The years that Asean squandered away
China made the decision to open up their economy in 1978. It was, till then, a closed and very backward country and economy. In 1978, Asean and several countries within Asean were already a mini economic powerhouse compare to the China. What happens today is that China and India have leapfrogged over Asean and are now two big engines that run the world economy. Where is Asean? Still stuck in its own bickering over national interest and pride but not moving anywhere. We laugh at the two giants, India and China, as slow, difficult to manage with gigantic population and infrastructure problems. They have got their acts together. Have Asean got theirs together? Hsien Loong called for more rapid liberalisation, opening up of the skies and economies. There were several attempts at building growth triangles but only to fizzle out like the opening of a bottle of coke. Only some gases made a little noise. And the world moves ahead.