Monday, June 27, 2005

Philippine President Arroyo admits: It is my voice in the tape

Tonight, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo admitted that it was her talking to Election official Virgilio Garcillano in the taped conversation now known as the Gloriagate Scandal.

The Gloriagate scandal pertains to allegations of the rigged 2004 Presidential Elections the president was involved in.

For more information, please link:

On the first day of classesYouth, teachers suffer police brutality

(On the June 6 Police Dispersal of Student Protest)
Prelude to GMA ouster, says youth group

Instead of books and ballpens, truncheons and brute force welcomed students and teachers on the first day of classes.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), League of Filipino Students (LFS), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement of the Philippines and Anakbayan, together with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and other youth groups, trooped to Malacañang on June 6 to protest tuition and fee hikes and the deteriorating state of education. The police and SWAT blocked them, however, along Morayta road.

The groups managed to push towards Don Chino Roces Bridge and were about to peacefully proceed with their rally when the police and some unidentified plainclothes men started forcibly shoving them.

Teachers, together with student leaders, arranged a negotiation so the rally could be held for at least 2 hours when police forces started shoving the protesters. A high school student was brutally hustled by policemen while he was resisting arrest. Another protester was terribly hurt when four policemen started beating him. Some others were similarly injured.

The harassment of protesters with legitimate calls for the government to prioritize education only proves to show how inutile the government is.

In the last years since GMA assumed office, this incident was not the first time that youth and students were prevented from holding mass actions near the Malacañang Palace. Government authorities invokes the “no permit, no rally” policy, which is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression.

We have enough reason to believe that GMA will never be sincere in addressing the youth's interests. For all her conceit and condescension, she has failed to learn a lesson from her predescessor. We would like to remind GMA that the youth was one of the most powerful force which placed her in power. Now, we have enough reason to hasten her inevitable ouster.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


URGENT: The ASA secretariat received an important update email from Alexandra from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) about some of the important development in the GATS negotiation. The EU Commission had called for a meeting on GATS with a number of key countries countries in Geneva on June 24.

The countries invited are Quad (US, EU, Japan and Canada), China, Hong Kong, India, Brazil, Malaysia and Rwanda. More importantly, the meeting will be held after the Quad meeting on the same issue: "an assessment of the offers, examination of the next steps in particular the "first approximation", by the end of July and possible benchmarks for offers."

Conspiracy Theory?

In fact the Quad has been discussion these issues for some time now. Apparently the time has come to work on the next concentric circle of a new consensus building exercise that the Quad has been preparing.

In Brussels, the EU Commission has so far decline to give indication on benchmarking. When asked a month ago, the Commission said "We began an internal reflection, which is very much in early stages; benchmarks will only be necessary if the offers are still of poor quality. Some might also wait until bechmarks are established before they want to table anything, to table only the minimum. Benchmarks are incredibly difficult."EU member states officials in the main time claimed that had not yet heard of any GATS benchmarks at all.

Last week, the EU member states representatives had presented some of its ideas on benchmarking. Although the Commission representative cautioned that "even the internal discussion in the Commission were still going on", the ideas presented are scary enough as the are.

How scary there are?

The Commission wants GATS benchmarks to have both quantitative and qualitative elements. The cross sectoral approach would mean that each member would agree to make commitments in a certain number of key sectors. This could mean, for example, that the developed countries would take commitments in 8 of 10 agreed key sectors, developing countries in 5 or 6 of them and the LDCs would do the best they can. In this approach one had to agree first the list of key sectors.

Note that in the WTO classification of services there are only 11 sectors including health, education, environment and culture (but about 50 sub-sectors).

The qualitative approach could be an obligation to bind at least the status quo in the selected sectors and go beyond it in some them. (for example, the developed countries should do so in 2 out of the 8 chosen sectors and the developing countries in 1 of the chosen 5-6 sectors). This is very worrying. As in NAMA where the EU wants the tariff reductions to "bite into the applied tariffs", it wants countries to not just bind what they have already liberalised, but also to make commitments for new liberalisations.

For the benchmarking that contain specific measures for the reduction of horizontal limitation, there should be an obligation to reduce the current requirements related to each mode of supply in a certain percentage of sectors.

However, setting a benchmark that would demand the reduction of "current requirements related to each mode of supply in a certain percentage of sectors" would make GATS a exercise in arithmetic instead of a serious negotiation about serious matters: where you have made 5 limitations you now put 3.

