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Blog Masonry

Abenomics, Asia & ASEAN
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Japan has received more attention and generated more optimism in the first six months of 2013 than perhaps during all of the preceding six years. This has been triggered by the return of Shinzo Abe as prime minister of Japan for a second time and...

ASEAN beyond 2015: Can higher growth be sustained?
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The Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the third-largest economy in East Asia after China and Japan — needless to say, a robust, growing ASEAN has a positive impact on Asia and the world. A sustained growth spurt would push the region’s poor out of...

Can S’pore capitalise on Myanmar’s opening?
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Myanmar’s political opening has caught the world’s attention, and many countries are rushing to what has been called Asia’s last frontier market. Punishing sanctions by the European Union have been lifted, while Washington DC has suspended its measures. Seized by the economic potential of the...

It is not just about economics
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent National Day Rally speech was a bold statement of the Singapore Government’s commitment to address key concerns of its citizens while charting a path to continued success for the country as a player on the global stage. While short on...

Time for an ASEAN Dream
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Over the past year I’ve revisited a host of Southeast Asian countries I first began traveling in more than a decade ago. The region’s progress has been remarkable both in terms of overall economic growth and the promising opening of formerly isolated nations like Myanmar....

Seizing the Singapore Dream
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For generations, people around the world aspired to emulate the "American Dream". This fundamental ethos connotes freedom, equal opportunity and upward mobility. As the post-Cold War world became a geopolitical marketplace, however, others have begun to articulate their own visions for the future. Soon after the...

Heading off the next Asian crisis
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After the global financial crisis, Asia grew at more than 6 per cent each year, outperforming a troubled world. Not just China moreover, but also India, South-east Asia and others. While the United States and Europe floundered, the gravity-defying feat substantiated the idea of Asia’s...

ASEAN must turn a breathing space into a legacy
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The Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) draws both admirers and detractors — and the recent ministerial meeting hosted by Brunei provided ample evidence for each point of view. While there were signs of positive movement, thorny obstacles lie on the path ahead. This is especially...

Inside North Korea
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For most of us, North Korea is an enigma. It is perhaps the most isolated country in the world, and yet has dominated headline news recently on whether it will indeed launch a ‘thermo-nuclear war’ with South Korea and the US. The issues of North...

Crossing Borders: Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking
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Over the past decade, human trafficking has become a growing concern in South-East Asia. It has been estimated that 200-400,000 men, women and children from the region are trafficked annually and exploited as forced or bonded labour in factories, streets and brothels. As governments in...