Understanding Myanmar's Social Stability using AsiaBarometer

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Understanding Myanmar's Social Stability using AsiaBarometer

  1. 1. July 2008 Qualitative and Quantitative Research for Asian Integration Prayoga Wiradisuria Understanding Myanmar’s Social Stability: A portrait of Myanmar based on AsiaBarometer survey 2003 and the effect of cyclone Nargis 2008 GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ASIA PACIFIC STUDIES
  2. 2. Agenda Background Quick Overview of Myanmar Research Question and Hypothesis Theoretical Framework Analysis Conclusion Limitation and further research
  3. 3. Background <ul><li>The natural disaster created by cyclone Nargis in early 2008 has victimized tens of thousands of people in Myanmar. The world’s political attention, however, has been very intense on how the military junta in Myanmar handles the victims in isolation, far from direct participation of external parties. </li></ul><ul><li>The way military junta handled the victims represents the political situation in Myanmar which is authoritarian an central control. </li></ul><ul><li>Under such system, many scholars argue that people are under pressure from the ruler and generally unhappy. Typically, this situation can lead to social turmoil in the form of revolution or civil conflict. </li></ul><ul><li>In other words, such society is assumed to have low social stability which is characterized by mounting pressure and vulnerability to crisis upon the introduction of shocks/disturbances such as natural disaster, financial crisis, et cetera. </li></ul><ul><li>This research is an attempt to assess social stability of Myanmar people based on a quantitative comparison study reflected in AsiaBarometer Survey in 2003. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Quick overview of Myanmar Population: 48 million Myanmar in Comparison Source: ASEAN Secretariat, ADB, CIA World Fact Book ADB, APT, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO Member of following organizations 431,718 Indonesia 245,702 Thailand 186,961 Malaysia 161,547 Singapore 146,895 The Philippines Viet Nam Myanmar Brunei Darussalam Cambodia Lao PDR GDP US$ Current prices,2007 Services 23% Industry 7% Agriculture 70% 89% Buddhism 11% Other 70% Rural 30% Urban 70% above poverty below poverty line 30% 5%
  5. 5. World’s* perception over Myanmar *international main-stream media 76% “ ” “ ” “ ” “ ” “ ” “ ” U.S. freezes assets, restricts travel of Myanmar junta U.S. freezes assets, restricts travel of Myanmar junta Burma’s state run media: Propaganda machine Myanmar junta charges leading protesters The whole truth must be brought to light.. The military junta is powerful and ruthless The junta, known for its extreme xenophobia and paranoia
  6. 6. What perceived to be ‘wrong’ 76% Wrong government system… … Leads to social problem <ul><li>People oppression </li></ul><ul><li>Tight media control and punishment for those voicing different opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty eradication is not prioritized </li></ul><ul><li>Military offensives against insurgences have uprooted many thousands of civilians </li></ul><ul><li>International sanctions </li></ul><ul><li>Heroin trafficking in a massive scale (2 nd largest) </li></ul><ul><li>Military Junta </li></ul><ul><li>Executive </li></ul><ul><li>No election </li></ul><ul><li>Cabinet is overseen by Chief of State, </li></ul><ul><li>Military junta assumed power in 1988 </li></ul><ul><li>Legislative </li></ul><ul><li>Elected by popular vote but the military junta never allowed assembly to convene </li></ul><ul><li>Judiciary </li></ul><ul><li>- Not independent of the executive </li></ul><ul><li>Isolation </li></ul><ul><li>Myanmar holds isolation approach from the world at large </li></ul>
  7. 7. Research question and hypothesis 76% Research question Hypothesis <ul><li>Is the outsiders perception about of Myanmar in line or shared with Myanmar citizens’ own perception? </li></ul><ul><li>How strong is Myanmar people’s social stability relative to those of other Asian countries? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we fairly expect that there will soon be social turmoil following the ‘improper’ handling of cyclone Nargis disaster? </li></ul><ul><li>Myanmar people perceive their life differently that what is perceived by outsiders. </li></ul><ul><li>Myanmar people’s social stability is actually stronger than some of Asian countries. </li></ul><ul><li>There will not be social turmoil following the cyclone Nargis disaster. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Theoretical framework in summary Source: World Development Indicators, FAO Statistics Myanmar’s social & political system Social & economic condition Social stability Shock (external or internal) Crisis likelihood (social turmoil) Scholarly perspectives presented in formal references : books, journals, media AsiaBarometer data: cross comparison study Cyclone Nargis disaster handling case Scholarly sources for cross validation AsiaBarometer data: cross comparison study Personal satisfaction Public satisfaction Comparison satisfaction
  9. 9. Social Stability Data Collection from AsiaBarometer 2003 , Source: AsiaBarometer 2003 Clusters Access to information Public satisfaction Personal satisfaction Description This basic cluster gives us information whether basically people are satisfied with their own life People’s satisfaction toward their government can be measured by the government’s ability to provide various provisions. In other words: government performance. Satisfaction also comes from relative comparison. When there is zero access to information, people can not compare with outsiders and therefore any satisfaction gap will not present. Questionnaire from AsiaBarometer 2003 Q1 - How satisfied are you with your job Q2 - How satisfied are you with your family life Q3 - How satisfied are you with your household income Q4 - How satisfied are you with your overall environment Q5 - How satisfied are your living standard Q6 - How satisfied are you gov’t housing provision Q7 - How satisfied are you gov’t health provision Q8 - How satisfied are you with public safety condition Q9 – Do you have daily access to newspaper Q10 – How often do you travel abroad Q11 – How often do you access the internet Q12 – How often do you communicate with people abroad
  10. 10. Social Stability Analysis Source: AsiaBarometer 2003 Clusters Access to information Public satisfaction Personal satisfaction Relative positioning Description Myanmar has relatively higher percentage of people who are satisfied with their life compared other Asian countries surveyed. Myanmar has relatively higher percentage of people who are satisfied with their government in providing basic services/provisions compared other Asian countries surveyed. Myanmar people has the least access to information, making them the to have the least capability to compare their living condition with others. Myanmar has relatively stronger social stability , Positive correlation to social stability Positive correlation to social stability Negative correlation to social stability Lead Lag Lead Lag Lead Lag
