Posted by: mulrickillion | October 4, 2011

The Fire Next Time

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There’s a riot going on A Bersih 2.0 activist flees water cannons during a July protest in Kuala Lumpur. Lai Seng Sin / AP.

By Andrew Marshal, Oct 1, 2011 — Whom do you call if you want to speak to Southeast Asia? Apply Henry Kissinger’s famous question about Europe to the 11 countries that arc from the Himalayas to the Pacific, and an answer is equally elusive. Their economies, cultures and politics differ so dramatically that generalizing about Southeast Asia is a risky business.

But let’s do it anyway. Southeast Asians have at least two things in common. First, they all know what it’s like to live under authoritarian regimes and rulers. The latter range from brutal autocrats (Burma’s recently retired General Than Shwe) to self-styled strongmen (Cambodia’s Hun Sen) to leaders who benefit from repressive laws that safeguard the predominance of a single party (Malaysia’s Najib Razak).

Second, Southeast Asians are bone weary of authoritarianism, and increasingly unafraid to say so. There is a growing demand for accountability and good governance that the region’s elites and demidespots ignore at their peril. To call it a Southeast Asian Spring is an exaggeration. But the movement is youthful and social-media-savvy, and could precipitate changes just as profound as those in the Middle East. . . .

Could Southeast Asians Launch Their Version of the Arab Spring? – TIME

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