Introduction Asia has undergone rapid economic growth in the past few decades, issuing phrases such as the ‘the East Asian Miracle’, ‘the Asian Era’ and ‘Rising Asia’. East Asia has seen the highest rate of economic growth at 6.1 per cent in comparison to all other regions in the world according to 2009 estimates (International Labour Organization 2010). The burgeoning economy of China has had positive spill-over effects on the countries in the region and thereby has been critical in sustaining relative high levels of economic growth. Although showing much slower growth rates for the same year owing to the economic meltdown, Southeast Asia has long been recognized as a fast developing region in the world, accompanied by impressive economic growth indicators. Strong levels of growth have been attributed to high savings rate, the creation of human capital, market reforms, the role of state intervention, cultural ideologies, namely the Confucian ethic, and the emergence of labour-intensive export manufacturing industries (Kaur 2004).