The overseas tour by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi augurs well for a more prosperous and open Myanmar. But it would be wrong to attribute the reforms as the country emerges from decades of isolation to her indisputably heroic struggle for democracy. Suu Kyi is an admirable figure and symbol of hope. But it may be too early to see her new-found freedom as the emergence of democracy. Rather, Myanmar is the Johnny-come-lately, the slow learner who is finally following in the footsteps of Asia's great economies. China's Deng Xiaoping, Park Chung-hee of South Korea, Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang in Taiwan, Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, even the once-dominant Liberal Democratic Party, which turned post-war Japan into essentially a one-party democracy - these are the examples Myanmar is following. They have shown how political control is compatible with economic growth, and that state-directed capitalism can exploit the advantages of globalisation. This Asian script for success is well known: integrate with the global economy, attract foreign investment, and learn or steal Western technologies and management know-how. The military junta and President Thein Sein are hoping to replicate the successes of those Asian economies - or get rich trying. The release of Suu Kyi has been key to lifting Western sanctions. Still, it gives hope that some of these economies have evolved into full-fledged democracies. Already, Western hedge funds, corporations and hi-tech miners are arriving in droves in Myanmar and calling it the last investment frontier. According to an assessment by US diplomats, released by WikiLeaks in 2010, Suu Kyi's opposition party, the National League for Democracy, was beset by infighting and dissension. But her release and the party's landslide victory in the April parliamentary poll have galvanised the party faithful. Maybe Suu Kyi will be to Thein Sein what Nelson Mandela was to F.W. de Klerk, and her party will prove to be Myanmar's African National Congress. Don't bet on that so soon. Myanmar is following the path of the great Asian economies, not Western democracies.