Published by The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan Journal, April 2015 issue.
Credit: Deloitte Southeast Asia
By Tom Benner
The unveiling of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an economic community will take place on December 31. When the 10 countries that make up ASEAN join forces as a common market—the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)—there will be inevitable comparisons to the European Union.
As an integrated regional economy, the member states of the AEC—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam—will comprise the world’s seventh-largest economy. Continue reading …
Posted in Singapore
Tagged ASEAN, ASEAN Economic Community, Asian Development Bank, Brunei, Cambodia, Deloitte, European Union, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, McKinsey, myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Op-ed published in Today, Oct. 25, 2013
In Timor-Leste’s capital of Dili, young men walk the streets aimlessly; youth unemployment is over 50 per cent in a country where more than 60 per cent are under 25. Photo: Wong Pei Ting
By Tom Benner
There is a free health clinic in Dili, the capital of Asia’s newest and poorest country, Timor-Leste, that treats some 400 people a day. The doctor who runs it was telling me about the kinds of cases he generally treats — tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, typhoid, malnutrition, stunting, poor growth, pregnancy complications.
Dr Dan Murphy is actually happy about this. Back before Timor-Leste became a country in 2002, he treated gunshot wounds, machete wounds, victims of torture and hand grenade victims.
What passes for progress in Timor-Leste is a lot like that. The war zone days are over, but the patient at the door has new problems with endemic causes. Now that United Nations (UN) peacekeepers are gone and the civil unrest has quieted, the challenges of governing a very poor country and inexperienced democracy seem far greater than anticipated in the hopefulness of its first sovereign days. Continue reading …