Myanmar is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Despite its lush natural resources, the country formerly known as Burma has remained among Asiaâ€™s struggling economies, notwithstanding the fact that its neighbor, Thailand, has periodically rebounded from the boom-bust cycle of the international economy, including 1990s Asian Financial Crisis. Even if there be economic pitfalls like these, Myanmar has always been known for its two social pillars â€“ the Buddhist monks and the Burmese military. For years, the these two socio-political institutions have always been embroiled in a love-hate relationship especially in amassing the support of the Burmese people, as evidenced in the current political crisis engulfing all of Myanmar today. On the other hand, it is important to note that Myanmar was a former direct British colony, from 1824-1886 and subsequently became a province of India until it gained full independence in 1948. Burmese history post-independence though may be best described as a waltz between the exercise of democracy and the iron grip of the Burmese military institution, as the Burmese military junta has always wielded political and economic power in Burma since the time of Gen. Ne Win until today, under the leadership of Gen. Than Shwe. Presently, several indicators may serve to show the level of development Burma has reached â€“ the Per Capita Gross Domestic Product (PCGDP), Literacy Rate, and the Life Expectancy. These three are very important indices in determining whether or not the Burmese government and its people are successful in substantially improving the lives of members of their society. The Burmese PCGDP is pegged at $1,800 (2006 est.), a far cry from the $9,200 (2006 est.) PCGDP of its neighbor Thailand and even its similarly situated neighbor Laos whose PCGDP is at $ 2,200. (cia.gov) On the other hand, Burma has been successful in ensuring that majority of its population can read and write, as its 89.9% literacy rate is only a few percentages lower than Thailandâ€™s 92.6%. Life expectancy in Burma is also very low at 62.52 years old, while Thailandâ€™s life expectancy is at 72.55 years old. Actually, the life expectancy in more underdeveloped neighbor Bangladesh is slightly higher than the Burmese average, at 62.84 years old. (cia.gov) Over and above the usual economic explanations as to the depressing levels of poverty in Burma, a major basis for the continuing economic underdevelopment in Burma shall always be the authoritarian rule of the Burmese government and the patent lack of democracy and freedom in the country. A main factor for the stunting of the Burmese economy is the strict government controls on all sectors of the economy by the ruling junta. Even as the world has already started embracing the principle of eliminating barriers to international trade, the Burmese economy continues to institute questionable economic policies such as a distorted interest rate regime and multiple official exchange rates. (cia.gov) Moreover, the discredited image of the Burmese military junta to the world has also resulted in a lukewarm investment climate, diminishing foreign assistance by developed countries, and economic sanctions, especially due to its protracted and continued crackdown on pro-democracy dissidents including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Such an unfortunate economic and political situation would definitely lead to dire results insofar as human development is concerned, the result of which would be the low life expectancy of the Burmese people. To a certain extent, it is very safe to surmise that the low life expectancy can be logically attributed to the failures of years of military junta rule in delivering basic social services to the people. Had the Burmese government been very effective in delivering primary healthcare to its impoverished countryside notwithstanding ensuring sustained food security, the necessary consequence of such a situation would perhaps lead to a higher life expectancy rate than what Burma currently faces. Apparently, if one looks at the CIA world ranking on life expectancy, Burma at 168th place would find itself in the company of countries and states which had histories of problematic governments and states which do not necessarily hold the interest of their peoples at heart due to pervasive corruption, civil strife, among others. (cia.gov) On the other hand, it would seem surprising that an impoverished country like Burma would have such a high literacy rate of 89.9%, especially as similarly situated underdeveloped countries such as Haiti and Cambodia have very low literacy rates, at 52.9% and 50.2%, respectively. The explanation for this would perhaps lie on the fundamental interest of the Burmese junta to educate and consolidate the people towards assimilating themselves to the legitimacy of the authoritarian regime, as an uneducated people would definitely plant the seeds of civil unrest and challenge the regime. This conjecture is offered in the light of similarly high literacy rates in other authoritarian yet impoverished regimes the world over, such as Cuba and North Korea, both of which have literacy rate of 99%. (cia.gov) The primordial prerequisite for the economic development of Burma today needs more than a simple implementation of liberalization measures in its economy, as the basic problem lies in the very structure of its institutions, particularly the manner by which the Burmese government wields power. If there is no room for discussion of different economic theories