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The man of the year

Guy Verhofstadt
Mr. Guy Verhofstadt

The man of the year
L'homme de l'an
De man van het jaar
2009


A proven Democrat, protector and fighter for justice and human rights in the World.

Een bewezen Democraat, beschermer en strijder voor rechtvaardigheid en mensenrechten in de Wereld.

Un prouvé démocrate, protecteur et combattant pour la justice et des droits de l'homme dans le Mond.

Eine bewährte Demokrat, Beschützer und Kämpfer für Gerechtigkeit und Menschenrechte in der Welt.

Dokazani demokrat,
 zaštitnik i borac za pravdu i ljudska prava u Svijetu.




The man of the year

Guarantee
Peace in the World


Mr. Barak Hossein Obama

The man of the year
L'homme de l'an
De man van het jaar
2012


Guarantee
peace in the world

Garantie
vrede in de wereld

Garantie
la paix dans le monde

Garantie des Friedens in der Welt

Zabezpečenie
mieru vo svete

Garancija
mira u svijetu





Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis



Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of entrepreneurial opportunities.
Murray Hunter




The Continuum of Psychotic Organisational Typologies
Murray Hunter




There is no such person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts entrepreneurially
Murray Hunter




Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization - Murray Hunter



Generational Attitudes and Behaviour - Murray Hunter



The environment as a multi-dimensional system: Taking off your rose coloured glasses - Murray Hunter



Imagination may be more important than knowledge: The eight types of imagination we use - Murray Hunter



Do we have a creative intelligence? - Murray Hunter



Not all opportunities are the same: A look at the four types of entrepreneurial opportunity - Murray Hunter



   The Evolution of Business Strategy - Murray Hunter



How motivation really works - Murray Hunter



Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities: What’s wrong with SWOT? - Murray Hunter



 The five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter



Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter



  How we create new ideas - Murray Hunter



How emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter



People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons - Murray Hunter



One Man, Multiple Inventions: The lessons and legacies of Thomas Edison - Murray Hunte


   
Does Intrapreneurship exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter



 What’s with all the hype – a look at aspirational marketing - Murray Hunter



   Integrating the philosophy of Tawhid – an Islamic approach to organization - Murray Hunter



Samsara and the Organization - Murray Hunter



Do Confucian Principled Businesses Exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter



 Knowledge, Understanding and the God Paradigm - Murray Hunter



On Some of the Misconceptions about Entrepreneurship - Murray Hunter




How feudalism hinders community transformation and economic evolution: Isn’t equal opportunity a basic human right? - Murray Hunter



The Dominance of “Western” Management Theories in South-East Asian Business Schools: The occidental colonization of the mind. - Murray Hunter



Ethics, Sustainability and the New Realities - Murray Hunter



The Arrival of Petroleum, Rockefeller, and the Lessons He taught Us - Murray Hunter - University Malaysia Perlis



 Elite educators idolize the “ high flying entrepreneurs” while deluded about the realities of entrepreneurship for the masses: - Murray Hunter



Lessons from the Invention of the airplane and the Beginning of the Aviation Era - Murray Hunter



Missed Opportunities for ASEAN if the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) fails to start up in 2015 - Murray Hunter



From Europe, to the US, Japan, and onto China: The evolution of the automobile - Murray Hunter




ASEAN Nations need indigenous innovation to transform their economies but are doing little about it. - Murray Hunter



Do Asian Management Paradigms Exist? A look at four theoretical frames - Murray Hunter



Surprise, surprise: An Islam economy can be innovative - Murray Hunter



Australia in the "Asian Century" or is it Lost in Asia? - Murray Hunter



Australia "Do as I say, not as I do" - The ongoing RBA bribery scandal - Murray Hunter


 
Entrepreneurship and economic growth? South-East Asian governments are developing policy on the misconception that entrepreneurship creates economic growth. - Murray Hunter



Hillary to Julia "You take India and I'll take Pakistan", while an ex-Aussie PM says "Enough is enough with the US" - Murray Hunter



 



Malaysia: Desperately needing a new national narrative

Murray Hunter

The ritualistic month long celebration of Merdeka (independence) activities have largely lost their meaning. Discussion about the roles that different groups played in the road to independence has largely been rewritten to support the current rulers of today. The celebration of 31st August, the day Malaya gained independence from the British as the major national day seems to exclude the aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians, where on 16th September 1963 they joined Malaya and Singapore in a union called Malaysia. Groups like the Communist Party of Malaya which fought and lost many lives against both the British and Japanese are almost totally excluded from the nation's Merdeka narrative.

This is all occurring in an environment desperately in need of a narrative of inclusiveness.

