PERISCOPE APRIL 2022 SUMMARY

Written by: Lye Jae Vir (22-I1), Nur Khairunnisa (22-I1), Tan Ken Shin (22-A2), Hao Rui (22-A4)

Designed by: Alexia Teo (22-U1)


Welcome back to another edition of our monthly summary of the happenings around the world! From China’s successful satellite launch to changes in adoption laws, we have various interesting news summaries in store for you! Read on to find out more!

Global

China’s successful launch of the new satellite for earth observation

On April 7th this year, China launched their new Earth Observation Satellite, Gaofen-3 03, from a Long March-4C and it has since entered orbit successfully. The aim of this new launch is to improve the observation of our land, water and atmosphere via stable synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. These images boast  a 1-metre resolution together with a one-day revisit period, which improves networking capabilities. This new satellite will be networked with the existing orbiting Gaofen-3 and Gaofen-3 02 satellites to form a revolving “Sky eye’ in space. 

This new satellite would improve global coverage and revisiting capabilities, as while the original satellite took 3.5 days to revisit the same area, with the addition of another, that interval has been reduced to 5 hours. This enhances data support for China’s marine development, terrestrial environmental resource monitoring and emergency disaster prevention and mitigation. It would also improve China’s research and development in the meteorology, agriculture and water conservancy sectors. 

The satellite and carrier rocket were developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. This launch also marks the 414th mission for the Long March series carrier rockets.

What’s going on with Pakistan in April 

Since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, no Pakistani prime minister has finished their five-year term. National cricket champion turned devout Islamist politician, former Pakistani prime minister – Imran Khan – has been ousted in a no-confidence vote that took place on 10 April 2022.

Imran Khan, who was elected in 2018, campaigned on an anti-establishment platform to root out corruption and to tackle poverty, riding on a wave of populist sentiment from people who had grown disillusioned with the country’s political dynasties.

Despite this, his downfall occurred against the backdrop of record double-digit inflation and the withdrawal of political support from both coalition allies and the military. In a last-bid attempt to stop the vote, Imran Khan dissolved parliament and declared that fresh elections would occur soon. The opposition appealed to the Supreme Court, who overturned the decision and allowed the vote to pass.

With Pakistan in political turmoil, parliament has elected Shehbaz Sharif, a member of the dynastical politics that Imran Khan campaigned against back in 2018. 

Adding on to the politically precarious climate, there are signs that Imran Khan is not letting up. Holding three public rallies that have attracted thousands since his removal, Khan has propagated unproven allegations of Western conspiracies against him.

He is expected to contest the next election in 2023.

In a speech at a rally on 13 April, Khan thundered, ‘’I wasn’t dangerous when I was in government – But I will be now.”

Decades of political volatility in Pakistan do not seem to be subsiding anytime soon.

Regional

How the Ukraine War will Affect Asia

On the 24th of February, Russia invaded Ukraine, escalating the tensions between the two countries greatly. Ever since the start of the war, many sanctions have been imposed on Russia, namely the banning of Russian oil and gas imports as well as the international sanctions on technology by the US and UK. Unsurprisingly, these bans, as well as other outcomes of the war, puts Asia in an uncomfortable position. 

For instance, many Chinese technological companies rely on Russia’s consumer market to earn profits. This poses a detrimental threat to China’s economy. The invasion also puts pressure on Asian countries to choose sides in this conflict. Additionally, the US has also put considerable pressure on South Korea, Singapore, and Japan to fully condemn Russia’s invasion. 

However, India’s case is not as straightforward. Given that India is the second-largest market for the Russian defence industry, as well as the two countries having a strong diplomatic relationship, India is very careful not to fully condemn Russia’s actions in the war. 

To sum up, the Russia-Ukraine war does not only pose challenges to those who align themselves with Russia, but to the entirety of Asia. 

Ramadan amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia

Bazaars and group gatherings are back in Asia during Ramadan this year as Covid-19 curbs eased across the region. 

Malaysia is in the endemic phase of living with the coronavirus, with 79.3% of its total population fully vaccinated and 48.7% having taken booster shots. Except for face masks, which remain compulsory for everyone, most of the Covid-19 restrictions imposed from March 2020 have been lifted. Businesses have been allowed to operate at full capacity from April 1. Not surprisingly, the Malaysian government’s move to ease most restrictions have brought cheer to the bazaar traders, who said they were ready to return to “normalcy” and, hopefully, recover financially after spending more than two years in a slump. The Ramadan bazaars are pop-up food stalls which are allowed to operate during the fasting month that started last Sunday. Most, if not all, offer a large variety of food on street corners. Business is booming at Malaysia’s Ramadan bazaars as vendors report a spike in sales with thousands thronging the stalls after two years of strict Covid-19 restrictions crimped visitors and profits. 

The ever-popular Geylang Serai Bazaar also returned to  Singapore this month after a 2-year halt due to COVID-19. The Bazaar is back with fan favourites, such as “The Original Vadai”, as well as more novel items such as paellas and yakult cakes.

Down south in Indonesia, the country is gearing up for its largest ever movement of people, with more than 85 million returning home to towns and villages across the sprawling archipelago, ahead of Hari Raya Aidilfitri early next month. Extra measures are being put in place to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases. Most of those involved in the annual exodus – better known as mudik – live in Greater Jakarta and other major cities and they will start heading home by air, land and sea from the fourth week of this month, according to government surveys.

