Ear to Asia

by Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne

On Ear to Asia, we talk with Asia experts to unpack the issues behind news headlines in a region that is rapidly changing the world. Ear to Asia is produced by Asia Institute, the Asia research specialists at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Podcast episodes

  • Season 2024

  • China wants to remake global governance – is the world ready for it?

    China wants to remake global governance – is the world ready for it?

    China's Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2023, aims to reshape global governance by emphasising mutual respect between civilizations and common human values. While it ostensibly appears to embrace diversity, some analysts argue that it primarily serves China's own interests by reshaping international norms in favour of authoritarian regimes. The GCI is part of a trio of multilateral initiatives, including the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, seen as an effort by Beijing to expand its global influence and partnerships. But does the GCI possess genuine substance, or is it merely a public relations exercise? Would all nations be considered equal under Beijing's proposal? And how might the GCI transform our understanding of human rights? Seasoned China watchers Assoc Prof Delia Lin and Dr Sow Keat Tok join host Sami Shah to scrutinise the Global Civilization Initiative. An Asia Institute podcast. Produced and edited by profactual.com. Music by audionautix.com.

  • Taiwan through the eyes of mainland Chinese writers and filmmakers

    Taiwan through the eyes of mainland Chinese writers and filmmakers

    Despite China's official stance that reunification with Taiwan is non-negotiable, the perspectives of mainland Chinese writers, filmmakers, and television producers who have lived on the island are often far more nuanced. How have these artists reconciled their ties to the mainland with their experiences in Taiwan? What distinguishes the works of those who fled the mainland at the end of the Chinese Civil War from those who arrived in Taiwan decades later? Historian and translator Dr. Craig Smith, and literary and film critic Dr. Phyllis Huang analyse cultural products that were forged in the crucible of political and ideological division. With host Peter Clarke. An Asia Institute podcast. Produced and edited by profactual.com. Music by audionautix.com.

  • Season 2023

  • How the future of Indonesia's peatlands will shape climate change

    How the future of Indonesia's peatlands will shape climate change

    With the return of the El Niño weather pattern after a three-year hiatus, several Southeast Asian nations are preparing for the resurgence of the hazardous haze caused by peatland fires in Indonesia. Indonesia’s 24 million hectares of tropical peatlands – the largest holding worldwide – support vital biodiversity and carbon storage. However, agricultural expansion and drainage for oil palm and pulpwood plantations pose severe threats to these ecosystems. These activities release vast amounts of greenhouse gases, and peat, once drained, is also highly combustible, emitting even more greenhouse gases if ignited. So how closely linked is the fate of the peatlands to global warming? And how can Indonesia balance its development needs while also protecting the environment and contributing to global climate goals? Experts on Indonesia's peatlands, Professor Daniel Murdiyarso and Dr Luba Volkova, examine the current state of Indonesia's peatlands and ongoing conservation efforts, in conversation with presenter Peter Clarke. An Asia Institute podcast. Produced and edited by profactual.com. Music by audionautix.com.

  • Managing caste discrimination in the workplace

    Managing caste discrimination in the workplace

    As India’s diaspora continues to expand in Western nations, what are the implications of caste identity, and the discriminatory practices that accompany it, for corporate managers? Despite being prohibited by law in India, cultural norms and social practices have allowed caste-based discrimination to persist. The over-representation of higher caste Indians in leadership positions abroad has correlated with a sharp rise in caste discrimination in Western workplaces, leading some local US jurisdictions, like the city of Seattle, to enact laws specifically banning discrimination based on caste. So what do managers and HR staff in Western workplaces need to know about caste and its impact on employees' wellbeing? How does gender intersect with caste-motivated antisocial behaviors? And how can corporate leaders best be equipped to play a role in preventing caste-based discrimination? Management and marketing researchers Professor Hari Baphuji and Dr Kanika Meshram discuss caste within the corporation with presenter Peter Clarke. An Asia Institute podcast. Produced and edited by profactual.com. Music by audionautix.com.

  • China's Pacific push: Assessing the impact on island nations

    China's Pacific push: Assessing the impact on island nations

    China’s ambitious push into the Pacific Islands through infrastructure investments and loans has raised concerns about its grand strategy and geopolitical goals for nearby middle powers such as Australia. Meanwhile, Beijing's recent security deal with Solomon Islands plus its attempt to strike a larger deal with ten other island nations has prompted Australia to reaffirm its commitment to the region. So, what's been the real trade-off for the island nations caught up in China's Pacific aspirations? And how are the U.S. and its allies such as Australia, who have long assumed some sphere of influence in the region, responding to China's push? Seasoned China watcher Associate Professor Graeme Smith joins host Peter Clarke to examine China's growing footprint in Pacific Island countries. An Asia Institute podcast. Produced and edited by profactual.com. Music by audionautix.com.