The current Merdeka celebration suppresses the generation of new ideas and a national creativity that could spring up from an environment of inclusiveness. The Merdeka celebrations have severed any empathetic connections between Malaysia's the various elements within the rich and diverse history of the country, replacing it with a single narrative one would find on a cellulose film like "Tanda Putera". A whole generation of people now exist who behave according to the beliefs and values incorporated within this narrow narrative.

This denies the cascade of alternative realities and their accompanying narratives which stifles national creativity and evolution that Malaysia needs to face the challenges before it.

The Merdeka celebrations fail to incorporate any evolving aspirations that would promote and enhance the semblance of national unity.

Ironically under the Mahathir years, a strong national narrative existed which at the time appeared to be shared by middle class Malaysian society. Malaysia in the 80s and early 90s had a deep sense of national pride where any senses of inferiority were thrown out of the window with the catch cry of "Malaysia Boleh". Many people at the time believed that Malaysia was the best country to live in. Almost 25 years on these feelings have been replaced with a sense of disappear over law and order, corruption, religious intolerance, and self indulgence.

The fact that Malaysia has many domestic issues to solve and it's place in the world is slipping away, according to many international rankings, is largely out of the national discussion and public agenda. Rather it appears division is in everybody's best interests, from school administrations right up to the highest echelons of government.

Malaysia has lost that true spiritual unity between people that was the catalyst that brought independence to the nation in the first place, first with the British during the 1950s and then between the parties that made up the Malaysian union in 1963.

What is missing today are aspirations about the purpose and 'dreams' the country was founded upon during the struggle for independence, and subsequent search for its identity as a nation. Malaysia as a nation is yet to realize that diversity has a spiritual unity about it. Suppress it and the national narrative becomes one without optimism for a 'just and equitable society'.

The current national narrative is one captive under the old traditional caste system with little relevance to the needs of contemporary society. Consequently the Malaysian mind is a prisoner of this paradigm, unlikely to break free to enable an enlightened society.

The Malaysian rulers have felt insecure with their own values, preferring to adopt a neo-colonial development paradigm of unquestioned growth, and development and profiteering. Development has been a game for the elite, without any questioning of this occidental paradigm.

Greed and intolerance have developed into two of the most important post Merdeka qualities. This has been at a great cost to the development of any sense of shared spiritualism about the country. Malaysia is in need of the qualities of compassion, tolerance, mercy and forgiveness as the assumptions behind any national development agenda. This is where the universal values of Islam are important and where the true sense of an Islamic state really exists. Islam must be viewed as a way to enhance the quality of society rather than a tool to control society.

The banning of books, the demolition of buildings, and the suppression of many practices is causing the cream of Malaysia's society to flee. Repression through brute force has cost the country dearly. Crony capitalism and corruption is keeping Malaysia in the relative 'dark ages'. A relative static view of the economic pie lowers any national sense of vision. This parochial thinking is preventing any vision of a progressive and prosperous Malaysia in the coming decades, which may actually force Malaysia to become a slave to the new emerging world order.

Malaysia must find its own dream rather than adopting those of other nations. The aspirations of multi-media super corridors, Cyberjaya, and biotechnology clusters, are the stuff of other peoples' dreams, preventing the creation of something that could be uniquely Malaysian.

Many groups are dispossessed and have no part in the national narrative. Rather capitalistic greed entrenched within 'so-called' development projects in the name of national development and unity continue to by-pass the poor and needy. Malaysia is not only divided by race, but by socio-economic class, taking the country further away from any notion of a single 'Bangsa Malaysia".

History has been written by those who have dominated society. Malaysians have been blinded by the political paradigm created by those who rule, preventing people from seeing new possibilities. This history doesn't match Malaysia's contemporary aspirations.

The evils of this progress will be felt by future generations of Malaysians who will have to pay dearly when picking up the pieces of a destitute and stripped environment that others before them have ravaged.

As UMNO, the ruling party goes back into the shell of 'Ketuanan Melayu' (Malay superiority), the language of intolerance and inequality will continue and maintain a divided Malaysia. This ignores the needs of a rapidly changing society, which will almost certainly bring further friction where the illusion of harmony may come to an abrupt end.

The current divisions within UMNO are serving the interests of a select few who can dictate the agenda. This will prevent UMNO learning how to reengage its traditional constituency again and reform itself in the spirit of Merdeka once again.

However at the same time, the popular vote of the last election strongly indicates that the majority of people are looking for some form of genuine change within Malaysian society. But, the election was really just a hope or even fantasy, that any outcome would actually bring change of any significant nature. Real change could not occur, as all the parties involved within the political process are institutionalized. Any real change requires a complete rebirth of ideas and new processes to accompany them. This requires a totally frank national dialogue in the spirit of accepting diversity in the spirit of those people who worked together to achieve Merdeka more than 50 years ago.

