Book Review: Trickle-Down Censorship

Book Review: Trickle-Down CensorshipAs we enter a post-truth world – or so we are told -- there’s probably no better time than to curl up with JFK Miller’s Trickle-Down Censorship: An Outsider’s Account of Working Inside China’s Censorship Regime. It serves well as a timely reminder of the dangers in the other direction – state control of truth…

Book Review: A Great Place to Have a War

Book Review: A Great Place to Have a WarWhen John F. Kennedy won the election to become the 35th President of the United States, he met with his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who repeatedly warned him that the tiny, poverty-stricken country of Laos was the “cork in the bottle. If Laos fell, then Thailand, the Philippines, and of course Chiang Kai-shek [Taiwan] would…

Book Review: Easternisation: War and Peace in the Asian Century

Book Review: Easternisation: War and Peace in the Asian CenturyA few months after Britain announced a US$40 billion nuclear power deal involving China, hailed as giving the UK a special place in its dealings, Beijing is threatening major damage to relations should Britain’s new prime minister Teresa May put the project permanently on hold. After Brexit, the Brits are into another bungled situation.  Then-finance…

Book Review: CEO, CHINA – The Rise of Xi Jinping

Book Review: CEO, CHINA – The Rise of Xi JinpingThis book is a measured analysis of the power matrix that Chinese President Xi Jinping has consolidated as he steers the nation from slowing export-dependent economy to boost domestic consumption and services – while defining a more muscular role for China on the global stage. Author Kerry Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies and Director…

Book Review: Metamorphosis: Studies in Social and Political Change in Myanmar

Book Review: Metamorphosis: Studies in Social and Political Change in MyanmarThe reform process that moved Myanmar toward democracy began in 2008 with the approval of a new Constitution and the subsequent 2010 elections. Though widely considered rigged by observers and boycotted by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), the elections paved the way for a semi-civilian government which took power in 2011,…

The Lie at the Center of the Singapore Legend

The Lie at the Center of the Singapore LegendThe meta-narrative of the founding of modern Singapore is that as a young lawyer and activist Lee Kuan Yew beguiled the Communists into backing the People’s Action Party and once in power turned on them, jailing them after riots in 1955 revealed their true colors, into the process making Singapore a crucial bulwark in Asia…

India-Pakistan Relations: Everything Old is New Again

India-Pakistan Relations: Everything Old is New AgainMidnight’s Furies, Nisid Hajari’s new book about the violent division of the British Raj in India, has garnered much praise for its focus on how the decisions taken by Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1946-1948 period embittered India-Pakistan relations right from the very start.  But one of the book’s under-noticed contributions is…

Book Review: Demokrasi: Indonesia in the 21st Century

Book Review: Demokrasi: Indonesia in the 21st CenturyLast July, Indonesia went through what arguably was the most successful election it has staged since it became to all intents and purposes a true democracy after May 1998 with the fall of the strongman Suharto’s New Order after 31 years in power. Two candidates, Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, squared off using most of…

Book Review: Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping

Book Review: Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi JinpingIt often appears there are two Chinas – one fast-rising, showing an aggressive face to the world, building an infrastructure empire, a network of Silk Roads that stretches from Pakistan’s Gwadar Port to the corners of Southeast Asia, dominating the South China Sea, pillaging resources from as far away as Africa, with all roads leading…

Malaysian Minister says Race-based Politics is Unavoidable

May 12, 2015 Malaysian Minister says Race-based Politics is Unavoidable by Din Merican Malaysian Minister Paul Low is right in pointing out that race-based politics is unavoidable.That is the first decent and realistic comment he made since he assumed his ministerial post in Najib’s Cabinet.  But apart from saying that “the people” want it and Malaysian…
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