Archive for April, 2012

Yea, we hear a lot of discourse from people who aren’t Asian about the Asian ‘economic miracle’ and how the heck they pulled it off.  Or really, people who are just outside of Asia (including, sadly, you my beloved Xiaoming Huang; your post at Victoria University disqualifies you from the aftmentioned proposal).

But I’m really reeling over this question.  IS it actually a unique growth model?  Or are we going to go with the popular idea that export-led growth economies consistently follow the same boom-’til-bust trend anywhere in the world? I’m inclined to think that’s a bit of a naff assumption.  Asia’s its own beast.   Can anyone really deny that the totally distinct Asian-ness of Asia would play the dominating role in development?

So here’s my thought; I need the opinion of someone who grew up in, and lives in, Asia to answer this question for me, I need some insight.  I’m going to ask my good buddy pal Fumi – Osaka born and bred – to give me her perspective.  What does she know about Japan’s economic history?  What does she think of Japan’s enormous government-initiated monopolies, designed for the sole purpose of competing in the global market? What’s her response to the (ignorant I’m sure) Western perception that Japanese people are slaves to marketing and consumer goods?

This interview and other mildly interesting coffee reading, coming up soon!


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I linked this blog to my Facebook page and got quite a surprising comment from an old school friend.

“Political unity?  Sounds like fascism to me.”

Oh, dear.  I’m sorry if the blog is misleading.  Perhaps I should change the tagline?  That isn’t the idea at all.  By “political unity” I mean an interconnected regional identity, not a consistent political viewpoint across the whole of Pacific Asia.

I just thought I should clear up that point before I get an inbox full of messages from people called “Mengle_666” asking me to go to a rally.

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Well, I thought.

How am I going to make my future now?  Didn’t cut it with the law degree.  Not seeing any priorities glinting in the amoebic mire of biology either.

So I sat on my arse, and put a line through ‘BSc’ on my degree audit form.  No, I WILL be a fearless and – yes- probably redundant Arts graduate.  I shall complete my politics and art history majors, safe in the knowledge that the inevitable BA-induced quarter-life crisis will not quite strike me until I’m walking up to the podium in a silly pink hood.

The key…the key is to work really hard at something I really love?  I suppose. Seems to cut it for athletes and such.  All right, so how can I even endeavor to make a career out of politics?!


Just kidding (sort of).  I think you need to be super great and probably have biceps or something for that job, but I would like to be a policy advisor analyst on geopolitics, or work in some security capacity for the UN.  I think these are pretty dang viable options.  I’m working towards getting into my honours year, and then hopefully a PhD after that, so I’m on track.  It’s really hard work with my little boy, but it will be so worth it for our whole family (Daddy is also working super hard full time and studying full time).

Here’s to the future.  Also maybe if I continue to blog, somebody might notice me and give me an academic-type job!


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Thailand is a unitary, parliamentary monarchy.  The thing about Thailand’s monarchy that Westerners find quite difficult to understand is that the Thai people have a real, and I mean real, respect for it.  King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) is the longest-serving monarch in the world, beginning his reign in 1946.  Most of the Thai population is devoutly Buddhist – although ethnic strife has caused some serious issues, particularly in the south along the border with Malaysia, where some states are populated mainly by Muslims.  The Buddhist majority revers the king and looks to him as a spiritual guide.

Thailand has an active military that is employed currently on the Cambodia-Thai border, fighting in the dispute over the Preah Vihear temple (I’ll be posting about this soon).  Since 1932, Thailand has had 18 different constitutions – no, no typo – as successive military governments have suspended and rewritten them.

Stay tuned for information about the political issues in modern Thailand!

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The lyrebird is truly a cool-ass creature.

I wanted to pick some kind of animal for my blog title, and after beating my brain against my skull for a short time I found the lyrebird.  It’s not Asian…it’s Australian.  But it’s got a beautiful, huge, imperial-looking tail.  It hit me as a symbol of the greatness of the future united Asia Pacific.

Look it up.  It will make you go “oooh”.

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POLS 203 essay

An essay for my uni course, Introduction to Southeast Asian Politics.  Grade was A-.  Unfortunately, the feedback didn’t mention what I could improve on, so if you know please tell me.

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Pacific Asia?  What/where/who?

Guys, I know it might seem a strange concept if you’re from  Australasia.  But my ultimate point and passion is this:  the future for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific is with Asia.  Politically and economically.

Why should we care, though?  Hey,  Asia’s its own can of soup.

Sure!  But come with me on an intellectual journey to Asia, the future political realm for all of us.  My blog is going to concern politics  and development in East Asia, generally termed ‘Pacific Asia’, and comprising the following countries (give or take a couple):  China, Japan, North and South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Burma, Malaysia, Brunei and Thailand.

My knowledge of Indonesia and the Philippines is less than adequate, but as with the rest of the nations I’ve listed I will endeavour to crash into their politics like a drunk falling down stairs, and use the incredible power of inquiry given to me as a slightly insane undergraduate student to pass a clear description onto you.

I’m a politics and art history student at the fabulous Victoria University of Wellington, and finally this year have concluded that applying myself may produce favourable results.  I thus went into my politics courses with an intention to develop some kind of passion; and lo, it has happened.  What is it that I love?  Aside from politics in general, Asian politics.  This is such a relevant field and if you’re a student of ANYTHING in New Zealand (or Australia, or the islands, or even Asia) hoping to have some kind of people-related future, it is IMPERATIVE that you begin to understand how that monstrously enormous, massively populated creature functions.  It carries on growing, fighting its own internal battles.  You can choose to be unenlightened, and resign yourself to a future in which you feel disconnected from regional activity and stay indoors on the couch, where the only aspect of Asia you’ll have to deal with is Naruto at five o’clock.  Or.

You can throw yourself head-first into Asia and its politics, learn about how you can get involved and be a part of the interwoven future that’s already beginning.

Even if you don’t really give a rat’s end about regional futures, interconnectedness etc. etc., I hope my blog will teach you some cool things about this dynamic, crazy, impenetrable tank of an up-and-coming great power.

If you’re doing an assignment, please reference me if you’re allowed…all right, if we’re honest, I don’t think I exactly count as an academic source.  But I promise to use only the best sources in my research and writing, so definitely utilise them yourself where I cite them.  Hopefully I can act as an intermediary, some kind of research help.

So, my friends, begin!  Read about the structure of government, political issues and history of the nations as I post about them.  I know zilch about blogging but it seems that when I press the letters, words appear.

Better yet, one day I’ll have my OWN DOMAIN, MAHAHAHAHAAA, with a beautiful custom theme and loveliness.

Stick with it!  Begin learning!

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