Alexander also appeal to all of us to start to make pressure in our countries on the issue of services, use the info for the press work and what ever work that we do with the GATS letter.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Myth of Globalization: The New Zealand Experience

Asian Students Association

The Myth of Globalization: The New Zealand Experience
An Evening with an NZ Scholar, Activist and WTO Critic

Special Guest
Jane Kelsey
Professor of Law in University of Auckland, media commentator,
public speaker and activist

Room C120 Shaw Amenities Building
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Thursday, 7 July 2005, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Have you ever wondered where those sprawling greens, forests and meadows in “The Lord of the Rings” are? Yes, they are all in New Zealand. Add to it, many in Hong Kong think that this country, also known as Aotearoa, is greener pastures for economic opportunities, jobs and the good life. Or is it?

We will bring you to explore another perspective of New Zealand that we may not get it through the mass media. As we here in Hong Kong and the rest of the world prepare for the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in December, it will be great for us to know about the situation and experience of the Kiwis (New Zealanders) in their “developed” country.

Jane Kelsey will let us in to the current economic, political and social situation of her country as it is obsessed with endless negotiation, implementation and imposition of WTO, regional and bilateral agreements, a crisis in health, social welfare and education and the wrath of economic liberalization.

She goes beyond this as she explains as well how the people of Aotearoa, the Maori and the Pakeha, the workers, women, youth, among others face the challenge of resisting these assaults from globalization and free trade.

JANE KELSEY, a professor of Law in the University of Auckland, is New Zealand’s most persistent and vocal watchdog of the doctrine appealingly known as "free trade". Working with fellow activsts under the banner of ARENA – the Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa – Kelsey is tireless in her deconstruction of the free-trade rhetoric that, she argues, advantages the rich nations while purporting to help the poor ones.

She has written several critical and provocative books such as Reclaiming the Future: New Zealand and the Global Economy; At the Crossroads: Three Essays, which addresses the controversy surrounding free trade and possible alternatives to it based on social justice and democracy; Rolling Back the State: Privatization of Power in Aotearoa/New Zealand and The New Zealand Experiment. A World Model for Structural Adjustment?

Language: English


FOR ENQUIRIES: Please contact the ASA Regional Secretariat Office (23880515) or its secretariat members Khai Loon (92783650), Madhav (97104610) and Rey (95889491) or email to

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Use our liberty to promote theirs!

June 19 was the birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi, the only Noble Prize laureate who is still as political prisoner. Several protests and birthday gatherings were conducted across the region last week. The ASA also update about the activities in the blog as well.

This morning, we received the statement from the President of the People Justice Party (KeADILan) in Malaysia about the situation of the Suu Kyi. Dr. Wan Azizah, the wife of the former Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim criticised the Malaysian government in handling the military junta and the ASEAN government who allowed the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to chair the next ASEAN leadership.

Dr. Wan Azizah said in her statement,

"However it is regrettable that Malaysian authorities continue to take harsh measures against free expression. I am particularly disappointed when I was informed that 60 over Burmese had been arrested and detained for participating in a peaceful assembly on 16 June. In the spirit of solidarity, I urge Malaysian authorities torelease all of them."

Icon of struggle

Besides, Aung San Suu Kyi continues to an icon representing the struggle of humanity over tyranny of power. No matter how the authoritarian regime tries to suppress the Burmese people, the hope for a free and democratic Burma will never be extinguished. The implication of Suu Kyi's message of peace and freedom goes beyond Burma. She has brought the global community together to care for a small impoverished Asian country. Her voice appeals not only to free her motherland Burma, but it is also a call to each and everyone in this global community to stand up firmly against oppressors and oppression in any forms.

To end this article, I just used the ending of the article of "Happy Birthday Suu Kyi" by Elizabeth Wong, the ASA friends to our reminder.

"Suu Kyi has asked us to use our liberty to promote theirs. The best birthday present she could possibly receive from us is our effort to secure the freedom that she and the good citizens of Burma long deserve."

"OUST GMA!" placards, CD gimmicks and chants welcomed Phil. president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterdat when she visited Hong Kong to meet with the business community. The overseas Filipinos expressed discontent with Arroyo's performance and her recent involvement in the alleged rigged 2004 national elections. Posted by Hello

Khai Loon of the ASA joins migrant Filipinos in their protest action staged at the Island Shangri-la in Hong Kong welcoming Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's one-day visit to the territory yesterday. Posted by Hello

With all the anomalies and scams she and her family are involved in presently adding to the anti-migrant and anti-people policies her administration has been implementing, even Filipinos abroad are already calling for her ouster.  Posted by Hello

HK Overseas Filipinos Greet Arroyo Visit With Protest

Members of the Asian Students Association regional secretariat joined Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong in their protest yesterday at the Island Shangri-la, where Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was stationed for a one-day visit to the territory.

