The keys to China’s success


China National Day_Female guard  Female Honor Guards train for National Day celebration Video: http://t.cn/RhmCK8o

The institutional system and decision-making capabilities of democratic centralism have proven to be the country’s advantage

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the 60th anniversary of the establishment of people’s congress system and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. In the past 65 years China has developed rapidly and has made great achievements. Democratic centralism is the core mechanism of the China model, the key to the China miracle, and China’s advantage compared with other major developing countries.

China is still a developing country, and it lags behind the developed countries in many aspects. But it would be wrong to always attribute the developed countries’ achievements to their democratic system. It’s also wrong to deny China’s success because of some partial setbacks or mistakes and to blame these on China’s democratic system.

Democratic centralism is an institutional system as well as a decision-making model. Democratic centralism is an organization principle of the governing Communist Party of China, as well as national organizations, which links the CPC and the national mechanism based on the people’s congress system.

Under democratic centralism, the decision-making process is first democratic discussion and then consensus on opinions on a democratic basis, which guarantees the decision-making process responds to public opinion to the greatest extent.

Currently there are two major political systems in the world: democratic centralism and representative democracy. If we want to make a comparison between the two systems, we should first make sure the premise of “comparability” holds. In other words, China should be compared with those developing countries that also have a long history, huge population and suffered a long time as a colony or semi-colony.

We can divide all the 12 countries with populations of more than 100 million into three groups. The first contains developed countries such as the United States and Japan, whose development is not due to representative democracy, but freedom of speech, rule of law, a market economy and exploitation of other countries.

The second group contains countries that have turned to representative democracy such as Russia. In the 1990s, the former Soviet Union fell apart and terrorism was widespread. The public called for Vladimir Putin’s “controllable democracy”, which has enabled Russia to revive.

The third group contains those developing countries that were colonized for a long time, such as Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Representative democracy is the bottleneck for most of these countries’ development and their people’s welfare because of strong social forces and weak national power. The political organizations and family forces behind representative democracy make local social forces in these countries ever stronger, while national power is often too weak to turn national will into reality in this political system.

Some Western people compare India with China and expect India, the largest democracy according to the West’s definition, to surpass China someday because they believe that representative democracy is the biggest advantage of India.

Yet in the Human Development Index, China has risen from the rank of 101 in 2001 to the rank of 91 in 2014, while India has dropped from 122 in 2001 to 135 in 2014. In the Poverty Population Index, 11.8 percent of China’s population is below the international poverty line, while the percentage of India is 32.68. In the Corruption Perceptions Index, China ranks 80th while India ranks 96th. In the Ease of Business Index, China ranks 90th while India ranks 134th. In 2013, China’s per capita GDP was $6,629, which is more than four times the $1,592 of India. The gap of per capita GDP between China and India is larger than two decades ago.

Why has the gap between China and India become larger? India is a democratic society but still has some feudal legacies, and the unfairness under feudalism can hardly accelerate market economy development. As to its “superior” political system, Indian-American political commentator Fareed Zakaria describes it as “bandit democracy”. That means, a candidate who committed a crime yesterday may be elected today. India has about 2,000 parties. The country’s high degree of fragmentation means it fails to propel public policies that benefit its citizens. The representative democracy of India is fragmented democracy that lacks authoritative policy execution.

Compared with the major developing countries that practice representative democracy, China’s centralized democracy guarantees freedom, autonomy, a market economy and also authoritative governmental organizations. China has a lead in governance compared with other major developing countries mainly because of democratic centralism.

Democratic centralism has gone through the first stage during the revolutionary period, the second stage during the first three decades after the founding of New China, and the third stage during the three decades after reform and opening-up. From history and reality we can clearly see the advantages of this political system.

By Yang Guangbin (China Daily)/Asia News Network

The author is a professor of political studies with Renmin University of China.

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17th Asia Games 2014 Medal Tally – 30/9/14

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 China 120 76 58 254
2 Korea 50 53 59 162
3 Japan 37 50 54 141
4 Kazakhstan 15 16 24 55
5 Iran 12 11 10 33
6 DPR Korea 8 10 11 29
7 Qatar 8 0 3 11
8 Chinese Taipei 8 8 14 30
9 Thailand 7 4 14 25
10 India 6 8 31 45
11 Uzbekistan 5 5 13 23
12 Hong Kong 4 6 20 30
13 Mongolia 4 4 10 18
14 Malaysia 3 9 9 21
15 Bahrain 3 5 1 9
16 Indonesia 3 4 7 14
17 Myanmar 2 1 0 3
18 Vietnam 1 9 20 30
19 Singapore 1 4 7 12
20 Kuwait 1 3 2 6
21 Saudi Arabia 1 1 0 2
22 Tajikistan 1 1 0 2
23 Pakistan 1 0 1 2
24 UAE 1 0 1 2
25 Macau 0 3 0 3
26 Kyrgyzstan 0 2 2 4
27 Philippines 0 2 2 4
28 Turkmenistan 0 1 2 3
29 Laos 0 1 1 2
30 Bangladesh 0 1 0 1
31 Lebanon 0 1 0 1
32 Iraq 0 0 2 2
33 Sri Lanka 0 0 1 1

