Saturday, October 30, 2004

Arafat left for Paris, pray for his full recovery!

It's really surprise that Isreali PM Shariel Sharon allowed President Yasser Arafat to receive the treatment in Paris, France. This photo showed the President Arafat greets wellwishers prior to his departure from the West Bank town of Ramallah in this picture released by the Palestinian Authority. Arafat left for Paris, France, to seek urgent medical treatment for a serious illness.

There were reports the Palestinian seems very upset with his departure. Some people even feel lost. Anyway, you can read the report through Washington Post

Henry Siegman, a Middle East analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York also have the same opinion that:

"The importance of Arafat is not in his title as president but his
importance is derived by his image as the incarnation of the national identity
and struggle. Once he's gone, there's no one to replace him. No one can claim to
inherit that mantle."

The ASA hope President Arafat will full recover from his illness. At the same time, the liberation of the Palestinian struggle have to continue. The Palestinian struggle is our struggles. Let's us show our support to them.

Please send your solidarity message to our Palestinian friends.
Posted by Hello

Why student couldn't repay their loan?

International famous star, Chou Yun-fatt adviced the students in Hong Kong to study hard and spent wisely. He was asked to comments the student who failed to repay his loan. The student might be filed a bankruptcy petition by the Student Financial Assistance Agency.

My question to my fellow readers, why the students couldn't pay their loan? Are they wasted their money? May be their financial management is poor? How about the employment situation?

When people can't even get a decent job or even the wage cut due to the economic downturn, what do you expect they can get enough money to repay their loan? May be you can tell me about this Posted by Hello

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Friday, October 29, 2004

UN Should Punish Thaksin!!

About 2000 Malaysian people gathered outside the Embassy of Thailand to protest Thaksin high handed treated the South Thai Muslim Protester. The protesters call the UN bring Thaksin to justice. In that tragedy, 84 people died in suffocated. Posted by Hello

HK Student will face Bankruptcy!

According to the Commercial Radio in Hong Kong, there were more than 2,700 cases delayed payment for their subsidy loans in the first nine months of 2004. This figure already exceeded the total amount of the year 2003. More seriously, for those except from the underwriting already two times of year 2002, more than 830 cases could not pay their loan.

According to the official of the Student Financial Assistance Agency, in order to avoid the situation become more serious, first time in the history they are going to apply bankcruptcy on those creditors. Besides, they are in the process of the review on the procedure of application and the debt condition of the guarantors.

Tuition fees in Hong Kong consider as one of the most expensive places in the world. Most of the students have to apply the loan to study. There is no free education in Hong Kong. There is no much different in the tuition fees between the public and private universities. As the different is only the public university is accepting the subsidy from the government as the private university has to find their own financial income without the support of the government.

Almost same period last year, the education budget cut became the hot debate and even some student unions prepared for the class boycott. Even the incident ended up with the student unions agreed upon the promise of the Secretary for Education and Manpower Bureau, Arthur Li and cancelled the class boycott, the debates of the education always exist.

Since the privatization of the education become more severe in the world, the New Zealand students also faced the problems of the student debt. The similar situation in Hong Kong that many of the student have to bear the burden "Debt of Life". You can see more about the education situation in Kiwi nation through the ASA member NZUSA.

Hopes for a Democratic ASEAN?!

Even though Thaksin apologised after the strong protests and condemnation from the neighbour countries' governments and human rights organizations, the tragedy that happened in Southern Thailand already brought all of us to the problems of the long practices of "constructive engagement" or "no interference in the internal affairs" .

Since Malaysia's Prime Minister and Indonesia Foreign Ministry Department, both Muslim nations already outraged about this tragedy and even predicted more violences or even revenge will be taken place in the future.

When the high handed of the Thaksin administration towards the muslim community in Southern Thailand, we also had the military government in Burma, human rights violation in Mindanao, undemocratic practice in many countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Laos etc.

Of course this is the different issues, we should not mix up this with other problems of governance. However, in order to build up the sustainable political environment, the commitment towards the genuine reform inside the country and also ASEAN.

There will be no peace without the justice. The determination of the people should be adhere and also respected by the government without prejudice.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

How Thaksin treated the South Thai Muslim?

