The Soft Power Limits of Chinese Theravada Buddhism

Chinese Theravada Buddhism is in no position to serve as a tool of soft power for the state. For centuries Yunnan has served as China’s gateway to Southeast Asia. Besides trade, an important component of this linkage is the exchange of religion and religious groups, in this case Theravada Buddhism. Since its 7th century arrival […]

China’s Myanmar Conundrum

Myanmar’s political transition has spawned debates and deliberations in policymaking circles and strategic communities across the world. The economic and strategic spinoff of the political changes has generated immense attention and interest. Not least in China. As recently as 2011, prior to its “opening up,” Myanmar was not only considered cut off from international engagement, […]

Serge Pun Constructs A Real-Estate Empire In Myanmar

The road to Star City is a rutted two-lane highway that threads past the ragtag outskirts of Yangon, crosses two rusted bridges and ends, almost an hour later, at a slick showroom on a grassy riverbank. A roadside billboard welcomes me to “A Model City of Tomorrow.” After a bumpy ride in monsoon rains the […]

Serge Pun to give rivals a run for their money

YANGON — As founder of Myanmar’s only listed business and head of a commercial network spanning more than 30 companies, Serge Pun is more used to winning than losing. That habit is well-attested to by the swanky surrounds of the family-run Pun Hlaing Country Club—a 660-acre golf and residential retreat complete with hospital and shopping […]