Ear to Asia is produced by Asia Institute, the Asia research specialists at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
In Ear to Asia, we talk with Asia experts to unpack the issues behind news headlines in a region that is rapidly changing the world.
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What will it take to end the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan?
After the Taliban wrested power from Afghanistan’s democratically-elected government in August 2021, almost overnight, life for millions of Afghans changed radically and possibly irrevocably. Notably, the rights of women and girls to be educated and to participate in the workforce were stripped away. But the nation was also plunged into a terrible humanitarian crisis with more than a million severely malnourished children, massive unemployment, and runaway inflation. So what caused the sharp decline in living conditions? What can aid agencies like the United Nations Development Programme do to improve the lot of ordinary Afghans? And what will it take to stave off the collapse of Afghanistan? Abdallah Al Dardari, the UNDP’s resident representative in Afghanistan gives us the view from Kabul. Presented by Peter Clarke.An Asia Institute podcast.Produced and edited by Profactual.Music by audionautix.com.
The human cost of South Korea’s era of transnational adoption
Since the 1950s but peaking in the 1980s, an estimated 200,000 South Korean babies and children have been adopted into mainly white families in western nations, leaving a trail of fractured identities. Why did the South Korean government allow so many of its children to be sent permanently abroad? What have been the fates of the adoptees, some now well into middle age? And how are some adoptees working to reconnect themselves to the land and culture of their birth? South Korea social scientists Assoc Prof Eleana Kim and Dr Ryan Gustaffson examine the legacy of the transnational adoption program with host Peter Clarke. An Asia Institute podcast. Produced and edited by Profactual. Music by audionautix.com.
Contrasting memories of Japanese colonisation in Korea and Taiwan
Taiwan and Korea were colonised by Imperial Japan for much of the first half of the 20th century, and liberated only after Japan surrendered to allied forces in 1945. While North and South Korea continue to share a deep resentment towards Japan, Taiwan exhibits a more positive attitude towards their former coloniser. Why is there such a stark difference in attitude towards Japan, and what present-day political ends do the differing narratives serve? Korea historian Prof Kyung Moon Hwang and Asia historian Dr Lewis Mayo examine the ongoing legacy of Japanese colonization. Presented by Jane Hutcheon.An Asia Institute podcast.Produced and edited by Profactual.Music by audionautix.com.
Mindful of power: Politics and nationalism in Buddhist-majority societies
While non-violence and detachment may be central to Buddhist teachings, there are growing accounts of human rights abuses – often along ethnic lines – in Buddhist-majority countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, often carried out in the name of Buddhism. So how does Buddhism intersect with political power? And how has Buddhism itself been changed by the demands and constraints of the modern nation-state? Southeast Asia historian Assoc Prof Patrick Jory and Asia cultural and environmental historian Dr Ruth Gamble join host Jane Hutcheon to examine the junction of Buddhism, social life and politics in majority Theravada Buddhist countries.An Asia Institute podcast.Produced and edited by ProfactualMusic by audionautix.com.
How China finds a home for 1.4 billion people
China’s meteoric economic rise over the last 40+ years has been accompanied by hundreds of millions of people leaving the countryside to seek opportunities in the nation's metropolises. Housing this immense influx has been and continues to be a challenge for authorities. So how is China meeting the challenges of providing a roof over the heads of 1.4 billion people? What’s the impact of the headline financial troubles plaguing the real estate development industry? Experts in China social policy and governance Professor Bingqin Li and Dr Lei Yu join host Ali Moore to examine China’s housing sector.An Asia Institute podcast.Produced and edited by Profactual.Music by audionautix.com.
Getting China-Australia relations out of a rut
The recent change of government in Australia and a less strident tone in messaging from the Chinese leadership are being taken by some as a promising turn for fractured bilateral ties. But as Australia remains caught in the great power rivalry between the United States and China, what kind of relationship can we realistically expect between Canberra and Beijing going forward? How should Australia mend fences with its greatest trading partner? And how might China itself contribute to improving bilateral relations? China watchers Dr Sow Keat Tok and Yun Jiang join presenter Jane Hutcheon to examine the road ahead for Australia.An Asia Institute podcast.Produced and edited by Profactual.Music by audionautix.com.
Fascinating survey of the issues in Asia that matter to the world. Great guest, well interviewed and produced. Always insightful and educational!
Much more nuance expected
Generally this program airs a much needed insider perspective and expertise on Asia and being Asian relevant to Australian listeners. But the Migrants from China episode was frustrating and would have been much better if a working definition or explanation of “Chineseness” for the purpose of the podcast was included. The interviewer kept trying to “focus” the discussion on”mainland Chinese” while the panel were saying its not straightforward- as are most issues with identity. What do you call students who came to Australia in primary school and feel more “Aussie” than Chinese? or older Shanhainese glad to be able to speak their language and to call themselves Shanghainese having once been barred from doing so? Or Uighurs? Or Mongolians? Nuance rather than categorisation please
Ear to Asia is really good
Ear to Asia is an excellent podcast for those interested in the changing face of Asia. It frequently discusses the back story to events that make the headlines in our 24/7 news cycle. It also has stories that main stream media seldom covers. Ear to Asia unpacks the complexities of a region in flux without dumbing down. If you're interested in discovering Asia, and trying to understand what makes it tick, subscribe to Ear to Asia. I enjoy it immensely and highly recommend it.