One may have to question the results of the Malaysian political system as being an occidental outcome, where a Malaysian solution is required. The Westminster system supports an adversarial system of government and opposition. Maybe the Malaysian political process should be much more consultative, like it once was. National unity coalitions may serve Malaysia better than the current adversarial system of government and opposition. It's time to explore these possibilities for the sake of Malaysia's future.

Policy must be looked at through apolitical eyes, consensus and bi-partisanship. This is more the Malaysian way, where this new sense of national unity will also help develop this elusive or even mythical 'Malay unity' that many are seeking. Malaysia is not yet a large enough country where it can afford to divide it's administrative talent between government and opposition. All hands are needed on the deck of government for Malaysia to prosper.

The underlying message of GE-13 in terms of both the popular vote and seat results could be interpreted as a general wish for all to work together regardless of race, colour, or creed.

This is where the new Malaysia could be born, where justice and equity could be achieved. Malaysians must move onto new truths and reconciliations in the belief of one nation Malaysia. Otherwise Malaysia will continue to be divided with increasing frictions.

This new rebirth requires a scrapping of the current race based political system, something often talked about. Race based idealism must be replaced with policy based idealism, where governments work upon a platform based on consensus. Ritual must be replaced with principled pragmatism with ample social discussion on how Malaysia should be shaped for the future.

by Murray Hunter / August 30th, 2013



One Man's view of the world and a thousand faceless men: Singapore's cadre system

Murray Hunter

 

The 'modern father' of Singapore Lew Kuan Yew, who is also the father of the current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, launched his latest book "One Man's View of the World" recently. In this forthright and frank book Lee gave his views on major powers and regions of the world, often with scathing remarks about Singapore's neighbors and past Chinese leaders. What more, this book has been endorsed by former US Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz.

The book is full of interviews made by Lee's editorial team. They were defensive of his past actions and policies, yet very critical of others, not even sparing the daughter of former prime minister Goh Chok Tong who migrated to Bradford UK with her English husband. What was even more valuable for future historians was his candidness about the afterlife and total pragmatism behind what actions he took during his tenure of influence over the island nation.

However Lee's book is totally silent on the mechanism that maintained his tenure and influence over Singapore, an issue that is much alive in the local blogs, the Peoples' Action Party cadre system, something that political commentators domiciled within Singapore are very hesitant to discuss. Very much part of Lee Kuan Yew's pragmatic approach to solving problems.

The People’s Action Party (PAP) was conceptualized out of friendships between Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Keng Swee, and Toh Chin Chye during their education in Britain. In 1954, with the help of trade unions that represented the Chinese educated majority, a left leaning nationalist party the PAP was formed. With the help of Lim Chin Siong and Fong Swee Suan the party would appeal to the Chinese educated working class and create a broad base of support. The PAP started out as a mass mobilization party based upon a Leninist model. Much of this model is still intact within the party today.

The PAP is well disciplined and cohesive, with extremely powerful machinery on the ground. Leadership is very much ‘top down’ through an instituted cadre system. This has been partly kept to prevent any future hostile takeover attempts. A potential cadre must be recommended by a member of parliament, and then the candidate is interviewed a number of times by a committee appointed by the Central Executive Committee (CEC), which will include 4 to 5 ministers and members of parliament. There may be up to 1,000 cadres in the party today, however this exact number is kept a secret. A cadre has the right to attend the party conference and vote for the leadership every two years.

Consequently, political power is centered in the Central Executive Committee, headed by the Secretary-General, the head of the party, who is usually also the Prime Minister. There is a very strong overlap between CEC members and cabinet ministers. Twelve members are elected by the cadre and six are appointed. Any outgoing CEC member must recommend a list of potential candidates to fill his/her position for the CEC. The CEC looks after the Young PAP, Women’s Wing, selects cadres, and parliamentary candidates.

Ordinary party members are screened before they can join the PAP. Potential members must demonstrate some involvement in community before memberships are approved. Lee Kuan Yew did not want a mass party with populist demands, and also wanted to avoid the problems of ‘quanxi’ within the party. Party members are basically unpaid volunteers, serving their MPs on branch sub-committees, and help mobilize support during elections.

By international political party standards the PAP is very small, maybe 15,000 members, with a small central administrative machinery. There is a small HQ executive committee that oversees the daily administration of the party, i.e., maintaining party accounts, memberships, overseeing committees work, publications, and branch coordination.

Like Lee, the major ideology of the PAP is pragmatism, meritocracy, multiculturalism, and communitarianism. The PAP is pro-economic intervention through fiscal policy and government enterprise involvement, within a generally free market backdrop. The party strongly rejects the concepts of Western liberal democracy, citing a philosophy based upon ‘Asian values’ as the guiding principles of social development. Perhaps one of the greatest concerns of the PAP, reflected in the way it is structured and leadership is institutionalized, is the issue of succession, where it is believed that succession is the root of stability. Formal and informal rules and norms, and procedures guide who can and who cannot stand for party and public office.

