Since the beginning of World Wide Web, governments have been caught up with what geeks call the “Web 1.0” era. We have seen e-mails slowly replacing snail mail and letters, websites speeding up publishing of vital information, and bits and pieces of data being stored handily in computers. Computer programs, instead of personnel, provide much of the work for governments to get going.
In the poem, “The Blind Men and the Elephant,” John Godfrey Saxe explains how six blind men viewed a single elephant as six different objects. They looked at it as a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan, or a rope.
Likewise, in the Asia-Pacific region, states and institutions differ in the way they see the successes and failures of public administration and governance. They differ in profiles, priorities and commitments in governance. The diversity of political systems has engendered varying levels of democratization in the region. Ethnic and territorial conflicts threaten sovereignty and security among and within states.
In the era of globalization, where we all are “sailing in one boat,” Asia-Pacific region faces greater demands for better infrastructure, transportation and communication systems. This alone is a daunting task for countries that harness limited infrastructure, human and institutional resources. But what poses a more important concern for the region is how its states and institutions can reconcile their differences in interests and commitments towards a public sector that works efficiently.