Restoring Indonesia’s Direct Regional Elections: Stability in a Divided Society

President Joko Widodo’s first selfie at the palace, taken with campaign volunteers (Credit: Wall Street Journal).

Memo #317 Indonesian President Pak Joko Widodo must fight to reinstate direct regional elections to maintain social stability. By Matthew J. Bock – m.bock [at] and Geoffrey Macdonald – gpmacdonald [at] Joko Widodo, referred to as Jokowi, was inaugurated as Indonesia’s seventh president on October 20, 2014. President Jokowi represents a new era of… 

Read More »

Are Chinese Citizens becoming more Assertive? Perspectives from the (Limited) Data

Memo #307 By Sophia Woodman – Sophia.Woodman [at] The last decade has seen an explosion of academic and media reporting about protests in China. Chinese citizens’ access to social media makes it harder for the authorities to suppress information about unrest. Even when mainstream media reporting is censored, often the news of an event… 

Read More »

Charging Beijing’s Electric Vehicles Policy

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students Memo #306 By Marc McCrum – mbmccrum [at] and Grégoire-François Legault – gregoire.legault [at] According to the World Bank, Beijing’s poor air quality costs $300bn a year in healthcare costs and premature deaths. Of Beijing’s air pollution, over 30% is estimated to be the direct result… 

Read More »

Counter-Insurgency in Afghanistan: Whose Violence is it Anyway?

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students Memo #305 By Dur-e-Aden – dur-e-aden [at] While fighting an insurgency, it is important never to harm civilians. Doing so will increase recruitment for insurgent groups and result in fuelling the conflict. This is known as the “population-centric” counter-insurgency doctrine. By this logic, it also follows… Continue reading

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… 

Read More »

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… 

Read More »

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),… 

Read More »

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… 

Read More »

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…… 

Read More »

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… 

Read More »