Yesterday I was received a tragedy news from Southern Thailand. Around 80 Thai Muslims suffocate after arrested at protest outside the police station.

According to press reports, the dead were among 1,500 arrested following Monday's clashes outside a police station in Narathiwat province, southern Thailand, after they had protested against the detention of six men accused of providing weapons to Islamic militants.

Now is the fasting month of the Muslim brother in the world. They practice their religion duties to experience the suffer of the people.

However, Thaksin responsed to the tragedy with the following remarks:

This is typical. It's about bodies made weak from fasting. It is not about
someone attacking them."

Mr Thaksin added that the protesters had been mainly motivated by separatism. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist but unrest and separatism has simmered in the south for three decades.

"I cannot allow the separatists to exist on our land." "We cannot allow
these people to harass innocent people and authorities any longer. We have no
choice but to use force to suppress them."

That's really an iron fist remarks and how ignorance of Thaksin as the Prime Minister of Thailand views the issues. For Thai people, your Prime Minister really commited a serious human rights violation. We really have to stop him to further crackdown on any civilian protest action. The Southern Thailand people's voice should be heard with necessary action, not crackdown.

Our friends in Malaysia are going to have some solidarity action to the South Thai people. There will be vigil night and protest action in front of Thailand Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

I hope we will get more action from other part of the world particularly in ASEAN countries.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

How Thaksin treated the protesters?

A Thai police officer ties the arms of an ethnic Thai Muslim rioter as others lie on the ground. Around 80 protestors suffocated and 1300 were arrested in a massive crackdown by Thaksin administration. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Arigato, my friends in AASJA and Japan

Tonight is my last night in Japan, I'm going back to Hong Kong tomorrow afternoon. This was a wonderful and fruitful trip for the ASA and me as well.

It's a great experiences for the ASA secretariat to have such an important and significant speaking tours in Japan. We see Japan as one of our target countries to work on the anti-imperialism movement in the world.

Without the commitment of the AASJA from Tokyo, Kyoto and Yamaguchi, I think this trip couldn't reach out so many young people and the students in different universities. We do have the same goal, promote the anti-imperialist globalization to all of our fellow people in the world.

I found that was extremely hard to organize the youth and students in Japan to stand up to resist the imperialist globalization. However the determination of the AASJA-Japan provide me the hope of the victory. Their consistantly in the organizing work definately need our moral supports and solidarity.

May be it will be great for the members from other countries also considered the same approach to organized such speaking tour inside your respectives country. The campaign anti-imperialist globalization need to be radicalized. The ASA secretariat will always with you for any information and assistance as well.

Once again, Arigato Kochaimas, Thank you my friends in AASJA and Japan for your warming hospitality reception. This trip will definately become one of my invaluable memories.

On the Japanese ODA

On the 50th year of Japanese ODA and the mass hunger in the Philippines: A reflection and retrospective

Cesar V. Santoyo, Japan Co-Worker, United Church of Christ in the Philippines & member, Hyakunincho Church/UCCJ

“As shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep has been scattered, so will I seek my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Ezekiel 34:12)

October 2004 marks the 50th anniversary of Japanese Official Development Assistance or ODA. Early this month as well, Philippine news bannered the shocking report that 15% of Filipinos experienced hunger for the past three months as revealed by the Social Weather Station (SWS). This means that 15% of Filipinos had nothing to eat once a day at least once in the last three months - the highest since March 2001. The record showed that hunger was most severe in Mindanao (23%), followed by Metro Manila and the Visayas (13%), and Luzon (11%).

The intentionally linked current state of hunger of Filipinos to Japan’s ODA commemoration is not to give a bad taste for the occasion. Rather, this is to ventilate the fact that ODA affect peoples sufferings. This is the glaring fact that people, especially Japanese taxpayers, need to know in order to understand how the Japanese ODA has destroyed once a blissful community into poverty and has thrown Filipinos into hunger.

