January 25th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Defence: Time for a reality check

EDITORIAL: The flight from fatherhood

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Iraq another divisive issue for the ALP

IRAQ: The case against Saddam Hussein

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The hard questions

COMMENT: Abortion-cancer row continues

LETTERS: Mutual concerns

LETTERS: Dealing with Asia

LETTERS: Protecting the Australian way of life

LETTERS: Free trade

LETTERS: 'Dumbing down'

COMMENT: Sean Penn, Blue Heelers: the politics of celebrity

PROFILE: Why Belloc still matters

BOOKS: The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, by Keith Windschuttle

BOOKS: Culture of Life: Culture of Death, edited by Luke Gormally

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Dealing with Asia

by Victor Sirl

News Weekly, 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,
Murrarie, Qld

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