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Commentaries

mindef-ng-eng-hen-palembang-1-600
Seeing Indonesia through the haze
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There are reasons to be frustrated and angry about the haze pollution, caused by fires in Indonesian provinces. There are also reasons to question whether real action will be taken and can be effective. The problem is driven not by natural causes, but by man-made deforestation...

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Confusion clouds regional cooperation to fight haze
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It is clear that the haze from fires burning in Indonesia has returned and is worsening. On Tuesday last week (Aug 25), visibility in Palembang, the provincial capital of South Sumatra, was down to about 300m. The count of possible fire hot spots has risen...

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Focus on the future in this SG50 election
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The adage is that all politics is local and elections are too often nasty and short-sighted. For the General Election (GE) scheduled for Sept 11, these characteristics may well dominate the hustings. Rumours and blog sites tend to amplify these tendencies. Take, for example, the recent...

spore-esplanade-600
A sunny island set in the Asian hinterland
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It is a promising sign when an anniversary is occasion to look keenly forward as well as nostalgically backwards. So it is with Singapore’s golden jubilee celebrations this August. Singapore’s success as a globalised city-state owes itself in no small part to visionary leadership that used...

indra-pelani
Indonesia’s One Map crucial for conflict-free development
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Indra Pelani was energetic and inquisitive. After planting the fields, he often roamed the village with his camera to record life in Tebo, a district in the resource-rich Indonesian province of Jambi. Sometimes he would capture clashes between the local farming community and the plantation...

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The real value of a Japanese apology
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There are many reasons to admire modern-day Japan. There are also more than a few reasons to wish the country's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, well. His efforts to resuscitate the economy with Abenomics has not yet hit the target, but Japan is more confident today...

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Can ASEAN maintain central role in the region?
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At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur starting this Friday, concerns about major regional powers will be high on the agenda. Tensions between China and Japan have been palpable and may again be stoked with the coming 70th anniversary of...

lky600-cohen
Long Live Lee Kuan Yew’s Lion City
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Henry Kissinger called him one of the “asymmetries of history.” Margaret Thatcher said “he was never wrong.” Barack Obama called him “one of the legendary figures of Asia.” Tony Blair said he was “the smartest leader I ever met.” Samuel Huntington said he was one...

lky500-reagan
All the world was his stage
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In 1967, when Singapore was two years independent and he was a young Premier of only 44, a report described Mr Lee Kuan Yew giving a talk at Harvard University. As he spoke about the escalating Vietnam War and the role of the United States,...

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Betting on Myanmar’s opening
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For a while, when Myanmar opened after decades of isolation and sanctions, it seemed that the government could do no wrong as American and European governments rushed to embrace the country. Now, headlines from the West show that little or nothing seems right. What was supposed...