Negotiating Singapore’s meritocracy

Joggers running outside The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nur Diyanah Binte Anwar, RSIS

Recent debates on meritocracy raise questions as to what Singapore regards as merit. Several concepts have emerged reflecting how meritocracy is evolving in the Singaporean context, such as ‘compassionate meritocracy’, ‘trickle up meritocracy’ and ‘meritocracy through life’.

The 50th anniversary of independence is an opportune time for Singaporeans to deliberate how they understand the country today and its driving forces, including the idea of meritocracy. Read more…

China challenges Russian influence in Kazakhstan

The first train linking China and Kazakhstan leaves a container terminal on a rail line in Lianyungang City, east China's Jiangsu province. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Anuar Almaganbetov and Bakhytzhan Kurmanov, Economic Research Institute

On 14 December 2014, the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Astana for the 13th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The premier’s visit signified a new stage in Kazakh–Chinese economic relations. Li announced a new package of economic deals, totalling US$14 billion. Kazakhstan and China also agreed to establish joint enterprises in the manufacturing and other key industrial sectors. Read more…

India–US relations face hurdles

US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi interact during the India-US business summit in New Delhi, India, 26 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Biswajit Dhar, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Economic relations between India and the United States seem to be going well. This was recently reinforced in New Delhi with Prime Minister Modi and President Obama endorsing the India–US Delhi Declaration of Friendship. Read more…

China’s nine-dash line still infringes international law

A Chinese government ship trails a Vietnamese Coast Guard vessel with reporters aboard in the South China Sea on July 15, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Huy Duong, and Tuan Pham, UNSW

Suggestions that China could claim historic fishing rights within the nine-dash line misinterpret international law. While Sourabh Gupta’s arguments, outlined in a recent Forum article, relating to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Articles 62 and 123 have been disputed elsewhere, we argue that his argument regarding Article 56 is also incorrect. Read more…

Some Malaysian inequality measures more equal than others

A boy runs at a temple casted with shadows of traditional Chinese lantern decorations ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hwok-Aun Lee, University of Malaya

Is inequality in Malaysia going up or down? Answers differ. Official statistics unambiguously show household income inequality going down in the past decade, but almost everyone seems to think it has gone up. So what’s going on? Read more…

Revitalising Japan’s security policy: Between pacifism and the modern world

Japanese soldiers carry an injured non-combatant during the annual multinational military exercise, Cobra Gold, at a military base in Thailand on 15 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Such milestones offer an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and the steps needed to ensure that such tragic events are never repeated. Read more…

Shanghai experiment is a major step towards financial liberalisation

Pedestrians walk at the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in the Pudong International Airport bonded area in Shanghai, China, 9 December 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Daqing Yao, SASS and John Whalley, UWO

Since September 2013 China has been operating a new form of free trade zone (FTZ) based in a small area of Shanghai, called the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (SPFTZ). Only 28 square kilometres in area, the SPFTZ is a concrete first step to China’s new development model, the so-called ‘new normal’. Read more…