Lee’s legacy

Author: Michael D. Barr, Flinders University

The recent passing of Lee Kuan Yew all but ends the direct connection between the ‘old guard’ generation of leaders that brought Singapore to independence in 1965 and the Singaporeans of today. Unlike other old guard leaders who retired or otherwise departed public life in the 1970s and 1980s, Lee stayed in politics long enough to usher in the new century and remained a public figure at the time of his death. Read more…

Lee Kuan Yew: death of an outstanding statesman

Vigil guards lift the casket of Singapore's late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore on 29 March 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Bob Hawke, former prime minister of Australia

Lee Kuan Yew was quite simply, and unquestionably, one of the outstanding national leaders of the last hundred years. He worked on a small canvas, but what he achieved in tiny Singapore not only transformed the lives of his own people profoundly, but had an immense impact beyond Singapore in shaping the Asia of today. Read more…

How Lee Kuan Yew shaped Singapore’s identity

Officers lift the coffin of late Lee Kuan Yew prior to his procession to Parliament House, at Istana Palace, Singapore, 25 March 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Terence Chong, ISEAS

The passing of Lee Kuan Yew, the most important personality in Singapore’s postcolonial history, will have little to no ramifications on the city-state. Lee had gradually receded from national politics over the last decade and had an obsessive focus on leadership transition. Lee, more than anyone else, endeavoured to ensure that his absence would have as little political or economic impact on the country as possible. Read more…

How contact and English proficiency can help Japan’s immigration policy

his photograph taken on 27 September 2013 shows shoppers walking past displays offering clothing on sale in Tokyo's Harajuku shopping district. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: David Green and Yoshihiko Kadoya, Nagoya University

With the foreign population in Japan expected to grow in the future, policymakers have an interest in promoting a more positive view of immigration. Current public opinion toward immigration in Japan, like in much of the rest of the world, is generally negative. But recent public opinion data shows that individuals who are more likely to come in contact with foreigners or who self-assess as being of high English speaking proficiency are more supportive of increases in immigration. Read more…

Bangladesh’s democracy sinks deeper into the mire

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a press conference after the national election in Dhaka on 6 January, 2014. Hasina insisted her walkover win in an election boycotted by the opposition was legitimate and blamed her rivals for the unprecedented bloodshed on polling day. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Syeda Naushin Parnini, University of Malaya

Democracy in Bangladesh is broken.

The country recently witnessed political deadlock causing violence and crippling unrest. Read more…

The perils of legislating Abe’s collective self-defence

People protest against Shinzo Abe's defence policy change outside the Japanese prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, 1 July 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: J. Patrick Boyd, Waseda University

On 1 July 2014, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a decision reinterpreting the Japanese constitution’s Article 9 ‘peace clause’ to allow the country to exercise collective self-defence — the right to use force to aid an ally under attack. Read more…

After thirty years of Hun Sen, where is Cambodia now?

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, greets well-wishers during the 36th anniversary of Victory Day, when the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 7 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Vannarith Chheang, University of Leeds

2015 marks 30 years in power for Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Hun Sen became prime minister in January 1985 at only 33 years old. He has consolidated his power base through charismatic leadership, paternalism, coercion and a system of patronage. Read more…