Opinion

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang arrive at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for last year’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Photo: AP
China Briefing | What’s behind China’s crackdown on the political rumour mill?

On the surface, all seems well. But behind closed doors, rumours swirl of a split among China’s top leaders on how to deal with a flagging economy – and of a diminished role for President Xi Jinping in deciding who will run the country next.

21 May 2022 - 9:30AM
Blocks of public housing in Singapore. Photo: Bloomberg
Abacus | As inflation hits, should people in Singapore and Hong Kong buy or rent?

If you’re already struggling to pay today’s mortgage rates, it may be wiser to hold off your purchase until you are in a stronger financial position.

20 May 2022 - 10:30AM
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks at a campaign event in Melbourne on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
As I see it | Re-electing Morrison could be a red line for Australia’s Pacific diplomacy

The incumbent prime minister thinks nothing of issuing threats to sovereign nations, as he did after the Solomon Islands signed a security pact with China. Yet he refuses to explain how his ‘red line’ would be crossed.

20 May 2022 - 5:41AM
The late Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performing in New York in 1995. Photo: Getty Images
Opinion | Indians, divided from Pakistan by politics, find solace in forbidden music

The case of two Muslim teenagers in India who were charged with criminal intimidation for listening to Pakistani music shows how deep the divide has become. But millions will still find a way to enjoy each other’s culture.

14 May 2022 - 2:00PM
Police officers wearing PPE detain a man in Pudong last month, as residents protested against neighbouring residential compounds being turned into Covid-19 isolation facilities in this screen grab from a video. Photo: Reuters
China Briefing | China’s harsh zero-Covid measures risk eroding trust in the rule of law

Forcing people into quarantine centres even if they test negative and disinfecting homes without permission both represent an overstep of officials’ authority, Chinese legal experts have warned.

14 May 2022 - 9:00AM
The flags of Asean member states are seen at a summit in 2019. Photo: AFP
Asian Angle | Why the US must engage Indonesia and Asean to restart its ‘pivot to Asia’

Trade and investment should be front and centre of this week’s US-Asean summit if Washington wants to unlock opportunities in a region where China’s influence is growing by the day.

13 May 2022 - 3:49PM
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) and Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese, attend the third leaders’ debate of the 2022 federal election campaign  in Sydney on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
As I see it | Australia must focus on policy, not ‘gotcha’ moments and political points

Australians head to the polls very soon, yet they’ve still not heard proper debates or long-term solutions to the many issues their country faces. How can it be more productive, without China, as relations deteriorate, and what about climate change and racism?

13 May 2022 - 4:13PM
US President Joe Biden participates virtually in the annual US-ASEAN Summit at the White House in October 2021. Photo: Abaca Press/TNS
Opinion | Biden must emphasise Asean’s importance to US foreign policy at summit

The US needs to clearly explain why Asean needs America and how the grouping factors into the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy without asking the bloc to disregard China’s interest in the region.

12 May 2022 - 7:17PM
A man undergoes a Covid-19 test in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: EPA-EFE
Asian Angle | If China abandons zero-Covid it could prove it’s better than the West

China is the one country with the dynamism and heft to revitalise the global economy – but doing so would require a major U-turn on its virus suppression policy.

9 May 2022 - 8:34AM
A health worker wearing personal protective equipment stands at a Covid-19 testing site outside a shopping centre in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: AFP
China Briefing | China may never abandon zero-Covid publicly, but an easing is inevitable

Beijing eventually relented on its Big Tech crackdown and is likely to do the same with its virus suppression strategy. Just don’t expect a sudden change – too much political capital is at stake.

7 May 2022 - 10:45AM
People relax on massage sofas at a senior care centre in Shanghai. File photo: Xinhua
As I see it | Case of Shanghai woman assumed dead shows elderly care standards must improve

The incident has wider ramifications as China’s economic developments and the declining birth rate mean more people will be putting their senior relatives into homes.

10 May 2022 - 2:26AM
Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jnr pictured at a presidential campaign rally in San Fernando, the Philippines, on Friday. Photo: Bloomberg
Opinion | Will Rodrigo Duterte endorse Bongbong Marcos Jnr for Philippine president?

He’s seen as the continuity candidate, and the one most likely to protect Duterte from possible prosecution – but the late strongman’s son also has far more political baggage than his opponents.

4 May 2022 - 10:23AM
Look for house brand products when grocery shopping. File photo: AFP
Abacus | 8 tips to save money as inflation hits households from Singapore to China

Using a budget app can reduce expenses without affecting your quality of life, while buying second-hand and learning to invest will help ease the pressure on your household, Singapore blogger Dawn Cher says.

1 May 2022 - 11:30AM
People walk next to the fence installed to block out a quarantined area in Shanghai. Photo: EPA-EFE
China Briefing | China’s lockdown dramas show Beijing must learn to trust its people

If the CCP wants to continue enjoying a high degree of faith by Chinese nationals, officials need to lock up their paranoia amid the Omicron wave of Covid-19.

30 Apr 2022 - 9:30AM
The National flag of Australia flies above the Opera house in Sydney Australia. Photo: Shutterstock
As I see it | Has Australian election rhetoric demonising Russia and China normalised domestic racism?

As politicians focus on ‘invisible enemies’ and obsess with pursuing ‘national security’ preserving peace overseas, a battle against discrimination and racism will tear through civil Australian society.

29 Apr 2022 - 5:02AM
US President Joe Biden speaks at  a virtual democracy summit. Photo: AFP
Opinion | There was a time when China and the US were both liberal

The usual assumption is that liberal ideals are uniquely Western, but Enlightenment writers borrowed freely from Asian sources; many liberal ideals can be found in The Morals of Confucius.

28 Apr 2022 - 9:06AM
Elon Musk says he wants to ‘transform’ Twitter. Photo: Reuters
Opinion | Key to making Twitter a safe space for free speech: more moderation, not less

When people disengage from Twitter due to harassment, we lose voices from the very online public sphere that Elon Musk says he wants to foster.

29 Apr 2022 - 8:41PM
‘Bongbong’ Marcos and his running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio at a campaign rally in Binan, Laguna. Photo: EPA-EFE
Opinion | What’s behind the Philippines’ love for political princelings?

If Marcos wins the election, he’ll join a list of Asian scions – including Japan’s Shinzo Abe and India’s Indira Gandhi – whose stints in power have reinforced the role of political dynasties in the region.

24 Apr 2022 - 11:00AM
US and European Union flags are seen at the EU headquarters in Brussels. Photo: AFP
Opinion | Asia can learn from Europe’s failure to build alliances beyond the US

After outsourcing its security to the US and Nato, Europe now finds itself in a pseudo-proxy war. Asia should learn from this lack of leadership, writes Chandran Nair.

24 Apr 2022 - 7:00AM
A woman gets tested for Covid-19 at a condominium in Shanghai on April 18. Photo: Kyodo
China Briefing | Beijing must consider Hong Kong-style cash handouts amid economic worries

While the government has put on a brave face as economic storm clouds gather, retail and household income figures suggest the nation’s leaders are being too optimistic.

23 Apr 2022 - 9:30AM