Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Written for The Diplomat The year 1965 is politically significant in several Southeast Asian countries: Singapore became an independent nation, Ferdinand Marcos was elected president of the Philippines, and an anti-communist purge killed at least half a million people in Indonesia. Singapore separated from the Malaysian Federation and subsequently, an independent government was established led […]

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Written for The Diplomat If protests and minor election setbacks hounded the ruling parties across Southeast Asia in the past two years, their situation this year has already improved somewhat as opposition leaders in the region run into varying difficulties. In Myanmar, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi still cannot run for the presidency because […]

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Southeast Asia’s Elder Statesmen

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and Juan Ponce Enrile of the Philippines – all have something in commons: they belong to Southeast Asia’s prominent club of senior citizen statesmen. Politicians may be getting younger, but it doesn’t mean the old guard […]

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Southeast Asia’s Last Strongman

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father and architect of modern Singapore, resigned from the Cabinet a week after the ruling People’s Action Party suffered its worst performance in the polls since 1965. Lee was Prime Minister for 31 years from 1959 to 1990, and continued to lead Singapore as Senior Minister for 14 years and […]

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ASEAN and Human Rights Hypocrisy

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Burma’s bid to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2014 was politely dismissed when the bloc concluded its latest summit in Indonesia without a clear commitment on the matter. Instead of receiving support for its bid, Burma was advised by fellow ASEAN members to build better infrastructure first if it really wants to […]

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WikiLeaks’ Thai Revelations?

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

There are some interesting WikiLeaks revelations related to Thailand. Of the estimated 3000 cables sent by the United States Embassy in Bangkok to the US State Department, the most intriguing are those tied to the case of Russian businessman and alleged arms smuggler Viktor Bout, who faced trial in Thailand before being extradited to the […]

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