JC History Tuition - ASEAN Economic Cooperation during the Cold War - JC History Essay Notes

ASEAN Economic Cooperation during the Cold War

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN : Building regional peace and security)

ASEAN Economic Cooperation after 1976
Following the historic Bali Summit in February 1976, ASEAN members signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) as well as the ASEAN Concord. By doing so, member states expressed their common desire to promote economic cooperation against the backdrop of the growing threat of Communism in Southeast Asia.

However, it is imperative to observe that regional economic integration was not on the top of the priority list for many member nations.

Prior to the late 1980s, consideration of deep regional economic integration remained taboo and the focus was on economic cooperation…

ASEAN’s preference for regional economic cooperation rather than deep regional economic cooperation rather than deep integration in the 1970s and 1980s reflects the reluctance of some ASEAN countries to undertake trade and investment liberalisation owing to the pursuit of industrial policies of import substitution and picking winners.

An excerpt from “ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Integration” by Siow Yue Chia, Michael G. Plummer

According to the authors, “deep economic cooperation” refers to the removal of artificial barriers to promote international trade. In contrast, “economic integration” implies the aim of forming a Free Trade Agreement, economic community or customs union.

Diverging perceptions towards regional economic integration
Although the ASEAN Concord signified the member states’ desire to engage in regional economic cooperation through the setup of large-scale industrial projects within Southeast Asia, some had reservations over economic integration.

According to Widjojo Nitisastro, Indonesia had resisted all notions of trade liberalization and regional economic integration. Indonesia, he said, was more concerned with food, as well as energy, security and with the establishment of large-scale industrial projects.

An excerpt from “Southeast Asian in Search of an ASEAN Community: Insights from the former ASEAN Secretary-General” by Rodolfo C. Severino

Under Suharto’s leadership, Indonesian economist Widjojo Nitisastro took the lead in shaping the ‘New Order’ government’s economic policies. Notably, Nitisastro was part of the ‘Berkeley Mafia’ group that operated as technocrats to guide economic development in Indonesia.

Such views were expressed during the inaugural ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEMM) that was held in March 1976. Some membere states expressed concerns over access to essential resources and food like crude oil and rice respectively.

Preferential Trading Arrangement (PTA)
The PTA was introduced in July 1977, in which member nations would allow imports from other members a “margin of preference on Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs”.

After a decade of ongoing negotiations, the economic ministers agreed that the PTA would be applied to at least 90% of the items traded within ASEAN with at least 50% of the value of intra-ASEAN trade.

Unfortunately, intra-ASEAN trade remained low. During the 1991 meeting, economic ministers, it was reported that the value of intra-ASEAN trade in items covered by the PTA barely increased from US$121 million in 1987 to US$578 million in 1989.

The following document produced by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) reveals the underlying problems that explained the limited success of the PTA:

The existing low level of intra-ASEAN trade has always been the rallying point for the “regionalists”, who strongly advocate a rapid growth of intraregional trade in order to diversify the region’s market base and to reduce its over-dependence on the industrialized countries.

However, intra-ASEAN trade since 1976 has simply failed to take off in real terms and remained stagnant at around the 15 per cent…

At the same time, the stagnancy of intra-ASEAN trade also reflects the tremendous structural problems and institutional biases operating against intraregional trade.

An exceprt taken from the UNIDO report titled “Regional Industrial Co-operation: Experiences and Perspective of ASEAN and the Andean Pact“, 1983.

The ASEAN Industrial Projects (AIP)
In March 1980, the AIP was formalised to encourage member states of ASEAN to engage in economic cooperation. According to the Basic Agreement on ASEAN Industrial Projects, the host country was required to invest 60% of the equity, while the other four member nations would occupy the remaining 40%.

However, ASEAN encountered stumbling blocks against due to the perceptions of intra-ASEAN competition as possible conflicts to their national interests.

