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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.
The Dilemmas of Development: The Nation’s Real Problems
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
The Dilemmas of Development: The Nation’s Real Problems

Uditha Devapriya, international relations analyst and researcher, in The Island (June 11, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Nazly Ahmed)


The Dilemmas of Development: The Nation’s Real Problems

For the first time since independence, the island nation defaulted on its foreign debt. The governor of the Central Bank then announced that it would take six months for it to start repaying its creditors. An agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in the pipeline. Very few commentators have noted that these problems have been decades in the making, that the government’s ineptitude is more a symptom than a cause, and that external factors have had a say in such issues. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s bungling has contributed to these problems, to be sure, but that only shows how complex they are.

While Western media and think-tanks propagate Chinese debt trap narratives, it has been Sri Lanka’s reliance on bond markets, which constitute a greater proportion of its external debt than does China, that finally brought its economy to its knees. Neoliberal commentators argue that the private sector should take the lead. But Sri Lanka’s private sector is dominated by rentiers. Moreover, the country’s exports are limited to commodities and tourism, along with sectors such as IT.

A combination of corruption and ineptitude has put industrialization on the backburner. It goes without saying that what protesters consider as the government’s failures have been symptoms, rather than causes, of the structural faults underpinning the economy. The government must share the blame for this: in particular, its tendency to surround itself with yes-men and henchmen. Yet beyond this narrative, there is a far more compelling problem: a failure to resolve pressing issues like the island’s dependence on imports and sovereign debt. While not all protesters are oblivious to these priorities, many of them are yet to address them fully. So long as debates remain dominated by narratives of corruption and personalities, such problems will go unnoticed and unresolved.



Is This Country Ungovernable?
Monday, June 20, 2022
Is This Country Ungovernable?

Maleeha Lodhi, former ambassador of Pakistan to the US, UK and UN, in Dawn (June 20, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Office, Islamic Republic of Pakistan) 

Is This Country Ungovernable?

Governance problems have mounted due to political discontinuities that have punctuated Pakistan’s turbulent history. But today, the challenge of governability is more imposing because of a number of other factors. Political polarization is the obvious one. Never before have people, society and families been so divided by their partisan preferences as they are today and resistant to accepting any view other than their own.

This situation is casting a shadow on state institutions which are increasingly the target of partisan attacks. Discussion of public policy is substituted by fact-free efforts to demonize political rivals. This distracts the government from governing and the opposition from focusing on issues.

What has made governance more problematic is erosion in the state’s institutional capacity over the years and the resultant deterioration in delivery of public services, which increasingly fails to meet people’s expectations. The most important and recurring factor driving the country towards becoming ungovernable are dysfunctional economic policies that have long been pursued. Almost every government since the mid-1980s acted in a fiscally irresponsible way and left the economy in worse shape for its successor to deal with.

The chickens have now come home to roost. The country is in the throes of another financial crisis, foreign exchange reserves have depleted, inflation is at an all-time high, power shortages are placing an unbearable burden on people, and an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout is being sought. A weak economy with little resilience to cushion such shocks is the result of poor economic management by reform-averse ruling elites concerned more with preserving their own power than promoting the public interest. The confluence of polarized politics and economic turmoil is pushing Pakistan into the danger zone of becoming ungovernable.


The Marijuana Challenge: Let’s Not Get Too High Prematurely
Monday, June 20, 2022
The Marijuana Challenge: Let’s Not Get Too High Prematurely

Pravit Rojanaphruk, Senior Staff Writer, in Khaosod (June 12, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: WeedPornDaily.com)

The Marijuana Challenge: Let’s Not Get Too High Prematurely

The decriminalization of marijuana, the first in Asia, poses both opportunities and challenges to Thai society. The positive impact is plain for everyone to see: income generated by growing, selling and exporting marijuana and its related-products for medical and gastronomic purposes. Without doubt, large companies are well-prepared to exploit the new reality, and it is a challenge to make sure that it would not just benefit the billionaires and that ordinary farmers and household growers get a fair dividend. It is also good that some 3,000 prison inmates are being released for possessing or selling cannabis. Also, many sick people who are in pain will have access to alternative herbal painkillers and sleep pills.