The president opted to visit the business community while apparently ignoring the Filipino community who has been questioning her recent involvement in the rigged 2004 national elections.

Some 30 protesters flanked the sidewalk fronting the hotel and called for her ouster.

To read more, here is the statement issued by the United Filipinos in Hong Kong.


Press Release
20 June 2005

For reference: Dolores Balladares
Tel Nos: 28104379, 97472986

“GMA should stop dodging and face the music”
HK OFWs challenge GMA to face community on controversy

Instead of running abroad, deflecting the issue, issuing threats, and drumming up the hysteria of destabilization, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must squarely face the allegations of her fraudulent presidency and corruption-ridden rule. She owes it to the Filipino people.

This was declared by the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK) in a picket protest at the Island Shangri-la Hotel on the occasion of GMA’s meeting today with business people of Hong Kong to show them that she’s still in control of the country.

“If she really won fairly and squarely in the last elections as what she has been bragging, why doesn’t she face the ‘mother of all tapes’ fairly and squarely as well? No amount of dodging from the real issues shall save her now,” said Dolores Balladares, UNIFIL-HK chairperson.

Instead of veering away from the real issue of election fraud, Balladares added, Mrs. Arroyo is instead fanning fears of destabilization plots to scare the Filipino people.

“She is the greatest destabilizer in the country. She has destabilized it by her mudded credibility not only in the last elections but in all other anomalies that have beset her administration,” she declared.

Balladares also slammed the news that Mrs. Arroyo is planning to declare Martial Law anytime soon.

“Mrs. Arroyo is fast becoming the biggest fascist rivaling even former president Marcos. She has already threatened those that exposed the election scam. She has also clamped down on the media and threatened them with legal actions if they air the contents of the CD. Worse, she kills those that she cannot silence as experienced by activists and progressive groups.”

“Martial Law will be the final act of desperation of a president who did not even win her position,” she declared.

Balladares added that GMA’s visit to HK shows her “desperation to salvage her fast-sliding grip of the country” by putting up a front to the business community overseas and get their confidence and trust.

“However, it is the Filipino people’s trust and confidence that she is rapidly losing. How can you trust a cheat? How can you trust a president that rails against illegal gambling at every opportunity but turns a blind eye when it is her husband, brother-in-law and son who collect millions from jueteng?” she stressed.

According to the group, the absence of meeting the Filipino community in Mrs. Arroyo’s agenda in Hong Kong reflects her fear of facing the OFWs on the anomalies surrounding her position. This, UNIFIL relayed, was much different from her previous visit that was full of pomp and promises.

“She knows that even abroad, we are watching. And what we are seeing is her illegitimacy, incompetence, fascism and corruption. For Filipinos abroad, she’ll go down the same way as her disgraced predecessor,” Balladares stated.

Balladares reported that a “broad and massive” campaign, which shall be joined with the call to oust Mrs. Arroyo in the Philippines, is already being planned by OFW groups around the world. She said that groups such as the UNIFIL and other allied organizations of the militant Migrante International that figured prominently abroad during the Oust Estrada campaign are at the front of the brewing oust GMA movement overseas.

“The latest fiasco that Mrs. Arroyo found herself in just capped the restlessness felt by migrant Filipinos over her government. We are all too prepared to join in the chorus for Mrs. Arroyo’s ouster,” Balladares concluded.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Suu Kyi "celebrates" her birthday under house arrest

UPDATE: June 19 is the birthday of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. She celebrates her 60 birthday under the house arrest. More than 2000 days she detained under the house arrest by the military junta. That is the shame on the military junta and who ever support, allowed and approve their legitimacy as the ruler in Burma.

As a human rights, democracy and peace advocates, we can't allow this kind of oppression to be continue in Burma. The legitimacy of the Burmese government should be the National League for Democracy (NLD) who were won the 1990's General Election. The military junta just blatantly violate the people's will and decision.

Protests around the world!

Different protest actions were carried by different groups in the world main cities. From the Philippine to United States, Malaysia to United Kingdom and India etc. They paid tribute to Suu Kyi and call for her immediate release. Suu Kyi as the living symbol of non violent to resist the oppression is highly respected by the leaders of the world.

The ASA also call for her immediate release and restore the democracy system in Burma. With the close working relationship with the All-Burma Student Democratic Front and other groups from Burma, the ASA will continue the campaign to free Aung San Suu Kyi. Our members from different countries can hold their program and solidarity support to the Burmese democratization movement.