I am referring to the several thousands of people from Masantol, Macabebe and the adjacent villages around Pampanga and Bulacan provinces. These are the people who live before through the bounty of marine and agriculture harvest from the Pampanga River and their arable farm lands. Then their lives were suddenly changed when the Japanese ODA funded Pamapanga Delta Development Project (PDDP) came to dredge and widen the 60-70 meters river into 750-meter wide one. The PDDP project claims that it is for flood control but the project oppositionist have clear facts to say that flooding is not the real reason. At any rate, the dredging operation started in 1992 from the mouth of Manila Bay eating lands in its way for nine kilometer long until it was stopped in 1999 due to the strong peoples opposition.

Even though the project was temporarily halted, damages to the lives of people and the environment have been inflicted. To give a picture of the current condition of people affected by PDDP project implementation, below are some excerpts from a letter of a developmental worker of the Network Opposed to PDDP (No to PDDP) that was received also in the same month of October 2004:

If you will ask the situation of the people in the PDDP area, it is worse than ever. The peasants and the fisherfolks were displaced. When the PDDP project was ongoing, dislocation was so imminent but now you can see the worse reality. Now, there’s no source of livelihood at all. What people do have now is ‘pangangapa’ or scavenging or fleecing out the left-over fish after completing the fishpond harvest (owned by a private company). People in the PDDP area today have no means of livelihood. Pampanga River is not a fishing ground anymore and there’s nothing to catch in Pampanga River after it was dredged and widened. Those who want to go fishing have to go to the sea but you need boat with bigger capacity that most people do not have. With small boat, they try their luck in swamps and in the riverside. For former farmers without a boat, ‘pangangapa’ is the only option. There’s absolutely no more rice field in PDDP affected areas. The rice cannot survive the salt water intrusion due to the widened Pampanga River. So the tendency now is to convert the rice fields into fishponds that the ordinary farmers have no capital for maintaining so they have to sell their lands to big fishpond business owners.”

The letter is heartbreaking information especially to people who have followed the opposition to PDDP project implementation and who have joined the PDDP community people in the feast of foods harvested from Pampanga River and vegetables and fruits around the area. My memories is still fresh when one sun-scorching hot morning in our PDDP fact finding mission where we hid ourselves under the shade of guava tree picking and eating its sweet fruits. We were a group of around 14 Japanese church workers who were in the international fact finding mission on PDDP where we were served lunch with ‘sugpo’ (big shrimp), ‘alimango’ (fresh water crab), fresh fish (tilapia and bangus) and other delicacies and fruits that were all taken from Pamapanga River and farms by the community people.

But even this memory is painful since the guava tree and the land where we stood and where we all ate together are literally gone and that place is now part of the waters of the widened Pampanga River. The PDDP project has eliminated the entire habitat in that large area of Pampanga and has kept killing the former residents of the area with hunger as pictured by the above letter.The experiences of people in the PDDP area remain true to other Japanese ODA projects. In just three regions of the Philippines alone (PDDP in Central Luzon, rail and road widening projects in Metro Manila, and CALABARZON in Southern Tagalog), more than a million Filipinos have been displaced by demolitions without relocation to give way to Japanese programs and projects under ODA. From Luzon to Mindanao, Japanese ODA is in progress and more projects are on the way. Many of these projects have destroyed the livelihood of the people and wrought havoc on the environment. Moreover, these projects have to be repaid by the Filipino people as loans by the Philippine government to Japan. Almost 80% of Japanese ODA to the Philippines are tied loans that are added to its foreign debts. The nation is paying a very high price which has ballooned from US$2 billion in the early l970s to over US$56 billion today. More than 40% of the Philippines’ foreign debt is owed to Japan via ODA (tied loans).

Besides the immediate felt effect to the peoples livelihood and its environmental impact, need to say is that the Japanese ODA as tied loan has long term effects to the lives of all Filipinos in terms of debt repayment. There will be less national budget appropriation for basic services like education, health care, community development and others as needed by Filipinos since more than half of the Philippine national budget goes for paying the interest alone for its foreign debt. Translated to the country’s current population, every Filipino – man, woman, child - owes more PhP42,000 (US$800) for its astounding foreign debt.