Among the approved ASEAN Industrial Projects, only the urea fertilizer plants in Aceh in northern Sumatra and Bintulu in central Sarawak have survived as such. No ASEAN country was willing to see curbs on its option to put up industries similar to those allocated to another ASEAN country.

… The ASEAN countries’ lack of enthusiasm for AIP’s other than their own was indicated by the fact that Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines, as well as Singapore, were willing to commit only one per cent each of the Thai potash project’s equity…

An excerpt from “Southeast Asian in Search of an ASEAN Community: Insights from the former ASEAN Secretary-General” by Rodolfo C. Severino

The ASEAN Way: Conflict versus Consensus-building
Nevertheless, there were member nations within ASEAN that advocated regional economic cooperation, even though the slow progress in the 1980s left much to be desired.

Given Singapore’s inherent challenges of lacking a sizable market, the government was a strong supporter of ASEAN economic integration.

We have spoken in one voice against protectionist policies. For our admonitions to be effective, however, we must practise what we preach. In our policies to promote intra-ASEAN trade, we must not put barriers to trade between ASEAN and the industrial countries. We cannot expect others to keep their markets open to ASEAN products if we close our markets to theirs.

… One cardinal principle ASEAN has practised is to agree by consensus. Consensus ensures that the national interest of any member will not be compromised. I suggest the time has come for greater latitude in defining ‘consensus’ so as to widen the areas of cooperation. When four agree and one does not object, this can still be considered as consensus; and the four should proceed with a new regional scheme. An ASEAN five-minus-one scheme can benefit the participating four without damaging the abstaining one. Indeed, the abstaining one may well be encouraged to join in later by the success of the scheme.

An excerpt from a speech by then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew during the Ninth Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers, 21 April 1980.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ASEAN was effective in promoting regional economic co-operation from 1976 to 1991?

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JC History Tuition - When was Singapore's bilingual policy implemented - JC History Essay National Unity Notes

When was Singapore’s bilingual policy implemented?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 2: Approaches to National Unity

Historical context
Before independence was achieved in Singapore, its education system comprised of private vernacular schools and government-run schools. The former taught Chinese, Malay and Tamil, while the latter covered English.

On 8 December 1953, the British colonial government published a white paper (titled “Chinese Schools Bilingual Education and Increased Aid”) that proposed bilingual education in Chinese-medium schools. It suggested that financial assistance should be given to schools that taught the English language.

After Singapore attained self-government in 1959, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew delivered a speech that highlighted the significance of bilingualism.

We have in Singapore about 320,000 students. Of these 51% are in English schools, 43 1/2% in Chinese schools, 5% in Malay schools and 1/2% in Tamil schools. If we do nothing about it, we shall produce citizens who can only communicate with those in their own language stream…

Hence the tremendous urgency of getting our students to be bilingual, or even trilingual. Malay is the national language and it should be possible, eventually, for everyone to understand each other through this language. But each racial and cultural group wants, at the same time, to study their mother tongue to keep their links with their cultural heritage. And the Government supports this. And for reasons of employment, many wish to study English as their first foreign language.

An excerpt from a speech by Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the Happy World Stadium, 8 December 1959.

As described by Mr Lee, English was taught as a common language for inter-ethnic communication. Also, this language was being emphasised on for business reasons. As for the ‘Mother Tongue’, it was necessary for ethnic communities to preserve their cultural heritage.

The Policy of Bilingualism in the 1960s
After Singapore became independent, the Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English were recognised as the official languages in Singapore, as stated in Article 153A of the Singapore Constitution.

In 1966, the bilingual policy was implemented, in which all students were required to study English and a ‘Mother Tongue’ in schools. Over time, English became the common language for work and social interaction. Additionally, Mathematics and Science were taught in English.

Bilingualism must be emphasised in schools if we are to build a multi-racial society with a national identity

By using the second language as a medium of instruction, children would be exposed to that language for a much longer period and, moreover, would be compelled to speak it, write it and use it as a tool of communication

Excerpt from a speech by The Minister for Education, Mr. Ong Pang Boon, at the Annual Budget Statement of the Minister for Finance, 12 December 1968.

