Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

Students and alumni of the UP Asian Center at the 2016 Sizihwan International Conference on Asia-Pacific Studies.

Students and recent alumni of the UP Asian Center delivered presentations at the 2016 Sizihwan International Conference on Asia-PAcific Studies, which was held from 10 to 12 November at the National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

In ASEAN’s Response to One Belt, One Road: Implications of Geopolitical Issues to Development Aid Partnerships, Janina Tan, who’s majoring in China Studies, aims to examine how each of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states perceives the One Belt, One Road initiative.  While OBOR is seen as a ‘’win-win’’ situation, wherein China, Russia, and the Central Asian nations, most of which are members of the SCO, are believed to benefit economically, she inquire whether they truly see it as a ‘’win-win’’ situation, and seeks to determine the (dis)advantages they perceive in embracing or following this initiative?

Ms. Tan was joined by Nathanael Nunag, a Master in Asian Studies major, who presented Filipino BPO workers’ awareness to ASEAN Economic Community 2015. He takes off from the fact/argument that the integration of ASEAN economies by 2015 will be a boon to the country’s contact centre and business process outsourcing industries. Given this boon, he describes and measures Filipino BPO workers’ awareness of the ASEAN Economic COmmunity 2015, to answer the following questions — are these call centre agents aware how they can be affected? and How deep is their understanding to this new phenomenon?

Another Master in Asian Studies student, Roseanne Ramirez, examines several works about comfort women during World War II and traces the system of legalized prostitution in Japan and Asia from the seventeenth century to World War II in An Uncomfortable Truth: Historical Institutionalism, Postcolonial Feminism, and the “Comfort Women” of World War II. She argues that ideas underpinning such a system are rooted in unequal gender relations which value the male identity as a site and source of power. Notably, she also contests that the entry of postcolonial feminism into the discourse offers us a way to begin looking at military sexual violence against women not as a fact to be accepted, but as a result of hundreds of years of socially constructed unequal gender relations which can and should be undone.

Joining the Asian Center students are two recent alumni of the UP Asian Center. In The New Silk Road: Prospects and Challenges for China-GCC Relations, Lara Cartujano notes that despite the New Silk Road Initiative, the GCC members have been less participative and that there has not been any “serious discussion at the government level” between China and GCC. This study will then employ a political and socio-cultural approach in analyzing the responses of the GCC towards the OBOR, and will assess the prospects and challenges for Sino-GCC relations. As two economic powerhouses, the study will attempt to answer the questions “How can China and GCC reconcile OBOR’s policies?,” “Whose norms will prevail?,” and “How can OBOR contribute to a new imagining of Asia as old cultural trade routes are revived?”

In One Belt, One Road Initiative: Prospects for Cooperation among SCO Member States, Martin Baliao, a recent graduate of the Master in Asian Studies program, notes that the One Belt One Road initiative is seen as a ‘’win-win’’ situation, wherein China, Russia, and the Central Asian nations, most of which are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, are believed to benefit economically.  However, in a geopolitical landscape wherein China and Russia have the option of competing or cooperating in pursuing their interests in Central Asia and the Central Asian nations are constantly on guard against China’s possible ‘’economic imperialism’’, Mr. Baliao takes a closer look at how the SCO member states perceive the OBOR.       

The 2016 Sizihwan International Conference on Asia-PAcific Studies was organized by the Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies, National Sun-Yat Sen University and the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman. Visit the conference website and view the program

The UP Asian Center offers M.A. programs in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Get an overview of these programs. The Asian Center also houses a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia. It has published several books and monographs, and hosts or organizes various lectures and conferences.