Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

ahhoodroad-jan2017-200dpi

Tucked away in a secondary road in Balestier is the former Sun Yat Sen Villa. Just over a hundred years ago, it was the Southeast Asian (Nanyang) headquarters for Sun Yat Sen’s revolutionary activities with the Tong Meng Hui secret society.

The funds and support he raised here with the Tong Meng Hui had a role to play in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty – marking the end of millennia of dynastic rule in China with the Xinhai Revolution in 1911. The Republic of China was established, Asia’s first. It had a western style parliamentary system although that didn’t last long.

Few Singaporeans, nor northern mainland Chinese know about the existence of this place which in our minds, a glaring blindspot.

First, it makes for a worthwhile visit to understand that Singapore’s relationship with China goes back a longer way than Deng-Lee relations, or the post-LEE post-Terrex new normal. Second, that Singapore had a hand in the birth of modern China. Sun Yat Sen visited Singapore nine times between 1900 and 1911. The villa was gazetted as a national monument in October 1994 and is now known as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

Altitude: 200feet / 60m

#NeverForget Singapore’s #SeaState
Shot with the DJI Mavic Pro

Filed under: History, International Relations, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Uncategorized, , , ,

Survey: Singapore’s response to China’s rise: Online Media and the formation of public opinion

It has been a while – – –

Greetings readers *especially if you are from/based-in Singapore – if you have a few moments to spare, I appreciate your input for an online survey. Your inputs are deeply appreciated as it will provide important data for this twenty-first century update of modern Singapore’s response to China’s rise.

>>> Please click here to proceed to the survey hosted on surveymonkey.com

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Research Objective in a nutshell: To study the impact of online media / web 2.0 on how people in Singapore form opinions about China’s rise.

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This survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. There are 38 questions in total, the majority of which are either multiple choice or based on a rating scale. Inputs will be collected and analyzed after the questionnaire closes on [June 15, 2014]. Responses are collected anonymously and will used solely for research purposes.

Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/policy/privacy-policy/ for more on privacy policy.

Filed under: Communications, Education, International Relations, Media, Politics, Singapore, , , , , , ,

#Chinese Migrant bus driver strike stuns #Singapore [The Australian/AAP]

The Australian: The first real strike in a quarter century involving 5% of critical transport services for an extremely population dense island-nation just over fifty years old, does seem to tell Singapore that leveraging on China’s rise may prove to be an increasingly delicate affair.

Contrary to opinion floating around, strikes are not illegal but rather, one must be extremely in the know and meet multiple conditions to pull one off.

This sure has angered many Chinese on the mainland and Singaporean Chinese too – it is a complex issue with a tremendous back story. It will however, surely do little positives for the projection of national image and public diplomacy between the only two independent Chinese-majority states with Chinese leadership at the helm in the world.

Indeed, Singapore has been a known transnational Chinese social sphere for the good part of three centuries. Sun Yat Sen organised his thoughts and finances in Singapore to trigger the Chinese revolution a century odd back – will this spawn a chapter between the Chinese of Singapore and China?

For more, check out Why Chinese drivers went on strike in Singapore at Xinhua, December 8, 2012. Also, for evidence the Chinese are keeping a pulse on their sojourning workforce and consequent international relations with the host country – see China hopes Singapore secure rights of arrested drivers: ministry at Xinhua on December 7, 2012. J

Just how these events unfolding will impact bilateral ties remains to be seen – more recently more workers went on strike at Singapore’s docks. More on that in a coming article.

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Migrant bus driver strike stuns Singapore
AAP Agency
Source – The Australian, published December 6, 2012

FOUR Chinese immigrant bus drivers accused of inciting Singapore’s first labour strike in 26 years have been granted bail in a case that highlighted growing social friction caused by an influx of foreign labour.

A fifth Chinese driver has already been sentenced to six weeks in prison even though prosecutors said he was not an instigator of the strike, which was called to demand equitable pay.