The other major challenge is how to ensure that the decriminalization of the growing and selling of marijuana for medical purposes does not lead to widespread substance abuse and addiction, particularly among the youth. There should be little doubt of the trickle-down effect that would lead to the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Nothing is wrong with people enjoying a stick or two once in a while – even if that is the grey area of the law. The concern is how to prevent it from not becoming so widespread and excessive to the point where a significant percentage of the Thai population, particularly young Thais, become dependent on cannabis and addicted. If not handled properly, many Thais will simply vacate to the alternative high universe.

It is all about responsible use and management and we will see in the weeks ahead how Thai society is fairing. I do not want to be pessimistic and generally support decriminalization but I am neither high nor see things in pink. We need contingency plans to deal with the possible adverse effects of this brave new world.


With China’s Lockdowns, Indian Manufacturing Has an Opportunity
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
With China’s Lockdowns, Indian Manufacturing Has an Opportunity

Chetan Bhagat, author and columnist, in The Times of India (May 6, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: ILO)

With China’s Lockdowns, Indian Manufacturing Has an Opportunity

Step outside to a public area in any Indian city – it is almost like Covid never happened. Sure, a few people still wear face masks. For the most part, Indians are out at work or at play. Covid of course is not fully gone. Cases are rising, even though deaths are not. But for now, we are back in business.

Our neighbor China, on the other hand, faces a very different situation. Covid cases there are rising dramatically, and severe lockdowns are back. China effectively kept Covid in check for the last two years but the zero-Covid policy eventually did not work. This has led to a worsening of a problem the world was already suffering – supply-chain issues. Chinese lockdowns have meant workers cannot reach factories, which means the world does not get goods.

The problem is real. And with every problem comes an opportunity. India can be the hero and savior. The solution to global supply-chain issues is India. The current Chinese supply-chain issues are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for India to shine and present itself as an alternative, diversified manufacturing hub. The opportunity is now, for a limited time only.

India must act now to attract investments, when procurement managers worldwide are frustrated, wondering where to get the shipload of sneakers or engine parts they needed last week. What are we doing to ensure that every company in the world feels it must have a manufacturing setup in India? China has its manufacturing strengths and will remain a powerhouse. However, the global manufacturing pie is so big that India deserves and can get a bigger slice of it. It is time to tell the world that India is open and ready for business. It is time for Indian manufacturing to be a hero and save the world.


Environmental Protection is Inconvenient
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Environmental Protection is Inconvenient

Myung Hee-jin, journalist, in Seoul Shinmun (April 22, 2022)

Summary by Paul Forien (Photo credit: Yonhap News Agency)

Environmental Protection is Inconvenient

The Ministry of Environment announced the implementation of a deposit scheme for disposable cups for 38,000 stores, including cafes, bakeries and fast food chains with more than 100 affiliated stores. An additional 300 won (US$0.25) will be charged for every drink ordered in a disposable plastic cup. Customers will be able to get their money back if they bring the cup back to the coffee shop or other outlet. Workload will increase, notably from having to explain the system to customers at the beginning of the implementation. In particular, there is great concern that conflicts between staff and consumers will ariseMeanwhile, the debate continues for equal treatment as take-out and delivery packaging containers are not subject to the same regulation.

Environmental protection is an urgent task. It is difficult, however, to agree whether this method, which is implemented and mandated by the government, is really the best. Furthermore, is a scheme that inconveniences people to protect the environment not making environmental protection even more difficult ?

According to opinions from industry experts and consumers, a policy such as reducing the price of coffee when a person brings their own cup or tumbler would be more effective rather than paying a deposit that can be considered as a fine. It is difficult to implement an environmental protection policy accepted by everyone without causing overwork for employees and inconvenience to customers.

Company performance depends on whether or not they can make money in the marketplace. Would it not be more effective to make consumers aware of the value of their consumption rather than forcing an inconvenient deposit on everyone?


Cultivating Creativity Among Students
Thursday, June 2, 2022
Cultivating Creativity Among Students

Roy Martin Simamora, Lecturer in Educational Philosophy, Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta (ISI JOGJA), in Kompas (January 29, 2022)

Summary by Made Ayu Mariska (Photo credit: Roman Woronowycz/USAID/Pixnio)

Cultivating Creativity Among Students

No matter how good the education system, curriculum or school is, if it does not produce and encourage creativity among students, the education is in vain. Often parents and teachers' ambitions kill the creative dreams of students and throw off their identity. Our education then produces people with the mentality of followers.

