Identity

Birth provinces of 19th Politburo members (2017). (Source: Li Cheng, Brookings Institution)

Birthplace determining political career in the CCP: Countdown to the 20th Party Congress

Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, notes that a large proportion of top CCP leaders come from eastern and central China, with less emphasis on those from the south and southwest. Much of these trends are closely related to some crucial political issues that China now faces, including the enduring economic gap between coastal and inland regions. Will the same patterns emerge in the 20th Party Congress?
This photo taken on 24 July 2022 shows a man sailing a boat with tourists along a channel in the Zhujiajiao ancient water town in Shanghai, China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

A Chinese professor in the US: Helping my son find his cultural roots

While second-generation Chinese immigrants are not better placed to immerse in the Chinese language and culture compared with their peers in China, US academic Wu Guo believes that they can still leverage their parents’ experiences, their advantage in the English language, and access to information and multiple perspectives to learn about their ancestral land.
Office workers wearing face masks at Raffles Place, Singapore, on 6 September 2021. (SPH Media)

What does multiculturalism mean in Singapore?

As Singapore celebrates its 57th national day, Zaobao senior correspondent Chia Yei Yei shares her thoughts on the importance of understanding one’s ancestry in defining one’s identity. In a multicultural country, a Singaporean’s identity goes beyond that of merely being Chinese, Malay or Indian.
Anies Baswedan at an event in Jakarta, 22 July 2022. (Facebook/Anies Baswedan)

Anies Baswedan: Indonesia’s potential president adept at identity politics

ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata gives a profile of Anies Baswedan, former education and culture minister of Indonesia, current Jakarta governor, and potential presidential candidate. Will he run, and if he does, what is his platform likely to be?
A Taiwan flag is seen painted on Shihyu Islet in front of Xiamen, a coastal city in China, in Lieyu Township, Kinmen, Taiwan, 19 October 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Kinmen-Xiamen bridge: Taiwan's security and identity at stake?

The proposal to build a physical bridge between Taiwan's Kinmen and mainland China's Xiamen has aroused political debates in Taiwan. While the project could boost local economies and people’s livelihoods, some are concerned that constructing a cross-strait bridge is a pro-China move that would compromise Taiwan’s security imperatives and efforts to build a “Taiwan identity”. Taiwan academic Liu Chin-tsai looks at the implications and debate surrounding the proposed infrastructure.
The blooming Calophyllum blancoi. (Facebook/蔣勳)

Taiwanese art historian: Reflecting on the indigenous culture of Orchid Island

Catching sight of a rare native flower in bloom, art historian Chiang Hsun ponders beauty in diversity and the unique heritage of the indigenous people of Taiwan’s Orchid Island.
The late theatre pioneer Kuo Pao Kun, whose plays and teachings have shaped a generation of theatre makers in Singapore. (The Theatre Practice)

True gems: Singapore’s pioneers of the arts deserve more credit

Teo Han Wue laments that we are not doing enough to remember the remarkable contributions that Singapore’s pioneers of the arts have made. Singapore’s early artists and theatre practitioners were the avant-garde who went beyond the tried and tested in China or elsewhere. If we don’t remember our past achievements, how can we be inspired to produce greater things in the future?
A gas station burns after Russian attacks in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on 30 March 2022. (Fadel Senna/AFP)

An ostracised Russia's descent into war and lessons for China

We should not underestimate the role of political psychology in international relations, says Lance Gore. Often, human nature and emotions play a large part in decision-making, and factors such as wounded pride, a need to assert one’s identity or a sense of insecurity can bring about major consequences. Moreover, when feelings are stoked and public opinion drawn on the side of the “good guys”, it is not so much the high ideals of liberalism but a realist game at work. Russia and China have not learnt finesse in playing the two-tier game of international politics; neither have they realised they are not strong enough yet to change the rules of the game.
People walk through wet streets after a morning snow storm in Manhattan on 7 January 2022 in New York City, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Why the Americans know China better than the Chinese know the US

The belief that the Chinese know far more about America than Americans know about China is a misconception. In the age of globalisation and the internet, a knowledge asymmetry actually exists between the Chinese and the Americans — middle class Americans seem to have an understanding of Chinese culture, history and system based on rigorous academic research and analysis, but the Chinese lack the same level of understanding of the Americans. US academic Wu Guo shares his views on why the “knowledge deficit” exists in China.