Walking off the job in protest is almost unheard of in Singapore, and the swift prosecution following the November 26-27 strike was a clear sign the government of this strictly-enforced country will not brook any disobedience from its work force. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Australian, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Transport, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

President Xi’s Singapore Lessons #China [Project Syndicate]

Nobel laureate Michael Spence on a crucial point of China’s development – and how long after Deng Xiaoping’s and Lee Kuan Yew’s friendship that helped sparked the opening of China, Singapore’s lesson of one-party rule remains poignant.

As a one-party system with a somewhat similar ethnic complexion it continues to maintain popular legitimacy despite a high media literacy rate by design. Despite recent challenges, it still largely calls the shots on policy while transitioning to first world status with a knowledge economy that shifted from too, manufacturing.

Like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in their first few decades of modern growth, China has been ruled by a single party. Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) remains dominant, though that appears to be changing. The others evolved into multi-party democracies during the middle-income transition. China, too, has now reached this critical last leg of the long march to advanced-country status in terms of economic structure and income levels.

That said, it is most probable it is a case study of the many others they would consult in taking care to cross the river in highly turbulent times. Singapore is not definitive, but a series of stones the Chinese will feel around for before updating or reconfiguring their own socialist system to fit those needs.

From financial crises to violent revolution, what reason would China have to look that way for inspiration? Only for lessons on how not to do it I believe.

China has 1.3 billion mouths to feed. Singapore has 5.3 million. The official reported population density of about 7,257sq km from Singstats in 2011 this official stat does not consider the fact that Singapore has zoned out a 40% nature green sponge if you will, for water catchment, so true habitable space = 60% of 715sqkm).

Both cannot afford to make mistakes in their use of large scale systems.

That is where the lesson will be drawn. How it seldom makes mistakes, and when it does – it knows how to handle it in both foreign while giving domestic and alternative press some leeway for discourse.

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President Xi’s Singapore Lessons
by Michael Spence
Source – Project Syndicate, published November 19, 2012

NEW YORK – China is at a crucial point today, as it was in 1978, when the market reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping opened its economy to the world – and as it was again in the early 1990’s, when Deng’s famous “southern tour” reaffirmed the country’s development path.

Throughout this time, examples and lessons from other countries have been important. Deng was reportedly substantially influenced by an early visit to Singapore, where accelerated growth and prosperity had come decades earlier. Understanding other developing countries’ successes and shortcomings has been – and remains – an important part of China’s approach to formulating its growth strategy.

Like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in their first few decades of modern growth, China has been ruled by a single party. Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) remains dominant, though that appears to be changing. The others evolved into multi-party democracies during the middle-income transition. China, too, has now reached this critical last leg of the long march to advanced-country status in terms of economic structure and income levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Great Wall, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Project Syndicate, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Singapore, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Xi Jinping, , , , , , , , , , ,

The China8 Interviews #5: on Green China with Calvin Quek #China

Wandering China is pleased to release the fifth of the China8 series of interviews. China8 is where China’s perceived and presenting selves are discussed. This it hopes to achieve by looking closely at both China’s international and domestic coherence of its harmonious ascent. Ultimately, Wandering China hopes these perspectives will be helpful for anyone making sense of depending on how you see it, the fourth rise of the middle kingdom, or sixty odd years of consciousness of a new nation-state with a coherent identity emergent from a long drawn period of ideological strife.

This time, the focus is on Green China, with insights from Greenpeace – Calvin Quek brings first-hand insights as he is right in the thick of it all. In a domain where policy formation is at critical crossroads because economic progress has to continue, Calvin is a fellow overseas-born Chinese from Singapore.

China 8.1: You made your way to China to study at Peking University in 2009 after working in Singapore’s finance sector for a number of years. Can you describe what went through your mind then? What prompted the move, and how does it feel now to be in China?

