Enter the “Chinese Dream”

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #244

By Grégoire Legault – gregoire.legault [at] alumni.ubc.ca

After decades of political and socio-economic turmoil China is finally able to dream again. It is now prosperous and powerful enough to confront a new problem: how it should use its wealth and power towards social, environmental and political… Continue reading

Digital Generation in Papua New Guinea Emerges

Memo #194 – Next month, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr will make his maiden visit to Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia’s nearest neighbour and second largest recipient of Australian foreign aid. This visit comes 10 months after the then brand-new foreign minister threatened PNG with sanctions following suggestions from within the PNG government that national elections might be delayed. Not surprisingly, these threats did not go down well with Papua New Guineans. But ironically, Foreign Minister Carr can take partial responsibility for inspiring a new, digital generation of Papua New Guineans to engage in public discussion. Continue reading

Pocket Social Networking in India – SMS GupShup Expands

Memo #190 – The communication revolution has spread to small towns and even villages in India through a Twitter-like Small Message Service (SMS) social marketing networking alternative called GupShup. The low-cost text messaging service for phone, web, or mobile communication facilitates “pocket social networking” for people without smart phones. It is estimated to currently process two billion messages per month in India, compared to 480 million a year ago. Continue reading

Singapore’s Divisive Seventh Presidential Election

Memo #101 – Singapore’s recent presidential election (PE) was unusual as it was a highly politicized contest for an apolitical post. Unlike the previous two uncontested PE, this PE saw four candidates vying to be the country’s largely ceremonial, highly paid head of state. While three presidential hopefuls were former People’s Action Party (PAP) members, one was an opposition candidate in the general election (GE) held four months ago. On August 27, 2011, the government favoured candidate, former Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Tony Tan was elected the seventh president by a razor thin margin. Continue reading

Turn of Tide: Singapore’s Watershed Election 2011

Memo #82 – On May 7, 2011, 2.06 million Singaporeans cast their votes and returned the People’s Action Party (PAP) to power. Most parties would be happy with the PAP’s 60.1 per cent vote and 81 out of 87 seats. But the result was the party’s worst performance since 1963, a far cry from its 75 per cent vote share during its heydays in the 2001 general election (see Figure 1). Singaporeans were disaffected and voted two cabinet ministers and a candidate slated to be speaker of the House out of office. In an election post-mortem, both minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew and senior minister Goh Chok Tong resigned from the cabinet. Continue reading

Pre-Election Singapore Clamps Down on Social Media

Memo #58 – Social media including Facebook and microblogging sites such as Twitter galvanized the street protests in Tunisia and Egypt. Fears of contagion have led China to censor ‘Egypt’ on its microblogging sites. As Singapore gears up for its general election, due by February 2012, its long-serving People’s Action Party (PAP) government is increasingly nervous over the impact of social media and is finding ways to muzzle it. Continue reading