Singapore’s history wars

Lee Kuan Yew waves to supporters ahead of submitting his nomination papers to contest in the 2011 elections in Singapore on 27 April 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Geoff Wade, ANU

As we move towards 2015, a year that will mark Singapore’s 50th anniversary as a nation, a battle over the past of that country is slowly gaining steam.

The increasingly frail health of Lee Kuan Yew, the man depicted in the establishment histories as the ‘father of Singapore’, is making this battle more important for both sides. Read more…

Narendra Modi’s foreign policy — too early to judge?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi  and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe shake hands after a joint press conference at the in Tokyo on 1 September 2014. The two leaders reached to an agreement that both countries would promote security and economic relations. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tridivesh Singh Maini, Jindal School of International Affairs

The Narendra Modi government turned 100 days old on 3 September, and while it is too early to judge its performance on both the domestic and foreign policy front, its first few months have revealed some important features of the government’s foreign policy — both positive and negative. Read more…

Singapore’s impotent immigration policy

A foreign construction worker from Bangladesh walks past the city hall construction site with the Singapore skyline in the background in Singapore. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Michael D. Barr, Flinders University

It appears counter-intuitive to suggest that a cosmopolitan hub like Singapore might have a problem with xenophobia.

Yet xenophobia has emerged as a major political concern in the city-state. Read more…

Singapore after Lee Kuan Yew

Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew waves to journalists after visiting Indonesian former president Suharto in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, 13 January 2008 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Geoff Wade, Canberra

At a time not too far distant, Lee Kuan Yew, the font of all authority, legitimacy, orthodoxy and indeed fear in Singapore for over 50 years will no longer be with us. It is thus perhaps appropriate to begin discussing what the absence of Lee Kuan Yew will mean for the Singaporean republic. Read more…

Development, natural resources and conflict in Myanmar

A soldier walks past a fire in Lashio , Northern Shan state of Myanmar on May 29, 2013. The Myanmar government has called for calm after mobs burned down a Muslim orphanage, a mosque and shops during a new eruption of religious violence in the east of the country. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Anders Engvall, SSE and Soe Nandar Linn, MDRI-CESD

Under the transition process led by President U Thein Sein, the Myanmar government is seeking to simultaneously pursue complex economic and political reforms as well as resolve ethnic conflicts and achieve national reconciliation. These challenges are intrinsically related — reforms will pave the way for reconciliation but increased violent conflict has emerged as a key threat to continued reform. Read more…

Thailand’s interim constitution: paving the way for a return to authoritarianism?

Pornpetch Wichitcholchai pays his respects in front of a portrait of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej during a royal command ceremony to swear him in as president of the army-appointed National Legislative Assembly at Parliament in Bangkok, 18 August 2014.  (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sarah Bishop, ANU

Thailand, for the 19th time in 82 years, has a new written constitution. The King promulgated the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim) B.E 2557 (2014) on 22 July 2014, finally bringing an end to the nation’s fourth longest period since 1932 without a written constitution. However, although there are some small gains, there are very few positive signs for democracy or rule of law. Read more…

Thai coup’s short-term gains mask long-term pains

Head of the Thai military junta, army chief and now prime minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha adjusts his cap during a military ceremony at the 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province, Thailand, 21 August 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Pavida Pananond, Thammasat University

In the aftermath of Thailand’s 22 May military coup, business and politics appear to have converged. Domestic and foreign businesses of all stripes heaved a collective sigh of relief when the military seized power, halting six months of debilitating and intractable anti-government street protests. But despite initial post-coup business optimism, and the impression that commerce is booming, Thailand’s latest putsch may bring long-term pain. Read more…

Politics and Chinese integration into the global economy

In Shenzhen, a man on a laden motorised bicycle rides past a poster of former leader Deng Xiaoping. (Photo: Bobby Yip/Reuters)

Author: Peter Drysdale

China’s economic rise presages a fundamental change in the global economic and political system. China’s partners in the world economy are already benefiting, and stand to benefit more over the coming decades, from the economic impact of growth on a scale unprecedented in human history.

Both the scale and the character of China’s economic and social development mean that there will be powerful feedback effects as the rest of the world adjusts to China’s presence in all aspects of global economic and political life. Read more…

Can North Korea abduction issue progress improve Abe’s approval rating?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, 9 December 2013. The approval rating for the Abe cabinet has fallen 10 points to 47 per cent, according to a poll released 9 December by the Kyodo News agency. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Takao Toshikawa, Oriental Economist Report

Public backlash to the Abe government’s cabinet decision to recognise the right to collective self-defence, as well as the decision to restart nuclear power, has seen the cabinet’s approval rating to drop below 50 per cent. According to one Democratic Party of Japan Diet member, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) loss at the Shiga Prefecture gubernatorial election in early July ‘turns the November Okinawa gubernatorial election into a decisive battle. If the LDP candidate loses, the politics of “Abe always wins” will be at an end’. Read more…

Is Modi’s honeymoon over?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the audience before delivering a speech during a business event in Tokyo, 2 September 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Mahendra Ved, New Delhi

It has been just over 100 days since Narendra Modi took office amid global euphoria, but the ‘honeymoon’ period seems over for the Indian prime minister’s government and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As the media were dishing out the new administration’s ‘report card’, the party lost several state by-elections across the country. It raised the question of whether the ‘Modi wave’ is on the wane so soon. Read more…