By Curtis S. Chin and Jose B. Collazo
As 2015 unfolds, it’s time for one last look at the year we left behind. A year ago, taking a page from Washington Post political columnist Chris Cillizza’s awarding U.S. President Barack Obama the dubious distinction of ��Worst year in Washington,�� we took to the digital pages of Fortune Magazine. The challenge �X naming who had the ��Worst year in Asia�� �X and the ��winner�� then of that least desired of 2013 prizes: Obama also, for what proved to be his lost year in Asia, marked by cancelled trips and persistent questions of where’s the substance to a much ballyhooed pivot to Asia amid China’s rise and seemingly never-ending talks toward a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. This past December, Cillizza returned to Obama, and not in a good way. Last year may well have offered numerous contenders, but the prize of ��Worst year in Washington�� went again to the U.S. president �X this time ��for losses at home and crises abroad�� as midterm elections saw the president’s political party lose control of the U.S. Senate. ��His sixth year in office was, inarguably,�� Cillizza wrote, ��his worst, when the problems that had been building throughout his second term all came crashing down around him.�� When it comes to Asia though, let’s not count Obama out. He fails to make an appearance on our ��Worst year in Asia 2014 edition�� and the year ahead awaits. Read who took the ��honor�� �X along with our take on the people who had a really bad year, a bad year, a not-so-good-or-bad year, a good year and the best year in Asia. Congrats, of sorts, to all.
Worst Year in Asia The Rohingya people �X Stateless. Marginalized. Persecuted. These are the words used to describe the plight of Myanmar’s Muslim minority the Rohingya �X a people whose very identity Myanmar’s leaders and would-be leaders including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi decline to recognize. Sectarian riots have killed hundreds. Thousands have fled, easy targets for human traffickers, and at least dozens have drowned, fleeing on rickety boats to Malaysia or Indonesia. Those that stay in Myanmar face restrictions on movement, marriage and education. This year is unlikely to bring any respite as the nation’s primarily Buddhist and majority Bamar (or Burman) ethnicity electorate and all too many foreign investors, enamored of a new Burma, look the other way.