Democracy, like its etymology suggests, is rooted in western thought and thinking. Thanks to the global exchange of ideas through trade, and often, wars, it has spread around the globe and is one of the utmost defining qualities of the modern age. Most Asian democracies are not even more than 100-years-old.
How have non-Western societies interpreted and understood this “foreign” concept? We hold no grand illusions that a dive into the keyword search history of Asian countries could tell us anything definitively about Asia’s sentiments towards democracy and how it has evolved and localised over decades. However, in a time where answers can be found at the click of a button, keyword searches gives us a glimpse into the minds of the new generation and their queries.
It has captured a snapshot in time—the collective concern we have over technology hijacking our democratic processes, the dumb memes that tickle us, and the documentaries we watch to learn more about the issue.
Democracy will always be a work in progress, an experiment in governance. As Churchill famously said, “... democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
The Asian countries included in all datasets are: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territory, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.