and policies which have worked for countless other impoverished nations, no shift towards economic liberalization and deregulation policies can ever be hoped in Burma as an authoritarian government shall always tend to believe only the policies and theories which it would want to pursue and implement. While a vast majority of the Burmese people is literate enough, it cannot be said fully at this point whether their literacy actually amounts to the development of countless professionals, scientists, engineers and skilled workers, as their poorly planned economy remains in shambles. In the ultimate analysis, prior to any economic cure which may be instituted to jumpstart its economic for the development of its resources and its people, a political solution must decisively be done if Burma is to move progressively and proactively forwards as a nation. Works Cited: Burma. CIA World Factbook. Retrieved from Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â November 20, 2007. November 15, 2007. Thailand. CIA World Factbook. Retrieved from Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/th.html, Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â November 20, 2007. November 15, 2007. Rank Order â€“ GDP â€“ per capita (PPP). CIA World Factbook. Â Â November 20, 2007. November 15, 2007. Rank Order â€“ Life expectancy at birth. CIA World Factbook. Â Â Â Â November 20, 2007. November 15, 2007. Myanmar This essay will investigate the role of images in the mediaâ€™s presentation of current events using the example of Myanmar/Burma protests. It is a well-known scientific fact that humans absorb the greatest amount of information through the visual channel; therefore, contemporary media places a significant emphasis on the use of effective images in the presentation of news. Images coupled with specific vocabulary are the most powerful tool of framing public discourse concerning current events. As for the background information about the crisis in Myanmar/Burma, there has been a series of protests against human rights abuses and crackdown on ethnic minorities going on in the country since late August. The protests have been started by monks and supported by ordinary citizens. In late September, the military government of Myanmar/Burma responded with the police violence and arrests. Such a response sparked a wave of international indignation, and both Myanmar/Burma activists and their supporters abroad call upon the international institutions to take a decisive action to solve the crisis that has not been fully settled yet. For the purposes of this essay, three most influential news media providers were selected, namely CNN, BBC, and Reuters. There is little variation in their representation of the events in Myanmar/Burma, yet each news provider uses its own set of images to communicate its message to its target audience. CNN launched a series of articles tracking down all the developments of the situation in Myanmar/Burma. The article â€˜Satellite photos may prove abuses in Myanmar/Burma, researchers sayâ€™ (CNN, 2007) is accompanied by a photograph showing a crowd of monks on a demonstration who are surrounded by other citizens. Deep red apparel of the monks contrasts with predominantly white clothes of other citizens, yet this photograph communicates a powerful message that many Myanmar/Burma citizens are united around the noble cause of confronting their government because of human rights abuses. The photograph is probably taken from the plane or any spot high above the Earth surface. This very fact reminds the Western viewer that many media channels are banned from doing on-the-ground reporting from Myanmar/Burma. It further amplifies the perception of the Myanmar/Burma government as authoritarian and undemocratic one. The thing that is probably missing from the image is the presence of authorities. It is well-known that streets of major Myanmar/Burma cities are flooded with the police and sometimes special forces. While the image effectively captures the peaceful spirit of the protests and high level of self-organization, it fails to convey the atmosphere of confrontation between citizens and authorities. BBC frames the story with a noticeable human touch. British media is known to focus on the human factor before examining international political implications of a certain event. The story titled â€˜Monks trying to escape Rangoonâ€™ (BBC, 2007) goes together with a photograph of two young monks fleeing away at the top of a truck. In the background it is possible to spot several other trucks carrying other exiles away. This image communicates a dual message: first of all, it persuasively portrays Buddhist monks as innocent victims of the oppressive regime rather than violent protesters; secondly, it indicates that the number of exiles exceeds the number of transport facilities available to them. Furthermore, it makes viewers think about the future of the protesters who are forced to leave their home country because of their political beliefs. It also puts the story in the wider regional context, since the conflict in Myanmar/Burma will also affect all the neighboring countries if exile becomes mass. The inscription under the image reads â€˜Many monks are desperate to leave Rangoon, witnesses say.