A feast of new reading: Volume 3

Jan 8, 2023
Close-up Of A Person's Hand Using Digital Tablet With Screen Showing Online News

With changes in the world, the media landscape also changes. There are shifts in particular outlets and new outlets emerge. In this changing landscape, we need a few tools and guide posts for what will be a lively ride in 2023.

In 2022 I offered a “feast of new reading” in two parts, here and here.

With changes in the world, the media landscape also changes. There are shifts in particular outlets and new outlets emerge.

I decided to write this having received the daily email this morning 4 January from Asia Times, headlining this essay from David Goldman:

Israel government is new normal in the Middle East

David P Goldman is an astonishing modern Renaissance man. My understanding is that having made a fortune as a merchant banking shark before the 2008 crash, he retreated to Hong Kong and eventually bought out the Asia Times with an associate and in some contrition embarked on contrarian news.

This new item, link also above, blows through much conventional and also critical, negative thinking about Israel. I do not agree with it all but it is essential reading on power variables in the Middle East. At the main page you will see the spread of interests and currently a half price (USD49 p.a.) subscription to the half of their writing which is not free. Above all else, watching Asia Times over recent years is watching the evolution of sensible thinking as seen from Hong Kong.

The South China Morning Post, to which I also subscribe, is the leading English language newspaper of Hong Kong. It is also a way to follow Hong Kong minds, seeing China from the minds of people in Hong Kong. It writes especially for expat and elite English speaking readership. I used to say scathingly that people in Hong Kong knew a lot about… Hong Kong, rather than China. I apply my social anthropologist sniffer dog approach to writing out of Hong Kong.

Recent on my radar is Asia Financial, a British-owned Hong Kong business providing astonishingly interesting daily news. I’ve never received an invitation to subscribe. A lot of it is, like financial news everywhere, full of minor particulars, but it provides important real money perspectives, contrasting with the simplicities and ignorance of much reporting in Australia on the region.

From inside China, my mainstays have become the Global Times, fairly widely known as a somewhat tabloid and strident (Murdoch on Yangtze, but fact-based) voice of the party. Very valuable, for example as relayed recently in the Menadue blog and the most valuable China resource, which I access on my iPad. The app of the State Council is also available on the web. The State Council is the cabinet. So the app and website has a main page of current news, click sideways for the state council’s business schedule and decisions, sideways again for the premier (prime minister), then sideways for more news, policy areas, services (especially for foreigners dealing with China). In the seas of media muck about China and hysterias about governments in Australia, I can just say… It would be really nice to have a fact-based access to government in Australia, in so coherent a format. 

In the reordering of the world that is underway, Multipolarista is important, with a base in Latin America. Please note that there is a link top right of that English language page for Espanol, which in fact reveals a different domain name and series of articles and Geopoliticaeconomica. Chrome browser will offer an English translation. 

There are large and important changes occurring in Latin America, notably with the election of President Lula in Brazil. Prospects too, for evolution of formal structures between reforming countries in Latin America, including UNASUR.  But relatively small changes that add up. I recall in Beijing our astonishment in 1984, suddenly to be able to buy fresh bananas, multiplied astonishment to hear that this happened because the foreign minister of Ecuador had quietly lamented to the Foreign Minister of China that there was a trade imbalance. And now, as if it were out of the blue, the American Tiger as the Chinese once called them, wakes up and discovers that there will be a free trade agreement between Ecuador and China, just one of several in the region. 

This is not one hegemon trying to replace another, it is multipolarity. See this thoughtful piece today in Asia Times.

There continue to be US supported or directed projects to overthrow any government in Latin America not wedded to US business first. 

I surf YouTube for new voices. There are now more radical news sources out of India, some of which really deserve the Bill Hayden expression, the ‘basilisk eye’, often triumphant in declarations about international headline subjects that venture ahead of fact… but to see the playground of speculative writing is good. 

Others, such as Hindustan Times, generously, for my tired old eyes, read through articles from European media that I might not see elsewhere. (The print editions of the Hindustan Times have a total circulation of about one million, New York Times about a third of that.) The ferocious interest in the real world is far beyond the small-townerie of the ABC and the seemingly perpetual summer silly season of The Guardian Australia.

The most valuable voice I have found on YouTube is of the Singapore financial advisor Sean Foo. Serious stuff, for example this on European desire to confiscate Russian assets. Apart from the content quality, there’s no mucking about, it’s straight in… 

And so I will leave you with enough to go on with, wishing you an exciting new year. We just need a few tools and guide posts for what will be a lively ride.

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