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Hitachi in Singapore

[image] A Debate of Ideas

Throughout the forum, delegates referred to situations in their own countries as well as to the broader regional picture. The participants recognized that development entails risk. Industrialization can raise the material standard of living and transform the quality and range of opportunity for large numbers of people. It can also have radical effects on family and community structures, threatening the erosion of traditional values. Industrialization and technology should serve human ends. If societies are to minimize the adverse consequences of change, they must agree on how to direct its nature and pace.

This led, among other things, to lively attempts to define an "Asian identity" based on specifically Asian values. Generally, it was concluded that, however the modern Asian identity is defined - whether through educational efforts, mass media, sports and leisure or the influences of global and Asian tourism - it will emerge from a diversity of culture flourishing in the context of increasing regionalism.

In focusing on issues such as these, one especially contentious issue among participants was the role of media. This reflected concerns, on the one hand, that appropriate development entailed an open public forum and, on the other hand, that irresponsible journalism might counter national efforts to achieve harmony and stability, particularly in multicultural and multiracial communities. A self-enforced code of conduct, participants believed, could encourage social responsibility among the media. A "pan-Asian media policy" was therefore among the final recommendations in the final 22-page report compiled by the delegates, titled "Statement of Vision and Recommendations from the Youth of Asia."

Allan C.A. Hizon, a business and economics student from De La Salle University, the Philippines, commented, "Even if we can't push these recommendations with our respective governments in the near future, you can rest assured that our future attitudes and activities will be informed by these experiences. I know that I can do something for my country and the region when the time comes."

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