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 Events Summary 2020

Facebook Live: Southeast Asia After COVID-19: Pitfalls and Prospects on Wednesday 17th June 2020 at 08.00 p.m. – 09.15 p.m. (Bangkok) 

While states and societies in Southeast Asia grapple with the coronavirus and pressure to end lockdowns and restart economic activities, we invite you to listen to a panel of experts who will analyze the impact on politics, economics, conflict, security, and governance - and possible ways forward. I know there have been and will continue to be myriad virtual and online events about COVID-19 and Southeast Asia. By necessity, we need to engage this “COVID and Southeast Asia/ASEAN” subject like our peers and counterparts. 

Facebook Live: VThai Politics Beyond COVID-19: Underpinnings, Directions, Prospects” Friday, 15th May 2020 at 03.30 p.m. - 05.00 p.m. 

We now turn out attention to Thai politics in view of Covid-19. Will the student-led flash mobs prior to Covid-19 reappear after the virus subsides? What will be the political consequences of the ongoing economic doldrums and GDP contraction? How will the Thai people respond and react to the Covid handling and management under the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha? And the role of the military in Thai politics in the coming months? Tensions seem to be mounting as Thailand grapples with political problems and economic adversity over the past several years, now exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis. This webcast public forum will aim to address these questions and issues. 

Facebook Live: Virus Risks and Economic Imperatives: Balance and Priorities on Friday, 1st May 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m. 

This forum will focus on the shifting and moving balance between virus concerns and economic imperatives. The Thai government today has announced an extension of the emergency decree for another month until the end of May 2020. This extension is understandable due to the persistence of the deadly coronavirus and its potential new outbreaks, even if numbers of infections and fatalities appear to have stabilized. At the same time, bottom-up pressure for a partial re-opening of the Thai economy is mounting, as economic hardships have hit the people hard and fast. 

Facebook Live: Counting the Cost, Looking for Recovery: The Thai Economy After COVID-19 on Thursday, 23rd April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m. 

We will shift gear and focus on Thailand in particular. Our next online public forum on Thursday 23rd April (930am-11am) is entitled “Counting the Cost, Looking for Recovery: The Thai Economy After COVID-19,” featuring two leading economists in Dr Supavud Saicheua and Dr Sutapa Amornwiwat. Their backgrounds are attached. Dr Supavud is a prominent economist in Thailand for more than the past three decades, known for his independent macroeconomic analyses. Dr Sutapa has worked in multiple capacities in the government sector, including with the Fiscal Policy Office, and now with a data analytics tech start-up under Siam Commercial Bank. This online forum will home in on challenges facing the Thai economy during and after the virus crisis. 

Facebook Live: COVID-19 in Thailand and Southeast Asia: Dynamics, Directions, Prospects on Friday, 17th April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m. 

COVID-19 in Thailand and Southeast Asia: Dynamics, Directions, Prospects
Friday, 17th April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m. 

Facebook Live: ASEAN and COVID-19: A Regional Response? Friday, 10th April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m. 

ASEAN and COVID 19: A Regional Response?
Friday, 10th April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m. 

A Public Forum On – Finding Balance and "Happiness": Individuals, States and the International System at 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Monday, 20th January 2020. 

Happiness is hard to come by and difficult to define. It derives from a complex and moving balance between work and living, between state and society, between faith and reason, encompassing much more than just what gross domestic product and national income stand for. While happiness can be subjective and tough to measure, it is generally considered to be associated with biological, behavioural, and public policy concerns. In a three-level framework of individuals, states, and the international system, this public forum shares experiences and expertise from the Nordic countries that have been ranked consistently among the top of all societies across the world for overall well-being and happiness.
We will start with a keynote talk by Mr Meik Wiking who is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and New York Times Bestselling Author. He will address issues such as how happiness should be measured, how to convert wealth into well-being, explaining why the Nordic model always top global happiness rankings. In addition, we will also listen to local experts who have worked on and practiced health and wellness in Thailand. 

A Public Lecture On - On China: Growth Prospects, Domestic Politics and Geostrategy in the 21st Century at 09.30 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. Wednesday, 29th January 2020. 

This public forum features a keynote lecture by Professor Dwight H. Perkins who has studied China and its development for nearly 70 years, since 1954 as a Cornell undergraduate student, including trips to China and meetings with former Chinese leader Deng Xaioping in the 1970s. Professor Perkins has authored numerous books and articles on China, as his profile on google and wikipedia attests. He has also been consultant and advisor to many committees dealing with China and United States-China relations. I can personally assure you that this is a rare opportunity to listen to one of the world’s most authoritative voices on China. Unlike other forums, we will focus mainly on Professor Perkins’s speech, with just one discussant to tease out local and regional implications. 

(June 26, 2020) Geoeconomic implications of Covid-19 

The longer the coronavirus pandemic wends its way around the world, the more it takes on permanent features. As case infections still persist virulently, especially in the US, Brazil, Russia and India, states, societies and individuals are being forced to make adjustments. There will be winners and losers in the geoeconomic competition for market shares and supply chains. Those with more effective public health systems will stand in good stead with opportunities to re-emerge less scathed and better positioned to carry on, whereas others with less adequate health infrastructure will face more risks and disadvantages. For the first time in generations, health security has become the main determinant in the fate of nations and peoples. 

(June 12, 2020) Top brass, technocrats, politicos all same 

When ostensible technocrats become ambitious politicians, supervised by army generals and beholden to patronage-driven elected politicians, the result is a power struggle, internal party turmoil, and a country being governed to nowhere. This is the current state of Thailand's ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), the head of a motley and fractious 19-member coalition of minor and micro parties, some represented by one single MP, propping up the government of former coup leader and current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Yet in the face of the opposition bloc that is weak because it has been weakened, after the third-largest winner the Future Forward Party from the last election was dissolved earlier this year, the PPRP is on course to be in office for the foreseeable future, as a new poll is not due for another three years. These dire dynamics suggest Thailand will continue to be rudderless, stuck in a quagmire of its own making, with headwinds that may lead to a reckoning tempest. 

(June 5, 2020) Thai-Australian ties in the regional mix 

Unlike the externally originated coronavirus pandemic, the mass protests in the United States in the aftermath of George Floyd's wrongful death at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis are internally driven. Seen from outside, the public fury, street demonstrations and ensuing violence over the fatal suffocation of Floyd, a black man, yield geopolitical ramifications. If the US is socially unwell and geopolitically unreliable, regional states in Asia will have to respond accordingly in view of the US-China rivalry and competition. A case in point is Thailand-Australia relations in the regional mix. 

(June 23, 2020) 7 secrets of Thai Covid-19 success 

When the first coronavirus infection was detected on Jan 13, there were fears that Thailand would be the hardest hit by the pandemic, and that the country might not survive due to the onslaught unleashed by a faceless enemy. 

(June 16, 2020) Vietnam leads Asean into post-virus era 

After more than five months of combating Covid-19, the Asean leaders are now ready for the virtual 36th summit on June 26, after a 10-week delay. Senior officials are now putting together a series of action plans that would help all Asean members to move forward in the post-Covid 19 era. In other words, in coming weeks, as the lockdowns are eased or lifted in individual Asean members, the whole region will enter the so-called "new normal" situation. There will be changes and continuity in our regional environment. 

(June 9, 2020) Rebooting connectivity after Covid-19 

Exactly 10 years ago in Hanoi, under Vietnam's chair, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations adopted the Masterplan of Connectivity, which envisaged the bloc as a single, integrated entity with physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity.