New Realities for Southeast Asia: Perspectives From Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan
New & Noteworthy
The Philippines will serve as ASEAN Chair in 2017, at which time ASEAN will mark its 50th anniversary. Having successfully served as host of APEC in 2015, the country has demonstrated that facilitating massive, significant international events is well within its capability—thus observers’ attention can focus on substance instead of administrative details. And there is considerable attention directed to the Philippines at the moment, not least because of the outspoken new president, Rodrigo Duterte.
The potential effect of such extreme weather was shown in 2011 when Thailand was hit by the worst flood it had experienced in 50 years. This study produced the first comprehensive estimate of the economic losses experienced by households that were badly affected by the 2011 Bangkok flood. The study finds that the median household economic cost of the 2011 Bangkok floods was equivalent to about half of an average household’s annual expenditure.
Landowners’ Preferences for a Payment for Environmental Services Program: A Case Study in East Thailand
This study aimed to design a desirable payment for environmental services (PES) program to be implemented in Eastern Thailand. Landowners’ preferences on program factors were both identified and quantified using a choice experiment. The results showed that all hypothetical programs attributes were statistically significant to landowners’ participation decisions, except free-to-choose in-kind benefits. Willingness to accept (WTA) calculations suggested that higher monetary incentives could help induce landowners to participate in PES programs that generate desirable environmental benefits.
Payment for Environmental Services (PES) programs have been implemented in PES and PES-like forms in Cambodia focusing on watershed, biodiversity conservation, recreation/landscape beauty, and carbon sequestration and storage. However, a specific PES law or policy has yet to be developed. This report presents a review of selected current literature on PES and/or PES-like schemes implemented in Cambodia. Local and international NGOs were visited and interviewed in order to capture the elements of the individual programs.
In its latest report, The Anti-Salafi Campaign in Aceh, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) examines the background to the latest phase of the ideological struggle between traditionalist clerics in rural Aceh and their urban rivals. The report explores the the risk of violence this rivalry poses.
The ever insightful team at Action for Economic Reforms have released a new report analyzing the current state of the Philippine economy and the performance of the Aquino administration and proposes a framework for the Duterte administration and beyond that focuses on an innovative industrial policy that would address the structural weaknesses in the Philippine economy as well as policies to address vulnerability.
Declassified U.S. Documents Help Fill Void Left by Thailand’s Silence on 38th Anniversary of Thammasat University Massacre
This week marks the 38th anniversary of the student massacre at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand on October 6, 1976, which saw between 50 and 100 leftist student protesters tortured and killed, hundreds more injured, and thousands arrested. Thanks to the declassification efforts of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), over 75 previously classified documents are available, helping fill the void left by the Thai government’s silence on the event.
The events surrounding the 40th anniversary of the tragedy, seen by many as the darkest day in modern Thai political history, includes conferences, art works, plays and cultural events and come amid heightened political sensitivities in Thailand under a ruling military government since May 2014.
Thousands of people have been killed since Rodrigo Duterte became president and, according to one officer, secret police teams are partly responsible
In May, Rodrigo Duterte, who served as Davao’s mayor for 21 years, was elected president of the Philippines, defeating four other challengers with a promise to purge the country of drug dealers.
The annual Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and Indiaexamines Asia’s regional economic growth, development and regional integration process. It focuses on the economic conditions of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. It also addresses relevant economic issues in People’s Republic of China and India to fully reflect economic developments in the region.
This month, the Southeast Asian nation of Laos hosted two of the region’s most important annual gatherings—the ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit—in its capital, Vientiane. President Barack Obama, who led the U.S. delegation, made historyby becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the country.
A study by public health experts from Columbia and Harvard reveal that pollution from burning forests may have led to premature deaths of more than 100,000 people in the region.
Chiara Formichi's article in The Muslim World is a huge contribution to the study of Islam in Southeast Asia. She explores why Islamic Studies and Southeast Studies were separated and how this separation has impoverished both fields.
Mathew Davies of ANU argues that ASEAN is losing its centrality in the Asia-Pacific in the face of great power machinations and a lack of leadership within the organization.
Cambodia's ruling party needs to woo disenchanted voters to retain hold on poweRead more
Dr. Dave McRae and Sidney Jones explore how Indonesia should deal with Islamist extremists.Read more
If you’ve been hospitalized in Europe, North America, Australia or the Middle East in recent years, chances are that at some point a nurse from the Philippines has had some part in your treatment. As Megha Amrith writes in the introduction to Caring for Strangers: Filipino Medical Workers in Asia (NIAS Press, 2017), Filipinos today comprise one of the largest global diasporas of medical workers, with the Philippines having over 400 nursing colleges, many of them aimed primarily at preparing graduates for work abroad.Read more
Matthew Walton, author of Buddhism, Politics and Political Thought in Myanmar, speaks with New Books in Southeast Asian StudiesRead more
Endy Bayuni, the chief editor of the Jakarta Post, recently spoke at Columbia University, giving his assessment of the Jokowi administration at the halfway mark. Bayuni described how Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has gone from being an outsider elected president in 2014 to being the most powerful president to date in 2017. Initially, Jokowi struggled to gain support even from his own party, the PDIP (Partai Indonesia Perjuangan). Gradually, according to Bayuni, Jokowi employed strategic political moves and transformed his weak position into one of strength and now presides over the parliament, the cabinet, and even the national police.Read more
In recent months, public life in Thailand has been overshadowed by the momentous October 13, 2016 passing of long-reigning King Bhumibol, and the December 1 accession of the King Vajiralongkorn to the throne. Although a popular referendum approved the 2016 draft constitution last August, that constitution has yet to pass into law, and no date has been set for the next general election. As the ruling military junta completes its third year in power, freedom of expression remains severely constrained, and Thailand faces a range of economic and social challenges. During this third Columbia Thailand Update event, eight speakers will present their research and views on the latest developments and prospects, at a crucial juncture in the country’s history.Read more