For the past decade, the Chinese state has promoted the development of “mass entrepreneurship” by requiring all higher education institutions offer courses in innovation and entrepreneurship. But innovation and entrepreneurship requires creativity, critical thinking, and independence, characteristics seemingly at odds with government efforts to promote loyalty to the party-state.Read more
The birth of Bangladesh as an independent nation-state in 1971 was a remarkable moment in modern history. It was remarkable not only for its people’s lengthy fight for freedom but also because of the role history. It was remarkable not only for its people’s lengthy fight for freedom but also because of the role of the Bhola cyclone, an unforeseen natural disaster that accelerated Bangladesh’s separation from the rest of Pakistan. Yet the cyclone – and how it affected local, regional and global politics – has only received limited attention by the historians.Read more
In the middle of May, a sigh of relief went through the Vietnamese environmental civil society community. Nguy Thi Khanh announced on her Facebook page that she was home with family. Khanh, one of the best-known advocates for renewable energy in Vietnam, had been arrested in the beginning of 2022 for tax evasion. Before that, she was the director of the local NGO GreenID, the first Vietnamese to win the Goldman Environmental prize and her input on the energy transition was valued inside and outside Vietnam. Her arrest was a surprise to civil society actors.Read more
Education has long been an area of friction between the state and the Kachin people. Schools have become a site for ‘Burmanization’, the cultural imposition of the dominant Bamar ethnic group onto the country’s minorities in terms of language, cultures and historical narratives. In common with other ethnic minority organisations with high degrees of autonomy, the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) has been running its own secondary schools outside of state control.Read more
Prior to 2002, the idea that Japanese nationals were once abducted and transported back to North Korea was labelled as a conspiracy theory by the Kim regime. This was until the Japan-North Korea summit meeting held in Pyongyang on September 17, 2002. The Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had hoped for three outcomes: for North Korea to agree they will no longer seek compensation and reparations, but rather economic cooperation; for North Korea to pledge to maintain international agreements on its nuclear programme and the moratorium on its missile testing programme; and finally, for North Korea to acknowledge the 1970s and 1980s abductions of Japanese nationals (Hughes, 2002, p.61). Few people expected North Korea to formally acknowledge their crimes, making the events of the summit and of the months to follow even more astounding.Read more
On 11 March 2020, COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Subsequently, the pandemic impacted the lives of millions of people. It is widely accepted that the development of COVID-19 vaccines would be a significant step in controlling the pandemic.
As the COVID-19 vaccines also have triggered heated discussions on social media in the PRC, I conducted an online observation from 9 October 2020 to 9 February 2021 on Sina Weibo to collect data on discussions about COVID-19 vaccines.
In early 2023, the term “human mine” or “huminerals” (renkuang 人矿) has sparked a widespread discussion on the Chinese Internet (China Digital Times, 2023). The term first appeared in 1984 in the People’s Daily to describe Chinese workers as a kind of material resource for economic development. Forty years later, young talents in the high-tech industry have used the term to criticise how their lives are used as “consumables” and exploited continuously. What is the underlying logic behind the sudden popularity of the term? How do young talents in urban China experience their work and life?Read more
The 1st of October disaster at the football stadium on Java, in which 135 people lost their lives, is the second-worst footballing tragedy in history. Might it spark Indonesian police reform?Read more
Amidst global pandemic of COVID-19, online learning and teaching, video conferencing and online meetings are oftentimes treated as the new normal. Students, tutors, employees and supervisors are expected to accept it and perform as effectively as under face to face situation. However, online mode sustained over periods of longer time, e.g. several months, often results in decreased motivation, lesser ability to concentrate, and general fatigue. While exercise programs and other coping methods indoors are being suggested, there is still limited information available on best strategies to alleviate online learning challenges. Learning outdoors, when possible and relevant, would offer more comprehensive experience of inquiry and healing effects of nature that offers deep replenishment.Read more
What happens when the city you live in changes so rapidly that space melts into time and your memories can find no recognisable place to take hold? This kind of morphing urban reality was and is experienced by many in east Asian mega cities, where what cultural critic Dai Jinhua calls the “destructiveness of construction work” (“Imagined Nostalgia.” Boundary 2 24 (3), 1997: 146) is a defining factor. For cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taipei, the 1990s saw a new level of urban transformation that fundamentally affected quotidian ways of life and urban identities, a tendency that continued well into the 21st century. In her new monograph Sensing the Sinophone: Urban Memoryscapes in Contemporary Fiction, Astrid Møller-Olsen argues that fiction writing has the ability to capture both the sense of ongoing transformation and the complex and often ambiguous identity politics that follow.Read more