With the pressures towards the military junta around the world, we believe our goals will be achieved one day. The illegitimate government have to step down and return the power to the people to decide for their future.

Longlive International Solidarity!
Free Aung San Suu Kyi Now!
Democracy Now in Burma!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

SFT called to lifted the ban

UPDATE: The Student Federation of Thailand (SFT), also the executive committee of the Asian Students Association (ASA) in the Southeast Asia, has petitioned Education Minister Adisai Bodharamik to override the decision of the Higher Education Commission to halt all initiation rituals in the universities.

This year the Commission circulated a letter to all universities calling for a halt to this year's rituals following last week's suicide of a freshman.

According to Bangkok Post, the latest incident involved a fourth-year student at Rajamangala Institute of Technology's Northeast Campus in Nakhon Ratchsima. Patipan Inyapho, 21 claimed he was tortured along with other students. He sneaked out of the campus and returned to his home with serious bruising and cuts.

Student raped in initiation camp!

At the same time, the Student Federation of Thailand also disclosed that a freshman university student had been raped by the one of her seniors at an initiation camp. According to Kotchawan Chaibutr, the executive member of SFT, "he woke her up in the middle of the night claiming she had to attend a cheerleading session. When the student went out with him, he raped her."

Due to the security and the feelings of the victim, SFT decided not to expose the identity and the name of the university of the victim. Without the proper protection, it may cause unnecessary humilation and threats to the victim.

Ban can solve the problems?

The SFT and some university presidents have agreed to the request. “Initiation activities are intended to promote camaraderie, but it’s important that we know how to organise useful and constructive activities,” said Kotchawan.

The purposes of the rituals are helping the freshman to used to the new environment of the university life. There were a lot of malpractice by the seniors in the initiation rituals, however we can't deny the importance of the rituals. Can we ban the people to using car because it cause the accident? Can we ban sexy cloth because of it caused the sexual desires of the man?

Sometime the call from the student can show how outdated and competence of the government officials in making their decision. SFT called on the Education Ministry to host a meeting to gather opinions from all parties concerned and set guidelines for initiation parties. I think that was a good move at least to address the issue in a more healthy way.

Well done SFT!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Donald Tsang becomes new Chief Executive!

UPDATE: With the controversial electoral system under the Basic Law, Donald Tsang, the 61 years-old civil servant who never went to university, but worked his way up the administrative ladder after joining the civil service in 1967, designated to replace his predecessor Tung Chee-Wah to become the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

He came across as arrogant during the two weeks election campaign, in which he refused to debate with his rivals. As the election of the Chief Executive only decided by the 800-Election Committee (which is packed with China's supporters), his rivals couldn't secure the necessary 100 votes in order to qualify as a candidate. On June 15, Donald Tsang managed to gain about 714 nominations out of 800 Election Committee. Therefore, he was declared as the winner.

What's Next for him?

According to the Christian Barby from The Independent, "Mr Tsang has a reputation for being extremely decisive but his unswerving loyalty to Beijing suggests that he will be unwilling to push through any radical political reforms. His experience might see him become the stabilising force that Beijing is so eager for, but doesn't leave much room for optimism among those who feel China already wields too much influence over the former British colony."

"Pro-democracy (the opposite of pro-China) groups grumble about China’s refusal to introduce elections by universal suffrage. They also criticise China’s decision to allow Mr Tsang initially to serve out only the remaining two years of Mr Tung’s term, instead of a full five years. This has been widely seen as a way for China to replace Mr Tsang swiftly if he fails to meet its expectations. But many believe that Mr Tsang will try harder than Mr Tung to win over the democrats, and that China wants him to succeed, " in the current Economist issue with the title of "A Knight of the people's paradise".

Many political observers think Mr Tsang cautiously vague when describing his hopes for democratization in Hong Kong. Many pro-democracy politician say he will be careful not to upset the Chinese leadership. However, he has to balance the interest of the Beijing government and the Hong Kong people's interest particularly the call for the universal suffrage.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Oust Gloria Calls Increasing!

UPDATE: After the exposed of gloriagate tape, the number of the organization who call Gloria to step down increasing rapidly. The public gatherings were organized in many areas especially in the Manila city, Philippines. More and more sectors including the academe also come out with their strongest protest about the election fraud in the last Presidential Election.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of the activists scientist group, AGHAM spoke in the launching of the UP AWARE or the University of the Philippine (UP) Alliance Working for Arroyo Removal,

Acedeme Can Help to Proof

"We have physicists working on signal processing and coding at the National Institute of Physics as well as DSP engineers at the UP EEE who can easily show whether the speaker on the Gloriagate tapes was indeed Gloria Arroyo. Furthermore, there are language experts here at the College of Arts and Letters and sound engineers from the Collegeof Mass Communication and the College of Engineering"

"Academe has to join the swelling movement to remove Arroyo for the continuation of GMA's presidency is untenable and unconscionable. We support the call of UP AWARE for a council of patriotic and progressive organizations and individuals to come together and agree on a process of succession and a program for bringing about economic justice, freedom and democracy", said Dr. Tapang.