â€™ The image advances the story by showing that the protesters are ready to trade the risk and insecurity of fleeing to another country from relative political freedom they can enjoy abroad. Another BBC story, â€˜Burmese play tense waiting gameâ€™ (BBC, 2007), also features an effective use of visual images. One of the images that accompany the story features Gen Than Shwe who heads the ruling junta and controls the army. The facial expression of Gen Than Shwe is conspicuously aggressive and hostile. To the Western viewer, such an image reminds of other historical forms of military dictatorship, ranging from Soviet-era military buildup to juntas in Latin America. Perhaps the most effective use of visual images has been done by the Reuters (2007). Together with a series of stories, it offers a slideshow of 25 photographs representing the course of development of events in Myanmar/Burma. One of the photographs features a Buddhist monk standing by a placard that reads â€˜Free Political Prisoners, Listen to the People.â€™ Young man is wearing glasses (the fact that resonates with the collective image of â€˜intelligentsiaâ€™ from developing countries) and has a very determined expression on his face. While there is a grammatical mistake in the word â€˜Political,â€™ the image still credits the protesters for their brave attempts to attract the attention of international community. In such a way, Western media frames the public discourse about the events in Myanmar/Burma is a sympathetic way and calls upon Western governments and international organizations to render necessary support to the peaceful protesters and population of the country. References CNN. â€˜Satellite photos may prove abuses in Myanmar, researchers say.â€™ September 28, 2007. October 3, 2007. BBC. â€˜Monks â€˜trying to escape Rangoonâ€™.â€™ October 3, 2007. October 3, 2007. BBC. October 3, 2007. â€˜Burmese play tense waiting game. October 3, 2007. October 3, 2007. The Reuters. â€˜Myanmar junta arrests more.â€™ October 3, 2007. October 3, 2007. Â
International Marketing of Marks & Spencer (M&S) in Vietnam - Essay Example
The focus in this paper is on Marks & Spencer (M&S), a UK-based company that was established by Michael Marks and Time Spencer many years ago, and it is now one of the largest clothing, food, and home product retailers in the world. The company has an ambitious goal, which is to become the â€œworldâ€™s most sustainable major retailerâ€ by 2015. The company has a group revenue of Â£8,733.0 million in the UK and Â£1,0073 million in the international market. Providing needs and satisfying customers with the best product experiences across the world are the top priorities of M&S; in fact, they have continued to meet expectations of their 21 million weekly customers by expanding in many international markets. M&S has about 700 domestic retail stores in the UK and â€œ361 wholly-owned, partly-owned, and franchised stores in 43 territories across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.â€ Macro-environment is one of the environmental issues that influenced the retail industry in Vietnam, as well as the industryâ€™s growth prospect. This analysis will focus on major trends that have an impact on the organizational growth of foreign-invested companies including socio-cultural and demographics, technology, economic condition, ecology and physical environment, and political-legal. In every investment, understanding customs and behaviors of a certain country is one of the important factors to be successful in foreign markets. Vietnam is a socially stable country because of its economic renovation policies; however, social discrimination or divisions have been part of its local customs, particularly the treatment of men and women in the society, as well as the working and middle class Vietnamese. International businesses are placing a significant value on customs and cultures of their host countries because these are substantial in gaining a market share. Vietnamese customers are hard to please because they are price sensitive and value or quality conscious, and doing business in the country needs patience because Vietnamese prefer to have lengthy negotiations. Furthermore, the family is the basic unit of the society in Vietnam; however, inequalities in terms of gender issues and classes can still be observed. For instance, men are considered superior or better than women in such a way that they have the power to make decisions for the family and do outside activities while women are left in the house to do household chores. This attitude is also practiced in the workplace wherein lower-level employees are not empowered to make decision, initiate change, and keep information without the approval of those in managerial positions. On the other hand, there is an unequal distribution of income and a biased tax system between rural and urban communities wherein taxes imposed to rural residents are higher compared to urban constituents; this event shows that government policies are concentrated to the growth of urban areas (Cao & Akita, 2008, p.12). Other urban biases are observed in terms of trade liberalization or industrialization, tax distribution among industries, credit admission, foreign direct investment (FDI) programs, employment opportunities, service access, and many more. In terms of demographics, Vietnam has a total population of 91,519,289 wherein 25.2%, 69.3%, and 5.5% of the population are 0-14, 15-64, and 65+ years old, respectively (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). This age structure implied that Vietnam is equipped with a high and substantial workforce, which is favorable to international businesses because the population is young. For instance, half of Vietnamâ€™s total population is the young generation or â€œ
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