India’s Mars success boosts space research


 

India Mars_ModiIndia’s Mangalyaan probe entered orbit around Mars Wednesday morning, which has been hailed by the public throughout the country. People across India, from the authorities to media outlets, feel proud of the fact that India has become the fourth power to put a satellite into orbit around Mars after the US, Russia and Europe. The Indian public fully expressed their elation at having surpassed China in Mars exploration. China’s first Mars exploratory probe, Yinghuo-1, went missing one year after its launch in 2011. There is rhetoric on India’s Internet that the success of Mangalyaan is pouring salt into China’s wounds, which, however, is too serious and strong a characterization.

Apparently, China will not feel jealous of Mangalyaan entering Mars orbit. Chinese people understand that they boast much more advanced technological, economic and social development than India does.

Actually, Chinese people have myriad reasons to feel delighted at the success of the Mangalyaan probe alongside Indian people. If a country that is relatively backward in scientific research is able to send a probe to Mars, it is highly possible that Yinghuo-2 may succeed in the future.

No country can claim to be a leader in every arena. India has proved this point in its competition with China.

When poor nations participate in the space race, they are often sneered at by others and criticized domestically as well.

India sees itself as a major power that is supposed to do something “irrelevant with people’s interests” in the eyes of populists. A small country can be composed of schools, hospitals, restaurants and washrooms, while a big one must possess much more advanced technology such as satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as constantly seek technological breakthroughs.

India’s space exploration endeavor, against its prevailing social conditions, should be reflected upon by Chinese people. China’s space program and the relevance to its social development level were subjected to intensive Western public scrutiny, but the West takes China’s competitiveness in space seriously now. India reminds us of the importance of taking the first step.

Though Yinghuo-1 was outperformed by Mangalyaan, China’s aerospace sector has made precious achievements in space, such as manned spaceflight and building space stations. Without these previous efforts, we will still be absent in some core fields.

Mangalyaan brings us more affirmation than a sense of competition. Among Net users from both countries, acrimonious remarks are heard against each other, creating an impression that China and India are mired in deep hostility.

But any real conflict of interest between the two is much less serious. Bilateral cooperation is entering the prime stage.

Source: Global Times Published: 2014-9-25

Global infrastructure investment: Emerging markets are winning; Singapore #1, Malaysia Asia #2


Arcadis
Emerging markets are winning the race to attract global infrastructure investment- Singapore, Qatar & UAE top theARCADIS Global Infrastructure Investment Indexranking- UK, USA are moving up the index, but need to take urgent action to attract greater funding to replace their aging infrastructure- Emerging markets including Philippines and Indonesia are rising up the index

Singapore is the most attractive market in the world for infrastructure investment, according to ARCADIS, the leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm.  Qatar and UAE completed the top three with their strong business environments, healthy pipelines of development work and growing economies, making them attractive to investors, including pension funds and banks.

The findings come from the second ARCADIS Global Infrastructure Investment Index which ranks 41 countries by their attractiveness to investors in infrastructure.  In order to gauge their appeal the study looked at various issues including the ease of doing business in each market, tax rates, GDP per capita, government policy, the quality of the existing infrastructure and the availability of debt finance. Combining all of these factors provided a strong overview of the risk profile for each market and how attractive each one is likely to be to potential investors.

Rob Mooren, Global Director of Infrastructure at ARCADIS said: “Good infrastructure is important for the long term economic development of a country.  Many governments are struggling to finance infrastructure investments.  As traditional debt markets are now harder to access, governments need to find alternative finance and agree to progressing projects.  By encouraging private finance into infrastructure, governments can remain globally competitive and meet their social and economic objectives.”

The GIII 2014 ranks the following as the top ten most attractive countries for infrastructure investment in 2014.  The difference from their 2012 ranking is in brackets:

 2014  Country Difference 2012
 1.  Singapore  (=)
 2.  Qatar  (=)
 3.  UAE  (+1)
 4.  Canada  (-1)
 5.  Sweden  (=)
 6.  Norway  (=)
 7.  Malaysia  (=)
 8.  USA  (+3)
 9.  Australia  (-1)
 10.  UK  (+3)

Singapore attractive, but better investment opportunities may lie elsewhere

Singapore’s integrated strategic plan linking infrastructure planning with business and social requirements helped it to retain its top position in the index.  However, the government self-finances most major projects so investment opportunities are limited.  Therefore other countries with major investment plans such as Qatar and the UAE, and emerging Asian markets such as Malaysia and the Philippines are considered more promising for investors.

