Education About Asia: Online Archives

Asian Factoids: Fall 1997

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Asia and Young People

Percentage of population below 15 years of age
Cambodia 44.9
Pakistan 44.3
Philippines 38.3
Malaysia 38.0
Vietnam 37.5
India 35.2
Indonesia 33.0
Thailand 28.3
China 26.4
So. Korea 23.6

Source: World Resources 1996-97

  • Asia accounts for 61 percent of the world’s total child labor force (ages 5–14), i.e. 153 million child laborers from Asia.

Source: Far Eastern Economic Review, November 21, 1996 Submitted by E. A. DeVido, National Chengchi University, Taiwan


Female worker’s average earnings for every $1 earned by a male worker, 1980s and present, in cents

                           1980–84                   most recent data
Thailand                 75                                  80
Philippines             70                                 80
Indonesia               55                                  60
South Korea           41                                  50
Japan                      41                                   41

Source: The World Bank; Review Data


Chinese Military Spending Growth

In early March, China announced plans to boost its annual defense budget by 12.7 percent to 80.6 billion yuan ($9.7 billion). It was the ninth consecutive double-digit year-onyear increase in China’s defense budget.

Source: Japan Times Weekly Edition, April 21–27, 1997


Traces of the Empire

Number of British Citizens in Hong Kong
December, 1987 14,100
December, 1996 25,500

Source: Hong Kong Immigration Department


Asian male life expectancy at birth (in years)

Japan 76.8
Hong Kong 76.2
Singapore 73.5
Sri Lanka 70.9
Malaysia 69.9
China 68.2
Philippines 66.6
Thailand 65.2
Indonesia 63.3

Source: United Nations Population Fund


Dwight D. Eisenhower on Vietnam:

“When we talk about Dien Bien Phu, maybe I need to tell you this, but I was the only one here who was against American forces going in. I tell you, the boys were putting the heat on me.” U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Vietnam, in a just-released tape of a conversation in February 1955 with a newspaper publisher.

Far Eastern Economic Review, July 3, 1997


Asian (and U.S.) Economies’ 1996 Rankings for Economic Competitiveness

World’s Most Competitive Economies
1. Singapore
2. Hong Kong
3. United States
8. Taiwan
9. Malaysia
14. Japan
15. Indonesia
18. Thailand
21. Korea
29. China
34. Philippines
45. India
49. Vietnam

Source: World Economic Forum, 1997


Does Katakana Work for the Japanese?

In the Japanese language, imported words are written in katakana which is the alphabet used primarily for writing foreign words. Recently, the usage of these words has increased dramatically in newspapers and magazines. However, according to a survey released on April 18, 1997 by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, nearly 90 percent of Japanese said that they had difficulty grasping the full meaning of imported words when they were written in katakana.

Source: Understanding Japan, May 1997


Asia Rising from Poverty

Poverty has declined faster in Asia than anywhere in the world thanks to strong economic growth. Poverty has been largely eradicated in East Asia and has sharply declined in Indonesia and Thailand. “This decline in poverty is probably completely unprecedented in human history,” said Michael Walton, who helped edit the report. “In the mid-1970s, six out of 10 households in East Asia lived in absolute poverty. In the mid-1990s that (figure) has declined to two out of 10.”

Source: Everyone’s Miracle: Revisiting Poverty and Inequality in East Asia, The World Bank, 1997

Editor’s Note:
EAA readers are invited to send material for this column. Please include a source for your “Factoid.”