News / Asia

    Southeast Asia Expresses Support, Concern Over Mideast Turmoil

    People gather to mourn and protest for demonstrators who were injured after riot police stormed an anti-government protest camp in Manama, February 17, 2011
    People gather to mourn and protest for demonstrators who were injured after riot police stormed an anti-government protest camp in Manama, February 17, 2011
    Brian Padden

    As in much of the world, people in Southeast Asia are watching the pro-democracy protests spreading in the Middle East through a prism of their own experiences and interests.

    Demonstrators in Egypt were able to peacefully force President Hosni Mubarak to relinquish power after three decades in office. But similar protests in Iran, Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen are being violently suppressed.

    Twelve years ago, Indonesia went through a similar experience, forcing out President Suharto. Many regional political analysts say Indonesia's peaceful transition to a multi-party democracy should serve as a role model to others in the Muslim world.

    Skepticism

    But on the streets of Jakarta some people offer words of caution. Mia Alviera says Indonesia is not yet a true democracy.

    She says it is true that Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country but they are still divided and not performing well in many areas, such as religion and politics.

    Rising violence against minority groups and corruption, she says, make many here feel like democracy is not working.

    Contagious?

    Renaldi at the Sunda Kelapa mosque agrees that many Indonesians are frustrated with the government. He sympathizes with the peaceful protesters in the Middle East, but worries about what it means for Indonesia.  

    He says he is concerned that if what is happening in the Arab world is not soon resolved, it will be contagious.

    Concern

    In a Bangkok, Thailand neighborhood popular with residents and visitors from the Middle East, people expressed concern about the protests.

    Ali Al-Jaafari, from Oman, says he thinks the protests will not spread much further in the Middle East, and certainly not to East Asia, where he says the culture is very different from Arab culture.

    "I don’t think anything will happen to [the Persian] Gulf at all, especially Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman," he said. "All these countries are well settled or most of the people they are having a good life."

    But Essa Ghazzi, a Kuwaiti, said he did not think the protests would bring real change to the Middle East.

    "Stupid, because if they don’t like the governments they have now - they’re going to have worse someway or another. I don’t trust politicians," he said.

    The biggest concern for many people in Southeast Asia was the violence that is being used to end the protests. Many people said they fear that would make the protests only worse.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora