Going off the rails?

In terms of costs and efficiency, upgrading ageing and insufficient bus systems may prove the most viable route for many Indian cities (Credit: McKay Savage).

Memo #329 Challenges for small Indian cities planning metro projects By Simon Harding – sharding13 [at] gmail.com India is undergoing a metro boom. The country has spent US$41bn* on urban metro rail projects since 2002: The country’s six largest cities have begun constructing large-scale networks. Now smaller cities are following suit: Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister… 

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Mongolia – From Sino-Russian Buffer to Conversion Zone

Memo #318 By Mendee Jargalsaikhan – mendee [at] alumni.ubc.ca Last autumn, Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin made separate visits to Mongolia, met for a tri-lateral (Russia-China-Mongolia) summit in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe during the leadership summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and dispatched their vice-foreign ministers for a working-level meeting in preparation for next… 

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

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] alumni.ubc.ca and Geoffrey Macdonald – gpmacdonald [at] gmail.com Joko Widodo, referred to as Jokowi, was inaugurated as Indonesia’s seventh president on October 20, 2014. President Jokowi represents a new… Continue reading

Whither Area Studies?

Advancing the project of Comparative Area Studies and fruitful Area Studies Comparisons: an Intervention from Europe Memo #316 By Jürgen Rüland – juergen.rueland [at] politik.uni-freiburg.de & Mikko Huotari – mikko.huotari [at] merics.de There is no universal ultimate golden mean between disciplinary research and area studies. Viable intermediate positions are eventually dependent on an individual researcher’s… 

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‘One Drug with Multiple Names': Broad Powers and Product Differentiation in the Chinese Pharmaceutical Industry

Memo #315 By Yifan Wang – yfwang [at] essex.ac.uk Drug regulations in China stipulate that chemical and generic names of drugs are determined by the Chinese Pharmacopeia (Ch.P) and the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), while brand names are chosen by pharmaceutical companies, as long as they are recorded with the SFDA. Some Chinese… 

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Music for the Mind? Virtuosity and Performativity in Celebrity Diplomacy

Memo #314 By Hyung-Gu Lynn – hlynn [at] mail.ubc.ca 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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Canada – China FIPA: Just the Facts, Please

Memo #313 By Matthew Levine – matthew.a.j.levine [at] gmail.com Canada’s Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China (China FIPA), which entered into force October 1, 2014, is a laudable step towards norms-based economic relations in the Asia-Pacific. My two goals here are to briefly introduce key developments in the China FIPA and to put… 

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After the Massacre of 2011: Challenges to Peace and Security along the Mekong River

Memo #312 By Kai Chen – chenkai [at] zju.edu.cn In the so-called “Mekong River massacre” of October 2011, 13 Chinese merchant sailors working on the Mekong were seized and murdered by members of the Hawngleuk Militia led by its Burmese leader Naw Kham. Later captured in Laos and extradited to China, Naw Kham was found… 

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The Perilous Start and Uncertain Future of the Jokowi Era in Indonesia

Memo #311 Editor’s Note: On Friday, October 10, 2014, UBC’s Institute of Asian Research hosted a conference examining the theme, “The Jokowi Era: A New Age for Indonesia?” In advance of this gathering, one of its participants, Dr. Kai Ostwald, provided us his take on what the election of “Jokowi” signified for the world’s third largest democracy.  By Kai Ostwald… 

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The Year in Malaysian Politics: Democracy’s Crooked Trajectory

Memo #310 By Kai Ostwald – kai.ostwald [at] ubc.ca In the run-up to Malaysia’s 13th General Election in May 2013, optimists argued that the country had finally transitioned from decades of semi-authoritarian rule to a competitive de-facto two party system of democracy. The election itself exposed several flaws in the system, namely that high levels… 

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The Lost Generation: “Barefoot Doctors” in Post-Reform China

Memo #309 By Jiong Tu – jt457 [at] cam.ac.uk China’s barefoot doctor system is known for having provided inexpensive and accessible medical care to its large rural population in the 1970s. But the system became bankrupt with the advent of market reforms in the 1980s and many barefoot doctors either became private doctors or gave… 

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