Singapore's cadre system is partly responsible for the countries success story, but at the same time is an albatross around the Government's neck, arguably responsible for the 'groupthink' culture many local blogs are critical of in contemporary Singapore society today.

Since 1963 the Singapore Government has turned the island from a sleepy backwater into one of the world’s most vibrant economies. Although nobody can fault the ruling party which has governed Singapore for more than 50 years of abandoning its responsibilities, many wish that it would tackle these responsibilities with some heart and connect emotionally with the people.

Times are rapidly changing in the island republic. There is genuine disenchantment with rising prices, the influx of foreign workers, competition for jobs, crowded public places, rising home prices, rising cost of education, and the widening income gap in Singapore. There is even some feeling among Singaporeans with the migration of foreign professionals, they may descend to becoming second class citizens within their own country. Migration will be expected to continue as the local Singapore population is aging. Today it is not uncommon to see the old and infirm waiting on restaurant tables, clearing rubbish in the streets, or even scavenging into rubbish bin. Singapore’s GINI index has declined from 0.433 in 2000 to 0.465 in 2010 and is similar to many African and South American countries. Social ills like erosion of trust, crime, obesity, teen pregnancy, mental health and drug addiction, is more closely associated with income inequality rater than low average per-capita income. Consequently the electoral landscape is quickly beginning to change, where the PAP will not in the future be returned to power uncontested on nomination day due to the failure of opposition candidates to nominate for election.

The scrapping in of the PAP’s preferred candidate Tony Tan for president in 2011 showed that there is a growing proportion of the Singapore electorate that wants a change to the PAPs heavy handed style of government and more scrutiny. However one of the issues that may hinder any further decline in the PAP’s fortunes is that there is currently a lack of any credible opposition in Singapore as an alternative government.

From another paradigm, Singapore could be seen as the domination of one group over another. Most of the leadership has been drawn from the Baba Chinese community, a group cultured in Malay and “Colonial British”. Babas strongly hold family values, community cohesiveness, and tend to respect authority. This is in contrast to the Southern mainland Chinese migrants to Singapore who fled oppression, and tended to oppose authority. Singapore has been run more in the manner like a British Colonial administrator would have aspired. Thus patriarchal leadership with neo-Victorian values is not something the migrating Chinese accepted openly. Singapore has seen many campaigns, incentives, and deterrents to achieve the values of the Baba class.
 


Prof. Murray Hunter,
He has been involved in Asia-Pacific business for the last 30 years as an entrepreneur, consultant, academic, and researcher. Murray is now an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis. He'd been also a visiting professor at a number of universities and regular speaker at conferences and workshops in the region. Murray is the author of a number of books, numerous research and conceptual papers in referred journals, and commentator on the issues of entrepreneurship and development in a number of magazines and online news sites around the world. Read other articles by Murray.
 

One of the major legacies of Lee Kuan Yew was the authoritarian style of leadership and the fear it invoked into the Singaporean psych. For decades Singaporeans were expected to fall in line with what leaders expected without question, as they were told that this was best for them. The bounds of what couldn’t be done were clearly set, i.e., not to criticize leaders, not to discuss ‘sensitive’ issues, or not to give alternative opinions. If these boundary crossings were noticed, harsh penalties would be applied to those that crossed them. The strong control of Lee Kuan Yew was the dominant driver of society, and the state itself also had the responsibility of being the ‘agent of change’. This to some degree squeezed out small private businesses as an alternative engine to growth of the Singapore economy. This persona of authority and control still exists today.

Singapore Government ministers appear to be disconnected with the people who elected them. They have become so concerned about running Singapore from an elite bureaucracy, trusted to make the best decisions for the country to protect and improve the livelihoods of its citizens. However as they live in some of the choicest real estate in Singapore and have rewarded themselves with some of the highest salaries in the world, they have become out of touch with the struggles and plight of the common people of Singapore.

For Singapore to prosper in the long term, and for Singapore to maintain the unique system of government that has evolved, with all the good, and perhaps less of the bad and ugly, the PAP needs to re-evaluate itself for the future and decide whether it is a broad based political party, or just the extension of one man and an elite group that has ruled over Singapore for the last 50 years?

Under the present structure of the PAP, it will be impossible for the party to reform itself from the grassroots and allow new ideas to reach the top. The ability of people to rise through the ranks of the party with new ideas is heavily restricted. The Lim Chin Siong legacy saw to that. The very way the PAP has sought both meritocracy and stability has become its ‘Achilles heel’, paralyzing the ability to adapt to changing Singapore, where ironically the country has been so successful in adapting to outside factors of change while being so internally rigid. The cadre system itself prevents change, as the selection process is a closed system selecting only same minded people to the leadership, subjecting government to the risks of groupthink. The challenge of change brings uncertainty and with this comes insecurity about the continuation of a successful paradigm of government that has served Singapore so well in the past.