Reviewing the Bilingual Policy: The ‘Goh Report’
In 1978, then Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee and his team published a report (titled ‘Report on the Ministry of Education 1978’) that assessed the effectiveness of the education system in Singapore.

The report revealed that many students struggled to grasp two languages due to the lack of familiarity. For instance, nearly 85% of the Chinese students communicated in dialects at home. As such, English and Mandarin were relatively new to them.

On 5 March 1978, Nanyang University announced that it will prepare undergraduates for the same examination as the University of Singapore. this meant instruction in the English language and written examinations in that language.

An excerpt from the Report on the Ministry of Education 1978 by Dr Goh Keng Swee, 10 February 1979

As such, the New Education System was established in 1979, which included streaming at the primary and secondary levels. Besides, language proficiency was also considered for university admission.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the importance of education in supporting the Singapore Government’s efforts at forging national unity.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn to write essays for topics like Approaches to National Unity. We also cover other H1 and H2 History topics like the United Nations and the Cold War via online class discussions. Attempt writing practices that will be reviewed and marked by the JC History Tutor to be ready for the examinations.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the New Society Movement - Approaches to Governance JC History Essay Notes

What is the New Society Movement?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 1: Approaches to Governance

Find out what happened during the EDSA Revolution that led to the end of Marcos’ rule in 1986.

Historical context: Declaration of the Martial Law
After Ferdinand Marcos held the second term as President of the Philippines in 1969, the government was hampered by the growing political divisions as well as the outbreak of rebellions.

On 23 September 1972, Marcos declared Martial Law, thus ushering a period of authoritarian rule.

Formation of the New Society Movement
In 1978, Marcos announced that elections would be held to form the Interim National Assembly (Interim Batasang Pambansa). In February, he formed the New Society Movement (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, KBL) that included officials from the Liberal and Nacionalista Parties.

It derived its name from the phrase Bagong Lipunan (“new society”), which Marcos claimed he was establishing with the Martial Law regime: a new society in the sense that it would be rid of the old society’s ills, such as graft and corruption, indiscipline, lack of respect for authority…

An excerpt from “Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor” (by Keat Gin Ooi).

The New Society ideology
Additionally, Marcos advocated the “New Society” to pursue economic modernisation and legitimse his rule.

We speak of a New Society…[Ours is] the dream that someday under somebody, we will be able to build a society that will give every man dignity and decency. And it shall return rationality into our political institutions, into our economy, and into our society… and this dream is what we are trying to implement now. It is the dream of every Filipino…that aspires for progress and modernization.”

An excerpt from “Development and Democratization in the Third World: Myths, Hopes, and Realities” [Edited by Kenneth E. Bauzon).

One of the notable economic policies was the “Prosperity 99” (Masagana 99), which is a self-sufficiency programme to provide credit access to rice farmers. By doing so, these producers can buy land and raise rice production.

Without doubt, the Masagana 99 program contributed significantly to the increase in the rice yield and in total production, especially in 1974 and 1975. The reports issued on Masagana 99 state that yield increases by the 900,000 participating farmers ranged from 0.4 to 1.2 t/ha, depending on the level of their former yields and the extent to which they had adopted modern practices.

An excerpt from “Rice in the Tropics: A Guide to the Development of National Programs” (By Robert Flint Chandler).

The end of Marcos’ Regime: The People Power Revolution
However, Marcos’ New Society was short-lived as internal political disunity and economic setbacks culminated in a large-scale mass demonstration, known as the People Power Revolution, in 1986. Eventually, Marcos left the Philippines, thus allowing Corazon Aquino to facilitate a peaceful democratic transition.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the political stability of the Philippines depended on political leaders?