I came to China first to teach at a local university, as I had free time before my original plan to do my MBA in the US. I spent 3 months at Beijing Union University and loved the experience of interacting with China’s youth and discovering Beijing. I then discovered that there was so much to do here in environmental sector and this is what led me to reconsider my decision to study in the US. China needs all the help it can get to address climate change and other environmental issues, and I have some vain hope that I could make a difference. I still feel that way now. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Climate Change, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Ethnicity, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, Green China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Natural Disasters, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Singapore, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, U.S., , , , , , , , , , ,

Sophia Rd cafe cashes in on island dispute #Singapore #Diaoyu #Senkaku [AsiaOne]

AsiaOne: Cafe in Singapore rides the wave of the East Asian island dispute by reaching out through a true-blue Singaporean, if not their primary past-time – food.

Singapore is multicultural by legacy, design and device, and expressed largely through the collective love of diverse foods – the more diverse the better – anyone who visits Singapore can attest to this – it is a global epicentre for cuisine in both high and low places. Peace Centre where this cafe is located is somewhat in the city, but nowhere near the central business district.

There is limited space in Singapore – we are all of 42km wide with barely 20km running north-south. It is the second smallest country in Asia and urban density stands about 12,000/sqkm. 40% of the island is thankfully zoned as a green belt because we cannot do without the rain catchment areas, for now. That also means more than 5+ million (3m citizens, 1m Permanent Residents, the rest imported workers) share a living space of around 400+sqkm. Of course that means if everyone had to stretch out their arms all at once it would be a problem. Most live high-rise, so at any one time the reality of that density is not apparent. Helps that it is a 24-hour city too, makes movement a little bit more spaced out.

Having spent the past three years on travelling cycles of – Australia – Singapore – China documenting and getting a first hand view of China I can almost acutely feel the clear impact population density makes. Australia is at 4/sqkm (in June 2010 it was 2.9), China at 116/sqkm, Singapore – as I mentioned, about 12,000. The difference is clear.

I’ve mentioned a few times over the course of the past two years that population density through a decade of opening floodgates, is becoming a serious problem but I digress. I think the reality that the authorities had no qualms allowing this name to be used for the business as positive. They banned Ministry of Sound from setting up a dance club in Singapore because they felt the Ministry name would resonate negatively with officialdom. They eventually relented after years of deliberation, but case in point.

And that there is a large body of Japanese and Taiwanese working and living in Singapore for decades, I know many of them frequent the area – with no qualms, I think here is where Singapore can be a useful model. Despite the ongoing online vitriol for the past two years, they qualify as growing pains – any host nation can attest to that, as you add more layers to your identity, some meet, other’s don’t, and some just need a bit more fine-tuning, talked over a meal perhaps!

This is a great read by Professor Brenda Yeoh from the National University of Singapore –
Rapid Growth in Singapore’s Immigrant Population Brings Policy Challenge (Migration Information Source, April, 2012) if you’d like a pulse of Singapore’s challenge towards this aspect of globalisation – convergence of movement and with divergence needing attention of consensus, felt made more apparent in confined space.

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Sophia Rd cafe cashes in on island dispute
By Adrian Lim, for myPaper
Source – AsiaOne, published November 6, 2012

Source – AsiaOne, 2012. Photo from myPaper

SINGAPORE – The decor is nostalgically Singaporean while the affordable food served includes casual Chinese-Hong Kong fare like bolo buns.

But this street-facing cafe at Peace Centre in Sophia Road, which opened two weeks ago, bears a moniker which might raise a few eyebrows.

It is called Diao Yu Dao, named after the group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, hotly contested by China and Japan for sovereignty. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese overseas, Culture, Democracy, East China Sea, Government & Policy, Greater China, History, Hong Kong, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Social, Taiwan, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers [New York Times]

Headlines and titles may inadvertently seem skewed as it frames thought. Like a mental snapshot, it can oversimplify or at its worst, misdirect (in the wider ecosystem of political rhetoric, this looks part of the inadvertent Sino-US leadership transitional exchange of shaping mind-share). I think if one reads on, this article can be taken rather positively.

The recent movement of these professional, educated Chinese across the world can further help build bridges where mass media glosses over. In others ways, it is not a bad thing it is an educated, professional group that carries Chinese thought extending outwards. Where most of all the previous batches who left largely by push factors or war, the case now is markedly different.

