The most frank, readable and detailed account available in the English language of the political, economic, environmental and cultural changes sweeping through south-east Asia.
Most of the countries of south-east Asia – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei and Burma – though extremely diverse in their cultures and political systems, have two things in common: up to 1997, they had been enjoying extraordinary economic growth; after 1997, their economies have crashed.
After years of growth rates that Western politicians would die for, things have started going badly wrong for the countries of south-east Asia.
Victor Mallet’s remarkable book uses interviews with politicians and drug addicts, environmentalists and warlords, prostitutes, peasant farmers and captains of industry. The result is evocative reportage of incomparable intelligence.
The Trouble with Tigers examines in detail the miracle that turned sour. It looks closely at:
• the debate about the existence of ‘Asian values’
• the relationship between democracy and authoritarianism
• SE Asia’s Generation X – as wild and happy-go-lucky as any Western teenagers
• the region’s political and business leaders
• the environmental disaster befalling the region
• power politics – between Russia, China and the United States – in the region
The book concludes that though Asia has enjoyed enormous economic growth in recent years, it now faces formidable environmental, social and political challenges.
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Victor Mallet has been a correspondent of the Financial Times in Southeast Asia since 1991 and he brings first hand observation of the effects of the unprecedented rapid economic development of Southeast Asian agrarian societies over three decades and of the impact of the sudden economic slump that began in 1997. Basically, he sees little that is intrinsically "Asian" in all of this. The promotion of Asian value is seen as a doomed attempt by authoritarian leaders to appeal to ideals of a previous era in times of bewildering change.
The principal causes for the current upheavals are seen as the lag between the extraordinarily rapid economic changes and the failure to develop appropriate modern social and political institutions. The main strength of this timely book is the way in which Mallet has been able to use his unique access to people of all walks life to give detailed but compelling depictions of each of the 10 countries of Southeast Asia. Despite the enormity of their problems, the reader is given a basis on which to feel confident about their future. --Michael YahudaReview:
‘If there is a better primer on South-East Asia, it must be a very good book indeed’
‘Mallet’s book is engagingly written and rich in anecdote… his painstaking research brings Asian society to life’
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Book Description Harpercollins Pub Ltd, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0002558602