We can say that Japanese ODA has caused poverty and hunger among Filipinos. It has also been part and parcel of the corruption of Filipino local elite both in the Philippine government and big business contractors. It should be mentioned that, first and foremost, the landlessness of peasants and farmers and the control of the landlords and their representatives in the Philippine parliament and the head of the state are part of the main causes of Filipino poverty and hunger. The corrupt system within the Philippine government that was induced by Japanese ODA and the globalization scheme are particular causes of poverty and hunger that need to be exposed.

If ever the lobbying to reform the Japanese ODA bears fruit other than polishing and refining the current state and government policies in implementing ODA in the Philippines, the people to people friendship, solidarity and cooperation remain to be the best and true options in redressing the grievances from both the victims of ODA mis-development (Filipinos) and taxpayers as donors of ODA (Japanese people). Visiting and meeting the ODA afflicted people as has been going in the past truly provides assistance and renders justice to the hearts and minds of the victims of Japanese ODA (since among OECD member nations who are providing ODA to the Philippines, it is only the Japanese ODAs that have brought massive dislocation to household and livelihood plus foreign debt to Filipinos).

The year 2006 will mark the 50th year of Japanese ODA in the Philippines (July 1956 is the start of Reparation Treaty between Japan and the Philippines) and as it comes closer, the Philippines is facing a fiscal crisis wherein its national budget will not be enough to pay government debt. Together with it is the certainty of increasing number of Filipinos suffering from a state of hunger.

As the commemoration date comes nearer, we have to call on the concerned Japanese and Filipino people to help in exposing the negative impact of Japanese ODA. We are encouraging and inviting all people who have heart to help the victims of developmental aggression to have exposure and study tours in the Japanese ODA affected communities in the Philippines. Together, let us all find the best solutions to the problems due to improper use of developmental aid as faced not only by Filipinos but other afflicted people of developing nations as well.

Powell visited East Asia, What's message behind this?

US Secretary of State, Colin Powell visited Japan and China recently. Less than two weeks before the US Presidential Election take place, his visit definately wanted to boost the image of the incumbent President Bush.

More interestingly, his visits to East Asia particularly in Japan and Tokyo did not bring any surprise or encouraging progress by re-emphasised that North Korea as the "terrorist state" and the negotiation of the US Military Bases expansion in Okinawa. Will it any different with his visit to East Asia? How far will the spin doctors of Bush campaign team going to spin with this efforts? Let's us keep an eye on that progress in the US media.

The six-party talks did important in bringing the region's peace and stability. However, the pressures of the US towards the China as the influencial power in the region seems blamed China that less commitment in bringing the peace in the region.

Indeed, why US is so busy with the roles of the world police? In order to protect the benefits of the US in the region, the US will not give up her influences in the region by putting more military bases in the region. Okinawa is a clear example.

We, as people in Asia, who love the genuine peace that with the justice, definately will not buy the foreign policies of the US in the region. The present of the US Military Bases in Asia is a threat to the peace, not vice versa.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

After Kita Kyushu City...

Due to my trip in Kyoto was affected by the Typhoon Tokage and the pact schedule in Yamuguchi, I was not abled to update the report of my trip in Kyoto and Yamaguchi in the daily basis.

However, I promised to post all my observation to this platform in order for those who concern about my trip in Japan will able to read it. Hopefully through my writing, you can experience some of the excitement, scenario that I faced in those trips.

I just came back from Kukero to Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train). It took me 5 hours 30 minutes to arrive. Pardon me for my later report here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Kamagasaki: The Ugly side of Japan Glory!

When we heard about Japan, the first impression that came into our mind will be the advanced technology, developed country and may be the culprit of the World War II.

Anyway, many of us might be shocked when we visited a place called Kamagasaki.

What is Kamagasaki about? Any special of this place that took one hour journey to travel from Kyoto to Osaka by AASJA members and I? Anything that brought our attention?

Actually, today was rainning for the whole day non-stop. We were wet by the rain. Anyway we also noticed that that the men sleeping in the parks and on the streets are the very men whose labor built the modern buildings that they will see in Osaka and all over Japan. It is these men who are left homeless, as age and lack of work leaves them without a future.

