Things to observe in 2018

The top of the list is whether the United States, with the help of China and South Korea, is able to force North Korea to return to negotiation table. How China interacts with South Korea, Japan and Taiwan as well as Southeast Asian countries is going to decide if regional stability could be maintained.

Hong Kong’s capability to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ is also another indicator whether the former British colony could safeguard its uniqueness and freedom under Beijing’s increasing interference. If Hong Kong loses its freedom and fails to improve its rule of law, which is a bedrock of its success, some feared that Hong Kong could lose out to its long-time rival Singapore.

Malaysia will have to hold a general election this year. It remains to be seen whether the return of former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad – now leading opposition pact Pakatan Harapan alongside one-time foe Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Wan Azizah – could actually win more votes for the alternative coalition. Some opined that the pact offers no clear vision as to where the country is heading to, if it takes over.

In Taiwan, when the new labour law comes into effect, some alleged that the overworking conditions of Taiwanese workers could be worse. For outsiders, though, if it is legal for an employer to let his or her workers work twelve hours a day for twelve days in one stretch, Taiwan would be following in Hong Kong’s footsteps.

One could also observe the development of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Different countries might still be hesitating in drafting guidelines for cryptocurrencies, members of the public out there who wish to have clear guidelines can visit the website of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Another issue that catches my attention is Brexit talks, alongside with the analysis of what’s going on in the United Kingdom and Ireland – they really make a good read on each issue of The Economist.

It’s another nice Saturday morning for a cup of coffee and a good English magazine. Have a great weekend, mates.

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