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The SEA (Southeast Asia) Write awards are given annually both to artists within members of the ten nation ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) organisation. In the first twelve years of its life (1979-90), awards in Thailand were given to the authors of six collections of poetry and six collections of short stories and it is representations from each of these that forms this anthology, translated into English by a variety of scholars.
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Any book that features George Smiley, the most unlikely seeming of all spies, adds to the joy of the world and this one, The Secret Pilgrim, is no exception. In this case, Smiley is an outsider (he so often is, I suppose) whose interaction with the next generation of secret agents at their training centre frames the action. That action concerns the life and times of a certain Ned, who has become a senior person in the service and seen the various types of betrayal that so often characterises the world of espionage.
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Southiseng, Nittana and John Walsh, “Competition and Management Issues of SME Entrepreneurs in Laos: Evidence from Empirical Studies in Vientiane Municipality, Savannakhet and Luang Prabang,” Asian Journal of Business Management, Vol.2, No.3 (September, 2010), pp.57-72, available at: http://maxwellsci.com/print/ajbm/v2-57-72.pdf.
Abs tract: This study analyses competition and management issues of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME)
entrepreneurs in three provinces of Laos: Vientiane Municipality (the capital city), Savannakhet (an important
economic development zone) and Luang Prabang province (a famous historical site and tourist destination).
Competition and management have changed dramatically after the introduction of the New Economic
Mechanism in 1986, which moved the economy from central planning to market-based economic management.
Qualitative research was used, with 52 in-depth personal interviews conducted and combined with behavioural
observation and content analysis of secondary sources of data. Results indicate the importance of SMEs in the
Lao economy, with some 74% of total enterprises being family-owned SMEs. These concentrate on food
processing, garment production, construction materials, wooden furniture, tourism, education, trading,
transportation, internet services and others. Increases in the SME sector have contributed to job growth and
overall GDP growth. Findings also showed increased competition in the sector as substitute products are
introduced, with significant bargaining power for buyers and a high rate of new entrants into a limited range
of product/service markets, without much competition in terms of price and quality of goods and services.
Entrepreneurs find it difficult to access modern technology and finance, have limited resources in terms of
capital and skill and must also negotiate unfair treatment by officials. Management styles usually focused on
short-term day-to-day objectives and few were able to consider longer-term considerations or business
sustainability. Skills management and capacity building in these SMEs were narrowly conceived and required
to be profit-based. Training and development of human resources was seen as a cost rather than an investment.
Recommendations are made for enhancement of SME productivity and capacity.