Articles

These are some of my latest articles, mainly published in The Economist but also in other newspapers and magazines, as indicated. I will also post my book reviews here, and any other bits and pieces that come to mind.

Blood, Dreams and Gold; or how Burma’s past has caught up with its future

23rd September 2015

The peg for my new book about Burma, Blood, Dreams and Gold; The Changing Face of Burma, is the general election in the South-East Asian country on November 8th. This will surely capture the world’s headlines. Foreign election observers have been invited in, the world’s media will be there in force, and cameras will undoubtedly be following opposition leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s every step. Burma (also known as Myanmar), previously sealed off from the world for decades, will be stepping...

Lee Kuan Yew

15th September 2015

This was my take on Singapore’s founding-father, published in The Tablet earlier this year. Having lived in Singapore for four years, I was probably more generous towards the old tyrant than many of his Western critics. Very few statesmen, in Asia or beyond, can have made such a big impact on the world from so small a country as Lee Kuan Yew, who died on 23 March at the age of 91. Lee Kuan Yew was the last remaining leader of the anti-colonial struggles of the 1940s,...

The plural society and its enemies

2nd August 2015

In August 2014, I wrote the following article in The Economist entitled The Plural Society and its Enemies. This sought to explain exactly why the Burmese government was likely to use ethnic tensions and anti-Muslim bigotry to its advantage, based on a reading of the British academic J.S. Furnivall’s famous concept of the plural society. Our departing South-East Asia correspondent explains how the “plural society” remains key to understanding the region’s problems. IN MANDALAY in central Myanmar, another bout of bloody sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims...

Apartheid on the Andaman Sea

13th June 2015

We published this leader on the Rohingya, urging action to help them. Sadly, no one seems to have read it. Myanmar treats the Rohingyas as badly as the old South Africa treated blacks. The world should not stay silent. THEY have been called the most persecuted minority in the world. The Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, have been driven from their villages; 140,000 of them have been herded into squalid camps. They cannot vote. Their children are shut out of local schools. They are subjected to...

The most persecuted people on Earth?

13th June 2015

This is a long article in The Economist that I edited and co-wrote with several colleagues on the plight of the Muslim Rohingya.  As the article warns, conditions for the Rohingya are now becoming so bad that they are in danger of becoming victims of a genocide. ARKAM was 12 when he watched men beat his father’s head with a brick and slaughter him with a knife. The family had been walking home from the mosque near their village in Rakhine, Myanmar’s westernmost state, when a...