While President Aquino was making waves in the summit of  Asean leaders and their dialogue partners in Cambodia with his statement urging the United States to speak up on the South China Sea conflict which was anathema to China, visiting journalist and China expert, Martin Jacques, was telling a rapt audience at the Manila Intercon, “I don’t think it would serve the Philippine well to think that the United States will help” in the  territorial conflict with China.

“I am not arguing that the Philippines give up its claims, but a way has to be found to deal with these questions, a way that does not involve derailing or poisoining its relationship with China because it will not get anywhere,” he said.

Jacques is the author of the  2009 bestseller, When China Rules the World, which asserts that “by 2027 China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy, and by 2050 its economy will be twice as large as that of the United States.”

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MARTIN Jacques, author of the bestseller “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order,” was in Manila recently for a half-day lecture at the Hotel InterContinental Manila.

I know this personally, because I was his chaperone during his six-day stay, made possible through the very generous support of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. The lecture was a joint project of PILIPINAS 2020 (of which Senator Cayetano is a member) and the Center for Philippine Futuristics Studies and Management. National Book Store and the Philippine Star were sponsors, and Lyceum of the Philippines was also very supportive, with about 100 students acting as ushers and usherettes for the seminar.

Martin’s arrival – and the message he brought – may not have stirred a hornet’s nest, but surely came close to doing so and definitely caused a lot of those who heard him to take a second look at things. And by “things” I mean our foreign policy attitudes, specifically towards the United States of America and the Peoples’ Republic of China.

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‘Schools can kill creativity because they do not allow certain topics to be discussed, certain books to be read, certain ideas to be aired.’

EVER since Roby Alampay briefed me about TED –which began in 1984 as a conference on Technology, Entertainment and Design and is now a network of conferences and talks about “ideas worth spreading” – I’ve been hooked and almost every night end my day by clicking on one of the thousands of TEDTalks so that I could go to bed more enlightened, informed, amazed, and even amused.

There are a number of speakers and subject matters I particularly like, and a few that I watch again and again. I have a preference for the funny ones, many of which are informative and inspiring as well. I particularly like two talks of Julia Sweeney (check out her May 2010 remarks on having “The Talk” with her daughter, and her July 2006 remarks on “letting go of God”). I also like the 2006 and 2010 talks of Sir Ken Robinson on creativity and education; in fact I liked them so much I picked up a copy of Sir Ken’s book “Out of Our Minds” and am dying to breeze through it as soon as I finish with Fukuyama’s “Origins of Political Order” and Martin Jacques’ “When China Rules The World”.

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