01 Dec The dignity of the state
At a recent conference in Washington, Zaw Oo, a distinguished scholar and economics adviser to President Thein Sein of Myanmar, poignantly mentioned the need for his country's people to "reintroduce the dignity of history" into discussions on their future. His phrase captured an essence of the future that is too often ignored by technical specialists, who are usually focused closely on the uncertainties inherent in their own disciplines.
The international community in Yangon has been embroiled by rent scandals. UNICEF led the pack, but in this case a pioneering role was not something to be proud of. The international organisation that focuses on the plight of children in need was revealed to be paying US$87,000 a month to a shady landlord. The flashy Apple headquarters-like interior decoration further inflated the bill. Country rep Bertrand Bainvel had a hard time justifying such extravagance.
|Shashi Tharoor. Photo: Project Syndicate|
The phrase “Silk Road” evokes a romantic image – half history, half myth – of tented camel caravans winding their way across the trackless deserts and mountains of Central Asia. But the Silk Road is not just part of a fabled past; it is an important feature of China’s current foreign policy.