Are you a JC General Paper student looking for sample essays on regional issues? Or are you preparing for this sub-topic of International Affairs, Global Issues, Politics, etc for your upcoming GP exam?
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Q1: Is there a need for regional cooperation today?
Regional cooperation is simply cooperation between members of a region. While there is usually unwritten mutual cooperation between different countries, and especially neighbouring countries in the region, many countries have brought this cooperation one step further by forming internationally recognized groups. Examples include the European Community (EC) and the Association of South-cast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Many regional organisations are formed on the basis of economic cooperation. This is particularly applicable in today’s context where many countries are hard hit by recession and unemployment. An example of regional economic cooperation is the North American Free Trade Agreement signed by the United States, Mexico and Canada. This free trade agreement between these three neighbouring countries is expected to stimulate their flagging economies by creating a larger market and more employment opportunities. Movement of capital, labour and other resources among the member countries is also simplified with the removal of much red tape. This leads to more efficient resource utilization. All this constitutes an ideal free trade area within the region. As Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations puts it, only free trade will result in more opportunities of specialisation and hence output, which in turn constitutes a nation’s wealth. How ever, some regional economic organisations violate this rule when they encourage free trade between members but practise protectionism against the rest of the world. Such a regional trading bloc is harmful not only to the world economy, but also to itself in the long run as there can be no safe regional isolation in the interlinked world of today. Protectionism will only provoke the rest of the world to boycott the errant region, leading to more severe economic crises within it.
Regional cooperation is also needed to promote political security. The world today is troubled by too many conflicting players and voices and no effective international leadership, Grouping the various individual countries into regional blocs with one voice will undoubtedly help lessen the chaos of today’s international political scene. However, such a goal is not easily achieved for there is often disagreement among regional group members themselves, such as within the EC and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Military cooperation between regional countries will also help put a dampening pressure on any rising aggressive sentiments of a foreign country. This will help discourage the outbreak of wars of aggression and contribute towards international peace. Political cooperation within the region will also help promote internal stability within each member country. Dissident factions within each country may be less prone towards militant rebellion, knowing that they will face the censure of the region.
Last, but not least, regional cooperation will mean faster, more efficient aid to members in times of disaster. Within the ASEAN community, aid, in the form of medicine and trained rescue workers is sent by other members to the disaster-plagued member immediately once assistance is asked for. Such regional help arrives faster than any international aid, which may take a longer time to mobilise.
Hence, there is a need for regional cooperation. However, caution must be taken so that in the pursuit of regional aims the welfare of the international community as a whole is not overlooked.
GP Tuition teacher: bring in international co-operation to curb piracy in the seas of SEA, to help ensure supply of COVID-19 vaccine, and post-pandemic recovery in the region.
Q2: There is no longer a clear cultural distinction between the East and the West. Discuss.
The statement means that distinct cultures are no longer relevant in a ‘shrinking world’, in that the line between East and West has been blurred.
The question requires students to discuss the validity of the premise that ‘distinct cultures’ or unique to a country’s culture is now threatened by homogeneity as a result of the blending of and West.
Students are to use examples to highlight the reasons for such a conclusion/observation. Good scripts should be able to discuss the merging of East and West from the context of globalisation – greater ease of communication, ease of air and sea links which seemingly decrease the distance between countries, hence the disappearance of demarcation, unlike the past.
Credit should be given to those who can highlight the origins of this statement from Rudyard’s poem which makes reference to the culture of the West (Europe and the Americas) as being always be very different from that of the East (Asia). Kipling seemed to be saying that all of us are to some extent at least, unable to adapt to the ways of others.
1. To some extent/a large extent, it is reflective of the world today. In the past, no one thought East and West could meet. But with globalization, it has become a reality. As the world grows cl by the day, we see the East meeting the West, OR
2. To some/a large extent, it is not reflective of the world today. Far from the suggestion of statement, there appears to be more of the clash of cultures than merger of the two. East and cultures represent two opposites, with the Western culture being more confrontational than the East, OR
3 East meets West or East vs West is largely from different perspectives. With the shrinking w becoming more a reality, geographical boundaries no longer deter people movement, hence concept of a homogeneous culture, though more attainable is far from reality. While there r appear to be growing influence of a ‘world culture’, there is also a persistent belief among m that ‘the East’ is different from ‘the West’.
East meets Wests? YES, Agree
Why? mobility, Integration & migration
Mobility in economic aspects: the world is treated as a global village. Reduction of physical barrier of East and West – the exchange of goods and services becomes easier.
Informational aspect of globalization: the inflow and outflow of information has no barriers.
China today is home to a generation of cyber-savvy young adults who spend hours on the Internet. This certainly has changed the way China’s youth are connected to the West.
Political advantage of interconnectedness: this has a much wider scope as compared to local, state or national governments.
On a cultural front with developments in information and communication technology, the world has become a smaller place.
Inevitability of Globalisation – homogenisation of the world (East and West)
Closing of the distances and gaps round the globe. with the movement of people, language, ideas and products around the world
The impact of Westernization or Americanization on other countries
– the spread of Asian culture to the west, e.g. new phenomenon, the so-called Asianisation of America
Nowadays, Korea is influenced by One of the most surprising American culture. In Seoul there is a lot of fast food stores in each avenue, places such as KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King.
Western style clothes vs hanbok American culture is pervasive in Italy and Brazil
Chinese masses in China were abandoning Chinese culture in favour of Western practices.