Lee Kuan Yew had dominated Singaporean politics, economy, and society since the 1950s. The family has influenced affairs in Singapore for over 50 years, much longer than any other political family in the region. His eldest son, Lee Hsien Loong became Prime Minister in 2004. Lee Hsien Loong’s wife Ho Ching was CEO of Temasek Holdings. Lee Kuan Yew’s youngest son Lee Hsien Yang is the head of Singapore Telecom. The Lees have achieved their positions on merit and are genuinely an exceptionally talented family. Officially, the reason given for this is by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is the small talent pool in Singapore. Both the political and business sectors appear incestuous in Singapore, but due to the ‘city-state’ nature of the country, there appears to be little in the way of any solution to this. When the opportunities rose under Goh Chok Tong’s Premiership in the mid 1990s, no moves were made to check the power of the Lee family. There is no doubt that the Lee’s legacy is embedded in Singapore and its influence will last decades. Just how and when this influence will begin to dissipate remains to be seen.

However, the cadre system within the PAP is an issue within Singapore society that will never get the time of day as an item of national discussion.

One thousand faceless men have allowed one man's view of the world.

11.08.2013


 

How important is the Australian Election?

Murray Hunter

After only being prime minister for around six weeks, Kevin Rudd called on the Governor General to dissolve the Parliament for an election on September 7th. There is some great irony in this date as Rudd, although Prime Minister is running an almost traditional opposition campaign, similar to the one he ran against then Prime Minister Howard in 2007, campaigning on the premise of 'a new way', even though the Labor Government has had two terms in office.

It was only a short time ago that it appeared an almost foregone conclusion the Tony Abbott led coalition would win the next election, decimating Labor to just a handful of seats in the process. But upon Rudd taking over the premiership from Julia Gillard, he very quickly gave the Australian people a sense of change by scrapping the carbon tax, and making an announcement that no asylum seeker arriving by boat would ever be allowed to settle in Australia.

In addition, Rudd called the election on the on the same day that the Victorian Government agreed to school funding reforms, which appeared as a Liberal endorsement of Labor policy. On the first evening Labor blasted the airwaves with a Sunday night media campaign and Rudd challenged the opposition leader to a televised debate every week of the campaign. Rudd forfeited the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg, a surprise for many, trying to take the initiative and use it to his advantage. There was a sense of feeling within the Labor camp that no more electoral advantage could be gained by holding off the election any longer.

Tony Abbott's immediate response was to let the Australian public know that he would not enter into any negotiations with independents to form a minority government, should there be a hung parliament. This signaled that the campaign would be squarely focused on the two leaders which their respective parties have put all their trust into. This could also be seen as an attempt to neutralize the large array of potential independents and minor parties that will participate in the election.

In this first week of the campaign the key issue has been that of credibility. Both camps have extolled their prowess as competent and responsible economic managers who are the best qualified to take Australia into the future.

The world is in an economic mess, where trends in Europe, China, and the US hint at another recession. And as Australia is a trading nation, it cannot escape the consequences of any world economic downturn, especially if China is also showing signs of a slowdown in growth. China saved Australia from a recession last time round in 2008, but 2014 will be different. With the mineral export boom gone and with potentially much lower commodity prices in the future, the major driver of Australia's economic prosperity will be gone.

There are also many competitive issues concerning the domestic economy. Company operating costs are very high from a high tax regime and cumbersome compliance procedures, high labor rates outside normal working hours, labor shortages in some industries, a small domestic market which itself is not truly competitive, being dominated by a few major companies, and relatively low level of economic activity as consumers aren't overly willing to spend in the current environment. In addition, there is an increasing rate of unemployment, low economic diversity, and a high level of debt. Couple this with an aging population with growing funding requirements for aged care and health, serious consideration is needed about what the future of Australia should be like.

Australia may not just face a recession this time, but a deep structural recession that cannot be solved by manipulating interest rates and encouraging savings, spending, or investment through fiscal policies.

The fact is in the modern Australian economy of today that is open to the world, where critical decisions are decentralized with the Reserve Bank of Australia independently controlling monetary policy, and the elected Government jointly with seven state or territory Governments fiscal policy; Australia's ability to guide its own structural economic evolution is very limited anyway.

