31 March 2005

Another essay ...

This time it is on whether Asian Foreign Policies are basically Trade Policies.

This essay took a lot of time cos I have to compile statistics and create tables and graphs to try to impress my lecturer. Hopefully I can stun him with the work I did and he would be more lenient in grading the paper :P

Sorry there is going to be another one more essay coming up. Sigh ... my life right now seems to be about writing essays rather than anything else. Sad really.

Here is my conclusion (edited for your viewing pleasure):

We can propose a general hypothesis about when a country’s foreign policies are dominated by trade policies. Trade policies would dominate when a country, without much resource, enters the development phase. The country would want to maintain a peaceful environment to pursue its development objectives. This would most often entail a neutral and bland foreign policy as the country would not be able to properly separate economic and political goals. Trade policies would supersede its foreign policies especially if the country subscribes to an export oriented industrial policy. International environment and external influences also affect a country’s use of trade policies. The general orthodoxy of economic liberalism, coupled with the trend towards economic regionalism and bilateralism, has created an environment where trade issues are becoming more important. The military support of the US and its support for economic liberalism during the Cold War have also contributed to the dominance of trade policies among Asian foreign policies.

Presumably, when it becomes developed, the country will proceed to ‘higher’ forms of politics. However, Singapore will not change its reliance on trade policy, as the domestic constraints will always be present. Conversely, there may be a reverse in the dominance of trade policies in Japanese foreign policies. Japan exhibit signs of decreasing their reliance on trade policy and increasing the role of their military force. However, Japan’s shift to other non-trade policies tools will be a slow process. Moreover, the trend towards economic regionalism and bilateralism will continue to place a great importance on trade policies. Although many countries hope to engage China in trade activities and make it more economically interdependent, trade policies will not dominate Chinese foreign policies. The military force will remain an important instrument to execute Chinese foreign affairs. Short of a drastic change in international system, Asian countries without any alternative tools will continue to use trade policies.

22 March 2005

My Book Review

Been busy doing my assignments. Just completed a review on an interesting book about Singapore politics and the opposition parties.

The book is:

Mutalib, Hussin. (2003). PARTIES AND POLITICS: A Study of Opposition Parties and the PAP in Singapore. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.

Here is a sample of what I wrote:

Hussin Mutalib provides essential scholarly work on the opposition parties in Singapore. Prior to this book, little was written on the Singaporean opposition parties, even though since 1950 there are more than 18 registered opposition parties in Singapore. The next best works are the edited chapters by Rodan (1996a) and Yeo (2002). The lack of scholarly attention can be attributed to the general view that there is little value in investigating the opposition parties in Singapore since they only play a small role in the Singapore political system. Since the People’s Action Party (PAP) came into power in 1959, the party has dominated Singapore politics and has not hesitated to use their power to suppress the opposition...

Mutalib has been comprehensive in his presentation of Singapore politics and the opposition parties, but one wonders why he did not address two pertinent questions. First, given that the PAP controls the system and has won the majority of the popular votes in all elections, why is the PAP so desperate to obtain all the popular votes? The PAP has uses many tactics to ensure that the opposition gets as little votes as possible. Why not concede more ground to the opposition, up to the one quarter mark? Second, and more importantly, how does the opposition find the strength to continue their fights? The system places restrictions on their support; the PAP undermines their authority by implementing the NMP scheme; the public thinks that they cannot achieve much. Yet, they continue to contest in every election. One would wonder what will happen when the oppositions do tire of their campaigns. Would it even make a difference to Singapore politics?

21 March 2005

The Library is coming to your neighbourhood!!

Finally, a library is being built in my neighbourhood. After so many years of waiting, it is going to be completed by May 2005.

I remember that I emailed the National Library Board to ask WHY there was no public library in my neighbourhood because this is a growing neighbourhood and there are many schools in it too. It would be beneficial to build a library there. They replied that they are looking into it.

Well, that was about 6 years ago. Nice to know that they have took their time to study the feasibility of building a library there. How efficient these librarians must be :D

14 March 2005

The extent of my Boredom

I am reduced to doing 'cute' quizes instead of doing my work. Oh well, at least I have a somewhat balanced Brain.

Your Brain is 53.33% Female, 46.67% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female
You are both sensitive and savvy
Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed
But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

My New Phone

I just got a new phone :) Yes, I am giving in the middle class urges of upgrading my toys but it's not like I am riding the technology wave. This phone is at least one year old. Here is a pix:

At least now I can take photos of silly encounters. Now if only I can remove that stupid camera sound... Any ideas?

2 March 2005

Singapore's Dilemma

The Singapore government has a few problems with its social policy.
First, it wants to increase the population by increasing the
birhtrates of Singapore women. It seems that the government is trying
to perform some sort of eugenics by 'encouraging' their university
graduates to get together and create even smarter kids. Also, they
have the agency called Social Development Unit (SDU), which trys to
match up (wait for it ...) local University graduates. I always
thought that it would be more aptly named as Singapore Dating Unit,
keep the acronym, change the words. But incidentally, it has the same
purpose :D

Secondly, there is a growing gay communnity in Singapore. The gay
community is making their presence felt. The government also wants to
encourage more a more gay-friendly society. Not because they are open
and inclusive, but rather becuase they believe (and have read some
reports) that the more cosmopolitan and financially successful cities
have an open queer culture. For example, New York, Sydney, London.
However, recently the government seem to change their policy towards
accepting them.

So what got me thinking was IF science found a way to allow men to be
pregant and have children, I am sure that the Singapore government
welcome the gay community with open arms. The government can:

1. increase their population by 'encouraging' gay graduates to
procreate. And the government can involve the SDU in this mission too.

2. make or create the impression that Singapore is a cosmopolitan city.

Also, would it be better if Singapore's bio medical industry was the
first to develop the technique to impregnate men.

Wouldn't LEE be happy!!! :P