Monday, November 10, 2008

ASEAN Confidential



I came across this interesting study completed by Dr. Eric Thompson of National University of Singapore and Dr. Chulanee Thianthai of Chulalongkorn University to gauge regional awareness and identity among ASEAN residents. They have some interesting findings, are we like the European Union, how do we regard the ASEAN vision, do we feel collectively empowered or held back by the association. The survey covered 2,000 university students from all the ASEAN countries.

Q. I FEEL THAT I AM A CITIZEN OF ASEAN (Agree % / Disagree %)

Brunei 82.2 / 17.8

Cambodia 92.7 / 7.3

Indonesia 73 / 27
Laos 96 / 4
Malaysia 86.4 / 13.6

Myanmar 59.5 / 40.5

Philippines 69.6 / 30.4

Singapore 49.3 / 50.7
Thailand 67 / 33

Vietnam 91.7 / 8.3

average 76.8 / 23.2

Comments: This is a good start, the vast majority find that belonging to ASEAN is necessary and positive. Its an important association, it helps all countries in ASEAN to be "treated" properly and with more respect when they can move with one voice. The noted divergence is Myanmar naturally as ASEAN admitting Myanmar is akin to recognising the military junta, which has been terrorising the people of Burma. Thailand is surprising low on the YES votes as well, I see a lot of sympathisers with the Burma condition there or they feel they are always getting the raw end of the trade talks. The other surprising statistic is Singapore, they certainly feel they can perform better as a sole nation with a few million people. The Singapore YES figure is even lower than Myanmar, go figure the obstinacy and arrogance. Yea sure, wake up, Singapore government wants in so that they can defuse any intentions to invade or take over Singapore.

Q. MEMBERSHIP IN ASEAN IS BENEFICIAL TO MY COUNTRY
Brunei 85.3 / 14.7

Camboodia 96.3 /3.7

Indonesia 83.5 / 16.5

Laos 99 / 1
Malaysia 90.9 / 9.1
Myanmar 58.3 / 41.7

Philippines 94 / 6

Singapore 92 / 8

Thailand 89.5 / 10.5

Vietnam 96 / 4

average 88.5 / 11.5

Comments: Again its understandable for Myanmar to diverge. But look at the hypocrisy of Singapore. They do not feel they belonged to ASEAN but they think they are MUCH BETTER OFF economically by being in ASEAN. That's so Singaporean. Gee, this is supposed to be a neutral review but now looks like being a Singapore-bashing thing (again). At least we can quote this study when we are asked why we don't like Singapore.

Q. ASEAN COUNTRIES ARE SIMILAR CULTURALLY
Brunei 45.4 / 54.6

Cambodia 84.3 / 15.8

Indonesia 84 / 16

Laos 81 / 19

Malaysia 50.2 / 49.2

Myanmar 50.2 / 49.8

Philippines 78 / 22

Singapore 49.3 / 50.7

Thailand 73.5 / 26.5

Vietnam 78.4 / 21.6

average 67.4 / 32.6

Comments: This is very important I think because the countries that voted half-half shows up in countries where cultural differences are apparent, and in a large aspect accepted as well. The other countries would show a much more cohesive local viewpoint that they are one people as a country and culturally. Very interesting indeed.

Q. ASEAN COUNTRIES ARE SIMILAR ECONOMICALLY

Brunei 29.4 / 70.6
Cambodia 39.7 / 60.3

Indonesia 46.8 / 53.2

Laos 49.5 / 50.5

Malaysia 46.3 / 53.7

Myanmar 40.4 / 59.6

Philippines 34 / 66

Singapore 11.8 / 88.2

Thailand 44.5 / 55.5

Vietnam 54.4 / 45.6

average 39.7 / 60.3

Comments: I think this is revealing for different reasons. The countries that think that their own economy is more "sophisticated" and "value-add", would have a stronger DISAGREE votes, e.g. Singapore.

Q. ASEAN COUNTRIES ARE SIMILAR POLITICALLY

Brunei 23.4 / 76.6

Cambodia 50.7 / 49.3

Indonesia 49.6 / 50.4
Laos 44.2 / 55.8

Malaysia 29 / 71

Myanmar 28 / 72

Philippines 31.4 / 68.6

Singapore 13.3 / 86.7

Thailand 25.5 / 74.5

Vietnam 54 / 46

average 35 / 65

Comments: Western media would always find it convenient to lump th entire region as one politically and that pisses me off no end. Each country has its own varying levels of democracy. It might not be a two party system, some are even dictatorial, there is varying levels of paternalism in politics. You may generalise a bit in saying that corruption is rife (with the exception of Singapore). As a whole, we have a lot of growing up to do politically. Each with its own set of problems and issues. Hence is it any wonder that the first rule for admission into ASEAN is that "we do not question country politics". Naturally in a group of very ugly girlfriends, they will not want to hold a beauty contest.

p/s photo: Taw Natoporn Taemeeruk

1 comment:

Andrew Chua said...

Maybe Singaporeans actually do want to join in, but feel that they do not really belong because they are sometimes bullied and made to feel like unwelcome outsiders.