No particular global boundaries exist, making the trade even more profitable. Presence of WTO
Satellites, fibre-optic communications, telephony, and internet have a more easy access
External influence has also impacted legal and human rights
Result-traditional diversity is reduced, and a new multicultural identity is born. -less distinction between East and West.
Development and transfer of technology e.g. Chinese and Indians working in Silicon Valley, USA
Dominance of multinational corporations and the destruction of cultural identities Socially, exposure to global culture has helped non-governmental organizations by improving their reach into different nations.
Going to any country in Asia nowadays, one can see many of the American icons everywhere. If we find American products worldwide, it is also increasingly common to find Asian products in the United States.
One of the most surprising changes can be found in young people, some of whom even hate their own traditional food-kimchi. They prefer imported things such as rock and roll, pop music, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, T-shirts, blue jeans, even the Back Street Boys. Britney Spears, Christina Aquilera over things from their own culture. They really want to accept the new concepts and the new life styles of other countries.
Financial markets: a f better outlet is provide to financial institutions terms of lending and borrowing
Easy and quick access to information is possible when globalization pervades, again erosion of E-W demarcation
Presence of young netizens could produce a new wave of independent thinkers and social activists leading to a more progressive China. bringing it closer to the west.
It gives the citizens social and economic rights which come with an awareness of global issues.
With all boundaries lost and access to other cultures made easier. and people among different cultures and ethnicities, who is the Easterner or Westerner? One is the idea that global culture is becoming increasingly standardized and uniform (as in McDonaldization)
What then is the difference between East or West? Is there a way to measure cultural differences and investigate how cultures. “behave” and interact?
Not surprising if locals think they are losing their own culture. Even if they try to be critical and choose what is better to have or to buy. Also, young people are not free to choose when they are constantly bombarded by attractive advertisements which are specially made to capture the youth market.
Americanisation vs Korean Culture
Americanisation vs Italian / Brazilian cultures
Furthermore, there has been a standardization of not only cultural identity but also cultural likes and dislikes, with entertainment and p culture being freely accessible to anyone anywhere
East meets Wests? NO, disagree
Why? mobility, Integration & migration
Despite the prevalence of Western influence on some Eastern cultures, there is still the idea that: “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” By this, Kipling seemed to be saying that all of us are, to some extent at least, unable to adapt to the ways of others.
Westerners living in some SE Asian countries will start to notice basic differences in mentality, interests and intellectual’ discussion.
In response to these trends, there are various voices in Korea. One is strongly for protection from the dominance of other cultures; another is for total acceptance of the new culture. Still others show no interest and pay no attention to cultural dominance. But, the most influential group of voices is the one which insists people have the responsibility to keep their own traditions even though they want to enjoy new culture.
Slow Food is a new idea that protests the spread of fast food. The Slow Food Movement is interested in recovering the traditional meals cultures. The movement is not only about me it is related to overall modern culture.
Supporters of the movement want people to have more leisure time to eat their meals. They hate hectic and fast-paced life (Italy, Korea)
Thai and Lao people have very astute observational skills; most are are not focused on things that Westerners consider significant
Differences in emphasis between Eastern and Western cultures:
If Westerners find it hard to make the transition to the East, why would Easterners find it any easier to make the transition to the West? Especially why in the main, they do not seem to do so. although many of them emigrate to western countries?
EV: Problems of migrants surfaced when many people coming from other countries in the Middle East or from places like Pakistan who happen to be followers of the Islamic faith, Islam, Unlike other formal religious faiths, is on integral way of life. The Muslim (“One who submits”) can allow no separation between his life and his religion, his politics and his faith.
The clash of cultures is quite stark; slavish obedience to an ancient code versus liberty and free speech.:
Clash of cultures – the obvious difficulties facing someone from an Islamic background arriving in a western, democratic country.
EV: migration and immigration of peoples across Muslim and Christian world has changed the face of Europe
East and West- still different and often diagonally opposing:
Strong individualism in America versus the unmistakable collectivism in Korea.
Open and closed networks: comparing Silicon Valley and China China thrives on “guanxi”, while in America, it is much more transactional and very transparent.
EV: A society’s economic and business paradigms are inevitably dictated by its historical legacy and cultural heritage.
While every culture has unique strengths and weaknesses, culture based institutions and behaviorism cannot be reformed easily or quickly. That is because cultures, philosophies, and value systems require a long period of time not only to form and accumulate but also to change, evolve, and develop
Japan – an ageing miracle that refuses to open up
With the development of globalization, cross-culture communication is indispensable to an open society in which we live today. The cultures between the East and the West are distinguished by a rather large scale phenomenon- Hybridity – the mixture of phenomena that are held to be different, separate- as in East West fusion culture
New hybrid forms are indicators of profound changes that are taking place because of mobility, migration and multiculturalism. However, hybridity thinking also concerns existing or, so to speak, old hybridity, and thus involves different ways of looking at historical and existing cultural and institutional arrangements. This suggests not only that things are no longer the way they used to be but were never really the way they used to be, or used to be viewed.
Cut-‘n’-mix experiences in consumption, lifestyles and identities are ordinary and everyday. for example in food and menus. Hybridity has become a prominent theme because it matches a world of intensive intercultural communication, growing migration and diaspora lives, everyday multiculturalism, and the erosion of boundaries at least in some spheres.