RECENT BLOG ENTRIES

  • Asia Dialogue - On Equality … of Governance, in Vietnam!

    On Equality … of Governance, in Vietnam!

    Jairo Acuna and Edmund Malesky

    In 2012 Duncan Green, Oxfam’s Global Strategic Adviser and author of ‘From Poverty to Power’, asked the question of “why does everything interesting always seem to come from Vietnam?” He was making reference to the work on building active citizenship and accountability in Vietnam through the annual Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI). Here are three alternative possible reasons. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Backyard produce: Food for your tables. Cebu and Naga, Philippines

    Backyard produce: Food for your tables. Cebu and Naga, Philippines

    Rowan Fraser

    Having got used to thinking of the city as being all concrete, iron and burgers, I was surprised to discover a series of vegetable gardens in Manila recently.  Lodged on a south-facing hillside, out towards Eastwood City, below a flyover, beside a jeepie stand.  The first time I was running late, but the second time I stopped in and looked over the garden.  A boy darted in and picked a cucumber. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Living off what others throw away

    Living off what others throw away

    Sarah Rooney

    “You wouldn’t believe the things people throw away,” says Loong Sompong, who makes his living as a scrap collector in central Bangkok. “I’m always telling them that they are throwing away money but they just won’t listen!” READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - How to make a living two baht at a time

    How to make a living two baht at a time

    Sarah Rooney

    As early as 3 a.m. every weekday morning, people begin queuing to buy bah-tong-koh at Yai Nawm’s street-side stall. The secret to making the kind of bah-tong-koh that customers keep coming back for is all in the frying, explains the 54-year-old street vendor; the deep-fried dough sticks should be crunchy on the outside while still fluffy and cloud-like on the inside. And, as her most satisfied customers can attest to, they are best eaten still warm from the wok. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - What mangroves can and can not do for cyclone-prone coastal cities

    What mangroves can and can not do for cyclone-prone coastal cities

    Rowan Fraser

    Swampy, tangled and low-lying, the mangrove is not a particularly flamboyant tree, as far as trees go. Indeed, it’s more of a shrub.  Somehow, it comes across as down-trodden and slightly oppressed.  It lacks the gusto and charm of most other species, and of course can’t compete with the big cats, rhinos or birds for panache in terms of biodiversity.  Nonetheless, over the past few years, the humble mangrove has seen its popularity soar. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Helping homegrown communities build safer

    Helping homegrown communities build safer

    Mukta Naik

    Bakul’s son is getting married soon and he is busy adding a floor to his home in an unauthorised colony in Ghaziabad, an industrial town near India’s capital city New Delhi. To do so, he has borrowed Rs 300,000 (US$ 4800) from a cousin and engaged a local mason. In Nong Bua in Thailand’s Surin district, Somchai collects waste during the day but spends his evenings repairing his leaky roof. This is how the majority of the urban poor in a host of Asian countries build their homes. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Street vendor to grassroots entrepreneur: Livelihood security through inclusive policy & community partnership

    Street vendor to grassroots entrepreneur: Livelihood security through inclusive policy & community partnership

    Mukta Naik

    Life just got better for over 10 million street vendors in India when the Indian Parliament passed the historic Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Bill, 2014 in late February 2014. An outcome of the organized advocacy of hundreds of street vendor organizations and federations across India under the banner of The National Association of Street Vendors (NASVI), the policy’s thrust will be to protect vendors from the harassment and evictions that are a regular feature of their daily lives. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - How changes in the shipping industry are affecting secondary port cities in ASEAN and what secondary cities can do about it

    How changes in the shipping industry are affecting secondary port cities in ASEAN and what secondary cities can do about it

    Rowan Fraser

    At average cruising speed, a container ship crosses the Pacific in 20 days.  A transpacific cargo ship, for example, sails from Los Angeles and calls into Taiwan 19 days later, and into Hong Kong two days after that.  Singapore is a major port in the region, as is Shanghai – the largest port in the world. READ MORE

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