We hardly to find women here. I was told that they have had to struggle to keep things going at home while their husbands were away... 'temporarily'. There are not very many women living in the area, but those who do, have had a much more difficult time surviving, daily. Easier to find will be the area next to Kamagasaki that still maintains houses of prostitution left over from the past when, as now, for a price, women are a prize for men.

Kamagasaki (some links that you can refer for further studies) stands as an ugly side of the human civilization development or even the globalization.

For those who are still want to promote the globalization and the positive side of the globalization, I request them to go to Kamagasaki to witness the impacts of the human exploitation.

Kyoto: My second destination in Japan

After the 6 hours journey bus from Tokyo to Kyoto by bus, I arrived Kyoto and meet with Kawai, our ASA staunch supporter. As usual, he showed his warming welcome to me and brought me to the student domitory.

It's rainning all the day. The Typhoon No 23 is coming to Kyoto and other part of the Japan. Anyway, the situation is under control due to the long experiences of the Japanese to deal with the thyphoon and other natural disasters.

Kyoto definately is the oldest city in Japan. The palace that emperor also build in Kyoto before they moved to Tokyo. Therefore, you can consider Kyoto as the historical city in Japan. It's important for us to know the history of the Japan through Kyoto. Hopefully I can get more orientation about Kyoto in the next few days.

Of course I'll share it with you all. My fellow ASA Blog readers

Monday, October 18, 2004

Anti War: Always Relevent!

It was sad that the war and fire in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Palestine couldn't end. This quagmire that dig by the US itself. Now even Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nation also emphasised that the invasion on Iraq didn't make the world safer.

What a big slap on the Bush's face. At the same time, we could see the Iraqi people resistance took place in almost everywhere such as Falluja in Iraq, Kabul in Afghanistan and other part that under the US occupation.

The US is worrying about the situation in Iraq now. The British Defense Ministry mentioned about the requested from the US to deploy more British troops into Iraq. How it could happened? What's wrong with the US troops? US wants to get out from this quagmire but very hard because the whole process, Tony Blair just a follower.

What we can see in London yesterday also told that the British Anti War movement especially with the Bigley's case, active against and call the government to withdraw their troops home. It means US's hope to British for more troops will not realize.

It's time for us to keep the pressures to our government for not sending any "humanitarian team", "medical team" and "self-defense force" to assist the Iraq reconstruction. It's just the excuse for them to rationale the US occupation.

Let's support the Iraqi people resistance. Anti War still very much relevant as the occupation still in the Afghanistan and Iraq.

Will departure to Kyoto tommorow night!

I'll not able to update this blog tomorrow because I have to take a bus to Kyoto for my second station speaking tour.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get the internet access in Kyoto and will update you all about the progress of the speaking tour in Japan.

Thanks for those who followed the ASA Blog so far. Hopefuly it will be more people read this blog and provide your invaluable comments.

First Speaking Tour in Toyo University Launched

All the efforts and courtesy went to AASJA-Tokyo. Due to their strong commitment and the determination, the ASA managed to launch the first hit on the series speaking tours in Japan. It's a good start point for the ASA and AASJA to organize such an important globalization talk in Japan.

The Globalization talk was held in Toyo University. Before the talk, most of the members in AASJA and Asia Solidarity Movement members were gathered in front of the Shinjuku Metro Station to distribute the flyer about the coming activities in December, oppose Okinawa US military base.

The talk was speaked by ASA regional secretary and the member from the AASJA, Tyono. I spoke mainly about the globalization and the impacts to the people in the first world and the third world.

My presentation was mainly focus on the power point that developed by the ASA secretariat. The presentation abled to get the attention of the audience to understand the issue of the globalization. Even it took about 1 hour 30 minutes, nobody fell to sleep. I think is something that need to be mentioned.

Besides, it also showed the willingness of the Japanese to learn is stronger than other countries people. This is something that we really have to study. I already witnessed the enthusiastic of the Japanese in the August 2003 in Philippine. They took notes and asked questions actively.

AASJA also presented the report on the last September Philippine study trip. With the photos from the Philippine, the presentation was so attractive and get the attention from the audiences.

The whole session took about 3 hours. I really enjoyed and learn from the AASJA as well.

