LETTERS: by Victor SirlNews Weekly
Dealing with Asia
, January 25, 2003
Max Teichmann's tirade of invective against Asia was written with the assumption that South-East Asia (at least its elites) are anti-American and Muslim as well. South-East Asia is not anti-American. American expatriates work all over Asia and are welcome, including those attached to large mining interests in Indonesia. Singapore's major trading partner is the USA and it is currently attempting to negotiate a free-trade agreement with that nation. Singapore does have a Muslim population but is not predominately Islamic.
Furthermore, Australians should not forget that some nations in South-East Asia supported our efforts in East Timor, in fact the second in command was a general from Thailand. Thailand is not predominately Islamic either.
It seems absurd for News Weekly
to print derogatory remarks about the whole of South-East Asia when Australia enjoys good relations, Indonesia and Malaysia aside, with nations in the region and writers such as Pat Byrne and Colin Teese promote greater trade with Asia, already our greatest source of export dollars.
Asia is a diverse place. Various ethnic groups and nations can not be discussed in an informative fashion using a broad brush approach full of generalities, as Teichmann does.
His reference to the "Great Satan" is baffling. When have Asian leaders spoken of this? Teichmann tells us that "without the hated foreigners moving around their countries many Asian societies would go back to seeming like cow towns". Yet, the fact remains that unlike Africa and South America it is only Asian economies such as Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong that have prospered in a post-colonial era. Shouldn't this warrant some praise for their efforts?Victor Sirl,