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Questions for Southeast Asia

Volume 2, No 2: April - June, 2010

Southeast Asia defies simple categorisation. Among its countries there are obvious contrasts: big and small, vibrant and stagnant, attractive and troubling, peaceful and unsettled, quaint and web-savvy, confronting and embracing. The contributors to this issue of the EAFQ grapple with parts of the Southeast Asian mosaic, punctuated, as ever, by domestic intrigues, national ambitions, and international engagements. What ties the articles in this issue together, but never in a neat or seamless way, is the position of these countries, hemmed in by the much larger societies of China and India, and now forced to confront a world where ferocious technological and cultural change tests even the most effective governments. On the one hand—as a crossroads, a hub and a melting-pot—Southeast Asia is well-positioned to take advantage of its special geographical and social inheritance. On the other hand, the more than 500 million people of the region confront major challenges in the years ahead. There are many questions for Southeast Asia, and few easy answers.
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Southeast Asia defies simple categorisation. Among its countries there are obvious contrasts: big and small, vibrant and stagnant, attractive and troubling, peaceful and unsettled, quaint and web-savvy, confronting and embracing. The contributors to this issue of the EAFQ grapple with parts of the Southeast Asian mosaic, punctuated, as ever, by domestic intrigues, national ambitions, and international engagements. What ties the articles in this issue together, but never in a neat or seamless way, is the position of these countries, hemmed in by the much larger societies of China and India, and now forced to confront a world where ferocious technological and cultural change tests even the most effective governments. On the one hand—as a crossroads, a hub and a melting-pot—Southeast Asia is well-positioned to take advantage of its special geographical and social inheritance. On the other hand, the more than 500 million people of the region confront major challenges in the years ahead. There are many questions for Southeast Asia, and few easy answers.

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