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    The ASEAN Miracle

    This book was recommended by Fareed Zaharia. As a rule, most of the books that he recommends are powerful pieces of social commentary. However, for me, “The ASEAN Miracle” would not be one of them. My feeling is that the work is a touch pretentious. For example, a number of times throughout the work, the author, Jeffery Sng, makes the suggestion that ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) should be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and implies that he is surprised that it hasn’t already happened. Should that not be the domain of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to make that determination? As well, although his premise of peace and co-existence is a positive one, I feel that his work is one of the mouse (ASEAN) dictating to the dragon (China) the Eagle (America), and the EU how they can improve their positions so that they can be more like ASEAN. That’s a touch presumptuous, especially as it is the former three groups that have increased the financial and social well-being of ASEAN. What also undermines Sng’s argument for peace is his personal attacks on people or organizations that he does not like. He makes it clear that he has no use for Donald Trump (neither do I), but in a professional commentary, the need to remain objective is paramount. As well, he takes issue with comments made in “The Economist,” which is fair enough, but you don’t personalize them. Give credit where credit is due. Mr. Sng has done a huge amount of research, but my feeling is that his work leans towards the ideal rather than the pragmatic, and, for me, it is hard to recommend to others.

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