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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/11/19

China's BRI Could Save Destroyed Southeast Asia

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Bangkok - 6 star hotel and a slum
Bangkok - 6 star hotel and a slum
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Most of the people in the West or in North Asia usually never think about it, but Southeast Asia is one of the most depressed and depressing parts of the world.

It has been through genocides, wars and atrocious military regimes.

Then, those monstrous income disparities.

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According to The Bangkok Post, in 2018, "the 10% poorest Thais had 0% wealth.

50% of the poorest Thais (25 million people) had 1.7% of the country's wealth while 70% (35mn) controlled 5%." In the same year, 1% of the richest Thais controlled 66.9% of the country's fortune.

Indonesia is not doing much better. In fact, if it were to provide correct, unmassaged statistics, it would easily overtake Thailand as the most unequal country on earth. But Indonesia does not even declare the precise number of people, as I was informed by my colleagues, UN statisticians. It still claims that it has around 270 million inhabitants, while in reality, even ten years ago, there were more than 300 million people living on the archipelago.

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Jakarta - smog and huge slums between skyscrapers
Jakarta - smog and huge slums between skyscrapers
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Except in the Communist Vietnam, super-rich Singapore, and (still) relatively wealthy Malaysia, poor people matter very little. Or more precisely, they do not matter at all. They do not exist. And poor people form the great majority in this part of the world, although you would hardly read it from the pages of official government bulletins.

It is enough to see Jakarta, Manila or Bangkok from the air, to understand that the Southeast Asian megapolises are totally fragmented, so they can serve the elites. Skyscrapers, malls and enormous hotels are surrounded by miserable houses and slums. Terribly inadequate public transportation (corrupt governments have been regurgitating every year, for decades, great numbers of cars and polluting scooters wishfully called 'motorbikes', instead of providing decent massive public transit systems) has made Jakarta and periodically Bangkok, some of the most polluted and depressing cities in the world.

Crime is out of control. Thailand has, per capita, according to Interpol, a higher murder rate than the United States. In the Philippines, before President Duterte came to power, cities such as Davao and Manila were suffering from some of the most horrid crime statistics in Asia. Indonesia, again, has escaped scrutiny, simply because of the absolutely amazing ability to hide the truth - most of the crimes committed there, particularly sexual ones, are never reported, and if reported, not registered.

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The modern history of this part of the world is perhaps the most brutal on the planet. Brutal, but hushed up. The education system in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand is geared not to educate the children and young people about the monstrous genocides committed on the territory of Southeast Asia.

To mention just a few 'occurrences', the West murdered several million people in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, during the so-called 'Vietnam War' and 'Secret War'. It carpet-bombed poor Laos and Cambodia, while supporting the most atrocious feudal regimes all over 'Indochina'. It also displaced millions of peasants. As a result, multitudes died from hunger.

Indonesia perpetrated three genocides, killing millions. First, during the 1965-66 one, triggered by the U.S.A. and its allies, murdered 1 - 3 million intellectuals, artists, teachers, Communists and members of the Chinese minority. The second was the U.S.A, U.K. and Australia-backed occupation of East Timor, which took lives of 30%-40% of the islanders. The third genocide is the on-going, horrendous occupation and plunder of West Papua.

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2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments  Post Comment


Daniel Geery

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Andre was and is one stellar writer/researcher. I gave positive ratings, but must refer to another video I linked to the other day, an interview with a biologist with another take on this issue click here

Strikes me as another case where "all the above" may well be true.

Submitted on Sunday, Aug 11, 2019 at 5:38:17 PM

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John Rachel

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Reply to Daniel Geery:   New Content

Development is predicated on growth. Growth by every currently functioning model is not sustainable but aggravates every existing negative trend in terms of environmental degradation and resource depletion, including the ultimate resource, an acceptable thermal range for supporting human life and a healthy representation of other co-dependent species. The BRI as an alternative to Western exploitation and plunder is laudable. It will have, at least for a few decades, an extremely positive impact on the Global South countries impacted. Then what? "All of the above" is ultimately one half of a zero-sum equation. The bill will come due. The summary effect of humankind's wild benders of development, however politically and socially progressive and inspiring, will be a colossal negative which will sink the human race.

But I don't need to tell you this, Daniel, as you are the King of Cataclysmic Posting.

Submitted on Tuesday, Aug 13, 2019 at 5:40:35 AM

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