Oh, dear…


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I have no idea how many readers follow the World Bank Global Economic Prospects available here.

Nevertheless, dropping down to the regional forecasts and selecting East Asia and Pacific I’ve recreated the data below.

graph 1

That all seems business as usual, but when you look a bit deeper…

graph 2

Oh, dear. I will say no more than that.

Universities of Southeast Asia II


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An earlier post on the Universities of Southeast Asia here used some 2016 data, but I’ve recently come across some 2017 data here and depicted above that also tells an interesting story, albeit differently.

The brief commentary in the link is well worth reading.

The graph (there) is titled Availability of higher education by income which seems, to me, to be a poor choice of a descriptor at best. As the link states, the relative bubble size represents the proportion of the university-aged population in higher education.

More comments to follow another time.

Data cost across Southeast Asia


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Thanks to the work of the good folk at TechInAsia, particularly Kathrinna Rakhmavika, the great graphic found here and reproduced above illustrates the cost of data across the region.

There is a lot in that data. Some points I’d make is that I was unaware some of these countries had a minimum wage, and certainly if they do the enforcement mechanisms by the state would be, at best, extremely inconsistent and insipid. In this context the minimum wage reference, unless it was a vague allusion to the market minimum wage, is somewhat meaningless.

Then there is the number of hours worked to achieve payment equivalent to 1gb of data at local prices. This is provided as the number of hours of work at the (somewhat meaningless) measure of the minimum wage, but alternatively providing this as the required number of hours at the mean national wage (the average wage) or the number of hours for the nation’s modal wage (the wage received by the highest number of workers) may give very different answers.

There is also the issue that covering only income received from wages excludes those who receive their income from capital (and retirees and children). The data also avoids the cost of entry to accessing that data, eg the price of hardware and initial access costs.

My point is that at first glance this is, or was, an interesting graphic, but on closer scrutiny the numbers presented begin to look very shaky indeed on the story they are telling.

Note: As a supplementary comment on this post, the price of an additional 1gb data on a phone plan in Australia is around $10. With the minimum wage in Australia set at around $16 that equates to around 40 minutes of work, but the cost of that additional 1gb excludes the upfront and the baseline monthly fees to use it. That sounds unambiguous enough, but there are also packages that a quickly Google search and selection at random (like the one here) that presents options costed at (per 1gb) $3, $0.5 and (effectively) <$0.01 respectively. Of course if you used so much data that the cost is down to a single cent per gb then you a/ probably don’t need to work to pay for it, or  b/ can’t keep doing that as you cannot find time to go to work to pay for it, but that is a topic for a post on another blog.

Southeast Asian airlines & social media


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There is an interesting post here comparing the online performance of what I believe are the top airlines in Southeast when it comes to social media. There are a range of measures, but just sticking to Twitter and Facebook measures here is how they ranked in 2013.

On Facebook…


Source here

On Twittter…


Source here

I regret the data is again somewhat dated, and it would be interesting to see if there have been any subsequent changes in the hierarchy. I’d appreciate any reader who can point me to updated figures.

Urban populations of Southeast Asia IV


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A quick addition to my post earlier today here.

All credit to the good folk at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management (who nobly espouse exploring the requirements to achieve a prosperous future for all, in which democracy and capitalism work in support of each other) who produced the research report Insight: Creativity in Southeast Asia located here.

In that marvellous work (well worth a read for interest in such things) they identify the close relationship between urbanization and creativity, with more urbanized nations scoring higher on the Global Creativity Index (see here for those interested).

How does this look in graphical form highlighting Southeast Asian nations? I’m glad you asked, because that is the featured image that leads this post.

In another report here the MPI shows “how the Southeast Asian nations stack up in terms of the share of their workforce that make up the creative class and compares them to international benchmarks”. In graphical form that can be seen below.


Urban populations of Southeast Asia III


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In a recent post I mentioned that I would return to provide some thoughts on regional urbanisation.

Well, this is that post, although credit for most of the work and insights will belong elsewhere.

