EI SUN OH

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We discussed briefly Thailand’s gingerly balancing act in its strategic and diplomatic approaches in the Southeast Asian and wider contexts. Indeed, what Thailand has thus been doing is a microcosmic reflection of what many other Southeast Asian countries have been pragmatically exercising throughout the centuries as well, being geographically crucial…

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After a prolonged period of essentially being confined to a sickbed, King Bhumipol of Thailand passed away last week at the ripe age of 89. Bhumipol reigned for seven decades, the longest of modern monarchs around the world. He ascended to the throne almost right after the Second World War,…

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An original aim of this column is to introduce and discuss some of the current happenings in other Southeast Asian countries, so as to serve as (hopefully) helpful lessons for the Philippines and perhaps yet other neighboring countries. I have attempted to do so in varying degrees over the past…

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Shimon Peres of Israel passed away last week. Though never having made his acquaintance, I was nevertheless somewhat saddened, or at least stirred in my heart. For those of us who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s with eyes and ears tuned to international current affairs, Peres’ was indeed…

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In the second half of September every year, most of the world’s leaders would descend upon New York to attend the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly. Grandiose speeches would typically echo the grand hall of UNGA. But this year, in contrast to the high drama and extant…

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As the waves of diplomatic heat over the South China Sea gradually subsided in recent days – and while the Philippines and China explored options for negotiation on the one hand and the Vietnamese prime minister visited Beijing appearing to seek to repair their rifts on the other – tensions…

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Friendships are interesting liaisons. Having stepped into middle age, my views on fraternal friendships have, I hope, matured and mellowed over time and perhaps, tests. In younger years, I used to believe in and indeed, practiced a somewhat “totalitarian” version of friendship in both its scope and depth. Though having…

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I won’t admit to having a foul mouth, much less a biting pen. But last week’s “explosive” event at Davao did give me a scare. Just a few days after I had written here about the scourge of kidnapping and ransom-seeking, masquerading as freedom-fighting inflicting both my home state of…

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It is no secret that the eastern coasts of my home state of Sabah neighboring the Philippines are frequently harassed by self-styled “freedom fighters.” Their avowed goals range from creating a self-governing homeland for the Muslims in the southern Philippines, to declaring outright independence for the same, and even to…

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Starting perhaps around the middle of the last century, when the Cold War between the Western capitalist and Eastern socialist camps was spiraling upward, there came along the notions of roughly “dividing” the countries into three groups. There were the First World countries, which comprised mainly of old colonial powers…

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