Every child grows and develops with different potential. Some children are good at painting, counting, reading, speaking, remembering, playing sports, singing and many more talents that need to be explored. But all these talents grow because of the creativity of each individual.

Teachers must give freedom to students to find solutions instead of forcing them to guess what the teacher wants as an answer. Parents and teachers forbid students to make mistakes, but children learn best from their errors. Being wrong does not mean that children are going to stay that way forever. Instead, they will learn more about pain, joy, happiness and sorrow from their mistakes. If parents and teachers do not let them derive lessons from those mistakes, they will never produce original work. Eventually, their creativity gets dulled.

Schools always strive for the "right" answer rather than exploring alternative explanations. Moreover, schools are too focused on the results rather than the process, understanding, discussion, varying perspectives, and motivation to do things differently. Instead of learning in a structured and linear way by the textbook, classes could be more engaging if students have the freedom to learn, discover, build, experiment, investigate, solve problems and find the information they need, as well as to debate strengths and weaknesses of different points of view.


Malays are Seeking Their Fortune Abroad
Thursday, June 2, 2022
Malays are Seeking Their Fortune Abroad

Mohd Fudzail Mohd Nor, writer, in Malaysiakini (January 13, 2022)

Summary by Made Ayu Mariska (Photo credit: David McKelvey)

Malays are Seeking Their Fortune Abroad

In 2021, more than 1.7 million Malaysians sought employment abroad. They choose to work overseas because of the relatively attractive rewards, unlimited career opportunities, and satisfying livelihoods.

As many as 54 percent of the Malaysian diaspora make a living in Singapore because it is close and there are more jobs with higher wages. The rest went to Australia (15 percent), the United States (10 percent), the United Kingdom (5 percent), and the United Arab Emirates (2 percent), as well as other countries. This loss of talent is estimated to reduce the country’s GDP growth by 2 percent.

The Malaysian diaspora abroad feel that their achievements are underappreciated in their own country. Apart from that, they believe they have more freedom to live as expatriates abroad because at home every aspect of life revolves around race and religion. Racial and cultural policies, multiple national scandals and corruption have been disadvantaging Malaysians for years, and there is seemingly no end in sight.

Outside of Malaysia, there are no racial quotas in educational institutions; all recruitment is merit-based. Lower-income residents receive help regardless of race or religion. Non-Malays abroad say they would rather be a recognized minority abroad than be second-class citizens in their own country. Although life abroad is not perfect, they do not have to worry about politicians making ridiculous statements filled with hatred and bigotry towards them.

As long as the government does not reform the system, more Malaysians will remain living abroad. The diaspora still place some of their hopes of returning one day on a future government. But they are also scared that things will continue without significant change.


Acknowledging Gender X
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Acknowledging Gender X

Jo Chan-je, journalist, in Kyunghyang Shinmun (April 1, 2022)

Summary by Paul Forien (Photo credit: Raphael Rashid @koryodynasty on Twitter)

Acknowledging Gender X

There are people who consider themselves as intersex or non-binary, deviating from the male-female gender identity. They are called the “third sex”. The concept of gender, which refers to acquired sex, has drawn attention since the 1960s. In 2003, an “X” instead of an “M” or “F” appeared for the first time in the gender information field of an Australian passport. This was the first acknowledgement of the existence of a third adult gender X.

From April 2022, American citizens can select an “X” as their gender on their passport without a proof of sex reassignment surgery. This measure improves the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the United States – including 1.2 million adult non-binary, 5.5 million intersex and 2 million transgender individuals. This demonstrates the commitment of the administration of US President Joe Biden to diversity at a time when LGBTI people have been discriminated against in the military, work, religious activities, and sports. The social atmosphere has changed a lot however institutional support is still slow in improving.

The situation in Korea is even worse. According to a survey conducted by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, more than 8 out of 10 people have never tried to correct their gender because of medical expenses and concerns of unfair treatment. Will the “X” mark appear in the gender column of Korean passports? Unfortunately, the case of transgender Sergeant Byun Hee-soo, the reactions of Koreans to the queer parade, and the behavior of conservative politicians promoting gender confrontation do not indicate a change anytime soon.