For your information, the ASA Secretariat received the email from the UP AWARE about their launching event. UP AWARE is an alliance of UP faculty, students, research and extension personnel, staff and alumni questioning the legitimacy of the Arroyo administration in the light of the taped conversation between her and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcellano. UP AWARE count themselves part of the growing movement for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to step down.

There are few prominent speakers and guests were invited such as Senator Aquilino 'Nene' Pimentel, Jr., Brother Eddie Villanueva, Former UP President Francisco 'Dodong'Nemenzo, Jr., University Student Council Chairperson Marco de los Reyes, progressive bishops, college deans and representatives from the faculty, staff and REPS of the University.

Arroyo Refused to Testify

President Gloria Arroyo said Thursday she would not testify at a congressional hearing into allegations she stole last year's elections, accusing the opposition of trying to sabotage the economy.

That means Arroyo gave up the opportunity to take the stand at a planned public hearing next week intended to probe the authenticity of illegally tapped telephone conversations released by the opposition.

Arroyo spokesman Ignacio Bunye said that the president would not attend the public hearing, "we respect the investigation initiated by our lawmakers, but to insist on the president's response relative to this dubious audio tape is inappropriate as far as we are concerned."

Monday, June 13, 2005

How the politic intervention in the universities in Malaysia?

UPDATE: As we always update with you about the universities situation in Malaysia especially the case of ISA 7 and the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA), now we in the ASA secretariat will present you with another case that proved the political intervention in the university administration.

Of course, we advocates for the campus democracy and autonomy. The autonomy and democracy will only come true as the whole nation political situation democratized. Without a proper climate, the struggle for the campus democracy and autonomy just like build up the castle in the sky. Something impossible.

Therefore, the experience of the University Malaya (UM) Economist Associate Professor Dr. Terence Gomez can be our lesson and topic of discussion. He was tendered his resignation after the university didn't approve his two-year secondment to take up a research post in the United Nation (UN).

Some ridiculous remarks from the Higher Education Minister, Dr Shafie like

"As the minister, I have the power to hire and fire, so I have revoked his resignation."

"This means he will rejoin UM once his secondment to the United Nations has ended."

Imagine such an arrogant statement from a government servant still allowed to be the minister. How can the Malaysian so generous with their minister? What actually with those politician think who they are? Are they the one who decided the future of the education? Where they put our academician and the people?

Therefore, we hope the Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA) will take up these issues as the starting point for the education discussion. We in the ASA will always keep the update through the ASA Blog. More importantly, your inputs are very essential for the ideas generation!

Oust Gloria Now!

The People's Power III is on the track now. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is under the strong protest across the nation. Mass organizations are calling the people to oust her from the President office. The streamer of the Oust Gloria is so catchy and creative. It created by the Unity for Truth. Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Philippine Youth Call to Oust Gloria!

BREAKING NEWS: The ASA Secretariat received an open letter from the Anakbayan, a mass youth organization in Philippine who also work closely with the ASA on several issues such as education and employment issues. The situation in Philippine never become better even after the Estrada. It only more rampant.

The open letter forward to all the Philippine Youth from Anakbayan. They called the youth to resume their historical duty, to oust the president who has lost moral ascendancy, legal mandate and credibility to stay in power.

According to the Anakbayan's open letter,

The past few weeks have revealed the Arroyo administration's extreme
isolation and low esteem from tax and price hikes, jueteng and corruption
scandals and the president's latest popularity plunge an all-time low since

The evidence does not lie. She cheated and betrayed public trust for
her selfish interest to usurp power. The audio tape is only the last straw. From
the first day she assumed office, her credibility has constantly been
questioned. We see no reason to believe anything she has to say now.

Tape or no tape, the youth has had enough. President Arroyo will never
be sincere in addressing the youth's interests. For all her conceit and
condescension, she has failed to learn a lesson from her deposed

If you want to learn more about the tape, you can read the news from BBC. However, we can see the anger and determination from the Philippine youth. The corruption and the inflation of the daily goods already made the people's life suffering.

Youth place Arroyo in Power!