  11. 11. Crisis likelihood after cyclone Nargis , *Kartasasmita, 2007 Critical mass Militancy Shocks / momentum Required component* Crisis Significant percentage of dissatisfied people required Internal drive to make action (mostly lies with students and labors) Due to the absence of necessary critical mass and militancy to create crisis / social turmoil, it is suggested that the cyclone Nargis momentum will not be immediately followed by social turmoil or significant people movement against the ruling military junta. Description Presence No No Yes Statistic shows large percentage of Myanmar people are satisfied with their life and government performance Statistics shows large percentage of students and labors are actually satisfied with their life and government performance Devastating cyclone Nargis was handled poorly by the government and people’s life were not prioritized An event, internal or external, that make or force people to act AsiaBarometer survey 2003
  12. 12. The storm is gathering.. <ul><li>Even though we learn that indeed there was not any social turmoil in Myanmar immediately after the cyclone, it is strongly believed that the tragedy has created a heavy latent for medium-term or long-term social unrest </li></ul><ul><li>This argument is a result of the effect of the cyclone as follows: </li></ul><ul><li>It is therefore reasonable to expect social turmoil in Myanmar in the future, unless the military junta is performing self-reform and introduces wind of change to the people </li></ul>It reduced people satisfaction about their lives It reduced people satisfaction about the government International media and relief team forces information exchange Social stability is weakened The cyclone triggered more people to be unsatisfied, accumulating toward critical mass Cyclone Nargis hit the all Myanmar people, including students and labors which has the militancy potential Cyclone Nargis damaged the country’s economy, opens door to future shocks, especially in the presence of global inflation Likelihood of social turmoil is stronger
  13. 13. <ul><li>Survey questions can be detailed down or be expanded further to better capture Myanmar’s social stability </li></ul><ul><li>Triangulation or field survey will be ideal </li></ul><ul><li>More perspectives from Myanmar’s own academia/experts is needed </li></ul>Conclusion Findings Limitation Further research <ul><li>How will Asian integration influence Myanmar socio-political situation both in short and long term? </li></ul><ul><li>AsiaBArometer survey 2003 suggests that Myanmar has a relatively stronger social stability than other Asian countries surveyed </li></ul><ul><li>In the event of cyclone Nargis which was handled poorly by Myanmar’s military junta government as an introduction of shock to the society, it is predicted that the event will not followed immediately by social turmoil </li></ul><ul><li>The event, however is predicted to serve as the trigger for power accumulation of crisis enablers </li></ul>.
  14. 14. Thank you for audiencing
  15. 15. Exhibit-1: Personal Satisfaction Malaysia Thailand Vietnam Myanmar India Sri Lanka Uzbekistan Ø 58 Japan South Korea China Job Ø 78 Family life Graphs indicate %of satisfied respondents Household income Overall environment Sri Lanka Uzbekistan Ø 48 Thailand Vietnam Myanmar India Japan South Korea China Malaysia Ø 46 25 Personal satisfaction covers the perception of people toward their own lives in the context of being satisfied or not satisfied. Of all possible factors, four general factors were taken as the representatives. % of militant group satisfied Job Family life Household income Overall environment <ul><li>High education: 64% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 72% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 89% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 91% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 73% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 72% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 81% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 86% </li></ul>
  16. 16. Exhibit-2: Public Satisfaction Japan South Korea China Malaysia Thailand Vietnam Myanmar India Sri Lanka Uzbekistan Ø 16 Provision of living standard Ø 66 Provision of Housing Graphs indicate %of satisfied respondents Provision of Health Provision of Public safety China Malaysia Thailand Vietnam Myanmar India Japan South Korea Uzbekistan Ø 68 Sri Lanka Ø 51 5 Public satisfaction in this context refers to how citizen perceived government service/provisions of public goods in the dimension of satisfaction. Out of many possible factors, four were chosen to represent this theme. % of militant group satisfied Provision of living standard Provision of Housing Provision of Health Provision of Public Safety <ul><li>High education: 74% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 62% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 83% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 72% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 73% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 72% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 83% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 73% </li></ul>
  17. 17. Exhibit-3: Access to Information Japan South Korea China Malaysia Thailand Vietnam Myanmar India Sri Lanka Uzbekistan Ø 43 Daily access to Newspaper Ø 7 Travel abroad Graphs indicate %of respondents Access to internet Communication with people abroad Vietnam Myanmar India Sri Lanka Uzbekistan Ø 21 Japan South Korea China Malaysia Thailand Ø 6 42 Access to information represents the ability of people inside a country to make comparison about life condition with people from other countries. The ability to make comparison is the key factor for relative satisfaction and used as the gauge against the perceived absolute satisfaction. % of militant groups have access Daily access to newspaper Travel abroad Access to internet Communication with people abroad <ul><li>High education: 47% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 15% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 6% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 5% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 0% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 1% </li></ul><ul><li>High education : 4% </li></ul><ul><li>Labor : 2% </li></ul>
  18. 18. Exhibit-4: Overall Myanmar’s relative position Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2 Q1 Q4 Q3 Q3 Q1 Myanmar South Korea Malaysia China Vietnam Thailand Japan Q4 Q2 India Sri Lanka Uzbekistan Q2 index Higher social stability

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