Two Worlds on the Same Planet

Martin Petty at Reuters writes an interesting piece about Suu Kyi in Myanmar (Burma) — not interesting as you might think but interesting in that it reveals an alien point-of-view.

China is mentioned four times and is referred to as Burma’s ally, a neighbor, between China and India, and that Myanmar could become “a province of China”.

However, Petty only mentions briefly (nine paragraphs into the piece) that Western sanctions on the Myanmar regime have failed because Myanmar’s neighbors China, Thailand and India and other Asian nations have been pouring investments into the resource-rich country.

Why didn’t Petty mention that one of those other Asian nations pouring investments into Myanmar is Singapore — one of America’s staunchest Southeast Asian allies and trading partners. 

Singapore is also rated by as one of the world’s least corrupt nations tied with Denmark and New Zealand for the number one spot, while the United States is ranked twenty-two with a score of 7.1 ( a C-) to Singapore’s score of 9.3 (an A).

It isn’t as if Reuters didn’t know what was going on. 

A 2007 Reuters piece says that Singapore was one of Myanmar’s biggest foreign investors with more than one billion dollars in trade that year.

Then later in the 2007 piece, Reuters says that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) admitted Myanmar as a member in 1997 even with international criticism.

Just what does “international” mean when the nine founding members of ASEAN do business with Myanmar.

Is “international” another way of saying “Western” or “America”?

Here’s the ASEAN list — Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.  I didn’t see China or India on that list, and India is often touted as the biggest democracy on the planet — both trade with Myanmar.

In fact, South Korea, another democracy, also trades with Myanmar. In 2009, South Korea granted imports duty free and quota free on 253 goods from Myanmar. Source: People’s Daily

Then The Myanmar Times reported that trade between Myanmar and Japan (another democracy) increased about 33% in 2006-07.

Taiwan also trades with Myanmar. Source: The China Post

Not wanting to miss out on the potential profits, Australia is on that trade list too (up 160%). Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

It is a fact that all of these Asian nations that trade with Myanmar were either occupied or victims of Western Imperialism going back to the18th century and lasting until the middle of the 20th century. 

During this era, Western nations imposed Western values and religions on all of Asia and China.

However, all of Asia (except for Australia) has roots reaching back more than two millennia to Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism.

Western nations and the Middle East have roots to the three Abrahamic Religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Is it possible these different cultural trees are worlds apart on the same planet?

Instead of trying to understand those differences, the West keep thumping its hairy chest and roaring when the other world doesn’t behave with Western moral expectations and beliefs.

Learn more about The Collective Culture versus Individualism


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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