Opinion

Our experts on Asia guide you through the big issues facing the region
South China Morning Post
  1. LAST week, HSBC was caught in the middle of a media storm over accusations that the bank colluded with the US government to take down Huawei, and this led to speculation it could lose its business in mainland China. I suspect not. The key lies in China’s failure, so far, to internationalise the renminbi (RMB) and, for that reason, local businesses in China have few options aside from HSBC in gaining international access. But that should not be a source of comfort for “The Bank” in the long run…
  2. We are living through the Indo-Pacific Century – a moment of great opportunity in world history when the balance of power and wealth is shifting eastward for the first time in hundreds of years.But 2020 has offered proof that this century will also be a challenging one.First, the coronavirus pandemic has been the biggest shock to the global economy for decades. Even countries that have avoided the worst of the public health crisis have seen significant negative economic effects. The disease has…
  3. How bad can it get? As far as bilateral ties between the United States and China are concerned, one will be hard pressed to give a definitive answer these days. As the US entered the 100-day countdown to the presidential election, with Donald Trump bruised by falling polling numbers and his abject failure to contain the raging coronavirus pandemic in the country, fears are growing that his administration could make even more extraordinary moves to provoke China by pushing for a total…
  4. The British Foreign Policy Group (BFPG), a London-based non-partisan think tank, this week released a report titled “Beyond the Golden Age: Resetting China-UK Engagement”.I co-authored it with BFPG director Sophia Gaston after we both became worried that Britain had moved from complacency about China to a state of paranoia without any intervening period of reflection about the relationship’s significance.The report does not recommend policies but suggests a new mindset for engaging with China…
  5. “It’s election time” seems to be an evergreen statement in Malaysia these days.As I sat down to write this column about youth voting in Asia, my colleague in Kuala Lumpur messaged the Slack group in which we discuss all things Malaysia and Singapore: “Sabah state elections in 60 days.” Chief Minister Shafie Apdal, it seemed, had decided enough was enough.After weeks of speculation about katak (frogs – or, in the Malaysian context, defection-prone politicians) who were planning to lompat (jump,…
  6. There no longer seems any doubt that the United States and China have embarked on a period of aggressive confrontation. A brisk war of words has quickly escalated to tit-for-tat consulate closures, and now Chinese sources say a US warplane has flown close to Shanghai: these are initial skirmishes in a much more serious conflict that is likely to worsen at least until the US elections in November, and probably beyond. The question is, how will this confrontation play out in the rest of Asia? …
  7. Singapore’s long-standing relationship with the United States is a classic exposition of the island nation’s foreign policy – taking the world as it is, and seeking to entrench American power and presence in the region for the collective good.Singapore has also sought to involve as many major powers (including the US) in the regional balance, so that no power can dominate, with the Singaporean – and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) – position of not “choosing sides” between…
  8. Chinese investment is no longer welcome in the Natunas, says the regent of the Indonesian islands, amid continuing incursions by Chinese fishing vessels into the Natuna Sea that havestrained ties between Jakarta and Beijing. In its place, Abdul Hamid Rizal called for Western countries to “open their chequebooks” to help develop the islands’ economy. The provincial leader made the strongly-worded comments in an interview with Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald last month. China admits fishing…
  9. A BRIEF HISTORY OF HONG KONG COWSLong gone are the days of dairy cattle grazing peacefully in the clover meadows of Hong Kong Island, or in the rolling hills of Lantau. Our local milk moo cows are now in Guangdong, according to Kowloon Dairy and Trappist Dairy.The last remnant of the Lantau Trappist Dairy herd was released into the wild in the early 1980s as the monks sold their business to Yuen Long’s Lark Group. They now happily graze the Fusion supermarket’s fruit displays in Mui Wo,…
  10. A video that recently went viral on the Chinese internet shows a primary schoolteacher reprimanding her students.At first her anger appears to be directed at all the 12-year-olds in the classroom, but it soon emerges that the worst verbal abuse is targeted at one girl in particular.The cause of the teacher’s outrage? The girl had bought a bouquet of flowers for another teacher ahead of the class graduation ceremony, but had not done the same for her.The teacher, identified only by her family…