Australia could be described as being up the proverbial river without any rudder or oars for that matter, helpless in determining the way ahead for the country. This is compounded with the transactional and reactionary approach to solving economic issues in the country. We accept the myth that budget deficits are undesirable, and that balanced budgets are prudent, even if the country must suffer for this. This is not advocating the reckless running of budget deficits, but rather advocating that the budget deficit is as much and economic tool as interest rates are. So are Australians looking at the symptoms of our economic situation rather than looking at the underlying causes and effects.

Abbott lowering company tax by 1.5% for firms trading under $5 million per annum is not going to solve the structural problems. Is this going to encourage new activities requiring new skills and forms of competitiveness out in the world? Highly doubtful.

Although Abbott mentioned developing Northern Australia and Rudd mentioned finding a replacement for mining began touching upon some of the structural economic issues facing Australia, any new visions have quickly disappeared in this early part of the campaign. Effectively, the opportunity to put forward a new vision for the country has been deferred perhaps to a time when it will be too late to talk about. What has replaced this needed discussion is talk about who is better at stopping boat arrivals, who can spend less, who can deliver solve the climate change problem through 'book entries', and who can be trusted with 'the job of government'.

There is less bipartisanism today than there was in the past, government has less ability to manipulate the economy than ever before, and who wins government will most probably be decided more on personalities than any major policy choices.

So from this point of view the 2013 Federal election should be one of the watershed elections to decide Australia's long term direction, but the opportunity is being wasted to the point where this election is not really very important at all.

Both leaders will tell the Australian people how well they can manage the economy within the paradigm currently acceptable to the national narrative of responsible fiscal and debt management. Both leaders will tell the Australian people that they can best secure Australia's borders. Both leaders will tell the Australian people they can best manage aged care, education, and health. The narrative and catch phrases may be different but the semantics are just the same. And this may be why the parliament after the 2010 election was hung, and this time around in 2013, the result may also be very close.

It looks like the decision of who will govern Australia after this election will come down to some 20 seats. This further reduces the 2013 election to a tactical one, rather than one where new major visions are expounded and leaders try and capture the imagination of the people. Rudd's move to place popular ex-Queensland premier Peter Beattie as the candidate for the marginal coalition seat of Forde shows that this is a tactical election.

Watch the tally on election night in states like Victoria and the results may be confused with uneven swings where seats cross over to both parties, making any early result difficult to predict. Some states are showing swings to the coalition like Victoria, while Queensland and Western Australia are showing swings back to the Government. Both leaders are playing for the same space and run the awful risk of appearing too similar. This is where the preferences of the Greens may actually determine the outcome of the election, although its most likely that the coalition may just get in. It will really depend upon which leader looks the most credible, so Rudd cannot not be written off by any means.

Perhaps the fact that major oil fields have been found in Australia will allow the 'lucky country' to continue to stumble along without the need to tackle any structural issues. Australia had the gold rushes, the wool boom, the minerals boom, and may be the next boom will be an oil boom, so there is no need of any vision.

08.08.2013



El Indio: Seeking Symmetry

By Jamil Maidan Flores

Category Columns, Opinion
- Tags: Asean, el indio, Jamil Maidan Flores, Regional groupings, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

The eminent academician Dr. Anis H. Bajrektarevic says that “there [can be] no Asian century, without the Pan-Asian multilateral setting.” The Americas, he says, have the Organization of American States (OAS), Africa has the African Union, and Europe has the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). There is no counterpart in the sprawling continent of Asia.

We do have multilateral settings, like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), but these are in spots of a huge continent. Wide forums like Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have no security mandate. I add: the Bali Principles of the East Asia Summit aren’t legally binding. To Bajrektarevic, the robust structures in Asia are bilateral and asymmetric: US-Japan, US-Singapore, Russia-India, Australia-Timor-Leste, etc.

Hence, the situation in Asia today, he says, is akin to that of Europe before World War II. Neither balanced nor symmetrical, it’s unstable.

That’s one more compelling reason why regional nations should support the proposal of Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa for an Indo-Pacific regional treaty of friendship and cooperation. The envisioned treaty would be something like the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, but this time covering the larger Indo-Pacific region.

Thus, the larger region would replicate the experience of Asean countries. Assured that the guns would remain silent, they could focus on building confidence and common security, and the pursuit of economic and sociocultural synergy.

 

 

The initial negotiating venue, says Marty, will be the East Asia Summit, which groups Asean with China, South Korea and Japan as well as the United States, Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand. Since the non-Asean participants have all acceded to the TAC, they should have no problem committing themselves to old commitments.

So far, only the United States has committed itself in principle to supporting the proposal. All other foreign ministers concerned have taken official note of it. No one has voiced objection. Several Asean diplomats have expressed personal opinions favorable to the idea, taking care to belabor their views are not official.