Thanks to AASJA for provided me a wonderful dinner after the talk!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

What's Okinawa means to you?

Today, I went to Ueno for sightseeing. The Ueno Park is known as the pathway to history and the culture of the Japan. However, I think the whole trips in the afternoon didn't really impress me much. The biggest impact that I felt today was the evening discussion in AASJA member's house.

Together with AASJA's members, 5 of us had a very interesting discussion. First, we watched the documentary about the struggles against the expansion of the Narita Airport, which I used when I arrived Japan.

The second documentary was about the struggle to resist the US Military Bases in Okinawa. This was the highlight of the day. First of all, they showed their patient to explain the background and the development of the Okinawa to me.

I felt embarassed because of my ignorance about the history of the Okinawa. It will be better if I can at least know something more about Okinawa, then we could have a better exchange and indepth discussion.

Anyway, some of you may know about Okinawa. What Okinawa means to you? Any specific incident that remind you about Okinawa? If you feel that Okinawa is part of Japan, you are right partly. Why?

Because Okinawa is not only part of Japan. But her history told us that geographically Okinawa is an important place for the military strategies. That's why 75% of the US Military Bases in Japan is in Okinawa.

Is now for us to learn more about Okinawa. May be you planned to travel there or have a vacation there. No matter what, just hope that you will experienced the picket line that happens in Heneko. Show your solidarity to them to stop the US Military Bases.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Experienced the Japan consumerism

After the meeting, I invited my counterpart in ESIB to walk from the Tokyo University (Hongo-3-Chome) to Ikebukuro, one of the hot spots for night life and shopping activities in Japan.

First of all, the journey was so long. We just wanted to experienced the different scenes in Tokyo by walking because took a train sometime only can see the wall, or always full of people (like the sardin fish in tin).

With this decision, we had to walk for more than 4 kilometres that took around 3 hours. It's a good experiences that we could see how is the living standard of the Tokyo. The income of the people should not less than 114,000 Yen to have a decent life.

Of course this figure only for a person who have to work days a week. The transportation form the suburb to the town for work will cost around 800 yen per day. The food and other expenses will cost you about 2000 yen per day. This is not including the rental and other stuff. Therefore, imagine how difficult for an unemployed people to live in Tokyo.

Everything is so convenient to access and we found that the restaurants really appeared in every corner of the Ikebukuro. You will never get hungry if you got the money.

The city is full of games that you can experience the excitement of the cyber. The innovative and creative of the Japanese definately couldn't arguable. But it do cost the social impact of the people in general.

All you cab do in Tokyo is consuming. Only consume can recover the economy that in the downturn. Hopefully we can talked more about that after I went to more places for the observation.

What's next after Tokyo?

The 2nd day of the drafting meeting of the UNESCO/OECD on "Quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education" concluded with many follow up works. As I said yesterday, only two student organizations were invited to this drafting meeting. I really wonder how can we have a better participation by the student.

Of course, the ASA always critical with the progress of the drafting meeting. Madhav represented the ASA in the first drafting meeting. I attended the 2nd drafting meeting and find it very important for the ASA to determine how the ASA participation in the UNESCO.

Each international conference have its roles. This drafting meeting assigned to develop the guidelines and the information tools. Both are the main goals of the drafting meeting.

Here I'd like to bring your attention to the conclusion of the meeting:

Developement of Guidelines
1. Harmonize the UNESCO and OECD preambles.
2. Integrate the importance of social relevance and capacity building in the guidelines.
3. Link the guidelines to the larger Higher Education (HE) policy framework.
4. Integrate more explicity the role of student bodies.

Development of Information Tools
1. The pilot project will be developed by the UNESCO/OECD secretariat for the discussion in the final drafting meeting in Paris, 17-18 January 2004.

There will be the complete and revised drafted guidelined available online in the mid of Novemeber 2004. The ASA will develop the monitor machanism for the development and be more outspoken and critical in the coming meeting in Paris.

Here, we are open to anyone of you who are interested to join this process. Please write to me and let's us make the guideline a difference that favor to the students.

Are you in? Paris is our next destination.

Friday, October 15, 2004

When quantity remain the problem, how quality can be ensured?

