Call it 'Nomenclature Nationalism', or 'The Tyranny of Also Known As'. The Virginia state legislature ventured into unfamiliar foreign policy waters earlier this month when it passed a law that requires school text book publishers to add six little words in reference to the body of water usually known as the Sea of Japan: “also known as the East Sea”. New York and New Jersey have now also placed the item on their state agendas. The moves reflect a trend: Geographic nomenclature is becoming a frontline in nationalism, particularly in Asia. read more »
The attached report is derived from a speech given last spring in Singapore at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The notion here is to lay out a new, more humanistic urban future, not one shaped primarily by large developers, speculators and transient global workers. Singapore was a particularly difficult case to look at since it has no room to spread out, something we still have in much of the rest of the world. Yet the city has been very innovative in the development of open space, and its public housing agency, the Housing Development Board, has worked hard to accommodate the needs of families. read more »
Viewed from a 50-year perspective, the rise of East Asia has been the most significant economic achievement of the past half century. But in many ways, this upward trajectory is slowing, and could even reverse. Simply put, affluence has led many Asians to question its cost, in terms of family and personal life, and is sparking a largely high-end hegira to slower-growing but, perhaps, more pleasant, locales. read more »
South Korea is a small country with grit. The shrimp sized peninsula is a national success story that transformed itself from impoverished conditions to industrial riches in a remarkable 68-year postwar period. The country experienced the fastest growth in per-capita GDP since the 1960. read more »
Skyscrapers have always intrigued me. Perhaps it began with selling almanacs to subscribers on my Oregon Journalpaper route in Corvallis. I have continued to purchase almanacs each year and until recently, the first thing I would do is look in the index for "Buildings, tall” in the old Pulitzer The World Almanac, the best source until the Internet.
My 1940 edition is the first in which “Buildings, tall” appears. The world of skyscrapers has changed radically through the years. read more »
KAMAISHI, Japan - Two years after the disastrous 2011 earthquake and tsunami, most of the debris from the deluge has been cleared away in this small city on the northern edge of Japan’s tsunami coast. The cars and vans once piled on top of each other like some kind of apocalyptic traffic jam have been sorted out or sold for scrap. My guide, a local teacher who lost three of her aunts in the deluge, drives us up to a lookout. Spread out below us is the coastal village of Unosumai, or, more accurately, what once was the village of Unosumai. The view reminds me of pictures taken of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb had flattened almost everything. The only exception there was one surviving building, the former Industrial Promotion Hall in Hiroshima’s Peace Garden. read more »
The recent general election in Malaysia left behind a bitter legacy of political divisions, threats of lawsuits, growing demonstrations, and arrests under the Sedition Act. In a larger sense, however, it was another sign that the race-based political order in Malaysia, and to a certain extent in neighboring Singapore, is breaking down.
Ever since Malaysia won independence in 1957 it has been governed by a coalition – the National Front or Barisan Nasional (BN) - made up of as many as a dozen parties, representing the ethnic and racial makeup of this multicultural country. read more »