[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

1. Over the last two days in Seoul, I've been taking part in the Asian Cooperation Dialogue involving 30 Asian countries drawn from East, Southeast, Central, South and West Asia. Russia is also involved. It is quite a remarkable collection of countries all eager to join the global network.

2. At the official dinner last night, menu cards were marked with coloured dots to guide the waiters on dietary requirements. Muslims of couse had halal food. There were vegetarians. Some didn't eat beef. Others didn't want shellfish. The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister toasted with a glass of plain water before wine was served. All this showed the diversity of the gathering. Yet, we were all Asians and one could see a continuity of facial types, east to west, from square-jawed Koreans to mixed-looking Central Asians to Arabs in their flowing robes and Indians in Nehru jackets.

3. A hundred years ago, Asia was carved up by great empires - mainly Qing China, Czarist Russia, British India and the Ottomans. All have long collapsed and the fragmentation created a collection of nation-states. After the end of the Cold War, a wave of globalisation is sweeping the entire continent bringing an unprecedented new era of economic development. There was a touch of triumphalism about the rise of Asia which I found troubling.

4. After dinner, there was a short entertainment programme starting with traditional music. The B-Boys put on an energetic acrobatic performance which woke up those who were nodding off from jet lag. There is a Korean wave sweeping the world now. Korean companies and artistes are steadily staking out their places on the global stage.

5. Singapore-Korea relations are excellent. I called on the Trade Minister Kim Hyun-Chong and a Presidential candidate, daughter of the late President Park Chun-Hee, Ms Park Geun-Hye.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


Blogger Thomas Lew said...


Wednesday, June 13, 2007 4:10:00 pm


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