Pragmatism over Ideology: New Leadership for the Region and Beyond
Thursday, April 28, 2022
Pragmatism over Ideology: New Leadership for the Region and Beyond

Ei Sun Oh, senior fellow, Singapore Institute of International Affairs, and principal adviser, Pacific Research Center, Malaysia, in The Manila Times (April 27, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: PNA)

Pragmatism over Ideology: New Leadership for the Region and Beyond

The presidential election in the Philippines, one of the democracies in the developing world, is attracting attention. As neighbors with the best of intentions, we have our small wish list. Top of it would be an unwavering desire for the Philippine economy to prosper, for the sake of not just the Filipinos, but the growth of the region as a whole as well. Philippine economic growth was quite impressive at over 5 percent annually for a few years, but was inevitably dragged into negative territory by the pandemic. It has since rebounded but the country would have to work hard to keep up this momentum.

The pandemic recovery coincides with the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), to which the Philippines and all other member states of ASEAN, as well as China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, have signed on. It essentially creates the world's largest free trade area and common market for its members. The new Philippine leadership, together with its regional counterparts, must put their heads together to take full advantage of RCEP.

As neighbors, we wish that the future Philippine leader would put less stress on ideology and more on pragmatism when it comes to the conduct of foreign and international affairs. There is an outcry for effective regional leadership that would hopefully steady the increasingly precarious regional ship in the South China Sea and beyond. A new Philippine leader should take charge of the rudder amid a turbulent sea of international intrigues. And a new leader must make sure that the very democracy that elected him or her into office is kept thriving and does not backslide into autocracy. The region is not immune from authoritarian or even dictatorial rule, and the Filipino fire for democracy must stay lit.


To Strengthen the Immunity of Society Against Covid-19, Build Trust in Vaccines
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
To Strengthen the Immunity of Society Against Covid-19, Build Trust in Vaccines

Jakkrit Sangkhamanee, associate professor of anthropology in the Faculty of Political Science of Chulalongkorn University, and Abhirat Supthanasup, National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health Research, Australian National University, in The Standard (March 31, 2022)

Summary by Nisara Panchang (Photo credit: Ministry of Labour, Kingdom of Thailand)

To Strengthen the Immunity of Society Against Covid-19, Build Trust in Vaccines

During the Covid-19 pandemic, public perceptions towards managing the spread of infectious disease in society is essential, in particular, the success and limitations of vaccines. In Thailand, there has been much debate over the effectiveness of each type of vaccine. In the early stages, Sinovac was the main vaccine deployed in Thailand. The National Communicable Disease Committee approved mixed vaccination, using Sinovac for the first dose and AstraZeneca for the second, with three to four weeks in between, to increase immunity to the Delta variant.

The Ministry of Public Health released a report on the effectiveness of the Sinovac from a study in Thailand that the efficacy of the vaccine against the Alpha and the Delta variants was 90 percent and 75 percent, respectively. The World Health Organization (WHO), however, warned against mixing and matching Covid-19 vaccines from different manufacturers. This led to public confusion, as well as criticism about the cross-vaccination plan, which consequently raised concerns over the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine and driven demand for the Moderna version. Citizens have been willing to bear the increased cost of purchasing an alternative vaccine from private hospitals.

A weak vaccine is a vaccine that cannot work effectively in society as a result of unclear information and lack of transparency in procurement and distribution. To boost society’s immunity, the government should build trust and strengthen the legitimacy and acceptability of vaccines.


Minimum Wage Single Standard is an Anachronism
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Minimum Wage Single Standard is an Anachronism

Park Nam-gyu Park, Professor of Business Administration at Seoul National University, in Munhwa Ilbo (April 07, 2021)

Summary by Paul Forien (Photo credit: Jeon Han/Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea)

Minimum Wage Single Standard is an Anachronism

The Minimum Wage Committee has launched its review for next year's minimum wage. It is, however, unlikely that its members will easily draw a conclusion because of the clear differences in position among the representatives of the various interests including government, employers and workers. 

Giver price rises it would be great if workers could comfortably raise their hourly wages as they have called for. It is by no means simple, however. For a minimum wage increase to create a sustainable economic virtuous cycle, three important prerequisites must be met. The first is an increase in worker productivity. If the rate of productivity growth cannot catch up with the wage increase of workers, the company will have difficulties surviving in the market. 

