Singapore is a controversial subject, described as “The Big Apple of Asia,” or “Disneyland with Capital Punishment.” On the one hand, there are those who admire its efficient government and material accomplishments; on the other hand, there are those who deplore its antipathy to freedom of expression. We can all ask how much an authoritarian government stifles the creativity necessary to nourishing a productive society.
These days, one hears much about the importance of adaptiveness and resilience, faced with the “super wicked” problem of climate change that is growing by the day and is demanding not just policy orientation, but action plans on an urgent basis. Often, opinion is expressed that poorer nations must perforce work towards adaptation and dedicated research must help them in that direction.
Contemporary Singapore has transformed into a “global city,” and remains an important player in international affairs. One of the original “Four Asian Tigers,” Singapore’s economy has grown into one of the most competitive and dynamic economies in the world. However, Singapore faced great adversity on its journey towards modern power. In this shortened excerpt from Singapore: Unlikely Power, author John Curtis Perry sheds light on the importance of Singapore as a symbol of courage and strength.
Facing President Trump’s controversial travel ban, hastily issued on 27 January and revised on 6 March, that temporarily halted immigrants from six Muslim majority countries, I was wondering what Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton), a mixed race Asian North American writer at the turn of the twentieth century, would say about the issue.
Scholars of protest and social movements argue that voicing a vocabulary of resistance, challenging taken-for-granted assumptions and mapping out how things could be different are as important a part of the revolution as building the barricades and engaging in armed struggle. They invest the audience with a sense of the possibilities for change and encourage them to contest age old inequities.
Just over three hundred years ago, William Pitt Amherst arrived in China as Britain’s putative ambassador. The new frontier that China presented remained closed until it was opened by force of arms, solemnized in treaties denounced by China as unequal and marking the beginning of a century of humiliation. In other parts of Asia, international law facilitated and legitimized the colonial enterprise to expand international law and commerce to other frontiers.
The growth of hospital medicine in 19th century India created a space–albeit a very small one–for providing Western-style healthcare to female patients. Many of these changes, including the reform of reproductive healthcare and the spread of women’s medical education, benefitted a privileged minority belonging to urban, higher-caste groups. The reform in women’s healthcare in colonial India constitutes a significant chapter of the country’s social history and laid an irrevocable foundation for medicine in the post-independence period.
President-elect Donald Trump has not made any public statement on what his administration’s policy toward Myanmar would be. But it can be guessed or speculated from his election campaign that Trump is unlikely to take a strong personal interest on Myanmar like his predecessor. However, as the leading advocate of human rights and democracy around the world, the US needs to continue its unfinished objectives in Myanmar, especially in areas such as the consolidation of democracy.
Most discourse on the health sector in India ends with a lament about underfunding and not without reason. India is one of 15 countries in the world that has a public spending record of about 1% of its GDP on health. Such low spending cannot be expected to deliver much. After all, health is expensive. We need to understand what ails the health sector and what we need to do. For every problem has its solution embedded within it. Understanding what ails us provides us with the opportunity to go forward.
When asked to describe the foundations of, many experts dutifully point to the three Joint Communiques of 1972, 1978, and 1982 and the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (TRA). Often overlooked are President Reagan’s Six Assurances to Taiwan, which were issued to the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan shortly after the Third Communique with China became public in 1982.
Every country that is on the ascendant feels the need for a “coming out” party. In the last half century, that need has been met most often by hosting the Olympic Games. Japan did it in 1964, South Korea followed in 1988, and China in 2008. The Olympic itch seems to come in the wake of economic growth that takes per capita income to the vicinity of $6,000
German Indological scholarship was something of an anomaly given the link between colonial power and colonial knowledge. The German fascination surrounding “ancient Indian wisdom” unfolded in parallel with the rising interest in Germany’s pre-Christian past. What German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel is most known for today—with respect to his appraisal of Indian art, religion, and philosophy—is not how much time and energy he devoted to studying and writing about them, but instead his harsh critiques, unkind representations, his rudeness transgressing into outright racism.
The symbiotic relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and Bombay spanned many decades and only strengthened over time. Their shared story is both unique and informative. In the history of India’s freedom struggle towards Swaraj or self-governance under Gandhi’s leadership, Bombay deserves special mention. A contemporary re-examination of this relationship is both illuminating and enriching as it reveals the journey of this extraordinary leader and this wonderful city to independence through non-violent means.
All simplistic hypothesis about “what drives terrorists” falter when there is suddenly in front of you human faces and complex life stories. The tragedy of contemporary policies designed to handle or rather crush movements who employ terrorist tactics, are prone to embrace a singular explanation of the terrorist motivation, disregarding the fact that people can be in the very same movement for various reasons.
We live in world suffused with offended religious sentiments: depictions of Muhammad in newspaper cartoons and hackneyed films spark violent global protests; courthouse officials in the US South refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses in defiance of the Supreme Court; and in India, authors threatened by thugs on the Hindu Right “die” publicly in order to avoid a less metaphorical demise.
Throughout history and across cultures elephants have amazed and perplexed us, acquiring a plethora of meanings and purposes as our interactions have developed. They have been feared and hunted as wild animals, attacked and killed as dangerous pests, while also laboring for humans as vehicles, engineering devices, and weapons of war. Elephants have also been exploited for the luxury commodity of ivory.