A man walks into a bookstore and asks for a copy of the constitution. “We don’t sell periodical literature,” replies the manager. This joke dates to 1958, when France passed the Fifth Republic constitution. So spare a thought for Thai voters, who on August 7 approved the country’s 20th constitution since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
In September, China will host the G20 meeting of world leaders for the first time. It could not have chosen a more opportune moment to assume a leadership role. Chinese President Xi Jinping should seize the occasion to push China’s ambitious development agenda globally.
While Chinese media giants have made news by acquiring significant Hollywood assets over the past few months, the Chinese Communist Party has been busily producing its own video content. From finance professionals forced to “apologise” for their attempts at accurate reporting on the country’s economic slowdown to the chilling “confession” this last week of human rights lawyer Wang Yu, the Communist Party is clearly trying to cover up the bitter truth of its brutal rule.
On May 17, a 23-year-old woman was stabbed to death by a 34-year-old man at a unisex toilet near the Gangnam subway station in Seoul. What shocked the public most was that the victim was a total stranger to the assailant.
As the nation holds its breath for the outcome of the constitutional referendum, some of the government’s think tanks are already preparing for the possibility of a dramatic slowdown in economic activity after the vote.
Last November, the world witnessed a landmark milestone in the history of Myanmar. While the euphoria of the victory has now somewhat subsided, there is still a strong sense of hope and optimism. But the challenges are starting to sink in and will only become more apparent.
If a tree falls over in the jungle and no one hears it, does it make a noise?
The old riddle now has a new counterpart: If an international legal body hands down a landmark verdict but no one enforces it, is it irrelevant?
Ma Ba Tha, the abbreviation of what in English is the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion, is a Buddhist nationalist organisation that thrust itself into political prominence two years ago.