In Singapore’s case, the overarching narrative, its Chinese are largely descended from craftsmen and coolies. As Lee Kuan Yew once pointed out – in response to Deng’s question if China would ever succeed looking at how Singapore successful hybridization of central power with Confucian meritocracy at the forefront and free market capitalism with its socio-cultural tradeoffs.

Indeed, on closer examination, the numbers today who move due to socio-economic pull factors are still small in percentage terms. As reported by this article, even fewer (perhaps few would admit) regard political reasons as the chief factor.

Over millennia of movement the number of overseas Chinese number at 55million . That cumulative number makes it as large as most medium sized countries so they are not insignificant either. Change your lenses change your sight.

Perhaps looking at the bright side can be a decent point of view. I know a few Chinese aged between 19 and 35 now residing in Australia. We have been on camping trips far out in the bush carrying our own water without much fuss, Others I know, by competing against in futsal teams  in the local leagues, many others love dressing up for the Melbourne Cup day.

Some may find it hard to empathize the competition in China because they may not have set foot in China, or met the Chinese on the ground. 9 to 10 million compete for a spot in university a the college examinations each year. Those who don’t make the grade fight for very little. A 2 to 3000RMB monthly salary, hardly enough to cover rent for a decent sized rental home is norm for those striking out.

Have personally known a few bright hardworking of China’s digital natives who just couldn’t make the grade despite sometimes seemingly overboard preparations. Such is their reality. Many have integrated well here, Melbourne thrives with a former mayor who is Chinese, and many live just like the Aussies do adding to the multicultural social fabric down under.

In monetary terms, they automatically make six times the amount due to the strong Aussie dollar with far less working hours with plenty of time for family and other pursuits. Many of them make efficient workers who get things done so promptly it is hard for work to keep up. This is not representative across the board of course. For every one that excels there potentially is another who just wants to get by. But I digress.

In return as well, for those who work with or live in communities with Aussies, they become a real life conduit for Aussies to understand China in its own terms too. Its cuisine has proven immensely popular here with all 8 major branches of Chinese cooking represented those from all corners of China proving extremely popular – right down to Sichuan hotpot, a regular in winter for many. It then moves onto the locally adapted local favorite the dim sim (does not exist in real Chinese culinary palates I think), to the classy Beijing Hutong themed Xiao long bao restaurants.

I meet many of them at vineyards, organic farms, strawberry farms and fishing spots. About half happily drive the Aussie-made Holden because it feels right to drive a locally made car in Australia. Just the tip of the iceberg. I think it is a great thing. Overseas Chinese who mingle well with host environments naturally make vehicles of the wider Chinese culture and national identity. It also shows like that others, there are those who seek out a balanced life too where work doesn’t dominate all their headspace.

More importantly, they help others see we can all get along, share other ideals and worldviews. Interestingly too, in the field of diasporic identities, that overseas Chinese end up being all too aware of their own Chineseness is common across most other diaporic groups too – from the Greeks and Italians I know here – they celebrate their identity with zeal and vigour.

Not all assimilate or adapt of course. It would oversimplify to say all enjoy life here. Many of them feel the pace of life is a little too slow. I have also known a fair few who can’t wait to return, but do so at least, with a broadened outlook and first hand experience of another way of living.

They return with a first hand glimpse of a rather liberal, western society where the channels to exercise one’s right to voice, its deferences shows other paradigms exist successfully elsewhere. When they enter the work force, they are valued for their more globalised outlook, with a practical experience of using English in school and at work, the culture, history, norms and processes. And this is celebrated in the mass media there in game shows – this comes with Chinese subtitles only.

And 非你莫属 is just one of many state funded shows out there. It features distinctly American style sports commentary and a debate that involves mentors, employers, the host and the job seeker. They reserve the right to say no at the end of their final round offers, and negotiate outside the show. And its the wide range of jobseekers on offer, from the clerk to driver, to partner or director raking in six figure RMB a month.