USA and UK enter top ten, but must deliver against pipeline promise

The USA and the UK entered the top 10 for the first time through improvements in their economies as well as the growing need for investment in infrastructure.  However, both countries must work hard to attract private investment funds, as they compete against countries that provide more clarity on government infrastructure policy and are able to act on their promises to delivery major projects.

Continental European countries struggling to attract finance

Continental European countries present a mixed picture in their attractiveness to investors. At the top of the Continental European table, low risk markets like Sweden and Norway remain stable at fifth and sixth. Both have highly efficient business environments with transparency in regulation and efficient legal systems. Continental European countries such as Holland, France and Italy are either lacking public finance needed to upgrade their ageing infrastructure or have a lack of commitment from their governments to deliver proposed projects.  They have therefore slipped down the rankings.

Latin America countries vary in attractiveness

Chile is the highest placed Latin America country at 13th position, but its potential is limited by its size. In 2013 its construction market was estimated to be worth US$41.8billion but this is highly concentrated in mining.  Brazil is placed nearer the bottom of the ranking in 32nd place, indicating that some of the difficulties experienced with delayed programs have the potential to be risky for investors.

Rob Mooren continued: “A key difference that we have seen in the Asian and Middle Eastern markets is that those countries that have a clear integrated strategy tying infrastructure development plans to business and economic objectives have higher rankings.  This gives long term clarity to investors and is something that developed markets would do well to copy if they are to succeed in attracting more private finance into infrastructure.”

The report also explored the factors that governments, infrastructure owners and operators need to consider in order to attract private finance.  It suggested the structuring of infrastructure projects is key to this. For example, in project finance, mature markets like Canada, Australia, the US and the UK have sponsors that understand the pricing of assets, are aware of the rates of return expected and appreciate the key risks involved, making it easier to attract infrastructure investment. These markets have experienced the early challenges of introducing PPP and PFI and have learned what to expect from both an investor and political perspective

Rob Mooren concluded: “Markets that have created the right political environment committed to infrastructure development, can demonstrate the economic conditions required to sustain long term growth.  They have attractively structured infrastructure schemes which will stay ahead of the competition when it comes to attracting the pool of international investors who are increasingly considering this asset class.”

.

The full report can be downloaded here  View infographic here:
   

Arcadis_Infrasture

- Andy Rowlands, Head of Corporate Communications at ARCADIS

 

M’sia second in Asia for infrastructure investment

Malaysia has been ranked second in the Asian region in terms of being an attractive market for investment in infrastructure, according to Arcadis.

Infrastructure_MalaysiaThe leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm said Malaysia scores highly across the investment criteria, placing it ahead of other large regional economies like Japan, China and South Korea.

Globally, Malaysia is placed at the 7th position, ahead of the US, Australia and United Kingdom.

The findings come from the second Global Infrastructure Investment Index, where it looked at various factors including the ease of doing business in each market, tax rates, GDP per-capita, government policy, quality of existing infrastructure and the availability of debt finance.

Arcadis Head of Infrastructure for Asia Richard Warburton said that infrastructure is the backbone of a country and a catalyst for its long-term economic development.

With Malaysia’s average annual population growth rate of 1.4%, he said, investment in new infrastructure will be imperative.

“Combined with Malaysia’s goal of a high-income status by 2020, plans are already underway for specific cities and urban clusters under Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley to be developed into vibrant, productive and liveable cities that are comparable to other major cities in the world.

The top 10 most attractive countries in Asia Pacific for infrastructure investment this year are Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, India and Philippine.

Warburton said countries that have created the right political environment for sustained long-term economic growth and have attractively structured infrastructure schemes will stay ahead of the competition to attract international inventions.

Sources: TheSundaily/BERNAMA/PropertyGuru

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Asian Games Incheon 2014 South Korea; I dream of South Korea


 

Asian Games 2014-IncheonINCHEON — The 2014 Asian Games officially opened in this western port

city of South Koera on Friday evening, attracting more than 14,000
athletes and officials from 45 countries and regions across the
continent.

South Korean president Park Geun-hye declared the games open in front of a watching IOC chief Thomas Bach.

The 17th Asian Games, which will run through Oct. 4, offer 439 gold medals in 36 sports.