Join our JC History Tuition and find out how you can consolidate your content for the Approaches to Governance topic, as well as other themes such as the Cold War and United Nations. Our programme is available for students taking either H2 or H1 History. You will receive concise study notes, essay outlines and additional references to make learning productive.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is Guided Democracy - Approaches to Governance JC History Essay Notes

What is Guided Democracy?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 1: Approaches to Governance

Historical Context: Struggles of a Liberal Democracy
After independence was achieved in Indonesia, a democratic government was formed. Sukarno became the president, while Mohammed Hatta held the vice president position. The 1950 Constitution was drafted to establish a parliamentary system that supported the conduct of regular elections and diverse political representation.

However, the Indonesian government was hampered by political disunity, as observed by absence of a clear majority after the first general elections in 1955.

Furthermore, two competing entities vied for political roles in the government, namely the military and the Communist Party of Indonesia (Partai Kommunis Indonesia, PKI).

Soekarno stressed two themes in particular that had deep meaning for many to whom he spoke. One was the constant political, economic, social, and psychological strife which, though in fact endemic, liberal democracy was damned as having introduced. The continual tensions between Parliament and Cabinet had always brought down Governments before they could accomplish anything; the idea that a loyal opposition was necessary had led to simple obstructionism.

Excerpt from “The Transition to Guided Democracy: Indonesian Politics, 1957-1959” by Daniel S. Lev.

The Guided Democracy: The rise of authoritarianism
As Sukarno realised that the experimentation with liberal democracy was not viable, he introduced the “Guided Democracy“. In the process, he reverted to the 1945 Constitution, which allowed the president to use authoritarian measures and establish control. In 1959, Sukarno dissolved the parliament and personally appointed half of its members.

Also, Sukarno promoted the ‘Nasakom‘ (Nasionalisme, agama, komunisme) philosophy, which entailed nationalism, religion and communism. By doing so, the Nasakom legtimised the increased political involvement of both the PKI and the military.

In installing Guided Democracy in 1957-1959, Sukarno renewed his stress on the fundamental unity of the various ideological streams within Indonesia, and Nasakom became the grounds for including the Partai Kommunis Indonesia (PKI) in a broad range of government institutions from 1960 and including a few far left members in the cabinent from 1962.

Excerpt from “Historical Dictionary of Indonesia” by Robert Cribb and Audrey Kahin.

Third, Guided Democracy was a major step toward military domination of Indonesian politics. In March 1957, Sukarno responded to a series of regional military rebellions by declaring martial law, effectively ending parliamentary rule and legalizing those rebellions…

…Although martial law formally ended in 1963, Guided Democracy greatly expanded the military’s economic resources and established it as the clear leader of a broad coalition of anticommunist forces.

Excerpt from “Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor” by Keat Gin Ooi.

Indonesian Revolution Re-visited: Konfrontasi
A distinctive feature of the Guided Democracy involved the outright rejection of Western influences in the Southeast Asian region.

In December 1961, Indonesian launched Operation Trikora, which was a military campaign to seize the Dutch-controlled New Guinea. This was also known as the “West Irian dispute”.

Another notable incident involved its neighbouring countries, Malaya, Singapore and the Borneo Territories (Sabah and Sarawak). After the Tunku of Malaya announced the creation of the Federation of Malaysia, Sukarno protested by conducting the Confrontation (Konfrontasi).

Aftermath: The 30 September Movement
Although the Guided Democracy seemed to function more effectively than Sukarno’s pre-1957 efforts, the internal division between the PKI and the military persisted. The economic woes further destabilised the nation.

Eventually, the Guided Democracy came to an end when the PKI was accused of the assassination of army officers, which led to Suharto’s swift military intervention.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the reasons for the end of Sukarno’s Guided Democracy.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the history of post-independent Indonesia as well as other Southeast Asian nations for the topic of Approaches to Governance. We also cover other relevant topics for students taking either H1 or H2 History. Join our online learning programme and receive study notes to kick-start your revision. We also support you by reviewing your writing and providing outlines for effective revision.

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