Cultural capital has been identified as a pillar industry and the production values are apparent, it has taken care to weed out what was deemed low culture reality tv and today the focus on more productive shows like this is ramping up. This employment-seeking show emphasises the need for more internationally minded employees in their midst. This episode talks about it is unavoidable now China has risen that it needs an upgrade in a globalised mindset. It actively advertises for Haigui 海归; pinyin: hǎiguī on foreign television. A fair few of them seem genuinely proud in returning to contribute.

This is highly recommended and it gives a glimpse of how the Chinese are democratising on their own terms, in their unique own way. The adaptations from American and European game shows are obvious at the onset, but their process are far more intricate and involve far more depth of discourse) that see many returning candidates have the right to take questions, present competently, then proceed into the final rounds where they exercise the right to eliminate and haggle salary with interested employers.

As a student of media, it is important to discern the agenda setting potential of media. Although the political economy of the mass media no longer dominate the spectrum of messages as they used to, transnational media corporations remain nevertheless powerful.

As such, we consume, at best, selected, well-informed, well intended, rationalized textual and visual constructions of the macro, but never of the real thing until all five senses are fed. Even then, sometimes the right messages don’t go right through. A lover’s tiff for example, where misreading of body language triggers a chain of cascading misunderstandings is one most can relate with. The primacy of first hand experience is equally,  important to get a full picture – to try to make the best of the information available, to more accurately inform opinion.

The movement is not all one way. With economies stagnant in the West and job opportunities limited, the number of students returning to China was up 40 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year. The government has also established high-profile programs to lure back Chinese scientists and academics by temporarily offering various perks and privileges. Professor Cao from Nottingham, however, says these programs have achieved less than advertised.

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Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers
by Ian Johnson
Source – New York Times, published October 31, 2012

Lee Yangang and his wife, Wang Lu, emigrated to Sydney, Australia, from Beijing last year, saying they felt insecure in China. Source – New York Times, 2012

BEIJING — At 30, Chen Kuo had what many Chinese dream of: her own apartment and a well-paying job at a multinational corporation. But in mid-October, Ms. Chen boarded a midnight flight for Australia to begin a new life with no sure prospects.

Like hundreds of thousands of Chinese who leave each year, she was driven by an overriding sense that she could do better outside China. Despite China’s tremendous economic successes in recent years, she was lured by Australia’s healthier environment, robust social services and the freedom to start a family in a country that guarantees religious freedoms.

“It’s very stressful in China — sometimes I was working 128 hours a week for my auditing company,” Ms. Chen said in her Beijing apartment a few hours before leaving. “And it will be easier raising my children as Christians abroad. It is more free in Australia.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, New York Times, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, Yuan, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Singapore a model for Chinese democracy [Sydney Morning Herald]

Each leader of the People’s Republic is remembered by an overarching, guiding ideology.

Mao Zedong left his legacy with Mao Zedong Thought 毛泽东思想; Deng Xiaoping with the Deng Xiaoping theory 邓小平理论. Then came Jiang Zemin and the Three Represents 三个代表 in 2000; and Hu Jintao with Scientific Development outlook 科学发展观 in 2007 that for the first time, saw public diplomacy and soft power . To be leader of 1.3 billion requires more than just clout, it seems an updated grand narrative as calling card in line with the previously intricately marked out stages of development have to be in place. What will Xi Jinping’s be? The West contends China will become more democratic. Will it, must it?

The Sydney Morning Herald is suggesting, along with some others that the Chinese intend to use Singapore as a model for Chinese democracy. They do share some interwoven characteristics, meritocracy, authoritarian capitalism, one-party rule, and Confucian-value systems indoctrinated through textbooks and norms. But they only extend as far as socio-political constructs and institutions go. Culturally however, they are not the same.

