The consequences of Indonesia’s failing prison infrastructure


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Thanks to The Economist and the article here, readers can get a glimpse into Indonesia’s problematic management of both existing terrorists and the terrorist threat going forward.


The Voice of Indonesia’s Geological Evolution


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A wonderful piece here on Sutopo, Indonesia’s voice on natural disasters.

As the article notes, his job sadly offers no possibility of extended inactivity, but he is indeed among the giants of Indonesian public life and will be deeply missed.

Where to now for change in Malaysia?


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A couple of recent articles by the good folk at the EastAsiaForum suggests that Malaysia will soon need to make some hard decisions.

Of course Malaysia may choose not to make any decisions at all, but that is of course a decision in itself, and in no case can the political consequences be deferred indefinitely.

As a starting point, there is the article a couple of months ago here suggesting that race policy reform will need action.

That’s been followed by the pieces here and here suggesting the need for economic reform is becoming pressing.

So what is the problem? Well, in a uniquely Malaysian way it appears to be this.

Going beyond the rhetoric of doing something about racial policies requires Malaysia doing something about economic policies, and doing something about economic policies requires Malaysia doing something about racial policies.

At tne same time, Malaysia’s racial and economic policies are so closely connected that the politics of making changes is effectively impossible to navigate, so the government decision is likely to be to not to make changes.

Noting that it was the failure to make changes in this space that led to the Malaysian people taking it upon themselves to make changes, it would seem that the tensions in Malaysian politics are not going away any time soon.

Head over heels in Southeast Asia


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Digital savvy readers may have already encountered the viral trend originating in China and described here.

Yes, it is an interesting trend in and of itself, but any spread in the region may also be an intriguing proxy for the extent of Chinese cultural influence.

Readers are welcome to share any examples they encounter.

Sulawesi Tsunami


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The full effects of the tsunami that hit Sulawesi at dusk last night are being discovered as dawn breaks in Indonesia, but the scale of the catastrophe is evident from initial media and social media reports.

A glimpse into the horror that unfolded is available from unverified sources such as the one here.

Viewer discretion is advised, particularly for those readers in Indonesia who survived previous tsunamis or were affected by the tragedy.

A gallery of still pictures is available here.

More news and analysis to come.

The Spectator Index


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In my travels through the Twitterverse I came across the Spectator Index here. The caveat is that I don’t know the source of some of these statistics, but will take them on trust out of curiousity.

Drawing on just a few recent posts there (at the time of this post), I can tell you that these Southeast Asian countries rate in the global top ten on the following measures…

  • Largest global economies in 2050 (Indonesia #4)
  • Tourism as share of GDP in 2016 (no country in Southeast Asia, and even Thailand failed to reach the 1.2% cut-off)
  • Percentage who say they eat a healthy diet in 2018 (Malaysia, =#7 at 53%)
  • Suicide rate per 100,000 people in 2015 (Thailand, #8 at 16 per 100,000)
  • Most peaceful countries in 2018 (Singapore #8),
  • Highest number of citizens who say vaccinations should be compulsory in 2018 (Malaysia #6, 76%), and
  • Higher Education ranking (out of 137 countries globally) #1. Singapore, #17. Taiwan, #45. Malaysia, #55. Philippines, #57. Thailand, #64. Indonesia and #84. Vietnam

If you are interested in statistics, and borderline statistical trivia, the Spectator Index may be a Twitter account awaiting your following.