27 March 2007

Compensating for a frustrating neighbourhood

Asean's going nowhere. The barrier-free common market remains a distant dream. Can Singapore remain a prosperous place in an unco-operative neighbourhood? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Alex, just a short comment: it might have escaped you but the EU (= European Union) just celebrated 50th birthday in Berlin. Yes 10 years more, and such a long history, not all glorious, etc etc, yet one might dare to ask certain questions comparing these conglomerates, right - at least quite exactly the same crowd of people (around 500 million) for almost the same time. Being an Ex-European, I sometimes wish we had a least a train going to the next capital, some sort of common denominator of what the word "nation" entails, common political ideas.. no, just the opposite, we quibble about a bridge, about water, a telecom acquaintance, or even about SAND. This is just saddening.

Ivo Cerckel said...

ASEAN going nowhere?

Malaysia is an ASEAN member.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gold dinar in Malaysia
On the 20 September 2006, Kelantan became the first state to launch gold dinar coins. It features the Kelantanese state crest, the date of production, as well as the weight and purity of the gold used on its face. The DEK is similar to the original dinar in weight and purity of gold used. The coins can be bought and sold at the Kelantan Corporation Bhd (Perbadanan Kelantan Bhd) and all eight Ar-Rahn Islamic pawnshops in the state.

The first four-day International Islamic Finance Forum started on Monday in Kuala Lumpur.

March 25, 2007
KUALA LUMPUR -- Central bank governors from Iran to Saudi Arabia are to attend Malaysia's first international Islamic finance forum, starting Monday, as the nation works to cement its future as an Islamic financial hub.

It is to be hoped that this Forum will confer its right place to the Islamic Gold Dinar which was introduced by Malaysia and surfaced the other day (two weeks ago) in Kurdistan:

The gold proof 1000 Dinar features Saladin riding a horse carrying a Kurdish flag. It is struck in 22 Karat gold and contains just slighly under a half ounce of pure gold. Only 98 pieces were struck of this attractive gold coin.

By conferring its right place to the Islamic Gold Dinar, introduced by ASEAN-member Malaysia, ASEAN will have a currency to compete on the global Eurasian market.
Why limit the common market to ASEAN?
This is no longer the time for a common market.
This is the time for a global market.

The euro marks its gold reserves to market on a quarterly basis.

The pope was complaining that the Berlin festivities last-week-end for the 50th anniversary of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, now the European Union, did not refer to God.
Pope Criticises EU for Excluding God

The London Guardian was even quoting the pope as saying that the EU is on path to oblivion

Here’s however the latest on the euro
Last updated: 27-Mar-07 06:47 BST
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's state-run Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude worldwide, began paying for its oil in euros late last year as Tehran moves to diversify its foreign reserves away from U.S. dollars.

The German President of the birthday party, Angela Merkel, was complaining on Sunday that Europe as it is today is not capable of taking action

Ms. Merkel forgot that the euro’s success is, to the displeasure of the inhabitants of euroland, displaying to the world that euro is like the Islamic Gold Dinar, the currency which Eurasia needs to replace the dollar in international trade.

Even if the EU on path to oblivion, the euro, the child of the ECB, not of the EU, is here to stay, after having linked up with the Islamic Gold Dinar, the gold yuan, the gold rupee and the gold yen.

Canada’s The Globe and Mail reported indeed on Saturday that the dollar is going to collapse very soon.
(Dr. Doom is down on the U.S

Here’s something I received by e-mail:
All across America, sub prime mortgages giants quietly took their profits and moved to Spain, leaving tens of thousands out on the streets and a growing number of unoccupied, and unsaleable homes. The greedy banks and other mighty financial institutions, seeing how many hundreds of millions the initial salesmen were making, rushed to invest, something they will very soon regret. While this drama is unfolding, another is in the wings, waiting to lumber onto the stage and explode. One of my friends in the FBI’s White Collar Crime told me that most of the HUGE HEDGE FUNDS ARE NOTHING BUT SHELLS as their owners are operating one of the largest Ponzi schemes ever. Hundreds of billions have been looted and many of the very flush ceos and their staffs have bought homes in foreign countries to be near the billions they have looted. In the

A replacement for the dollar is therefore needed.

Perhaps, the time has come for the Islamic Gold Dinar and the gold euro to team up (China having shifted to euros for Iran oil) and thereby to display to the world what inter-faith dialogue is all about.

You summarised your complaint as follows:
ASEAN's going nowhere. The barrier-free common market remains a distant dream. Can Singapore remain a prosperous place in an unco-operative neighbourhood?

Here’s my summarised reply:
The Greater Depression is start next month in the US. The dollar is toast. ASEAN needs a replacement in international trade. Malaysia has just introduced the Islamic Gold Dinar. China, ASEAN’s privileged discussion partner, which already shifted to euros for Iran oil, is very soon to diversify its foreign-exchange reserves into gold. I understand Singapore is a Chinese enclave in Malaysia. What more does Singapore need to prosper on the global market?

To repeat:
The United States (not Singapore) are sinking into the 2007 « very great depression », with a tipping point of the global systemic crisis coming up in April

Ivo Cerckel de Siquijor

Philip said...

Same is the case with another flop called SAARC. For all its weaknesses and poverty, Pakistan wants to solve the Kashmir issue with India first before it embarks on trade. Bangladesh has some sort of inferiority complex vis a vis India. These two cartoons hog all the time in the meetings and make the others suffer.

Well, as long as you have tinpot dictators calling the shots, there is nothing much to say. What we need is more democracy and power to the people to elect people of their choice to power.

Anyway, i think we asians keep looking the European Union and believe that we can also have a similar union. Its simply not possible because what Europe has is an educated, affluent society. Hence their realisation that the only way they can hold on is to have an economic or some sort of political union to ward off the India / China threat.

Compare it to the kind of neighbours that Singapore or India has. Pathetic. Simply Pathetic.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Anonymous 28 march 01:00 -

Good catch. In fact it was the EU's 50th anniversary that started the train of thought that led to the essay.

However, I think there are huge differences between the European situation and the Southeast Asian one, starting with the fact that the political will/vision for Europe came out of the tyranny and devastation (twice) in the first half of the 20th century.

So I am trying to be kind to Asean by not judging it per a different continent's standards. That's why in the final article all mention of the EU disappeared.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alex, haha see I could guess between the lines that the EU thought was there but then not mentioned, plus I didnt consider you being so kind to not compare!

Yet, no, I think one should compare more these 2. It doesnt need a war (or 2) to get there, many countries in SEA had some not-so-nice experiances with colonial powers instead that might have unified them or not, some countries were affected by WW2 as well.

And culturally/ethnically, I would claim that the diversity in central Europe and the new EU is extremely broad as well, possibly broader than in centrral SEA at least. I mean, Bulgaria, Ireland and Germany are quite different from all possible angels!

I think the real difference is that the political leaders within the EU have a very strong political will to merge and be a true counter-weight to the US, and the currency topic, without some strong unifying elements like those 3 it is hard.

In our region here, every country small or big seems just more occupied with its own things.

But then imagine, if we had a union with our neighbours instead of quibblingsg all over, we then might be able to save the majority of the 10.6 billion $$$/year on our oversized army. Sin spends about 5% of GDP on military, a typical EU country 1%... so there is a fiscal argument as well.