Today is the first day of the "Quality Provision in Cross-Border HIgher Education" Second Draft Meeting since last April in Paris. This meeting hosted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The meeting is going to consult the member states from the world, international institutions, NGOs, Standard Accredition Organizaton and student organizations as well.

The ASA raise up the issue of the representation from the student organization. Only two organizations, European National Student Union (ESIB) and ASA attended this drafting meeting. How you can expect the development of the guideline were actively consulted the opinions from the student bodies.

Stamenka Uvalic-Trumbic, representative from the UNESCO Higher Educaiton Division responded with the framework that had been build since the WCHE + 5 in 1998 that already included the well represented student organization around the world. With the set up of the Electronic Discussion Group (EDG), UNESCO believed that the youth participation in the drafting process considered accomplished.

Of course we are not agree with this explanation. Anyway, there were several other matters that been discussed as well including the roles of the student bodies in the guideline. The ASA really concerns about the rights to education. Even many countries in Asia still have a very high illiteracy. Imagine how the people in Asia can access to the education?

Tomorrow will be the final day for the meeting. I'll try my best to speak out the concerns from the Asian Students. The more we expose the weaknesses of the process, the more remind of the people about the education situation in the Asia.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sharing Session with Anti Capitalism Action (ACA)

After the protest action, I was invited by the AASJA together with the members of the Anti Capitalism Action (ACA). We had a drinking session and discussed about the issues of globalization. Of course the coming WTO Ministerial Conference became the main topic.

The place that I went was the thypical traditional Japanese teahouse that you can order beer and other alcohol drinks as well. Due to the late protest action, this sharing session also provided all the participants with the dinner. Local dishes with different ways of cooking served to us.

The discussion last for an hour until 11pm. After that we took the train to go back to the suburd called Asaka. It took us more than an hour to go back from Shinkuju to Asaka. Nakamura who purposely came from Kyoto for the ticket about 130,000 yen also went to Asaka with me.

Of course, we had another session of beers in Hamasaki and Tsuichiya house!

Joined Japan People Against the International Conference on Reconstruction in Iraq

The next day after the arrival in Tokyo, I already participated and experienced the protest rally organized by the AASJA together with other organizations in Japan. It's my first time joined the protest action in the imperialist country.

The people in Japan organized a protest action towards the International Conference from the Donors in Iraq. It's mainly promote by the US and Japan for the Iraq reconstruction.

The reconstruction in Iraq always been the excuse for many countries to get access to their oil resources. As we all know, Iraq has the world number two oil reserve. It's really important for all the kindly "donors" to contribute and committed in the reconstruction.

The protest was attended by almost one hundred people. The protesters were surrounded by the police in order to make sure the social order. Anyway, the protest was abled to conduct in a proper way without any conflict with the police.

There were several speeches made by the Japanese organization leaders, which I couldn't understand their remarks. Anyway, I got their main message that the war is unjust and call the Self Defence Forces withdrawal from Iraq.

It's a significant protest. Even only 100 protesters in the busiest town in Tokyo called Shibuya, but it already sent a strong messages to the people who crowded in Shibuya.

This was the first activities in Japan. Let's me continue to update you other information that I'm going to attend in the coming few days.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Arrived in Tokyo safely

The ASA was invited by the AASJA to have the speaking tour from 15th to 25 Oct. Thanks to Tsuchiya for take a long way to the Narita Airport to brought me to their sweet home.

I will update you all about my progress here. At the same time, hopefully we will have a great speaking tour in Japan.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

What SBY can promise you?

Following the victory of the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, more well known as SBY, in the Indonesia Presidential Election, now we all have to see how he going to keep his promises. Can he make a change in Indonesia?

There are few concerns that ASA will keep monitor on him:
1. How the Indonesian relationship with the US-Australia in combatting the "terrorism"? At least we could see outgoing President Megawati have strongly resist the existance of the US and Australia intervention in the "War on Terror" inside Indonesia affairs. Will SBY open the door to US-Australia to send their troops in Indoneisa? How about the Strait of Malacca security issues?