More importantly, the youth strongly declared that Arroyo is the one who get in to be the President through the People's Power II. Youth forces are the important sector who push for the People's Power II.

"The Filipino youth was one of the most powerful force which placed President Arroyo in power. Now, we have more than enough reason to hasten her inevitable ouster," according the Open Letter of Anakbayan.

The ASA will always update with you about the campaign to oust the Gloria. At the same time, we will stand together with the Philippine youth and student in their steadfast campaign and action.

Friday, June 10, 2005

What happened with Neo-liberalism in Bolivia?

UPDATE: These few days, we were flooded by the news of the Bolivian people's power who ousted their President Mesa from his office. This was his second time resignation in six months after he resumed to the office. Anyway, we might ask what happened in Bolivia? Why the President could resume the power and ousted again? Who are the people are against the President and his regime?

Many of the Asian may not know about a lot of socio-politic issues in the Latin American, this will be the opportunity for us to learn more about Latin America and their people's movement. In fact, we are facing the same trend of the Neo-liberalism in the Asia-Pacific as well. If we can understand the situation more, it will helpful for us to reflect our own movement as well.

The secretariat received an interesting email about the analysis about the current situation in Bolivia. Hopefully it will provide us with the comprehensive picture.

According to Gretchen Gordon, Bolivia is under the IMF neo-liberals policies for the last 20 years, the privatization of natural gas exploitation which occured in the mid 1990s.

Neo-liberal policies together with the privatization are the important part of the current crisis because the people have resulted in poverty, unemployment, underemployment, and discrimination.

The current upheaval in Bolivia centers around the question of who controls, and who benefits from Bolivia's natural resources, one of the only economic lifelines of what is the poorest country in South America. The overwhelming majority of Bolivian 9 million inhabitants are indigenous, and almost two-thirds struggle to survive far below the poverty line. For this majority, the analysis of the impacts of neoliberal policies is clear.

What are the future politic for the Bolivian?

President Carlos Mesa, who resigned from office late Monday night, handing the reigns over to Congress to determine how power would be transferred to the next President, appeared before Bolivians on national television late Tuesday night in an urgent plea for a full change of government as the only way to avert a civil war.

Mesa, a moderate free trade proponent himself, came to power in October 2003 when previous president Gonzalo Sanchez Lozada was overthrown by public outcry over plans to use Chilean ports on the Pacific coast to allow private exportation of Bolivia's gas.

The popular contender for the next presidential election is Evo Morales, leader of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) and a vocal opponent of US-backed neoliberal reforms. If Morales comes to power, Bolivia would become the seventh Latin American country to move to a leftist government, opposed to U.S. neoliberal policies, in recent years.

Meanwhile, in the capitol city of La Paz, completely blockaded byprotesters, Bolivians are beginning to run out of water, gas, and food, and tensions in the streets are escalating rapidly.

While social movement leaders and political actors scramble to find some sort of resolution before a war erupts, the only thing that is certain right now is that for Bolivia, a return to neoliberalism is not an option.

Global Military Expenses on Rise

UPDATE: Global outlays tops $1 trilion; Highest since Cold War peak; US accounts for neraly half.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military expending in 2004 broke the $1 trilion barrier for the first time since the Cold War, boosted by the US war against terror and the growing defense budget for India and China.

Led by the US, wchich accounted for almost half of all military expenditures, the world spent $1.035 trilion on defense, equal to 2.6% of global gross domestic product (GDP). Besides its regular defense budget, the United States has allocated $238 billion since 2003 to fight terrorism. These appropriation now assuming as the extraordinary proportion.

More information for you to read.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Malaysian Students Calls to Abolish UUCA!

June 8 was the Malaysian Undergraduates's Rights Day. More than 80 students were attended the seminar that call the abolishment of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA). The photo shows the participants put their palm print on the banner that "Abolish UUCA" Posted by Hello

How many African countries in Debt?

There is a very good illustration about the Africa debt situation from the The Times Online. It will provide us a overall picture in the Africa about the debt situation. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A horror and trauma reveal on the Suharto dictatorship

UPDATE: This morning, Madhav and I attended a Seminar with Documentary Film Presentation that host by the Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC) in the City University of Hong Kong. "Terlena - Breaking of a Nation" is a documentary made by Andre Vltchek, the political analyst, writer and filmaker who now station in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 90-minute documentary that produced in 2004 was selected and screened at the prestigious New York International Independent Film Festival (NYIIFF) in November 2004. Artistic Director of NYIIFF - Anoo Cottoor praised it in the following terms: A truly groundbreaking, informative, impactful and passionate documentary about the silencing of voices in Indonesia during the regime of Suharto, and the impact...on society and culture then and up to today."

