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Go to south-east Asia, young one

Chinese New Year illuminations in Bangkok’s Chinatown this January © Xinhua News Agency/eyevine

At no point in his memoir, Nick Leeson doesn’t get cranky in Southeast Asia, even knowing that Changi Prison beckons. His Barings Bank back office job in Jakarta allowed him to escape the pub brawl life in Watford. A plasterer’s son became rich after being transferred to Singapore. If only he hadn’t been able to hide his illicit trading in a more mature market or conquer the market so quickly.

A generation later, from the rooftop of the Bangkok Standard Hotel, I still recommend this area to western youth over others. Before we get into the pull factor, let’s think about push. A new British graduate faces a country facing uncontrollable decline. For his one in the United States, it’s the dirtiest politics ever where they could hatch an escape plan. “Good country,” the French say of their homeland. “Visit”

But where from despair? Don’t mistake this case for Southeast Asia (here defined as ASEAN countries). I have too many connections in Peninsular Malaysia alone to consider the place ‘exotic’. The region, with its ambivalent geopolitical stance, will become what economists call a “main battleground” between the United States and China. Each superpower will flood with decades of investment and public attention. Even without these feuding giants, the heavily populated and recently impoverished region would ooze potential. With them, living here will feel like living at the hinge of the world. increase.

The view from this Gonzo Tower with its spiral cavity speaks for itself. Near Lumphini Park is one of the world’s largest US embassies. And that was before the birth of his 14-story annexe, scheduled for 2025. The commander of the Pacific Fleet, the most powerful navy in history, is due to arrive in this town.

When it comes to Vietnam, Western supply chains that leave China often settle in Vietnam. That government has sent officials to a conference of quads connecting the United States with India, Japan and Australia. Last year, a lease for the new US Embassy in Hanoi was signed at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. Connected to China through trade, this region will require some courtship just to stay in the obscure faction. But that’s the point. The influx of American cash and favors can be ferocious. So are the resulting opportunities.

It makes me shudder at how liberal conscience I have to give this kind of advice to young people. After all, Southeast Asia hedges more than just foreign trade. In that “managed” democracy, neither China nor America’s government will work. To say that young Britons may be irritated by some laws means that all locals are willing to put off. Pyra directs her dissent to the music.) Since when has noble principles kept anyone away from great opportunities abroad? Most people care about non-Jeffersonian politics.

On a quality-to-price score, Bangkok could consider Hanoi a food utopia. A local friend forbids me from revealing the name of a mysteriously empty restaurant somewhere on Sukhumvit Soi 31 that surprises us with the equivalent of a few pounds. At least an approximation of the concentration of geographical pleasures in Europe.

But all this was true in Leeson’s time. The difference was that China was still poor and America still faced Europe. The drastic change in both scores resulted in a mere dynamic region in the center of the Earth. Throw his 1990s optimism into the world of affluence, and I expect more and more Westerners around here to seek fortune rather than fun. Even those who haven’t found theirs can watch the century unfold.

Email Janan at janan.ganesh@ft.com.
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