A Canal Runs through It: Seoul’s Ara Waterway at Two

Memo #293

By Daniel Kane – danielkane [at] gmail.com

The Han is the river of the South Korean capital of Seoul, and for most of that city’s history it served as highway to the Yellow Sea, some twenty kilometers to the west. To be sure, it still does, but since 1953 and the Korean War armistice a significant chunk… Continue reading

Dealing with the Resource Curse in Myanmar: UN Global Compact and Institutional Capacity

Memo #276

By  Yves Tiberghien – yves.tiberghien [at] ubc.ca

Since it began its gradual opening and domestic process of change, Myanmar has become a great target of opportunity for a myriad of foreign players, especially global investors interested in its vast energy potential and other resources. The challenge for the country is how to turn these blessings into… Continue reading

China’s Environmental Education: A Mandate Unfulfilled

Memo #245

By Rob Efird – efirdr [at] seattleu.edu

China’s environmental impacts are front-page news. We have all seen the pictures of smog-choked cities and fouled waterways, and many of us know that China is the single largest source of the carbon emissions that drive global warming. It is encouraging, then, that in 2003 China’s Ministry of Education mandated environmental… Continue reading

The “Exotic” Minority in Western China: Why Domestic Ethnic Tourism in China May be Doing More Harm than Good

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #241

By Brianna Botchweyblsb2 [at] cam.ac.uk

In western China, domestic tourism is on the rise and ethnic tourism is a central but troubling part of this industry. While tourism may provide poorer, minority areas with income, the increase in ethnic tourism is a problematic… Continue reading

Mongolia: Gauging Inner Asian Tensions over Railways

Broad gauge or standard gauge railway? This domestic Mongolian debate reflects Inner Asian ambivalence toward economic opportunities through engagement with China, as well as broader geopolitical and economic competition between Russia and China. After he was fired from the post of Director of the Mongolian Railway on January 10, former Prime Minister M. Enkhsaikhan criticized the government’s plan to extend the domestic broad (Russian) gauge railroad network. Instead, he argued for a 267 km standard (Chinese) gauge railroad from Tavan Tolgoi, a coal mining deposit, to Gashuun Sukhait, a Sino-Mongolian border post. With this argument Mr. Enkhsaikhan triggered another round of the debate over narrow vs. broad gauge. Continue reading

Why Technology Needs People: Gold, Phones, and Bicycles

Memo # 177 – “We treated our precinct captains like gold,” wrote David Plouffe, an architect of President Obama’s 2008 US election campaign. “The challenge” lay in “marrying digital technology and strategy with a strong grassroots campaign.”

Plouffe’s insights had been anticipated a year earlier in an election in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, where a party led by a Dalit (former untouchable) woman won unexpectedly. And the story about the centrality of technology and people came full circle early in 2012 when Uttar Pradesh voted to throw out the incumbent government. Continue reading

China Crucial to India’s Mobile Revolution

Memo #172 – India entered the elite global club of $1 trillion-plus (USD) economies in the last decade accompanied by explosive growth in domestic mobile phone users. India had the second largest population of mobile phone users as of 2010, an astounding leap from their modest rank of 34th ten years earlier. Continue reading

Managing South Asia’s Himalayan Rivers: A Human Development Framework

Memo #164 – What would an ideal regulatory system to manage an international river look like? Some have called for an innovatively designed regulatory authority for international rivers, such as the Ganga-Brahmaputra river system in the Himalayan region. Existing models are not compatible with the geopolitical conditions in South Asia. Rather than furthering traditional nationalist approaches, the new design must take into account the people living in the region. Continue reading