Asian Insider, Feb 5: Myanmar teachers protest coup; HK kids to be taught about subversion

Hi all, 

In today’s bulletin: 

‘We don’t want this military coup’: Myanmar teachers join protests; Asian Insider video: Myanmar coup came at worst time; HK to teach kids as young as six about subversion, foreign interference; Tesla sets sights on EV, lithium batteries, power market in Indonesia; M’sians poke fun at govt’s ‘crazy’ Covid-19 SOP for Chinese New Year celebrations; and more. 

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‘WE DON’T WANT THIS MILITARY COUP’: MYANMAR TEACHERS JOIN PROTESTS

Wearing red ribbons and holding up protest signs, teachers in Myanmar have become the latest group to join a civil disobedience campaign with some lecturers refusing to work or cooperate with authorities in protest against the military’s seizure of power.

The campaign started among medical workers soon after Monday’s coup but has since spread to include students, youth groups and some workers in both the state and private sectors.

The United Nations Security Council has called for the release of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others detained by the military as the United States threatened sanctions, but Myanmar’s generals on Friday tightened their grip with the arrest of Suu Kyi’s key aide Win Htein.

Expressing concerns over the coup, the leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia have called for a special meeting of Asean foreign ministers to discuss the situation in depth, Regional Correspondent Arlina Arshad reports.

For the latest developments in Myanmar:

Key Suu Kyi aide arrested as outrage grows over Myanmar coup

S’poreans in Yangon carry on with daily life amid air of uncertainty

Japan’s Kirin ends Myanmar tie-up with army-owned partner after coup

ASIAN INSIDER VIDEO: MYANMAR MILITARY COUP CAME AT WORST TIME FOR A COUNTRY DAMAGED BY COVID-19

Why did Myanmar’s generals step in now? Is it more about personality and power or perceived national interest? And is this the end of the country’s fragile experiment with democracy. 

ST’s US Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh examines the issue with historian Thant Myint-U and analyst Richard Horsey in this episode of Asian Insider video. What is certain is that the country’s future has been thrown into grave doubt with the options for the international community limited. 

Don’t Miss:
Read our Asian Insider weekend special on Myanmar, tomorrow on straitstimes.com.

HK TO TEACH KIDS AS YOUNG AS SIX ABOUT SUBVERSION, FOREIGN INTERFERENCE

Hong Kong has unveiled controversial guidelines for schools in the Chinese-ruled city that include teaching students as young as six about colluding with foreign forces and subversion as part of a new national security curriculum.

Beijing imposed a security law on Hong Kong in June 2020 in response to months of often violent anti-government and anti-China protests in 2019 that put the global financial hub more firmly on an authoritarian path.

The Education Bureau’s guidelines show that Beijing’s plans for the semi-autonomous Hong Kong go beyond quashing dissent, and aim for a societal overhaul to bring its most restive city more in line with the Communist Party-ruled mainland.

Read more:

Hong Kong democracy activists appear in court over banned Tiananmen vigil

TESLA SETS SIGHTS ON EV, LITHIUM BATTERIES, POWER MARKET IN INDONESIA

US green energy giant Tesla will start discussion with the Indonesian authorities next week on its investment plans to set up plants in the country to make electric vehicle (EV), lithium batteries and power generators after the local government confirmed receiving a proposal letter from the carmaker, Indonesia Correspondent Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja reports.

This follows moves by two global EV battery giants – China’s CATL and South Korea’s LG Chem – which have earlier made advanced talks to invest billions of dollars in Southeast Asia’s largest economy that holds a quarter of nickel reserve, a key raw material to make EV batteries.

Read more:

Indonesia’s new state fund to focus on nation’s infrastructure

M’SIANS POKE FUN AT GOVT’S ‘CRAZY’ COVID-19 SOP FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS

Malaysians are poking fun by suggesting that they should take their Chinese New Year celebration to the “pasar malam” following the government’s announcement which allows only families from the same household to host “reunion” dinners despite permitting night markets to operate, Malaysia Correspondent Nadirah H. Rodzi reports.

In questioning the logic of the standard operating procedure (SOP) under the movement control order (MCO), opposition MP Teng Chang Kim said it was “crazy” that some sectors are allowed to operate but family members are barred from meeting.

For more on the situation:

Malaysia extends MCO to Feb 18, tougher restrictions in store

Eager to eat out during Covid-19 lockdown, Malaysians get a taste for drive-in dining

Steep rise in Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases due to lack of testing and enforcement, say experts

Get the latest Covid-19 updates at our dedicated website

IN OTHER NEWS

S. Korean minister drops out of WTO race, clearing way for Nigerian candidate: South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee has abandoned her bid to become head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), clearing the way for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the global body’s first woman and first African director-general. Dr Yoo had consulted with the United States – her prime backer – and other major countries and “decided to renounce her candidacy”, South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement.

US warship sails near Chinese islands in South China Sea: A US warship sailed near the Chinese-controlled Paracel Islands in the disputed South China Sea on Friday (Feb 5) in a freedom of navigation operation, the US Navy said, the first such mission under President Joe Biden’s new administration. China’s military said its armed forces followed and warned away the US warship as it sailed near the Paracels. 

Alibaba’s US$38 billion bond sale shows Jack Ma fans still believe: Alibaba Group Holding drew robust orders for a US$5 billion bond sale, demonstrating investor confidence in the e-commerce giant’s long-term prospects amid easing tensions with Chinese regulators. The four-tranche offer received more than US$38 billion in orders at the peak, according to people with knowledge of the matter. 

That’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed today’s stories, and do check back next week for more insightful reads. 

Choo Kiong

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