Headlines pivoted east in this news roundup with stories on China, Korea and Singapore. 

The Korean Foundation, affiliated with the South Korean Foreign Ministry, and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) signed a pact on Monday to establish the first endowed professorship in Korean studies, the foundation said. The pact [...] calls for the establishment of the post of professor in Korean studies and a course on contemporary Korean society starting in next year's fall semester at the earliest.

Diplomacy may be an expensive business but the $400,000 cost racked up by the Australian government for foreign diplomats to cuddle koalas and other marsupials is too hefty, the opposition has said.“International diplomacy has a role and soft power is very important, but you’ve to get the balance right. Sometimes this government goes over the top because they don’t care about the money.” 

Initially screened once a week, the show quickly captivated mainstream Australian viewers as well as Chinese-speaking migrants, so that now, due to popular demand, it is screened three times a week. SBS’s online promotion for the show says, ‘With a viewing audience of up to 50 million per episode, this popular Chinese dating show is a cultural phenomenon’.

ASEAN Matters for Southern California

Watch this video of CPD's roundtable about ASEAN featuring current U.S. Ambassadors to Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore

Everybody wants to be in the film business, it seems. Web retailer Amazon makes shows. Netflix used to only deliver content, but now makes its own series. One of the first things e-commerce giant Alibaba did after going public was to set up a film division. The reason for the rush is, in a word, branding.

President Barack Obama will host a summit with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in California on Feb. 15 and 16, the White House said on Wednesday. [...] “This unprecedented gathering – the first hosted by the United States with the ASEAN leaders – builds on the deeper partnership that the United States has forged with ASEAN since 2009 and will further advance the Administration’s rebalance to Asia and the Pacific,” 

December 23, 2015

But even if the New York of song and film never existed, or has long vanished, the images keep their power. Can that same mental colonisation work for Singapore? That is what officials will find out in a cultural diplomacy project by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.