Young Workers Give Southeast Asia an Edge

The Philippines, Malaysia, and their neighbors are thriving
Laborers work at a shoe factory in Marikina City, east of Manila Photograph by Ted Aljbe/AFP/Getty Images

Jose Winylito Tanquis has reason to be proud as he raises a flag to signal the launch of the 58,000-ton Ocean Symphony in the Philippines. Not only did he help build the cargo vessel, his son John works at the yard. “Now he can buy his own stuff, like shoes and clothes,” says Tanquis, 47, a foreman at the Tsuneishi Holdings yard in Balamban on Cebu island. At 21, John is the oldest of six siblings who will enter the workforce in the next decade.

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