By Michael D. Barr
Cultural Politics and Asian Values appears on the political, cultural and non secular history of East and Southeast Asian societies and people of 'the West', in order to seeing how they're affecting modern nationwide and foreign politics: democratization, the foreign human rights discourse, NGOs and globalisation.
The booklet surveys the political background and pre-history of the 'Asian values' debate, taking it as much as the period of Megawati Sukarnoputri, Chen Shui-bian and Kim Dae-jung. In chapters on Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and liberalism, Barr explores the histories and conceptual essences of the realm religions excited about or laid low with the talk.
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Additional info for Cultural Politics and Asian Values: The Tepid War
Early in the 1980s he set Singapore copying Japanese labour management techniques, sponsoring seminars to study the productivity of Japanese industry and even importing Japanese experts to advise his government on how to increase productivity. 41 At the same time as Dr Mahathir and Lee Kuan Yew were ‘looking East’ to Japan and South Korea, those two countries were being lauded in the West on much the same grounds: that they could teach the West about the importance of hard work, education and group purpose.
6 Sukarno’s ‘guided democracy’ was replaced by Suharto’s New Order, which also rejected democracy as a foreign value, suitable only for a ‘conflict-prone’ society,7 and so Indonesia did not see democracy again until 1999. Brunei is a tiny oil rich sultanate tucked between Malaysia’s Eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak. It has no democracy, but also no income tax. The population seems content to forgo civil rights for as long as the sultan continues to finance the country out of his own pocket. Vietnam, like the Koreas, has suffered a Cold War partition, but unlike the Koreas, North Vietnam defeated South Vietnam in battle in 1975 and reunited the country as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Two months later, in November 1966, the new direction of Lee’s thinking emerged as a dominant theme at a meeting at the University of Singapore. In this address, he spoke at length of the positive roles that the local communal cultures of Singapore could play in the development of a ‘rugged society’. He sought to build a new social consensus based upon the retention of traditional cultures and hoped that the members of each racial community would use their cultural heritage as an anchor, so that each person would be a strong, robust member of society.
Cultural Politics and Asian Values: The Tepid War by Michael D. Barr