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2019, Vol.11, No.1

  • 1.

    The Prison and the Sea

    Jan Mrazek | 2019, 11(1) | pp.7~40 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    The essay reflects on the work of Adrian Lapian (1929-2011), an Indonesian scholar of archipelagic/maritime Southeast Asia and its “sea people―sea pirates―sea kings.” The essay suggests that Lapian’s writing mirrors navigation at sea, and the constant re-orientation and ever-changing, multiple points of view that are part of it. This is contrasted to Foucault’s “panopticism” and academic desire for discipline. Taking cue from Lapian’s writing and from the present author’s experience of seafaring, the essay envisions Southeast Asian studies as a fluid, precarious, disorienting, even nauseating multiplicity of experiences, dialogues, and moving, unstable, and uncertain points of view; a style of learning that is less (neo)colonial, more humble, and closer to experiences in the region, than super-scholarship that imposes universalizing, panoptic standards, theories and methods (typically self-styled as “new”) that reduce the particular into a specimen of the general, a cell in the Panopticon. The essay concludes with reflections on certain learning initiatives/traditions at the National University of Singapore, including seafaring voyages―experiences, encounters, and conversations that make students and scholars alike to move and see differently, to be touched, blown away, rocked, swayed, disoriented, swallowed, transformed, and feel anew their places, roots, bonds, distances, fears, blindness, powerlessness.
  • 2.

    Exploring Southeast Asian Studies beyond Anglo-America: Reflections on the Idea of Positionality in Filipino Thought

    Preciosa Regina de Joya | 2019, 11(1) | pp.41~70 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    As a response to Peter Jackson’s call for a Southeast Asian Area Studies beyond Anglo-America, this paper argues that the achievement of this salient objective hinges on an understanding of the idea of positionality and what it entails. Drawing from reflections from Filipino scholars, positionality can be understood not merely as one’s determination through geographic location or self-knowledge of one’s condition within the politics of knowledge production; rather, it is the power and opportunity to claim a place from which one understands reality in one’s own terms, and the capacity to effect influence within her intellectual domain. In redefining positionality as such, one realizes that crucial to establishing Southeast Asian Area studies beyond Anglo-America is acknowledging the importance of the vernacular in the production and circulation of knowledge, as well as the constant danger of English as the global lingua franca, established in the guise of an advocacy that resolves unevenness by providing equal opportunity for all intellectuals to gain “global prominence.” This paper argues that, instead of trying to eradicate unevenness, one can acknowledge it as the condition of being located in a place and as a privileged position to think and create beyond the shadow of Anglo- American theory.
  • 3.

    Bonds that BindShared Historical and Sociocultural Characteristics of Southeast Asia

    OOI Keat Gin | 2019, 11(1) | pp.71~100 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    The region between mainland China on the east and the Indian sub-continent on the west is referred to as Southeast Asia since the conclusion of the Pacific War (1941-1945). As a region, Southeast Asia appears as a hodgepodge of disparity and diversity, but a closer scrutiny reveals numerous common attributes and characteristics. This study attempts to identify and examine the cohesive and shared characteristics across the Southeast Asian region from a historical and sociocultural perspective. The intention is to differentiate an identity borne of the underlying commonalities of shared characteristics whether physical, experiential, emotive, and/or in terms of heritage. Subsequently, Southeast Asia has more grounds to claim itself as a distinct region, and an “area of study,” besides the political expediency of ASEAN.
  • 4.

    Asymmetric Terrorist Alliances: Strategic Choices of Militant Groups in Southeast Asia

    Iordanka Alexandrova | 2019, 11(1) | pp.101~132 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Why do some local rebel groups choose to form asymmetric alliances with large transnational terrorist organizations? This paper examines asymmetric terrorist alliance patterns by studying the international ties of domestic insurgencies in Southeast Asia. It uses data from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand to construct a theory defining the determinants of the choice of alliance strategies by terrorist groups. The findings conclude that rebels with limited aims prefer to act alone out of fear of entrapment. They are cautious of becoming associated with the struggle of transnational radical groups and provoking organized response from international and regional counterterrorism authorities. Local groups are more likely to seek alliance with an established movement when they have ambitious final objectives, challenging the core interests of the target state. In this case, the benefits of training and logistic support provided by an experienced organization outweigh the costs of becoming a target for coordinated counterterrorist campaign.
  • 5.

    The Acculturation of the Worship of Goddess Tianhou in Vietnam

    Phan Thi Hoa Ly | 2019, 11(1) | pp.133~167 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    The Chinese began migrating to Vietnam very early (in the third century BC) and continuously underwent either mass or small migration afterwards. Their long processes of living and having contact with different ethnic communities in Vietnam made the Chinese worship of Goddess Tianhou change radically. By examining these practices of worship in two areas where the Chinese settled the most, Thừa Thiên Huế province (central Vietnam) and Hồ Chí Minh City (southern Vietnam), this paper aims to understand the patterns of acculturation of the Chinese community in its new land. An analysis of information from both field research and archival sources will show how the Chinese have changed the worship of the Tianhou goddess during their co-existence with ethnic communities in Vietnam. It argues that there is no “peripheral fossilization” of the Chinese culture in Vietnam.
  • 6.

    The Other’s Body : Vietnamese Contemporary Travel Writing by Women

    Lo Duc Anh | 2019, 11(1) | pp.169~184 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    In recent years, Vietnamese literature has seen the rise of women writers in a genre traditionally dominated by men— travel writing. Phuong Mai, Huyen Chip, Dinh Hang, among others, are just a few who have introduced innovations to this genre. This paper investigates the practice of contemporary Vietnamese women travel-writers and how they differ in perception compared to their male counterparts. One of the most crucial differences is that women perform cultural embodiment, employing their bodies instead of their minds. An encounter of the woman writer with other cultures is, therefore, an encounter between the body and the very physical conditions of culture, which leads to a will to change, to transform, more than a desire to conquer, to penetrate the other. Utilizing the concept deterritorialization developed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, this paper argues that despite being deemed fragile and without protection, women’s bodies are in fact fluid and able to open new possibilities of land and culture often stripped away by masculinist ideology.
  • 7.

    Women, Feminism, and Confucianism in Vietnam in the Early 20th Century

    Cao Kim Lan | 2019, 11(1) | pp.185~202 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    The early years of the twentieth century introduced Vietnam, then a French colony, to feminism, which helped expose the problem of suicide among women, prostitution, and the trafficking. This article surveyed writings in three influential newspapers published for and by women, namely, “Phụ Nữ Tân Văn” (PNTV) (Woman’s Newspaper) 1929-1934,“Phụ nữ Thời Đàm” (PNTĐ) (Women’s Discussions on Topical Questions) 1930-1934, and “Đàn Bà”(ĐB) (Women) 1939-1945. The writings were analyzed to illustrate how feminism was perpetrated in this period, and how the writers were able to reconcile it with prevalent Confucianism, which this paper also argued as having put in place, gender inequality.