This weekend I return to SG for one more semester of teaching and research. It marks the beginning of the end of my stay in this interesting–some might say remarkable–SE Asian country, as I will return permanently to NZ in five months. While engaging in my academic responsibilities I will continue to build the nascent political risk consultancy I have established in NZ, chasing down some potential leads and developing the web site concept in order to reach a larger audience and client base. Come June I will be doing that full time.
It has been wonderful to have spent the last two months in NZ, and out on the Auckland west coast in particular. I made in down to the South Island for the holidays, but mostly enjoyed a remarkable run of weather as I reclaimed my home and restored my roots in the community in which it is located. In spite of its problems, I often feel that Kiwis do not fully appreciate how lucky they are and how (relatively) minor the majority of its social and political problems tend to be (some notable and unfortunate exceptions notwithstanding). Â In the larger scheme of things it may not be exactly Godzone but it sure is a darn good place to live–and I say this having personally experienced the downside of NZ in the form of my direct exposure to unethical academic management and duplicitous politicians who say one thing then do another without regard to the costs imposed on innocents and the country’s international reputation. But even then, a few ethically bankrupt elites do not detract from the broader, more positive picture.
In any event I plan to compile a short “to-do” list of places in SE Asia to visit while back in SG (one mayor attraction of the country is that it is a transportation hub with many options when it comes to regional travel). Since I enjoy open water swimming and snorkeling, the top of my list is the Bornean East Coast, which I understand is unspoiled and non-touristy (which is why I have no interest in Bali or the tacky Thai resort destinations). I have been to Pulau Tiomen and Bintan, so want to go further afield in the search of reefs, surf and fish. If anyone has suggestions along those lines, I am all ears.
I will continue to post and attempt to contribute to NZ policy discussions while finishing up in SG, and look forward to what promises to be another interesting chapter in a life yet to be fully played out on either a personal or professional level.