Court Jails Jakarta Governor on (Political) Blasphemy Charge

Court  Jails Jakarta Governor on (Political) Blasphemy ChargeDespite prosecutors recommending probation on a lesser charge,  a five-judge panel has sentenced Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy.  The decision, coming just weeks after Ahok lost a bid for reelection in a religiously charged race, has shaken Indonesia’s reputation as a moderate Muslim nation. Ahok, as the…

Imperialist Beauty Standards Rule in the Philippines

Imperialist Beauty Standards Rule in the PhilippinesOnce again Western standards of beauty are on display in Asia, with beauty contest officials inevitably picking a mestiza to be Miss Universe Philippines 2017. Rachel Peters' father is British, her mother a Filipina.  Last year's Miss Universe was Pia Wurtzbach, who had a German father. A former Miss Cebu, Raine Baljac, had a Croat…

Return of the License Raj?

Return of the License Raj?Indian nationalists are attempting to push their country towards China-style mercantilism in hobbling US consumer giants Amazon and Uber from making inroads against local brands Flipkart and Ola, demanding that the government protect local companies against what they call predatory pricing.  The debate has been roiling corporate India ever since two of the country's leading…

The UK’s May, India’s Modi Go for “Strong and Stable”

The UK’s May, India’s Modi Go for “Strong and Stable”Any political leader must envy Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, who has already virtually won the UK’s general election, even though it doesn’t take place for another month, without promising anything more than “strong and stable government.” She has avoided being questioned by the media and by critical voters, and has not explained how she…

Trump’s Meddling in Asia

Trump’s Meddling in AsiaUnited States President Donald Trump’s focus on North Korea is playing into Chinese hands and, by default, further weakening the US position in a Southeast Asia increasingly subject to Chinese carrots and sticks. Trump’s “war” on the North makes little sense either at a time when the South seems about to elect as president Moon…

Indonesia’s Child Trafficking Crisis

Indonesia’s Child Trafficking CrisisIndonesia faces a huge problem of child trafficking involving children and underage teenagers, particularly on the resort islands of Bali and Batam, with its victims – both boys and girls – usually from poor families or broken homes or a combination of both.   The government has been criticized by international human rights organizations to try…

Korean Presidential Favorite’s Historic Chance…

Korean Presidential Favorite’s Historic Chance…Anything can happen in Presidential politics – take, for instance, the United States – but it is all but certain that Moon Jae-in, a persistent anti-government foe, will be elected South Korea’s president Tuesday to succeed the acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, standing in for the impeached Park Geun-Hye. In the seventh presidential election since adoption…

The Enemies of the People

The Enemies of the PeopleSome of the worst damage Donald Trump is doing to the United States is displayed in the latest Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, which was released a few days ago. The US, the home of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States – which brought freedom of the press into being…

New Mystery For Controversial Japanese Group

New Mystery For Controversial Japanese GroupThe Japanese conglomerate J Trust Group, which has come under the spotlight for a series of financial inconsistencies in Indonesia, Thailand and Cyprus, has added another. On April 14, an apparently frustrated J Trust put out a press release accusing the South Korean Financial Services Commission of refusing to act on a J Trust request…

Coming Soon: One Country, One System

Coming Soon: One Country, One SystemDespite strong official backing by Beijing, Hong Kong’s future Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor, promised to heal the divisions in society. Yet in the runup to her installation on July 1, it appears increasingly that the healing of divisions is going to be accomplished by silencing one half of that divide. Actions and words in…