The Incheon Asiad is the third continental event hosted by South Korea, following the Seoul Asiad in 1986 and the Busan Games in 2002.

17th Asian Games open in Incheon, South Korea
Hightlights from Incheon Asian Games opening ceremony

17th Asian Games open in Incheon, South KoreaChina aims to dominate the Asian Games medal table for the ninth consecutive time as it sends more than 1,300 athletes and officials for the continent’s premier sporting event.

Hightlights from Incheon Asian Games opening ceremony >>

For the Incheon Games, the 897-athlete China Team, its largest ever contingent for any Games overseas, will participate in all 36 sports but kabbadi, featuring 33 Olympic champions.

Liu Peng, chef de mission of the Chinese delegation for the Incheon Asian Games, said that “we’ve been the leaders on both medals and gold medal tables of Asian Games, and we want to keep on winning.”

“The Asian Games are not only a competition but a platform for countries and regions from all over the continent to comunicate, cooperate, exchange opinions and better understanding each other,” said Liu.

“Therefore, we expect more than just titles and medals and No. 1 position in the tally from our athletes, but hope they will show fighting spirit and sportsmanship at the games,” added Liu.

Xiao Tian, the deputy chef de mission of the Chinese team, said,

“We consider the Asian Games an important part of our preparation for the 2016 Rio de Janerio Olympic Games.”

Since the 1982 games in New Delhi, China has topped every Asiad medal table, with its largest harvest of 199 golds from the Guangzhou Asiad four years ago.

For South Korea, the 1,068-member squad for the Incheon Games is its largest-ever Asiad delegation, including 831 athletes who will compete in all 36 sports.

With home turf advantage, the hosts hope to win more than 90 gold medals in Incheon to strengthen their second overall position which they occupied since the 1998 Bangkok Asiad in their seesaw battle against Japan.

Meanwhile, three countries are hoping for their first-ever podium finish at the continent’s quadrennial sports event, namely Bhutan and the Maldives, both at their seventh outing, as well as East Timor, which is in its fourth Asian Games.

The Asian Games was first held in 1951, and China and Japan are the only two nations to have finished first in the medal standings.

In terms of overall gold medals, China leads Japan by 1,191 to 910, while South Korea ranks third at 617. – Xinhua


I dream of South Korea

South Korea is at the Crossroads. She will become a helpless victim if she loses her sense of direction

Last night, I had a troubled sleep, tossing and turning, having one nightmare after another. In my dream I found myself in 2020 on the unified Korean Peninsula. I was overjoyed because the long-cherished dream of unification had come true at last. Soon, however, I found that some radical changes had taken place during the unification process. Among them, South Korea had turned into a communist country due to the large number of pro-North people in the South who naively and paradoxically supported Marxism and socialism, even though they relished the sweet fruits of the capitalist economy.

In the unified Korea, everyone had finally become equal, as many South Koreans had long wanted, not only in class but also in wealth. No one was allowed to be smarter than anyone else, and accordingly, all the universities in Korea bore the name of the prime university, Seoul National University. No one was permitted to be richer than anyone else either. Consequently, everybody was equally mediocre and destitute in Korea. Even better, Korea had become a workers’ paradise, where your job came with a lifetime warranty regardless of your performance and competence.

Nevertheless, I found the communist system had some serious flaws and downsides. As the nation had adopted the food rationing system, the government had turned into Big Brother and controlled people’s lives. Naturally, everybody was under constant surveillance and no one was allowed freedom of speech or of the press. Another problem with the communist regime was that it had a hierarchy instead of classes, and thus there were still quite a few privileged people – the party members and political leaders.

Deeply disturbed, I fell asleep and woke up in 2020 again, but this time in a different timeline. I found the Korean Peninsula was at war. Washington had made the same mistake that it had made just before the Korean War; it had pulled back the US troops from South Korea. In an effort to exercise a restraining influence on China’s expansion policy in Asia, the US had formed alliances with Japan, Australia and India, but not South Korea. Disappointed in South Korea’s policy of leaning heavily on China, the US government had retaliated by withdrawing her troops from South Korea.

As soon as the US troops had left, North Korea launched an attack on South Korea with numerous hidden artillery and biochemical weapons that eventually devastated the whole country. Many South Korean soldiers, who belonged to the Soft Generation and whose morale was low due to pervasive violence in military barracks, were not capable of fighting back.

While trying very hard to wake up from these bad dreams, I tumbled into another nightmare. I woke up in another timeline, in 2020 again.

This time, I found everyone was learning and speaking Chinese, as China impudently claimed that the Korean Peninsula had been part of China in ancient times and still was. Not realising what would happen to us, we Koreans had naively chosen China over Japan and the States as an ally.

