Music for the Mind? Virtuosity and Performativity in Celebrity Diplomacy

UN Messenger for Peace and renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang pictured in 2010 (credit: World Economic Forum).

Memo #314 By Hyung-Gu Lynn - hlynn [at] Does celebrity diplomacy work? If so, based on what measures, why, how and for whom? In the afterglow of bravura passages powerful yet precise, arpeggios determined yet delicate, these questions arose, at least in one small corner of my brain. The United Nations Day concert in the General… 

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Sustainable Tourism Governance in Bulacan Province: Practical Steps towards Collaboration

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students Memo #304 By  Rosa Hsuan-Ju Shih – rosa.hj.shih [at] With eco-tourism and cultural tourism gaining ground in Bulacan Province, Philippines, sustainable development will be a challenge so long as tourism development itself remains a fragmented process without a guiding framework. How best to define “sustainable tourism… Continue reading

The Thai Political Crisis of 2014: Necessary Cultural and Historical Background

Memo #303 By Jim Placzek – james.placzek [at] The key to understanding the current crisis in Thailand is Thai national identity. For decades a government office has been successfully promoting symbols of this identity. The central symbol of that identity is the monarchy. The elite of Thailand, including the military, have been called “the… 

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Suicide Protesters in Eastern Tibet: The Shifting Story of a People’s Tragedy

Memo #302 By Antonio Terrone – a-terrone [at] The recent wave of self-immolations across the Eastern Tibetan regions of the People’s Republic of China continues to leave the world in dismay for both its violence and determination. They also represent a new shift in terms of the demography of protesters in Tibetan society. Among… 

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By Pipe and Rail: Russia in Search of Shorter Routes to Asian Markets

Memo #301 Putin Prioritizes Geo-Economics over Geo-Politics By Mendee Jargalsaikhan – mendee [at] Russia’s largest state-owned oil giants, Transneft and Rosneft, as well as Russian railroad authorities are again eyeing Mongolian routes as the shortest, most efficient, and safest way to Asian markets. Russia’s previous transport options to these markets—through the Russian Far East (RFE),… 

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Power in a Black Box: Kim Jong-Un’s Rule in North Korea

Memo #300 By  Isozaki Atsuhito Most observers expected that the seven high officials accompanying the motor hearse of Kim Jong-Il the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in December 2011 would become the core support of the young successor, Kim Jong-Un. Some even saw the possibility of the North Korea ruling system… 

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The Business of Saving the Angat

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students. Memo #299 By Sarah Thomas – sarah.thomas [at] Over 99 percent of all businesses in the Philippines are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and they represent seventy percent of the country’s labour force. With such numbers, while the environmental impact of small and medium enterprises is not…… 

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My Father and the Republic: A Talk with Novelist, Dramatist, and Historian Pai Hsien-yung (Video Interview)

Memo #298 Last fall the Asia Pacific Memo sat down with Pai Hsien-yung (Bai Xianyong 白先勇), the renowned novelist and son of Pai Chung-hsi (Bai Chongxi 白崇禧, 1893–1966), a gifted general and strategist, key Kuomintang leader, and close associate of Chiang Kai-shek, with whom he had a long and stormy relationship. While Pai Hsien-yung is a worthy subject… 

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Modi: Breaking the Mold of Indian Politics (Part 1 of 2)

Memo #296 Narendra Modi’s Historic Electoral Victory. By John Harriss – jharriss [at] HE DID IT. That Narendra Modi should have won India’s 16th General Election is no great surprise. But the scale of his triumph is. Together with most other commentators I expected Modi to win, but thought it likely that he would be… Continue reading

Modi: Breaking the Mold of Indian Politics (part 2 of 2)

Memo #297 How Modi won may tell us something about the face of a Modi premiership. By John Harriss – jharriss [at] Read Part 1 of this memo HERE.   Yes, Modi did it—won a transformative electoral victory. But HOW he did it is also important. There are three aspects… Continue reading

Nǐ sǐ wǒ huó (“You Die, I live”): Xi Jinping’s Anti-Corruption Campaign as Power Consolidation

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students. Memo #295 By Elizabeth MacArthur – e.macarthur [at] In a speech made shortly after coming to power in the fall of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping famously vowed to crack down on CCP and State corruption by “upholding the fight against tigers and flies”. Over a… Continue reading