‘’The people I killed looked like chicken to me, they were of no use. I have killed children, women and pregnant women. I have killed so many people that I don’t even know how many anymore. When we go to war, the children were in front’’. These are the words of a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone ( 1991-2002). Wars in Africa are not uncommon, neither are child soldiers. Political instability and poor economic situation have created many failed states in Africa, leading to continuous civil wars such as the civil war in Sierra Leone. The use of child soldiers is a shocking case that we think only happens in Africa; however this is not the case. Historically Asia has known many wars in which child soldiers have been used. This case is still prevalent today. Myanmar, Philippines, and Nepal are all Asian countries facing this deplorable situation. According to UNICEF, the UN children fund, there are approximately 300.000 child soldiers, in over 36 countries in the world. Many people may think this is a large number, yet this amount is due to the definition of a child soldier. Read the rest of this entry »
The big day for the ASEAN countries is approaching more and more. The Philippines was one of the founding fathers of ASEAN in 1967. Yet, how well are they prepared to enter this economic integration, and, should they enter it? This snapshot analysis will give an insight into these questions.
The Philippines is a democratic republic, with a multi-party bi-cameral system of governance with Benigno Aquino as the President. After its independence from the US in 1946, the Philippines had different Presidents. Most of these Presidents have been corrupt or part of an elite family. The Aquino administration aims to change this history of corruption and have only ethical, honest and true public servants by his side . In addition to his fight against corruption, Aquino’s also wants to create jobs and invest heavily into infrastructure to make the country more competitive (Aquino,2010).
Besides corruption, another political challenge that the country is facing is the territorial dispute between Philippines and China. Both countries claim to have the territory in the Scarborough Shoal (The South China Sea; Shoal mates, 2012). This area is rich for fishery and contains oil reserves. Therefore, it is attractive to both countries. Apart from this dispute, China and Philippines have had good alliances and China is the biggest trading partner of the Philippines. Read the rest of this entry »
In the hospitality industry and other service sectors in the western hemisphere, you are prone to find a Filipino working. You may ask yourself why there are so many working abroad. In 2009 alone, 8.9 million Filipinos citizens worked abroad.
Migration is not a new phenomenon in the Filipino history. According to Dante A. Ang, Chairman of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, the Filipino organized migration started already in 1906 when agricultural labor was needed on Hawaii. The elite were also granted admission in the United States as scholars during this same period. After the Second World War, the second group of organized Filipinos migrated. Veterans who served in the US military, together with their families, had the opportunity to migrate to the US. The third and current group of migrates started in the 1970’s when the Middle East experienced the oil boom and simultaneously, the Philippines was experiencing its strongest unemployment rate.
According to statistics of the Bangko Sentral NG Pilipinas and ASEAN Leaflet, over 2010, almost 10% of the GDP was created by remittances. In 2011 $ 20,116,992 thousand US dollars was sent as remittance. The first quarter of 2012 has seen a 5.4% growth on a year to date basis. The top five destinations to migrate are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and the United States. Nevertheless these are not the destinations that yield the most remittance. More than forty million US dollars comes from the Unites states, followed by Saudi Arabia, Japan, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Read the rest of this entry »
Meanwhile you listen to this song imagine this. Imagine that you are sitting in a taxi on your way to fit your newly tailored cashmere suit. While you’re waiting for the light to turn green, you see an elder man showering with dirty water on the street. You feel bad for him, but don’t do anything. The next day, after your nice shopping spree at the mall, you see another elder man, barefoot on the asphalt, pushing his fruit cart in the heat of the afternoon sun. You want to do something, but again, your help is not noticed by this man.
In my opinion, people have lost their connection to people, to humanity. Today those who actually matter to us are the people that we have on Facebook, the celebrities and the people in our close circle of friendship; but what about the others? What about the people we see every day having a hard time. The janitors, the mini market clerks, the street vendors, even the security guard that looks after you? Have you ever thought of what they feel, each time they see you splurging. People walk with their head full of problems like “I don’t like this shirt” or “I am too fat” and they don’t realize that right next to them there might be someone that does not have money for medicines, someone that has only 3 shirts or even worse, someone who has not eaten for days. Read the rest of this entry »
Sit back and imagine your next vacation: Amazing Thailand, the land of smiles. What do you see? Perhaps pristine beaches, beautiful Buddhist temples, unlimited shopping opportunities and not to forget, adorable elephants. These magnificent animals can paint, make music and even stand on their two rear feet. Elephants have long been the symbol of Thailand. White elephants have long been used by the Monarchy as a symbol of power and money. The more white elephants a King has, the more power and money it portrays. White elephants are sacred and each one forms a financial burden to the owner; therefore the more you had meant that the more money you possess.