Frustrated by the series of nightmares, I fell asleep again, intensely wishing to have a sweet, beautiful dream this time. When I woke up in 2020 again, I finally found South Korea had become a peaceful, advanced country without factional skirmishes or ideological brawls. An affluent society, South Korea served as a role model due to its miraculous economic success and democratisation.

Skilfully maximising her geopolitical situation, South Korea had emerged as a powerful, influential nation that earned respect and admiration from her neighbours.

The 1988 movie Sliding Doors shows two different futures the protagonist could experience depending on whether or not she catches a subway train. Our future, too, will be entirely different depending on whether or not we choose the right path at the right moment. Indeed, South Korea is at the crossroads now and thus should decide which way to go. If she loses her sense of direction, she will be inevitably caught in the crossfire and victimised helplessly.

Last night, I was wide awake in the middle of the night, sweating from bad dreams and worrying about the future of Korea. In my nightmares, Korea had headed in the wrong direction and suffered the consequences.

Waking up in 2014, I am so relieved that we still have a chance to prevent a disastrous future by choosing the right path.

By Kim Seong-Kon The Korea Herald

Kim Seong-kon is a professor emeritus of English at Seoul National University and president of the Literature Translation Institute of Korea.

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Asian Games 2014 Medals Tally

Last Updated on : 9/23/2014 7:18:25 AM
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 China 27 14 18 59
2 Korea 14 16 16 46
3 Japan 13 13 16 42
4 Mongolia 3 3 6 12
5 DPR Korea 3 3 4 10
6 Kazakhstan 2 2 6 10
7 Myanmar 2 0 0 2
8 Vietnam 1 2 4 7
9 Iran 1 2 0 3
10 Chinese Taipei 1 1 5 7
11 Malaysia 1 1 2 4
12 Hong Kong 1 0 7 8
13 India 1 0 6 7
14 Indonesia 0 3 1 4
15 Macau 0 3 0 3
16 Kuwait 0 2 0 2
17 Uzbekistan 0 1 4 5
18 Singapore 0 1 3 4
19 Laos 0 1 0 1
19 Lebanon 0 1 0 1
Last Updated on : 9/23/2014 7:18:25 AM

How can China forget ‘9/18′ Japanese militarists’ “Mukden Incident” (望海楼) ?


On Sep. 18 of every year, the Shenyang ‘9/18’ historical museum holds a ceremony of sounding the alarm. The 14 bells and the 3-minute air defense warning are always an emotional moment for China. (People’s Daily/He Yong)


On Sept. 18, 1931, Japanese troops blew up a section of railway near
Shenyang that was under their control. They then accused Chinese troops
of sabotaging the railway to create a pretext for war. Later that
evening, they bombarded the barracks of Chinese troops near Shenyang,
starting a large-scale armed invasion of northeast China.

On July 7, 1937, the Lugouqiao Incident occurred, and the nationwide War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression started.

83 years ago, Japanese militarists planned the ‘Liutiaohu’ event and then invaded northeastern China, unleashing full-scale aggression against China. However, this ‘9/18’ event has been deliberately obscured and ignored by Japan. There are only a few words about the event in the Hiroshima atomic bomb data repository: “Japan started its war against China starting on 18th September.” http://english.cntv.cn/special/sept3victoryday/history1931_1945/index.shtml

There are a number of equivocal accounts of the war crimes committed by Japan against China. After the Second World War, unreformed Japanese militarists refused to acknowledge what they had done in the war. They coveted China’s land and resources then, and the Japanese government’s conduct and its policies still indicate an attachment to militarism. The militarists dug their own grave by waging war against China. A militarist mindset will never be of benefit to Japan.

Why was China ravaged for years by Japan, which is only one thirtieth the size of China? Because Jiang Jieshi’s government pursued a policy of non-resistance, even though it had greater military power than its Japanese adversary.

Most of Jiang Jieshi’s troops withdrew without fighting, leaving southeastern China to fall into the hands of Japanese troops in just four months and 18 days. The great powers were busy trying to carve up poverty-stricken China. A backward China was bound to be mauled. These are valuable lessons to be learnt from history.

The victory gained by China in its anti-aggression war against Japan has created a solid foundation for its rejuvenation. 14 years of arduous war cultivated the Chinese people’s anti-aggression spirit. China’s national strength is growing, and so is its national status. But China is still facing challenges from home and abroad, so we must remain vigilant against potential threats even in times of safety. As long as the Chinese people remain united in the spirit of anti-aggression, we can overcome any difficulties and realize China’s dream.