Two Asean members that should be early supporters of the proposal are Vietnam and the Philippines. They’re on the frontline of the dispute over China’s voracious claim to the South China Sea. Late last week the foreign minister of Vietnam made an official visit to the Philippines. He and his Filipino counterpart talked about working with Asean for an early start of negotiations toward a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

Comments are mostly in favor, some affirming the need for the projected treaty while expressing fear there’s too little trust among relevant nations for it to see the light of day. One Australian pundit cast doubt if a divided Asean has the muscle to push it. There are the usual knee-jerk predictions that China will shoot it down.

The dilemma is that while progress toward the proposed treaty must be incremental — it has to be painstakingly crafted and chewed over — the need for it is urgent. Any time, any day, violent conflict could erupt in the region for three reasons cited by Marty: the trust deficit within and among nations, the unresolved territorial disputes all over the region, and the profound geopolitical changes taking place within it.

There is also that lack of symmetry in the bilateral alliances involving the regional nations. This can only be remedied by a comprehensive and binding multilateral structure that would give the region greater stability.

That can only be an Indo-Pacific treaty of friendship and cooperation.

Jamil Maidan Flores is a Jakarta-based writer whose interests include philosophy and foreign policy. He is also an English-language consultant for the Indonesian government. The views expressed here are his own.


August 5, 2013.




PUBLICATIONS:

      Malaysia: Desperately needing a new national narrative - Murray Hunter

      One Man's view of the world and a thousand faceless men: Singapore's cadre system - Murray Hunter


      How important is the Australian Election? - Murray Hunter

      El Indio: Seeking Symmetry - By Jamil Maidan Flores

    
 
Australian Immigration - the Snowden link? - Murray Hunter

      Sarawak Reenacts Independence from Britain 50 years Ago -Murray Hunter

      The return of Kevin Rudd as Australian PM: For how long? - Murray Hunter

      Reinvigorating Rural Malaysia - New Paradigms Needed - Murray Hunter

      Can there be a National Unity Government in Malaysia? - Murray Hunter

      Will Australian Labor Remain Principled and fall on its own Sword? - Murray Hunter

      Finding a long term solution in the 'Deep South' of Thailand - Murray Hunter

      Islamic Freedom in ASEAN - Murray Hunter
  
      Multiculturalism is dead in Europe – MENA oil and the (hidden) political price Europe pays for it - Author: Anis Bajrektarevic

      Malaysia: It was Never About the Election It was always about what would happen afterwards - Murray Hunter

      Enriching the Sustainability Paradigm - Murray Hunter
 
      Does Australia's 2013 Defence White Paper Signal a Strategic Withdraw? - Murray Hunter

      Where is Saudi Arabian Society Heading? - Abdullah Abdul Elah Ali Sallam & Murray Hunter University Malaysia Perlis

      Critical Similarities and Differences in SS of Asia and Europe - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic

      Searching for an end game in the Korean Crisis - Murray Hunter

      Turks suspicious towards German Government - Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann

      The high Australian Dollar: Whose interests is the Reserve Bank of Australia looking after? - Murray Hunter

      Is Secretary Kerry's trip to China a "face saving" measure? - Murray Hunter

      Asia-Pacific at the Crossroads - The Implications for Australian Strategic Defense Policy - Murray Hunter

      Obama's Korean Peninsula "Game" Strategy seeks to achieve a wide range of objectives in his "Asian Pivot" - Murray Hunter

      Institute for the research of genocide - IGC Letter Regarding Vuk Jeremic Agenda in UN

      Who rules Singapore? - The only true mercantile state in the world - Murray Hunter

      The Thai Deep South: Both Malaysia and Thailand Desperately Seeking Success - Murray Hunter

      The desperate plight of Islamic education in Southern Thailand - Murray Hunte

      Who makes public policy in Malaysia? - Murray Hunter

      MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic

      Australia's National Security Paper: Did it amount to lost opportunities? The policy you have when you don't have a policy - Murray Hunter

      Are "B" Schools in Developing Countries infatuated with 'Western' Management ideas? - Murray Hunter

      The Stages of Economic Development from an Opportunity Perspective: Rostow Extended - Murray Hunter

     
Who Really Rules Australia?: A tragic tale of the Australian People - Murray Hunter

      Europe: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue - Murray Hunter

      Back to the future: Australia's "Pacific Solution" reprise - Murray Hunter

      Hillary to Julia "You take India and I'll take Pakistan", while an ex-Aussie PM says "Enough is enough with the US" - Murray Hunter

     
Entrepreneurship and economic growth? South-East Asian governments are developing policy on the misconception that entrepreneurship creates economic growth. - Murray Hunter

     
FOCUSING ON MENACING MIDDLE EAST GEOPOLITICAL ENVIRONMENTS, ENDANGERING SECURITY AND STABILITY OF WESTERN BALKAN* - Brig Gen (Rtd) Dr. Muhammad Aslam Khan, Pakistan

