Strategic thinking for our collective future. Mankind has a long way to go.
The original concept of New Asia Republic during its founding was to be some kind of virtual test laboratory to experiment with ideas from different fields. This intellectual venture allowed us to explore concepts and developments within a wide range of fields, ranging from economics to healthcare, energy and environmental issues, international relations, education and others.
Somehow along the way, we were honoured by the company of talented writers who dedicated their time and energy to produce works that explore the above mentioned fields. Others produced their insight and opinions about developments in Singapore and abroad, out of a keen interest of anything current. That being said, we are still essentially a test lab.
We christened this test lab project the P-K4 project, which has been ongoing since we started. Of course, the first thing you may ask is what on earth is P-K4? It is basically a traditional algebraic notation to describe a common opening move in international chess, where the king’s pawn is moved to the fourth square (pawn to king four). Why did we choose to reveal about P-K4 now? The answer is when we set up this ‘lab’ initially, we are content to hide in one dark corner of the cyberspace minding our own business. However, the corner we are hiding in did not stay dark for long, and with this came enquiries of what we are all about.
How relevant is the P-K4 label to what we do? We like to think of the game of chess as one where you can explore different ideas and variations after the first move. The possibilities after the first move of pawn to king 4 are never-ending. We see ourselves as some sort of chess board where players explore different variations after the first move, just as researchers explore different variations of a theme.
We are something close to a research journal, which is a recurring feedback from those who chanced upon our site. A senior media figure found the word length of our works way too long and thought we needed to exercise quality control for our writings, i.e. make them short and concise , while another journalism student finds that we try to do many things or cover too many fields at once, without deciding to focus on a niche area. Those are the kind of feedback that points to our test lab nature.
The last question is what are the roles of members or participants in the P-K4 project? Contrary to popular notions, we are not considered media people. We are interested in initiatives that seek to explore new ideas and developments in the fields of economics, healthcare, international relations, education, energy and environment, etc. If there is a seminar covering developments in such areas, we will be there either as participants or as a member of audience, but not there for media coverage purposes.
Although the New Asia Republic has a small dedicated media team, that is due in part to the media team members’ personal interests in covering particular events of fancy to them. The media team also facilitates the publication of works by everyone else, including external contributors, i.e. they are no different from a publisher or printer.
However, as far as the P-K4 project team is concerned, its role is strictly active offline engagement, i.e. participation or being audiences at events whose theme revolves around economics or healthcare, for example. Members of the project team do not have the obligation to report or comment on such events. Of course, they may choose to comment on such events as part of their choice to experiment with ideas covered during such, but at the same time, the wishes of the organisers of these events will be respected, i.e. if the organisers want such events to be strictly off-limits to any form of coverage, then none of it will be commented upon in subsequent works by P-K4 team members.
We can be contacted at [email protected].
Kelvin Teo (In-house researcher, Project P-K4)