By Hua Yisheng – This article was edited and translated from 《“九一八” 我们怎能忘记(望海楼)》, source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition

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Secessionism rising in the West; Scotland independence an inconvenient possibility; Scots choose to stay with UK


Scotland Independence
By Luo Jie

Tide of secessionism rising in the West

The Scottish independence referendum has come as a shock to the world at large. Even if the result of the vote vetoes independence for Scotland and maintains the unity of the UK, it is not so much a false alarm as a tremor shaking the whole Western system.

The UK is a representative country in the Western world. Despite the fact that the disintegration of the British Empire saw the painful departure of most of its colonies, the historic referendum on Scottish independence jeopardizes the integrity of its homeland. It is the fiercest outbreak of secessionism that has plagued major European countries in recent years.

The referendum is different from massive riots or disturbances in which immigrants acted as the main forces. It displays in a direct way a division in United Kingdom society. It is a showdown with the purpose of getting a “divorce.”

The referendum conveys a signal that the Western system has taken on numbness and lost efficacy in dealing with conundrums. People in the rest of the UK did not take seriously the term “Scottish independence” years ago, which, however, has kept swelling and become a major factor for the UK’s destiny. UK Prime Minister David Cameron made an appeal for Scotland to stay within the union and the US President also urged Scots to vote against independence, hoping the UK “remains strong, robust and united.” Western countries are making concerted efforts to save a united UK.

There is also secessionism in the Oriental world, notably in China, India and Russia, where, however, legal, political and moral systems play an effective role. Liberal practices in the UK might have worked in the past, but now are facing immense uncertainty.

Since the end of the Cold War, the West has come to the pinnacle of power step by step, while the Oriental world has been threatened by myriad crises. Nonetheless, emerging countries have flourished now after more than 20 years has passed. They have overcome deadly shocks and developed an effective control system.

There are signs that the West has started feeling anxious in front of the collective competition of emerging economies. Western society now apparently lacks confidence in an unprecedented way. Terms like solidarity, cooperation and diligence have long disappeared from the dictionary of many Westerners, who instead pursue maximized profits by using financial or political means.

Meanwhile, the vigor of the Oriental world is deeply rooted in people’s hard work and political progress gained at the cost of bitter lessons in the past. This represents a development trend of the world: Human society is seeing narrower gaps, which will likely be the essence of globalization.

Source:Global Times Editorial

Scotland: An inconvenient possibility 

Scotland Independence1

William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, David Cameron.

It’s ironic but if there is a yes vote in the referendum in Scotland on Thursday, and it is once again ruled from Edinburgh rather than London, it will be in large part thanks to David Cameron, the incumbent prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not only did he have to give his government’s consent for the referendum to go ahead, but he also ruled out the option of what is now being referred to as devo-max, the devolving of more powers to the Scottish parliament, and instead insisted on a straight yes or no choice to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

With the opinion polls at the time showing a healthy majority in favor of maintaining the Union, it was decided a straight yes/no independence referendum would result in vote in favor of keeping the union. However, that is looking a lot less like a sure bet now, with the polls showing the yes and no votes running neck and neck.

Just 10 days before the referendum, with the polls showing an upswing in people saying they intended to vote yes, the three main English parties struck a deal and pledged to give more powers to the Scottish parliament. But no details have been forthcoming of what this entails and no timetable presented. So it will probably not sway the minds of many still undecided voters.

If there is a yes vote, the Scottish government will have to set in motion the process for a written constitution, and there are hard negotiations that will need to be completed, not least on key issues such as a currency union, Scotland’s share of the UK’s national debt, and what will happen to the four submarines carrying missiles armed with Trident nuclear warheads that are stationed in Scotland, before the proposed independence date of March 24, 2016.

An independent Scotland will also have to negotiate for membership of NATO and the European Union. The rest of the UK, or rUK as it is known, would retain membership of NATO and the UN Security Council, as the government in London would retain control of Trident, but there would be growing pressure from those living in some cloud-cuckoo land of an imperial past for it to opt out of the EU.

Those claiming that Scotland is better off as part of the UK have been suggesting it is not a foregone conclusion that an independent Scotland will be able to join the EU. They have also tried to paint a dire picture of the future with the support of the oil companies and big banks, which have threatened to head south.

However, while independence does mean uncertainties, most of which can and will be resolved through negotiation, it also offers new opportunities. Despite the no camp’s unproven portents of doom, there is a belief among many, not just in Scotland, but elsewhere in the UK, that too much power is centralized in Westminster, and it favors the wealthy at the expense of the poor. The wealth gap continues to widen and this is evident not just in Scotland, but also elsewhere in the UK.

