Archive for 2007

In The News

In Thailand: The Complexities of Vote-Buying

December 19, 2007

As Thailand approaches national elections, the government and election commission express increasing concern that the process will be subverted by massive vote-buying. Based on my experience in previous elections, that concern is probably justified. Over the past decades, there have been numerous attempts to combat vote-buying in Thailand, but none have been very successful. In […]

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In The News

Three Years Later, Conflicts in Tsunami Areas Have Taken Very Different Directions

December 19, 2007

The devastation of the 2004 tsunami came on the heels of two separate, decades-long conflicts between insurgent armies and the governments in Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia. These conflicts had led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but they progressed very differently after the disaster: Aceh moved toward peace, while Sri Lanka […]

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Notes from the Field

From Laos: Legal Aid on Wheels

December 19, 2007

In recent years, the Lao government has given increased attention to improving the rule of law. Yet the public still has a limited understanding of existing laws, citizen rights, the legal system, and the role of lawyers. This is especially true in remote areas of the country and among ethnic community populations where there is […]

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In The News

In Laos: Skilled Labor Shortage and No Remedy in Sight

December 12, 2007

A quick look through the Vientiane Times or other local newspapers in Laos reveals help-wanted ads for all sorts of professional positions, from engineers to managers to financial officers. With few exceptions, the ads clearly state they are looking for “Lao nationals only.” Work permit restrictions, the need for Lao language capability, and tremendous bureaucratic […]

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In The News

In Cambodia: The Tuk-tuk That Could

December 12, 2007

After decades of misery and conflict, Cambodia is now a hot destination. A staggering two million foreign tourists are expected to visit Angkor and other destinations in 2008. The benefits are real and numerous; decent jobs have been created in the tens of thousands. Other benefits abound, including growth in tax revenue, and the expansion […]

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Notes from the Field

Poverty in Asia: Stubborn Pockets of Deprivation

December 12, 2007

“While great advances have been made in reducing poverty in Asia, there remain stubborn pockets of deprivation,” said Dr. Arsenio Balisacan, speaking at a recent economic and reform seminar organized by The Asia Foundation in San Francisco. Dr. Balisacan is a noted poverty analyst from the Philippines, the current Director of the Southeast Asian Regional […]

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In The News

In Malaysia: Youth Power?

December 5, 2007

Although generally perceived by Malaysians to be ignorant on political issues, young people — 21 to 35-year-olds — account for nearly 45% of all eligible voters in Malaysia and could soon become the primary force in determining the issues and discourse of public policy and debate in the country. It is in this context that […]

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Notes from the Field

From Thailand: Moken Sea Gypsy Tribe Learns Rules of the Road

December 5, 2007

“In the past, we could live anywhere on the sea or along the coast,” says Hong Klatalaey, the head of Thung Wa, a Moken sea gypsy community of some 70 families who were forced to settle further inland after the 2004 tsunami destroyed their coastal homes. “We would sail until we found places with plentiful […]

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In The News

In Mongolia: A Valiant Fight against Corruption

December 5, 2007

December 9th marks International Corruption Day. But, is this a holiday Mongolia can rightly commemorate? This year, the year-old Mongolian Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) is leading commemorative events on International Anti-Corruption Day, and for good reason. Over the past decade, Mongolia has made considerable progress towards a market economy. The same can be said […]

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In The News

In Vietnam: Grilling Public Officials– A Good Thing

November 28, 2007

On November 21st, the 493-member National Assembly of Vietnam (NA) finished its second session. Elected in May 2007 for a term of five years, these NA deputies meet twice a year for about 30 days to review the country’s legislative agenda and the government’s work. Recently, a question and answer component was introduced into these […]

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