Local

Parliament endorsed White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development

After nine and a half hours of debate, Parliament endorsed the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development on April 5 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the White Paper’). The White Paper’s first section summarises key milestones in Singapore women’s development from 1959 to 2022. It then introduces the government’s 25 action plans in 5 main areas to improve the lives of women in Singapore. The five main areas include equal opportunities in the workplace, recognition and support and caregivers, protection against violence and harm, other support measures for women, and mindset shifts. All of the plans aim for tackling gender stereotypes and gender inequality in Singapore. 

The discussion about the White Paper started early ago in September last year. Three female political officer holders conducted a virtual dialogue titled ‘Conservations on Women Development’ to collect feedback and recommendations on the topic. There were 160 conversations in total, with over 5,700 participants. According to Minister for Home Affairs and Law, Mr K.Shanmugam, all these responses would then form the basis of the White Paper. 

In the conclusion of the White Paper, it mentions that the action plans will be implemented in a ten-year roadmap. The Government will continue to review and enhance measures to support Singapore women with community partners and will conduct a mid-point review in 2027. 

Extensive changes being made to adoption laws 

Amendments to the current set of adoption laws are being made, with three main aims in mind; to ensure that adopted children are adopted into good homes, having stated that is mandatory for prospective parents to be free of convictions of serious crimes including sexual, violence, or drug-related offences. The set of laws will also define what it means to be suitable to adopt; which has been clarified that only heterosexual married couples fall under this description. 

Another aim of the amendments is to deter undesirable practices in the adoption sector by ensuring transparency. To elaborate, agencies will be required to publish a list of both monetary and non-monetary payments and rewards regarding all adoption-related matters. The new rules will help deter large handouts from being given to birth mothers, with the intention of tempting them to drive their child up for adoption. Such handouts to the child’s biological or adoptive parents for the adoption are now made illegal, in order to prevent the child in question from being treated like a commodity. 

Additionally, all payments related to adoption will now be regulated by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to ensure adoption agencies only charge for reasonable adoption related expenses.

In short, the changes introduced seek to provide children who are being adopted with good homes, prevent unethical practices revolving around money, and break cycles of abuse. 

Conclusion

We have now come to the end of this month’s summary. See you in June! 

Bibliography:

China’s successful launch of the new satellite for earth observation

What’s going on with Pakistan in April 

  1. Ellis-Peterson, H; Shah, M, B. (2022, April 9). Pakistan Parliament Ousts Imran Khan in Last-minute Vote https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/09/pakistan-on-brink-of-crisis-as-imran-khan-blocks-no-confidence-vote

How the Ukraine War will affect Asia

  1. Carter, L., Krishnan, M., Hutt, D., & Ahmed, Z. (2022, March 21). Ukraine war: Asian nations feel economic brunt of conflict. DW. https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-war-asian-nations-feel-economic-brunt-of-conflict/a-61201302
  2. Stavridis, J. (2022, February 24). Ukraine conflict will have a significant impact on Asia. Nikkei Asia. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Ukraine-conflict-will-have-a-significant-impact-on-Asia 
  3. BBC. (2022, April 11). What sanctions are being imposed on Russia over Ukraine invasion? BBC News. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60125659 
  4. Xi, J. (2022, March 9). How Russia’s Ukraine invasion weighs on China’s economy. VOA. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.voanews.com/a/how-russia-s-ukraine-invasion-weighs-on-china-s-economy-/6476439.html 
  5. Council on Foreign Relations. (n.d.). Russia’s ties to Southeast Asia and how they affect the Ukraine War: Part 3, Singapore and Vietnam. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.cfr.org/blog/russias-ties-southeast-asia-and-how-they-affect-ukraine-war-part-3-singapore-and-vietnam 

Ramadan amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia

  1. Rodzi, N. H. (2022, April 9). Thousands throng ramadan bazaars in Malaysia, raising crowd control worries. The Straits Times. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/thousands-throng-ramadan-bazaars-in-malaysia-raising-crowd-control-worries 
  2. Yulisman, L. (2022, April 9). In Indonesia, Stallholders, customers cheer return of tradition during Ramadan. The Straits Times. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/in-indonesia-stallholders-customers-cheer-return-of-tradition-during-ramadan 

Parliament endorsed White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development

  1. Mei, T. (2020, September 20). Singapore to conduct review of women’s issues to bring about mindset change for gender equality. The Straits Times. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-to-conduct-review-of-womens-issues-to-inculcate-mindset-change-for-gender
  2. Min, C. H. (2022, April 5). MPs unanimously endorse White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development. CNA. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/parliament-debate-singapore-women-development-white-paper-2609711
  3. Min, C. H. (2022, April 5). MPs unanimously endorse White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development. CNA. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/parliament-debate-singapore-women-development-white-paper-2609711
  4. WHITE PAPER ON SINGAPORE WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT. (n.d.). Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.scwo.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/White-Paper-on-Singapore-Womens-Development.pdf
  5. Ng, M. (2021, September 18). Concrete proposals to tackle women’s issues to be presented in early 2022: PM Lee. The Straits Times. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/community/concrete-proposals-to-tackle-womens-issues-to-be-presented-in-early-2022-pm-lee
  6. Yuen, T. (2022, March 28). Egg freezing, more flexi-work among policy changes in White Paper on S’pore women. The Straits Times. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/egg-freezing-more-flexi-work-among-policy-changes-in-white-paper-on-spore-women

Author: The Origin*

With great power comes great responsibility.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: