Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Geography & Geopolitics

I don't like public holidays in Singapore. The libraries are closed today. It has been my practice that after dinner a visit to the library is a must. I borrow many books from the public libraries of Singapore. Yesterday at Jurong Regional Library I borrowed Robert Kaplan's books, one titled, Monsoon and the other, Revenge of Geography. Speaking of geography, it was my favourite subject during SPM or O levels. I loved maps, atlases and landscapes of countries and continents. Kaplan's books are about geography of states and regional hubs and how geopolitical alignment and potential conflicts between states has to do with geography.
I regretted very much when the subject of geography was made non-compulsory in Malaysia. I actually raised this issue in a parent and teacher association meeting and was duly elected as a member of the committee. It was in 2006 and in just over a year I had to resign as I left Sabah for Singapore. Kaplan's just published book, Asia's Cauldron. The End to a Stable Pacific is an example how geography plays a critical part in determining a State's foreign policy, in this case claims on South China Sea for its strategic geographical location where almost half of world's trade passes through the Straits of Malacca all the way to China, a rising power of the 21st century.

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