They make unreasonable demands. They think change happens overnight. They refuse to negotiate with the government. They hijacked the student protests (or was it vice versa?). That’s the impression I’ve gotten from reading media coverage of the National Network for Education Reform (NNER).
Anyone who has spent time in Myanmar – especially outside major cities – does not need to be convinced that the road transport infrastructure requires severe improvement. The evidence is in the bumpy rides.
The ruling against China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague will be met with relief in the region’s capitals. But it is unlikely to reverse one of Asia’s most worrying trends: an alarming regional arms build-up.
In 2016, around a million babies will be born in Myanmar. Too often we forget the prospects and possibilities of these new lives, instead focusing almost all our attention on those who have already grown up.
East Asia is at a critical historical juncture as two major geopolitical trends unfold: the strategic rise of China and the impact of China’s rise on the long-standing position of the United States in East Asia.
Thais generally want Thailand to do well anywhere. When it comes to sports, for example, we have even learned the rules of volleyball to support our women’s national team, which has shot up from nowhere to be in the global top 10. But when it comes to diplomacy, where Thailand used to be world-class, local cheering recently has not led to international results.
For the past 10 years drug production in Myanmar has been on the rise. According to the UN, Myanmar now accounts for more than 25 percent of the global area under illegal poppy cultivation, making the country the second-largest producer of illegal opium in the world after Afghanistan.
In the US, a large if perhaps shrinking share of the population wants to elect as president a reality-television star with no apparent interest in learning anything about governing or the world around him. In Britain, a majority of voters chose to exit the European Union despite experts’ warnings of financial chaos and economic damage that so far are being borne out. In these and other democracies, voters are becoming increasingly enamored of protest candidates and populist parties that have no ability or perhaps even intention to live up to their promises.