My source is some commendable research on Climate Change and Urban Planning in Southeast Asia by Belinda Yuen and Leon Kong on behalf of SAPIENS that can be found here.

My first graph come from there (source here), depicting…

Estimates and Projections of Southeast Asia Urbanization (to the year 2020)



(W: World, B: Brunei, C: Cambodia, I: Indonesia, L: Lao PDR, Ma: Malaysia, My: Myanmar, P: Philippines, S: Singapore, T: Thailand, TL: Timor-Leste, V: Vietnam)

There is clearly a LOT of potential explanations in there, but nothing particularly stands out to me. Anybody else see anything noteworthy?

The second graph also comes from that same SAPIENS source (see here for the source graphic), depicting…

Rate of change (%) of Southeast Asia Urbanization


(W: World, B: Brunei, C: Cambodia, I: Indonesia, L: Lao PDR, Ma: Malaysia, My: Myanmar, P: Philippines, S: Singapore, T: Thailand, TL: Timor-Leste, V: Vietnam)

Again there is a lot there. In Indonesia/Malaysia/the Philippines the rate of urbanisation  expected to slow. Perhaps the primate cities in those respective countries are reaching their limits as a percentage of the population? If so, that suggests that Thailand, which is set to massively increase its percentage of urbanised population, could see massive growth in Bangkok. Do any readers see anything remarkable?

I must admit at this point I am largely speculating, as it is largely impossible to comment meaningfully (or at least without excessive speculation) on these trends without an awareness of broader population trends which I just don’t have access to here/now.

I will think further and update this post with further thoughts later.

UPDATE – Ok, now I have access to some of the data required to draw meaningful conclusions from the graphs above. I found it here, but have lost the inspiration to go through the significant volume of data searching for the relevant information. Neverheless some of the graphs in the link are so good I’m sure I will revisit it sooner or later.

Southeast Asian workplace power measures


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To my great disappointment I haven’t explored the concept of power on this blog as much as I would like.

Nevertheless, I have a vague sense of having written more on this particular topic than a quick search of my website suggests, so forgive me please if I have written on this previously or introduced the same resources in another post.

A good starting point may be the link here.  I quote from that website in stating that…”Professor Geert Hofstede conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. He defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from others”.

The website goes on to outline six dimensions through which culture can be measured, with further details on the same page. I encourage you to read them before going further.

When you have a better idea of what these dimensions measure I encourage you to then visit the page here and, using the drop-down box to select different countries in Southeast Asia, reflect on how the values for each of the 6 dimensions appear in respective nations. Note that after a first country has been selected a second and third country can be selected to compare values.

This is an extraordinarily valuable tool for understanding and comparing nation state workplaces and their broader cultural environments in Southeast Asia, and all credit to Professor Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, Michael Minkov and their research teams.

Note that I agree the link between the topic and the chosen picture is tenuous. Searching for a picture that encapsulates Southeast Asia and workplace power (and is copyright free, and can be located) is just too time consuming right now. Or perhaps, for those who have worked in Southeast Asia, they see a great connection! Anyway, I like the picture and that’s enough for now:))

Southeast Asia’s rice…and more rice


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Today’s post was to have been a thoughtful and insightful piece on regional urbanisation.

Sadly however I have run out of time, so I will quickly give you some lovely graphics on rice production in Southeast Asia and return to urbanisation on another day.

There can be little doubt that rice is central to the histories and cultures of the people of Southeast Asia, but just how much does the region produce?

Well, thanks to the good folk at the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service and their publication Southeast Asia Projected To Remain Top Rice Exporter located here, the following graphic gives you some idea.


Nevertheless the graph gives little indication how significant the Southeast Asian harvests are as a compoent of the global total. Well, the USDA-ERS has an answer there too.


Super observant readers will note that I retained the tag human rights based on my suspicion that access to rice is a highly potent political concept in many Southeast Asian cultures. I will return to this interesting and important topic in a future post.