Second, there must be enough jobs to pay more than the minimum wage. Most of the minimum-wage jobs are at companies in the lodging/food, sports/leisure-related services, agriculture, forestry and fishery industries, where competitiveness is weak. Firms in these sectors often have a hard time surviving even with the smallest wage increases, which may lead to job losses. 

Third, the demand for minimum-wage labor in the market must exceed the supply. Otherwise, those with jobs, whether by ability or luck, may be adversely affected by the policy, receiving higher than appropriate market wages. The current labor market shows very high disparities in terms of diversity and complexity which make it more difficult to have a practical effect on the minimum wage determined by a single standard.

Considering all the reasons above and that contracts between employers and workers are economic transactions in the private sector, classifications of the minimum wage by industry or region could be outdated. It is necessary to re-examine whether government involvement in the market is required and to restart a debate about the minimum wage.


Taking a Principled Stance and Imposing Sanctions on Russia
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Taking a Principled Stance and Imposing Sanctions on Russia

Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security of Singapore, in Lianhe Zaobao (March 26, 2022) 

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: President of Ukraine)

Taking a Principled Stance and Imposing Sanctions on Russia

Singapore has always been a strong advocate of international law and the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. All nations, large and small, must respect their sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity. Singapore, therefore, strongly condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Any violation of these core principles, wherever and whenever it occurs, must be taken seriously.

This has been Singapore’s consistent position. In 1983, Singapore voted against the US invasion of Grenada at the UN General Assembly. We also voted against the invasion of Cambodia at the UN General Assembly from 1979 to 1989. Just because Singapore voted against the US in 1983 does not mean they are their enemies. Meanwhile, just as Singapore voted against the invasion of Cambodia, this does not mean the country supported the Khmer Rouge regime. 

Singapore rarely imposes sanctions on other countries without a binding decision or direction from the UN Security Council. Given the unprecedented severity of Russia's aggression in Ukraine and Russia's unsurprising veto of the Security Council's draft resolution condemning its aggression, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced on February 28 that Singapore would implement sanctions on Russia. Unlike those of many other countries, the sanctions and restrictions are targeted and designed to limit Russia's ability to wage war against Ukraine.

There are a few things Singapore can learn from this conflict: First, conflict never arises without a reason. As every conflict has its historical roots, States should find ways to reduce the precursors of conflict and make every effort to resolve disputes through peaceful means. Second, Singapore should continue to create and develop structures such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that work to bridge the divide in the region and promote cooperative behavior. 


Government Policies Need to be Clearly Explained to the Public
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Government Policies Need to be Clearly Explained to the Public

Dominic Lau Hoe Chai, President, Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, in Oriental Daily News (April 1, 2022)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Uwe Aranas/CEphoto)

Government Policies Need to be Clearly Explained to the Public

Many new policies are set to be introduced. As the country reopens its borders and enters its post-pandemic recovery phase, the government is focusing its energy on the implementation of policies for economic recovery, which must be clearly explained to the public.

The government has increased the minimum wage to RM1,500 a month for certain companies. While the new minimum wage is certainly a good thing for migrant workers, it is not a good thing for employers without an increase in employee productivity. This policy clearly has far-reaching implications and must be discussed openly before implementation.

Other proposals include the reduction of the speed limit to 30 kilometers per hour in central Kuala Lumpur.  The view of the Kuala Lumpur City Council is that lowering the speed limit in busy areas of the city will improve road safety in these areas and reduce crashes and fatalities. The government, however, has not provided a channel to hear opinions of the public. 

In addition, the US has accused Malaysian government-linked companies of using forced labor and initiated a ban of oil palm exports. Forced labor is a serious issue and will tarnish Malaysia's reputation. Considering this, as a Ministry with close ties to the public, the Ministry of Human Resources has a duty to communicate and any decisions and actions that have a direct impact on Malaysians.

Any policy implemented or proposed by the government has a potentially profound impact on the public. All policies should be properly explained so that the public can truly benefit from it.


Do NOT Use Nuclear Weapons!
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Do NOT Use Nuclear Weapons!