2. As we know that Jemaah Islamiah still consider as the main threat of the region, what kind of strategies or methodologies that he is going to take? Will any national security legislation take place? How he is going to deal with the civil liberty that the people enjoy after the 1998 reformasi?

3. The issues of the Aceh, West Papua, North Sulawesi and other region that going to call for the independent, how SBY going to response to those resistances? Will any army crackdown on those resistances?

4. The IMF-WB have a very strong intervention in the Indonesia economic, what are the economic policies that SBY going to present to the nation? Will Indonesian continue to those condition that implemented by the IMF-WB? The foreign investment welcome the new president with upgrade the grade of the Indoensia.

The first 100 days of SBY in his President office will be our monitor period. Let's see what is his first action and concern as the Indonesia is under the mess situation.

SBY: New Indoensia President

After eight months of intensive national campaigning and three greulling electoral contests, Dr Yudhoyono's legitimacy is therefore hard-earned and rock-solid. At the same time his popularity is genuine and nation-wide - notwithstanding attempts to blacken his reputation as a racist Islamicist on the one hand and a pro-American toady on the other. -- REUTERS Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

World Bank will Committed in YEN?!

The 3rd High-Level Panel Meeting of the Youth Employment Network (YEN) ended with promising. Some how the goals of the meeting seemed realized due to a very promising President Wolfensohn. From the opening in the early morning in the first day meeting, he already gave many of the attendants a hope. His “inspiring”, “generous” and “effective” opening remark really encourage many of the us to work harder to get the stronger commitment from the World Bank to work for the youth employment issue.

The “unity” and “allies” between High Level Panel and the Youth Consultative Group (YCG) really exposed the uncordinate of the UN-ILO-WB. These three institutions started to blame each other for not committed in the progress. Since the establishment of YEN in 2001, it seems not much achievement so far. With the secretariat comprise by three staffs from the ILO and the website, the progress really need more momentum.

The only success case is the Indonesia National Action Plan. The other ten lead countries still remain in their interested level. Not yet put into the implementation level. The assessment of these progresses exposed the limitation of the bureaucracy in those International Institutions. To make sure those institution to move just like climb to the sky.

However, the ASA existence is significant to the progress especially in providing them a picture of the situation in Asia. As Indonesia, Sri Lanka and now the All-China Youth Federation were committed to the YEN, the ASA really important to keep our critical views on those policies shaping. The ASA have to build up a better working framework to monitor such prominent issue.

Therefore, the ASA has to think over the following questions:
As the Youth Unemployment issue become worse and serious, how ASA get involve in the YEN to speak out the youth situation today?
Do we agree with the framework proposed by the YEN? If agree, how to take it into action? If not, any alternative to work for this issue?
Are we going to work with the All-China Youth Federation? The ASA position on China needs to be clearer and well known.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Who will be the next World Bank President?

Do you want to change the President of World Bank?

Just after ASA attended the 3rd High Level Panel Meeting of Youth Employment Network (YEN) in the World Bank, there are several speculation on the next president for the World Bank. From the sources that ASA got, most likely the current President Wolfensohn is not going to extent his term that going to end in May 2005.

According to The Korean Time:

The strongest candidates are former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of
State Colin Powell, World Bank officials said on Monday.

There is a consensus that one of them will be named president of the
global organization according to result of the battle between President George
W. Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry, said Kim Yong-beom, senior financial analyst at
the World Bank.

Interesting, besides the US Presidential Election, the richest institution in the world also going to transform. The only different just the people can't vote for the World Bank President. It decided by the board of the World Bank.

Anyway, the US citizen can choose whether Colin Powell or Clinton by vote for Bush or Kerry in the November poll. Either Republican or Democrats will be elected to be the president. It seems already a reality that hardly to change!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Back from Washington DC

I was in the Washington DC to attend the Youth Employment Network Meeting from 26-27 September 2004. The meeting was attended by different representatives from the Youth Consultative Group (YCG), members of High-Level Panel and the representatives from UN, ILO and World Bank.

Due to my tight schedule and the accessibility to the internet, I wasn't able to update the ASA Blog. For those who belong to our regular reader, please accept my sincere apology.

The report on the Youth Employment Network meeting will be soon published on-line.