The use of elephants has changed dramatically over the years. They were first used as military forces during wars. India was the first country to have an elephant army since the first millennia BC. During the time of Ayutthaya in the period of 1350 to 1767 different battled were fought on elephants. One important battle was between the King of Siam Naresuan and the Burmese crown prince Minchit Sra, in which the Burmese prince was defeated. New techniques of combat made elephants useless during military fights; therefore its role changed from soldier to carrier. They were then used as transportation method in the logging industry mainly for the transportation of timber. They were very useful since they had the ability to cross many difficult terrains vehicles could not access. Logging was banned in Thailand on 17th January 1989. This was as a response to devastating floods that occurred in the region of Nakorn Srithammarat Province November of the preceding year. Therefore, elephants had to again enter a new industry; tourism. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy homosexual family with their adopted daughter
The smile in their faces can only mean one thing, they are a happy family. Thailand is well known for being a family oriented country. It is even one of the first countries to celebrate Family Day. However, there is a little part of the society that is not permitted to form a family in Thailand; homosexuals. It is curious that a society that widely accepts homosexuality and katoeys bans same-sex marriage
Attempts to legalize same sex marriage in Thailand have been in vain. The latest attempt was in 2011.The National Human Rights Commission; a governmental body has proposed a draft to legalize same-sex marriage during the APF Annual Meeting and Biennial Conference. Despite of the positive projection by NHRC, the desired outcomes have not been accomplished.
The societal reasons for not accepting same sex marriage are unclear to me. In most societies, religion plays the most important role in condemning homosexuality; however this is not the case in Buddhism. Thailand believes in the Theravada Buddhism which has five Precepts. One of these is to not engage in any sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is understood under the principles of its universality, its consequences, its intentions and with a utilitarian principle. Homosexuality does not contradict any of these Precepts. Being homosexual does not go against the religious beliefs. Read the rest of this entry »
In this video, Vice President of Strategic Intelligence Rodger Baker examines the recent dispute over oil exploration in the South China Sea. As can be concluded from this, oil and gas resources are the main reason for this territorial argument.
Currently, the position of the US in the South China Sea dispute is uncertain. Vietnam Brunei and Malaysia are claiming territory; however, China and the Philippines are the strongest arguers. The US has been the military partner of the Philippines for over 70 years; however it is highly undesirable for its economy to be part of a military dispute with China. Read the rest of this entry »
The National Population and Talent Division of Singapore has recently published a report showcasing demographic concerns of the country. Singapore is currently facing a low fertility rate and increase in its ageing population. Life expectancy in Singapore is currently one of the highest in the world (82 years). Chart 1 showcases the decrease of fertility rate over the years for different Asian countries.
Despite the efforts made by the government to increase the fertility rate, Singapore has faced a population decline of 23.16% over 2000-2011.Not only Singapore is facing this problem. One other example is Canada that has been working on recruiting immigrants over many years to leverage this issue. Read the rest of this entry »
Free flow of skilled labor is one of ASEAN’s Economic Community goals. In the ASEAN economic integration blueprint it is mentioned that the goal is to facilitate the mobility of people who are engaged in trade of goods, services, and investments. This, to eventually accomplish harmonization and standardization within ASEAN. Professionals who want to engage in cross-border trade activities will be facilitated more easily with visas and work passes.
There are many benefits for both the host countries and the sending country for labor migration. The host countries receive valuable services and cheap labor for jobs locals are unwilling to perform. Conversely, the sending country will decrease unemployment rate pressures, increase foreign currency earnings and increase capital inflow. Figure 1. Illustrates the factors influencing cross-border mobility. Read the rest of this entry »
Gender differences have arisen not because of sex difference but due to social image. Feminists define gender as a set of characteristics that showcase masculinity and femininity. Gender is a structure that gives unequal power in relationships between man and women, whilst masculine characteristics are usually more valued than feminine.
After Aung San Kyi won the by-elections in Myanmar, the issue of gender in the world of politics has come into picture. Most definitely; gender equality in Asia. Thailand also has a female Prime Minister HE Yingluck Shinawatra. What are the roles these women play in the international political community and how do they influence other women?
There are different theories that explain feminism and why women are subordinates. There are the liberals, the Marxists, socialists, the post colonialists and post structuralism.
I think that the most important aspect defining and defying feminism is religion. It is the most controversial topic on gender equality. Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are the religions that most notably are considered to oppress women and influence gender inequality. However, I have not taken religion into consideration into this blog. Why? Because it is a choice made by people to have a certain religion and live to the standards of it.
In addition to religion, culture and state policies also play a big role, especially in some Asian countries. It is the right of a woman to be subservient if she wishes to. Indonesia has the practice of ibuism. This is described as the practice of being the companion of the husband, procreator of the nation, mother and educator of the children. The state practically brainwashes the community that women have to practice ibuism. These women do it with pride and are glad to serve their community by educating the man. They look forward to be the perfect wife and have the perfect family. This for them is seen as being successful.
I am usually an advocate of gender equality and think that females should have the same rights as males. However, during my research on this topic, I realized that man and woman will never be seen as equal. Not because they are not, but simply because it is a matter of culture and perspectives. It is the lens trough which we see women and their role and the paradigms we have that creates inequality. Many women are well educated but decide to serve their family. Others decide to be part of a certain religion and are happy with it.
Yes, we should have the same human rights as advocated by the UN, but we also have to take into account that democracy and capitalism are not the only answer.
As a believer in the law of attraction, I think that any woman can achieve anything that she wants as long as she truly wants it.