriguing geology of Ceres.
  • Peter Rukavina shows the Raspberry Pi computer he built into a Red Rocket tea tin.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper studying Russian patriarchy and misogyny in public health.
  • Spacing Toronto looks at the genesis of the Bloor Viaduct’s Luminous Veil.
  • Towleroad examines the Texan pastor who threatened to set himself on fire over same-sex marriage.
  • Une heure de peine celebrates its eighth birthday.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reacts to the Michael Oren controversy over American ties with Israel.
  • Window on Eurasia warns that Putin’s system in Chechnya is not viable, predicts a worsening of the Russian HIV/AIDS epidemic, and notes that Jewish emigration from Russia has taken off again.

[ISL] “China building artificial islands in the Pacific, stoking tensions with neighbours”

The National Post‘s Matthew Fisher notes how China is, among other things, building artificial islands in the South China Sea to support its claimed maritime boundaries against Southeast Asian neighbours. Remarkable process, dubious goals.

To support part of its brazen — some might say preposterous — claim to about 85 per cent of the South China Sea, Beijing is building artificial islands on tiny outcroppings, atolls and reefs in hotly disputed waters in the Spratly Archipelago.

To do so, the Chinese have been using formidable seaborne dredges to haul up huge amounts of sand and coral from the ocean floor, and bulldozing what is brought to the surface onto at least six of the far-flung lumps of rock.

The growing outposts are part of a chain of more than 700 islets, none of which rises more than four metres above sea level. The string of promontories is closest to the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, in that order. But it is China, with a coastline more distant than any of the others, that has seized and is expanding on scraps of what little high ground there is.

[. . .]

To back what it says belongs to China, Beijing has been expanding islets in waters that are clearly within the 200-mile (320-km) exclusive zone of the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. It has also sent its coast guard to prevent Chinese boats being arrested for illegal fishing and to warn off fishing boats and sailors from countries with territorial claims.

The Chinese actions seriously complicate an already murky legal situation. There is no clear definition or consensus in maritime law about when or if a piece of rock that rises just above the surface can become part of a country’s sovereign territory through expansion by artificial means.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 10, 2015 at 9:58 pm

[LINK] “In Myanmar, white elephants are prized symbols of rulers”

Nathan Vanderklippe’s article in The Globe and Mail looks at how the so-called white elephant has become a vital element in statecraft in mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in Burma but also in Thailand.

White elephants hold power by virtue of a history possibly rooted in Vedic Hinduism, dating back more than two millennia, “where Indra, the king of the gods, is always depicted as seated upon exactly such a beast,” says Rupert Arrowsmith, a cultural historian at the University College London who has lived in Myanmar, where he has twice been ordained a monk.

Later, the mother of Gautama Siddhartha – Buddha – dreamed that a white elephant had entered her womb before giving birth, extending the animal’s influence to Buddhism. Burmese kings took “master of the white elephant” as one of their titles and the animals were afforded every luxury. They suckled human breasts as babies and as adults were ornamented with diamonds, kept in gold houses and fed from golden troughs.

Having them in place was among the most important events in the inauguration of a new capital. Their death, too, had great portent. Colonialists rooted out white elephants along with monarchies, since the animals were potent royal symbols.

In Myanmar, royal rule ended in 1885, and the tradition was only recently revived. Author Rena Pederson writes that military strongman Than Shwe, in power from 1992 to 2011, “desperately wanted one of the power symbols to signify his own kingly rule.” Mr. Arrowsmith speculates it might have to do with Than Shwe seeking legitimacy for his new capital, Naypyidaw, built at the cost of billions of dollars on an empty plain.

What seems clear is the collection of white elephants was a deliberate act. In 2008, Myanmar’s government created a White Elephant Capture and Training Group charged with the nationwide collection effort.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On Goa dreaming of being Singapore

Outlook India’s Vivek Menezes writes about how the Indian state of Goa, once a Portuguese enclave, has flirted with the idea of being a Singapore-like city-state.

At that very beginning of decolonisation in Asia, the Portuguese dictator Salazar found a lot to like in what was happening in the British-ruled port city — its new Legislative Council included only six (later nine) elected seats out of twenty-five, and only British subjects were eligible to vote. Meanwhile the colonial system remained dominant. Salazar figured this an excellent model for the four-centuries-old Estado da India Portuguesa.

Even after the Council yielded to a fully-elected Assembly, and the UK Parliament passed the 1958 State of Singapore Act accepting the establishment of an independent state, Salazar still looked for a Singapore-type solution to the increasingly thorny Goa crisis, as Nehru and Krishna Menon grew progressively restive about the last colonial “pimple disfiguring the face of India”. The Portuguese dangled promise of a NATO port at Mormugao to his allies, and it took a Russian veto to stymie the US/UK-led United Nations resolution demanding withdrawal of Indian troops after their mercifully bloodless takeover in 1961.

In the immediate aftermath of Indian annexation, the Goan freedom fighter (he famously got into a fistfight with the colonial Governor General) António Anastásio Bruto da Costa led a group demanding “Goan Goa” with “full sovereignty” to be achieved via “natural right to a plebiscite.” This “third force” also looked to Singapore as a model of what might be possible in Goa.

With those political questions resolved, visions of Singapore continue dancing in the minds of a very wide range of contemporary observers of India’s smallest state. As India Today — the national media outlet that gets Goa most consistently wrong — ludicrously put it in 2013, “the steady march of urbanisation, experts predict, will turn tiny Goa into a Singapore-like city state miraculously untouched by the woes of overpopulation and urbanisation.”

Why these supercharged fantasies for famously laid-back Goa? Perhaps the promise of manageable size, with per-capita GDP and human development statistics dramatically higher than the neighbours? Both Singapore and Goa are centuries-old pockets of globalisation, with relatively cosmopolitan leanings. If it could happen there, it could logically follow that it can also happen here.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 31, 2015 at 10:11 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly considers old friends.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the search for extraterrestrial civilizations using infrared astronomy, concentrating on Dyson spheres and the like.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze has two links to papers looking at unusual brown dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the flora of late Permian Antarctica.
  • Language Log notes a potentially problematic effort at Bangladesh to put hundreds of thousands of Bengali words online with Google, ready for translators. What of quality control, Victor Mair asks?
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money comments on the Burmese slaves in the Thai fisheries and looks at the desperate last efforts of Confederates to persist.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that air conditioning really didn’t drive much interstate migration in the United States.
  • The Planetary Society Blog observes discoveries and anticipation for more at Ceres and Pluto.
  • Savage Minds looks to the example of Lesotho to point out that giving people land title by no means necessarily helps them out of poverty.
  • Torontoist looks at the Prism music video prize.
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