Sunset for Hong Kong’s Oligarchs?

Sunset for Hong Kong’s Oligarchs?Last year, just prior to the beginning of the Occupy protests, a large group of Hong Kong’s elite, headed by the richest of them, Li Ka-shing, and former Chief Executive and second generation shipping tycoon C H Tung, were invited to Beijing for a face to face meeting with new President Xi Jinping. The meeting…

Singapore Growth Falls But Still Doing Well

Singapore Growth Falls But Still Doing WellThis year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Singapore, the island republic that is considered the richest country in Asia by per-capita GDP.  But according to a new analysis by Asianomics, The Hong Kong-based financial analysis firm, “there is undoubtedly a mood of frustration that the glory growth years are over.” Although Asianomics…

Apple Lets Down Its Asia Users

Apple Lets Down Its Asia UsersIf you are a die-hard fan of Apple products and if you, your company or business have anything to do with mainland China, recent developments involving the US tech giant can be construed as bad news, with deeper implications than what was generally thought and reported. First, about Apple. I have always liked the beauty…

Malaysia Sedition Law Snares Opposition

Malaysia Sedition Law Snares OppositionIn 2012, with Malaysia’s national ruling coalition facing a tough reelection campaign, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak promised a raft of human rights reforms including cutting the country’s infamous colonial-era Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. None of those reforms happened. Instead, in the past several months, Najib, faced with a…

Myanmar’s Reform Roller Coaster

Myanmar’s Reform Roller CoasterThe trials, tribulations and recent relative triumph of the international health charity Médecins Sans Frontières in Myanmar are a salutary reminder that the Southeast Asian nation’s much heralded transition from military dictatorship to quasi-civilian administration has not been an entirely smooth ride. No one with any understanding of the country ever believed it would be.…

Vietnam: Open Secrets on the Road to Succession

Vietnam: Open Secrets on the Road to SuccessionThe normally opaque Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam has made a public splash with its recently concluded 10thCentral Committee plenum. The stakes are high and carry implications not only for Vietnam’s development but also for the strategic outlook of the entire region. So what exactly is going on? The excitement centers on…

New Sri Lankan Government Solidifies Reforms

New Sri Lankan Government Solidifies ReformsThe electoral ouster of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Jan. 8 appears to be a refreshing and ultimately hugely significant moment of destiny for what what Cosmas Indicopleustes, a seafaring Alexandrian monk, once called "this great island in the ocean." A new, smaller cabinet is being assembled, and with it, hopefully, a political will…

Japan’s Troubling Denial of Comfort Women

Japan’s Troubling Denial of Comfort WomenFor the past year, Northeast Asia has been in the grip of a worsening spiral of tensions provoked by territorial disputes and nationalist statements by political leaders. Careful diplomacy to defuse the deepening crisis is urgently needed. So the announcement by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on February 28 that the Japanese government intends…

Closing the Pacific’s Tuna Highway

Closing the Pacific’s Tuna HighwayThey are often called the Ferraris of the sea, sleek blue fish that can weigh up to 700 kg and cruise through the oceans at up to 70 km per hour, covering vast distances. They are under increasing threat as fishing techniques grow more sophisticated. Despite a decision to close four pockets of seas to…

How Deep Will Korea’s Samsung Scandal Go?

How Deep Will Korea’s Samsung Scandal Go?The fact that Korea’s behemoth Samsung Group is embroiled in one of the biggest slush fund scandals in the country’s history hasn’t deterred new President Lee Myung-bak from appointing people to his administration who are alleged to have received bribes from the company, according to the activist group that blew the whistle on the scandal in the first place. Kim…