Akiba Tadatoshi, mayor of Hiroshima from 1999 to 2011, in The Mainichi (March 4, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Do NOT Use Nuclear Weapons!

As a former mayor of Hiroshima, Japan, I call for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the world leaders to declare immediately that no nation will use nuclear weapons in this conflict! I also call for Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, who is from Hiroshima, to visit Moscow to meet President Putin and attend the United Nations Security Council meeting to explain why, by conveying the cry of the hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I want to share the sense of urgency that the hibakusha and Japanese citizens felt when President Putin made the first of the two statements that we interpreted as a threat to use nuclear weapons. It compelled me to start an online signature collection campaign titled, "Do NOT Use Nuclear Weapons! -Message from Japan-" via Change.org.

Threatening to use nuclear weapons is a clear violation of international law. It is evident to everyone that the situation of Russia does not qualify as an "extreme situation of self-defense," so there is no doubt that it is a violation of international law.

I ask President Putin and other world leaders to declare immediately the nonuse of all nuclear weapons and ensure to fulfil their most fundamental responsibility as members of the human race. This is the responsibility of all the countries with nuclear weapons, not just Russia.


Pushing Putin Into a Corner Will Backfire
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Pushing Putin Into a Corner Will Backfire

Vikram S Mehta, Chairman, Brookings India, and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, in The Indian Express (April 4, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: President of Russia)

Pushing Putin Into a Corner Will Backfire

Discussion of the genesis of the Ukraine crisis and the extenuating circumstances behind what is an egregious breach of the territorial integrity of a sovereign independent nation has limited value. What is now required are conversations on how to prevent a further escalation of this conflict. India should play a role in driving such conversations. Its decision to abstain from the UN resolutions condemning Russia should give it negotiating heft with Putin; also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on friendly terms with him; and as the forthcoming chair of the G20 in 2023, India can claim standing.

Putin has failed to achieve his objectives. He has not succeeded in overrunning Ukraine, in changing the regime in Kyiv, or in securing a Russian sphere of influence. In the face of such a massive setback, what will Putin do next? Will he look for a face-saving way out of the corner? Or might he compound his original sin by escalating the conflict? 

The conundrum is how to get him to look at the world through a different lens – how to get him to accept “defeat” without having to concede he has been defeated. There are no simple answers. A good start would be to set out what should not be done. Putin must not be squeezed into a corner. US President Joe Biden’s saying that Putin must not be allowed to stay in power was injudicious. So too were the comments that countries that buy Russian crude oil will find themselves on the “wrong side of history”. The effort now should be to create avenues for a face-saving backdown. India has the credibility and international clout and PM Modi has a personal equation with Putin. These should be leveraged to end this humanitarian tragedy.


The Government Should Formulate A Long-Term Strategy For Carbon Neutrality
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
The Government Should Formulate A Long-Term Strategy For Carbon Neutrality

Simran Sawhney, research analyst, and Yang Jingwen, assistant operations manager, Civic Exchange, in Stand News (December 15, 2021) – original article longer available

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

The Government Should Formulate A Long-Term Strategy For Carbon Neutrality

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In October 2021, the government issued the "Hong Kong Climate Action Blueprint 2050", outlining a mid-term goal towards carbon neutrality. Yet, the blueprint only focuses on the continuation and improvement of existing policies. The government should instead formulate a science-based, long-term comprehensive climate policy.

The government should seek to develop long-term carbon reduction strategies which should include researching low-carbon power generation technology, exploring the possibility of applying hydrogen energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS), energy storage and other technologies.  

The government should also consider setting up an inter-departmental working group to formulate a green hydrogen energy policy for Hong Kong. As the current technology in this area remains expensive and immature, the government should consider providing subsidies and formulate carbon pricing to reduce the cost 

Meanwhile, as Hong Kong’s renewable energy resources are limited, fossil fuels will still be required for power generation. This means that CCS technologies will be indispensable. Again, the cost of such technology remains prohibitively expensive for commercial application. The government and power companies, therefore, should actively participate in relevant R&D projects to help promote its development. 

As more types of energy become available, balancing power supply will become more challenging. The government needs to consider different options, including improving Hong Kong’s domestic power-grid links, connecting the China Southern Power Grid, and increasing energy storage capacity to maintain a stable power supply.