With a growing number of people struggling to pay their bills, there is a perception that those supposed to safeguard their interests are too busy finding ways to pad their claims for expenses and voting for their own pay rises to listen to their concerns. It has been said only half in jest that it is London and the South East of England that should go independent, because they are far removed in mindset from the more community based values of the rest of UK.

The Better Together pro-unionists have tried to portray the yes voters as hearts-over-minds anti-English nationalists nursing historical hurts as well as present grievances. Yet to many in Scotland, not just Scots, but residents of other nationalities, including English, better together means people in Scotland working together for a fairer society, one that is not victim to the whims of the unchecked free-market pursuit of profit. The central question for many is which option, a business-as-usual more-of-the-same no vote or an uncertain-hopes-for-the-future yes vote, offers the best chance of creating a more caring and equitable society.

To overseas observers who say Scotland would become irrelevant if it votes for independence and the UK diminished in stature without Scotland, most of those who intend to vote yes might reply, that’s just fine; Scotland is just a small country on the fringe of Europe that doesn’t need or want to strut upon the world stage – something its leaders should bear in mind if the vote is yes.

By Hannay Richards (China Daily)/Asia News Network

Cameron thanks Scots for choosing to stay, promises a more unified UK

 UK Prime Minister David Cameron is now delivering a speech. Let’s go live to see what he is saying.

Malays are lazy, dishonest and prefer to be Mat Rempit, Tun Dr Mahathir lamented!


Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malays are still unwilling to change their “lazy” ways

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malays in the country are lazy, dishonest and complacent.

In an exclusive interview with Mingguan Malaysia, Dr Mahathir said Malay men are also lagging behind the women, with many of them preferring to become ‘Mat Rempits’.

“The Malays are lazy and they are not interested in studying. If we go to the universities, 70% of the students are women, so where are the men?,” he asked.

“They prefer to become Mat Rempit, that is why I said they are lazy,” Dr Mahathir was quoted in the report.

In the interview, the longest serving former premier had also said that the largest race in Malaysia has not changed their “lazy” ways and also lamented over the fact that he has not been able to change that during his tenure as Prime Minister.

“I have never wanted to fool myself. If they’re lazy, I call them lazy. If people don’t like it, then be it. When I was UMNO president, I used to nag all the time,” he said commenting on the criticisms he received over his comments.

Dr. Mahathir also added that apart from being lazy, the Malays tend to be dishonest where money is concerned, and often forget themselves when they have money.

“Now I have a bakery. I want to say honestly, I am ashamed because among the Malay, Chinese or Burmese or any other workers, the Malay ones sometimes when they see money, they forget themselves, they become dishonest,” he said.

He said he was forced to sack many of his Malay staff working in The Loaf, his Japanese-inspired bakery, for swindling money.

In the interview, Dr Mahathir also said that Malays often refuse to pay their debts, although they have the means to do so.

“How many Malays are there who refuse to settle their debts? They receive scholarships and student loans but refuse to pay back.

This is not a question of being unable to, they have the money but just refuse to honour their commitments. We must be honest,” he was quoted.

He said this was the reason why many contacts are being awarded to the Chinese, who he said are more trustworthy, than the Malays.

“We have to be trustworthy so people will give contracts to us. When we want to give contracts, we give to the Chinese instead because we know they will do their work properly. This is our weakness, we are not trustworthy.”

He said Malays should also take the Japanese as an example to become better.

“Why did I introduce the Look East policy in 1982? It was because I admired the Japanese for their attitude when it came to work,” he said.

Contributed by Izza Izelan, Astro Awani September 14, 2014

 

Mahathir Mohamad_Laxy Malays The familiar lamentations of Dr Mahahir

The former premier’s latest remarks about ‘lazy Malays’ cause a stir among Malaysians.

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad used to have only two upmarket bakery outlets known as The Loaf – one in the picturesque Telaga Harbour, where luxury yachts berth in Pulau Langkawi, and the other at Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.

The number of his outlets, which sell breads and pastries using Japanese techniques, has grown to more than five. As such, he has to hire more staff.

A few months ago, a manager was caught stealing money from the cash register.

The suspicion began when the daily collection was not deposited into the bank. The Malay manager was caught red-handed and the incident infuriated Dr Mahathir.

“I am operating a bakery and have given many opportunities to Malays to hold management positions. Unfortunately, time and time again, honesty and integrity appear to be lacking as there have been staff who keep stealing money,” he said at the launch of the book Wahai Melayu: Allah Tak Akan Ubah Nasib Melayu Kalau Kita Tak Ubah Nasib Kita Sendiri by Anas Zubedy.

“They do not seem to understand that it is wrong to take what is not theirs; they do not think of the big picture or the long term,” he said.

The statesman repeated the criticism in an interview with Utusan Malaysia last Sunday.