Terlena includes some world-famous Asian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Ilham Aidit (son of murdered the Communist leader Aidit), Asvi Warman Adam (head of political studies at LIPI, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences), Djokopekik (leading Indonesian painter) and many others.

Terlena contradicts official Indonesian and American propaganda scenarios concerning the coup in 1965. It also exposes the tremendous violence that followed Suharto's takeover. This violence, in many ways, continue until now.

It's a interesting discussion over the documentary and the situation in the Indonesia. Different views and questions were threw to the speaker, one of those was why the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) that believed to have the overwheming support from the people didn't resist or fight back? As they strongly believed they were going to win the election, they didn't get involve in the military set up. Another reason may be the internal struggle in the PKI that split into Pro-China and Pro-Soviet camps.

However, it really hard to explain such a huge massacre and slaugther couldn't come out with any resistance. Therefore, it will be a good reference for the discussion about the PKI and the Indonesian military influences in the politics. It's a fruitful and inspired discussion.

IMF's Plan requests Iraqi Govt to cut jobs and social program!

UPDATE: According the New Standard, the new Iraqi government is considering a plan to slash the government spending by eliminating the some public sector jobs and cutting popular subsidies for electricity and oil products.

Laith Kubba, the government spokeperson said the budget cut are mandated under a debt reduction plan sponsored by the IMF, would allow the private sector to expand in areas that government services are reduced.

We cannot tolerate this level of overburdening the government," Kubba said. "We'd like to make sure that those who are in need are protected." But Kubba added, "Currently, it's a free-for-all" when it comes to deciding where exactly to reduce government spending. Without saying how many jobs will be eliminated, he warned that budget cuts "will be a bit painful."

This is something should be stop as the Iraqi people life are under threats. Their life always been in instability and trouble with all kind of killings. The transitional government should ensure the people can have a decent life under the conflict.

IMF once again promote the neo-colonialism agenda and only serve the interest of the US imperialism. With the neo-con policies and the "democratization project" in the Middle East, more and more countries in the world including the Iraq are under the attacked. At the same time, we also need to reveal the local cohorts of the US imperialism that only serve for their own interests.

Therefore, the resistance of the Iraqi people is so crucial. The US troops should out of Iraq. The Iraqi people have the rights to self determination.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

AISA Campaign for Education and Employment issues

UPDATE: Gearing up for 'September Parliament Gherao' All India Student Association (AISA) has called for a countrywide campaign on the issues of education and employment.

AISA Uttar Pradesh unit had organised a convention on 10 May on these questions in Lucknow University. AISA Bihar unit also organised similar convention in Patna on 12 May. The Convention called upon the students to intensify agitation against the betrayal of the UPA govrenment with the students-youth community of the country.

Student leaders described the UPA Govt.'s Employment Guarantee Scheme as an eye-wash and called for the universalisation and effective implementation of it. The participants called for immediate elections of the student bodies in universities of Bihar and demanded recognition of central university status to Patna University. The convention was also addressed by a senior professor of the Patna University, Naval Kishore Chaudhary. A Convention was also organised at Bhagalpur on the same theme on 17 May.

Meanwhile, Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) has also launched a campaign on the issue of employment. Statewide protest was organised on 14 May in Bihar. Dharnas were organised at several district headquarters during this programme.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bangladesh Students Under Attacked

BREAKING NEWS: The ASA Secretariat received an emergency update email about the pro-Awami League Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and students Unity of Bangladesh(SUB) were under attacked by the police and the pro-government student organizations from Mamunur Rashid, General Secretary of the SUB. Both BCL and SUB are the ASA members in Bangladesh. The ASA seriously concerns about the development in the Bangladesh.

According to Rashid, BCL and SUB are denied by the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), the pro-Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) student front, and the police to access to the Dhaka University (DU) campus. Such surveilance been carried on for 5 days already.

There were some background story that might help us to understand the incident in Dhaka University. According to the report from Reuters on 31st May,

The clash at the 50,000-student Dhaka University erupted after a female
student, Shammai Akhtar Happy, was killed in a road accident three days

The student wing of the main political opposition party, the Awami
League, accused university authorities of being reluctant to pressure police to
arrest the operators of a bus that crushed the 23-year-old student as she
crossed a street.
Students from a group backed by the country's ruling
Bangladesh Nationalist Party said their rivals were damaging the university's
peaceful academic atmosphere.

At least 30 students were taken to hospital with burns and cuts,
police and witnesses said. Others were treated on campus.