Singapore’s former foreign minister George Yeo puts it best –

On why Singapore, a young nation of just over five million people, is of interest to China, an ancient civilisation with 1.3billion people, he says: “For China, Singapore is sometimes seen as a bonsai, but one with genetic similarities.” S’pore is ‘only one bonsai that China looks at’ in the Straits Times, November 1, 2012

In any case, most Chinese I speak to have an answer for this – Singapore is too small to be a model for the whole of China. While there are bits and pieces the Chinese have been gleaning from the island-state, is the Singapore model scalable upwards to 1.3 billion?

The piece in Study Times explains the attraction for China’s leaders. ”Since 1968, the People’s Action Party has won consecutive elections and held state power for a long time, while ensuring that the party’s high efficiency, incorruptibility and vitality leads Singapore in attaining an economic leap forward,” writes Song Xiongwei, a lecturer at the Chinese Academy of Governance. Sydney Morning Herald, October 30 2012

“The Singapore model has been admired by most Chinese leaders and Xi might see Singapore’s success as the dreamed accomplishments of his rule in coming decade,” said Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University. South China Morning Post, October 23, 2012

See also – a rather engaging religious analysis of the Hartcher article here – Singapore’s “Democracy” – The Lessons for Applying the Gospel?

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Singapore a model for Chinese democracy 
by Peter Hartcher
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, published October 30, 2012

Illustration: John Shakespeare. Source – Sydney Morning Herald, 2012

China’s incoming president, Xi Jinping, will take power formally in three weeks, yet he’s given no public hint of his plans. But he gave an intriguing glimpse to the Westerner he’s spent more time with than any other.

After a total of 10 days together across a year or so, Xi left the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, with one clear impression. He does not think that China’s political system can continue indefinitely, according to people Biden has briefed.

But while the inheritor of the one-party dictatorship does not think it will last in its current form, neither does he have a clear idea of what should replace it, Biden said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Influence, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Xi Jinping, , , , , , , , , ,

The China8 Interviews: On Singapore and China with Dr Danny Tan

Wandering China is pleased to release the fourth of the China8 series of interviews. China8 is where China’s perceived and presenting selves are discussed. This it hopes to achieve by looking closely at both China’s international and domestic coherence of its harmonious ascent. Ultimately, Wandering China hopes these perspectives will be helpful for anyone making sense of depending on how you see it, the fourth rise of the middle kingdom, or sixty odd years of consciousness of a new nation-state with a coherent identity emergent from a long drawn period of ideological strife. Note – this is an expanded interview (the norm is/was eight questions).

Wandering China catches up with Dr Danny Tan, a vocal contributor to Singapore’s fourth estate forums both in traditional broadsheets and new media. He is also a scholar on Southeast Asian studies. In general, he is interested in cultural flux and how each culture adapts to these changes. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China8 Interviews, Chinese overseas, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

The real fear: Being pushed out of home [Straits Times]

Straits Times: Looking beyond knee-jerk vitriol. The fear of being pushed out of home is not unique to Singapore though the rate of assimilation into the a host country with extremely finite local resources was probably underestimated by the planners.

Globalisation has seen massive convergence and divergence on a scale never seen before and reasons, and avenues to move have multiplied and certainly not decreased. From displacement, migration, dispersion to push and pull across transnational liberal migration policies. Check out a nifty interactive infographic from the German Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity here exploring yearly migration flows to and from selected OECD-countries from 1970-2007.

This public unhappiness over immigration isn’t by itself surprising – it’s a hot topic in many places worldwide, especially in Australia, Europe and the United States, and many governments have had to deal with the political fallout from too liberal an immigration policy. Singapore is thus not unique in this respect. Han Fook Kwang

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The real fear: Being pushed out of home
by Han Fook Kwang, Managing Editor
Source – Straits Times, published September 9, 2012

Source – Straits Times illustration: Prudencio Miel Jr, 2012

One of the most divisive issues today which gets many Singaporeans worked up has to do with the number of foreign workers here.

It’s an evergreen topic not just in online forums, but also in the equally noisy world of coffee shops and dinner parties.

Foreigners take the rap for many things that people are unhappy with – overcrowded buses and trains, sky-high property prices, litter in public places, crime and, yes, even fatal road accidents. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Population, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Straits Times, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , ,

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