     
Australia "Do as I say, not as I do" - The ongoing RBA bribery scandal - Murray Hunter

      Australia in the "Asian Century" or is it Lost in Asia? - Murray Hunter

      Surprise, surprise: An Islam economy can be innovative - Murray Hunter

      Do Asian Management Paradigms Exist? A look at four theoretical frames - Murray Hunter

      What China wants in Asia: 1975 or 1908 ? – addendum - prof. dr. Anis Bajraktarević

     
ASEAN Nations need indigenous innovation to transform their economies but are doing little about it. - Murray Hunter

      From Europe, to the US, Japan, and onto China: The evolution of the automobile - Murray Hunter

      Missed Opportunities for ASEAN if the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) fails to start up in 2015 - Murray Hunter

      Lessons from the Invention of the airplane and the Beginning of the Aviation Era - Murray Hunter

      Elite educators idolize the “ high flying entrepreneurs” while deluded about the realities of entrepreneurship for the masses: - Murray Hunter

      The Arrival of Petroleum, Rockefeller, and the Lessons He taught Us - Murray Hunter - University Malaysia Perlis

      Ethics, Sustainability and the New Realities - Murray Hunter

      The Dominance of “Western” Management Theories in South-East Asian Business Schools: The occidental colonization of the mind. - Murray Hunter

      How feudalism hinders community transformation and economic evolution: Isn’t equal opportunity a basic human right? - Murray Hunter

      On Some of the Misconceptions about Entrepreneurship - Murray Hunter

      Knowledge, Understanding and the God Paradigm - Murray Hunter

      Do Confucian Principled Businesses Exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter

      Samsara and the Organization - Murray Hunter

     
Integrating the philosophy of Tawhid – an Islamic approach to organization. - Murray Hunter

      What’s with all the hype – a look at aspirational marketing - Murray Hunter

      Does Intrapreneurship exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter

      One Man, Multiple Inventions: The lessons and legacies of Thomas Edison - Murray Hunter

     People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons - Murray Hunter

     How emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter

     How we create new ideas - Murray Hunter

     Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter

     The five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter

     Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities: What’s wrong with SWOT? - Murray Hunter

     How motivation really works - Murray Hunter

     The Evolution of Business Strategy - Murray Hunter

     Not all opportunities are the same: A look at the four types of entrepreneurial opportunity - Murray Hunter

     Do we have a creative intelligence? - Murray Hunter

     Imagination may be more important than knowledge: The eight types of imagination we use - Murray Hunter

    
The environment as a multi-dimensional system: Taking off your rose coloured glasses - Murray Hunter

     Generational Attitudes and Behaviour - Murray Hunter

     Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization - Murray Hunter

  
  Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of entrepreneurial opportunities - Murray Hunter

     The Continuum of Psychotic Organisational Typologies - Murray Hunter

    
There is no such person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts entrepreneurially - Murray Hunter

     Go Home, Occupy Movement!!-(The McFB– Was Ist Das?) - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

     Diplomatie préventive - Aucun siècle Asiatique sans l’institution pan-Asiatique - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

    
Democide Mass-Murder and the New World Order - Paul Adams


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BALKAN AREA
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prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic


 
MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic



Go Home, Occupy Movement!! - (The McFB – Was Ist Das?) -
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic




Diplomatie préventive - Aucun sičcle Asiatique sans l’institution pan-Asiatique - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic\/span|



ADDENDUM – GREEN/POLICY PAPER: TOWARDS THE CREATION OF THE OSCE TASK FORCE ON (THE FUTURE OF) HUMAN CAPITAL
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic




Gunboat Diplomacy in the South China Sea – Chinese strategic mistake -
Anis H. Bajrektarevic




Geopolitics of Quantum Buddhism: Our Pre-Hydrocarbon Tao Future
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic




The Mexico-held G–20 voices its concerns over the situation in the EURO zone - Anis H. Bajrektarevic



What China wants in Asia: 1975 or 1908 ? – addendum - prof. dr. Anis Bajraktarević











‘The exhaustion of Greek political system and a society in flames’ - by Dimitra Karantzen





Maasmechelen Village




Maasmechelen Village



FOCUSING ON MENACING MIDDLE EAST GEOPOLITICAL ENVIRONMENTS, ENDANGERING SECURITY AND STABILITY OF WESTERN BALKAN* - Brig Gen (Rtd) Dr. Muhammad Aslam Khan, Pakistan



Institute for the research of genocide - IGC Letter Regarding Vuk Jeremic Agenda in UN



Critical Similarities and Differences in SS of Asia and Europe - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic







MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic



Le MENA Saga et Lady Gaga - (Même dilemme de la région MOAN) - Anis Bajrektarevic