We are going to keep our eye on the development in Bangladesh. We hope the justice should be prevailed for the victims.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Spiderman Call Justice for Tiananmen Massacre

June 3, Spiderman arrived Hong Kong with a call. A call for justice. Justice for the victims oof the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. The spiderman who climbed to the top of the big screen of the commercial building in Central, Hong Kong later was persuaded by the fireman and free. No charge on his action.

Tonight, June 4, there will be a vigil night in Victoria Park. The program will commemorate the victims that sacrificed themselves in order to fight for the democracy and end the corruption. For those who are in Hong Kong, you are invited to join the program. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 03, 2005

FMN Calls for 20% Budget for Education in Indonesia

UPDATE: On May 2, the Indonesian celebrated their National Education Day or HARDIKNAS in Bahasa. On this date, also the birth of the national education father, Kj Hadjar Dewantara, who contributed to the national education in Indonesia.

According the Front Mahasiswa Nasional (FMN) or in English is National Students Front, the current education system in Indonesia is facing the expensive cost, the decreasing subsidy, corruption, privatization of the public colleges and the undemocratic climate in the universities and colleges.

Therefore, FMN strongly feel that the budget for the education is important in order to solve the crisis in education. With the minimal 20% of the national budget for the education, children of the farmer, labour and the urban poor people will able to access to the education. Currently, the Indonesian government only allocate 5% of their national budget for the education in 2005. (It's about Rp. 25 quintrilion).

The reason of the government to allocate 5% of the national budget is because they think the people also need to bear some of the responsibilities for the education. FMN cited that the government is not out of funding because the restructuring of the bank in Indonesia already costed Rp. 650 quintrilion.

Therefore, the FMN called the Indonesian government:
1. Strive for SBY-Kalla regime to give the allocation of budget for education as 20 % from the total budget to guarantee the 9 years education and expense the education of the children of labor, farmer, urban poor people from elementary school until the college.

2. Strive for SBY-Kalla regime to withdrawal the Government Regulation about the Privatization (BHMN-isation) of state-owned college and not to issue any other policy which has a privatization of state-owned college.

3. Strive for SBY-Kalla regime to stop the corruption of education budget in its bureaucracy, and catch the corruptor as soon as possible and confiscate their property for people subsidy.

4. Strive for SBY-Kalla regime to guarantee the realization of campus democratization, which is the guaranteed the student right in active in an organization and have an expression, and participate in the college's policy making.

5. Strive for the SBY-Kalla regime to giving the job opportuinity to the youth and people generally.

For the ASA, we remain our solidarity to the Indonesian students in their steadfast campaign for the education rights. At the same time, it will be very important for the members of the ASA outside of the Indonesia to deliver our support to their campaign.

As the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference will take place in Hong Kong, the ASA also going to hold an international student and youth caucus for the education and employment. All of the members and other networks are very much welcome to participate in such caucus. Indonesia is just the tip of the iceberg.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Philippines: Alert to Education

UPDATE: According the Peter Wallace who wrote in the Manila Standard Today, the low quality education in Philippines needs to be seriously addressed by the government and even the Catholic churches as well. You can read more about his article "Low Quality of Education: The Numbers Say it All"

We regconize education is a right and not a privilege. It should always access to everyone without favor and prejudice. At the same time, we do concern about the development of the quality of the education today. The commodification of the education already undermined the purpose of the education to liberate the people from their current situation. In another word, the social mobility of a person is valid when they received education.

To date, these aims seems more difficult and full of obstacles. The structure poverty affects more and more people. Many children and young people out of school due to several reasons such as armed conflict, wars and even lack of financial support. More seriously, those out of the school children and young people become the unemployed forces. They become the social instability elements for many governments.

Peter Wallace provided us with concrete examples:

Of every 100 children that enter primary school, 33 fail to finish, and of those that finish, only 66 enter secondary school.

Of those in high school, 19 give up during schooling. So only 45 out of the 100 finish.

100 Enter primary school
33 Drop out / Fail
67 Finish primary school
66 Enter secondary school
19 Drop out / Fail
45 Finish secondary school
26 Enter college
19 Drop out / Fail
7 Finish college

What kind of jobs can 10 years of inadequate schooling entitle you to?

What is the cause of the poor result of the students? For Peter Wallace, money is one of the causes. He used the Per Capita Budget for Education of selected countries in the Asia Pacific:

Country Per capita budget
Australia $3,981
Japan $3,872
Singapore $1,582
Thailand $1,048
Thailand $852
Philippines $138

The important message from Peter Wallace is the government needs to act far beyond the levels they are today or the country children will destine to life of poverty.