Indonesia’s Woeful Education System

Indonesia’s Woeful Education SystemIndonesia’s education system is saddled with a long series of difficulties including poor education funding, arbitrarily changing educational curricula, political favoritism, with teachers’ jobs dependent on the sufferance of principals and many other problems. That has led to a ranking by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment of 62nd…

Japan Under North Korea’s Missiles

Japan Under North Korea’s MissilesJapan awoke Wednesday to television news and civil defense instructions to take cover in secure buildings or underground as a North Korean ballistic missile passed over parts of Hokkaido before landing in open sea. “Missile Passing, Missile Passing,” screamed a public service announcement. Commuters faced train delays even as far away as Tokyo. “All lines…

India and China in a Water War

India and China in a Water WarWith more than 32 million people hit by floods in four Indian states so far this year, New Delhi is growing increasingly frustrated over China’s refusal to share current river data despite bilateral agreements requiring Beijing to pass on the information for downstream flood control. The data from upper riparian China to lower riparian India…

Malaysia at 60: The Promise Fades

Malaysia at 60: The Promise FadesOn Aug. 31, Malaysia will celebrate – if that is the proper word – the 60th anniversary of its founding with its people subdued and with a government widely regarded as a kleptocacy. It is wracked with a continuing scandal that has robbed the exchequer of an estimated US$11.4 billion lost to fraud and mismanagement…

Korea Seeks to Rein in Samsung

Korea Seeks to Rein in SamsungThe case against the heir to leadership of the sprawling Samsung empire tests the will of the government of Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae-in to make good on the kind of sweeping campaign promise that every Korean president has made for the past 30 years. Can Moon, unlike his predecessors, curb the power of the…

Killings Spark Fear, Rumors in Bangladeshi Refugee Camps

Killings Spark Fear, Rumors in Bangladeshi Refugee CampsMohammad Selim disappeared the night in May that Cyclone Mora tore through the Rohingya refugee camps on Bangladesh’s west coast. But it wasn’t the storm that killed him – his was one of a handful of recent murders blamed on gangs vying for power over the camps. Selim was snatched while walking home from his father-in-law’s…

Who Benefits from Yingluck’s Exile from Thailand?

Who Benefits from Yingluck’s Exile from Thailand?Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has apparently fled the country in advance of a court verdict on charges brought by the current military regime that could have seen her face a long prison term. She is assumed to have joined her brother, the billionaire populist Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been in exile, mostly in…

Eco-tourism and a Stunning Sumatra Rainforest

Eco-tourism and a Stunning Sumatra RainforestPerched on a steep rainforested hillside in the mountains near Lake Toba, Sumatra is a cluster of wooden bungalows with a majestic view across a misty tropical valley of an even higher mountain range, also clothed in jungle. From both sides of the valley the hooting of Siamang gibbons mixes with the mournful wailing of…

Afghanistan is About to Become Trump’s Folly

Afghanistan is About to Become Trump’s FollyUS President Donald Trump’s much awaited “new” Afghan strategy almost certainly will have little to contribute to ending the war, let alone “winning” it for the United States. While criticism has focused on the cost of the war, both human and financial, that the US would have to defray, pouring more troops in Afghanistan is…

Duterte’s Drug War Stumbles on Allegations of Teen’s Murder

Duterte’s Drug War Stumbles on Allegations of Teen’s MurderThe apparent Aug. 18 assassination by police of a 17-year-old student appears finally to have kicked off widespread objection to President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous drug war and its spate of extrajudicial killings. The killing of Kian Delos Santos, who was dragged from his home, handed a gun and told to run as he screamed that…