Here in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) - Asia annual conference, October 6 to 8, 2010, at Sultan Hotel. Arrived here this afternoon with 3 other Filipinos, all academic economists -- Dr. Alvin Ang (Univ. of Santo Tomas), Dr. Lawrence Dacuycuy (De La Salle Univ.) and Dr. Ernesto Pernia (Univ. of the Philippines). Ernie represents the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), Lawrence represents the Philippine Economic Society (PES), both are local partners of FNF Philippines. Alvin is sponsored by Atlas. I was also sponsored by FNF and I represent our think tank, Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc.
All four of us are either panel speakers or panel moderators. Ms. Jyoti Sachavirawong, a friend and the overall conference manager, made sure that Filipino participants will wrack a part of their brains for this conference. :-)
The theme of this year's conference is "Migration and the Wealth of Nations". Sort of "modern Adam Smith" :-)
Well, migration is not exactly a "modern" phenomena, it's an old occurence dating back before the modern man (before the homo sapiens species). It's just that with globalization, migration and people mobility across countries and continents is becoming an ever-increasing phenomenon for many people in many countries. Adam Smith of course, is the author of the famous book, "The Wealth of Nations", among the classic work for people who believe in individual freedom and free market.
The conference program is here,
Going through the names of speakers and moderators, I think I personally know at least 1/3 of them. Some were fellow participants of the 4th Pacific Rim Policy Exchange in Sydney, Australia, last week.
This is my first time to be in Indonesia, so I was excited to see this city. Jakarta's international airport looks old -- well, not the usual steel and glass structures in many modern Asian airports these days -- like Manila's terminal 1. But the Jakarta airport is big.
Jakarta's road infrastructure is better than Manila's. I did not see potholes on the roads, for instance. But Jakarta's traffic is a lot worse than Manila's. We arrived at the hotel around 3:30pm local time, meaning non-rush hour, but traffic gridlock was bad. It's good that our taxi driver was very brave on the road, we sneaked through the gridlock by passing through the highway's shoulder made narrow by huge trucks and thousands of cars.
Of the 10 member-countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia has the biggest population, should be about 230 million now, while the Philippines is 2nd biggest at 94 million. So comparing their capital cities, Jakarta and Manila, would make some sense. Jakarta's population is about 20 million? Metro Manila's is 12 million. Among the megacities of the world.
Hectic days for me lately. Just last Sunday midnight, I arrived from Sydney, went straight to the hospital as my wife was scheduled to give birth that day to our second child. I arrived at the hospital around 1:30am of October 4, the baby was born around 4:30am, she's pretty.
I left the hospital early this morning, my wife and the baby are scheduled to check out later today. They should be home by now. Thanks to my mother in law and two sis-in-law, they help watch my family while I am away.
EFN Asia 1: From HK to Phuket to KL, September 16, 2006
EFN Asia 2: Hayek in Asia, September 20, 2010
Jo Kwong rocks, February 09, 2010