That led to various interpretations, particularly on his criticism of the leadership, especially the current prime minister, especially at a time when the Umno general assembly is coming up.

But those present at the book launch believe that his remarks were in line with what he has consistently brought up, whenever the occasion suited it. They dismissed any suspicion of political conspiracy.

The book by Anas, a writer and speaker on motivation, is aimed at young Malay entrepreneurs. In the foreword, the author debunks the myth that the Malays are a lazy race who are only good in politics and the arts, but not in business.

“These are self-limiting artificial boundaries and we ought to break them,” he writes.

“What we need to do is to find the right motivation and inspiration for a specific culture like the Malays.”

But in his hard-hitting speech, Dr Mahathir spent 20 minutes arguing that Malays “lack honesty and inte­grity” and that they fail to “handle money properly” unlike the Chinese or even Myanmar nationals.

Ethnic Chinese, he said, were more honest compared to native Malays where money is concerned. He said these were the reasons for the Malays’ economic failures.

“We have to be trustworthy so people will give contracts to us. When we want to give contracts, we give to the Chinese instead because we know they will do their work properly. This is our weakness – not being trustworthy,” he added.

“If we fail, we should not blame anyone but ourselves. We have failed because we did not do what was right,” he said.

In the Utusan interview, Dr Maha­thir said Malay men were still lazy, citing the gender imbalance at institutions of higher learning, where the majority was women.

“They (the men) are not interested in studying and revising. If we go to the universities, 70% of the students are women. Where are the men?”

“They prefer to be Mat Rempit, that is why I said they are lazy.”

Dr Mahathir’s comments raised a storm, with some in social media suggesting that he should be arrested for sedition. The Selangor chapter of Malay rights group Perkasa, however, termed his remarks as “father­­ly advice”.

Veteran journalist Datuk Kadir Ja­­sin reportedly said people should not get upset or sulk over Dr Maha­thir’s remarks, especially with regards to the Malays being lazy, as there were those who were hardworking and excelled in whatever they did.

“Give them a crutch and they will turn it into a paddle and a pillar,” he said, adding that there were those from the community who had succeeded and made a name for themselves in the country and all over the world.

Citing legendary warrior Hang Tuah’s famous rallying cry that Malays would not vanish from the world, Kadir said the Malays were rulers and made up the bulk of the civil service, such as the police force, Customs and Immigration departments, and the teaching profession.

Not all Malaysians would agree with Dr Mahathir’s assessment, with some saying he is still caught up in racial stereotyping, even if it is aimed at his own community.

Nobody in his right mind would say Malays are lazy, Chinese are greedy, or Indians are disho­nest. In fact, few Malaysians, especially the younger ones, would link any race in Malaysia with any specific trait or even a vocation.

The NEP has, in many ways, succeeded in its two-pronged strategy of eradicating poverty for all Ma­­laysians as well as reducing and subsequently eliminating identification of race by economic function and geographical location.

Lazy and indolent natives were a favourite theme of 19th century colonialists who wanted the natives to work at producing food while putting migrants to work on the modern economy for their benefits.

Thus grew the myth of “lazy” natives and this myth continued after independence and was even believed by some Malaysians. It was only put to rest by scholars like Syed Hussein Alatas, who wrote a seminal work The Myth of the Lazy Native to explain British colonial policies.

Dr Mahathir is, however, a smart man.

Not only was he the longest ser­ving prime minister, but he also turned the country into an economic powerhouse, and only smart people could achieve that.

He also believed in throwing good money at individual Malays in the hope that he could achieve a successful Malay entrepreneurial class in a short time.

Some of his efforts ended in failure while others succeeded – but the failures always got the bigger headlines.

Thus was born one of the great themes of his political life – that he had failed to change the Malay mindset and that they preferred to live poor in a rich country.

Thus was also born the phrase, Melayu Mudah Lupa (Malays forget easily).

But while such generalisations will guarantee headlines, the reality is that one simply cannot tar a whole race with the same brush, the way you tar a person or two.

Dr Mahathir might have repeated the “lazy native” syndrome perhaps to get the attention of the Malays, in particular Umno members who are in the midst of division meetings and passing resolutions in support of Islam, Malays and the rulers.

It is a given that even after his retire­ment, Dr Mahathir needs to be at the centre of national life. He needs to have everything revolving around him and needs to command the national dialogue.

So he relies on an old theme that is sure to spark a huge controversy – like the myth of the “lazy Malays”.

But Malaysians want to move on. They want to get out of this race trap and the least said about such stereotyping would be better for Malaysia.

Comments contributed by Baradan Kuppusamy The Star/Asia News Network

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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