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2014, Vol.6, No.1

  • 1.

    A Mobile Phone? Yes, I Want One! A Royal City? Yes, I Want One! How International Technology Met Local Demand in the Construction of Myanmar’s First Cities, 1800 Years Ago.

    Bob Hudson | 2014, 6(1) | pp.2~26 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    In the modern world, we can share information and new products as quickly as an email can be sent, or a parcel can be loaded onto an aircraft. But the brick-walled urban centres that sprung up in Myanmar around 150 CE suggest that ancient people could be just as excited about new information and products, even though the transmission of data and cultural objects followed a different path. These huge resource-intensive cities, inspired by the walled cities of India, were not built in sequence, as has been generally assumed, but in the same period. Once the Royal City arrived, the chiefly families of early First Millennium Upper Myanmar just had to have one.
  • 2.

    The Pagan-Period and the Early-Thai Buddhist Murals: Were They Related?

    Samerchai Poolsuwan | 2014, 6(1) | pp.27~65 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Flourishing in the Central Dry Zone of Burma during a period from the mid-eleventh to the late-thirteenth century A.D., the historical kingdom of Pagan was one of the major Buddhist centers in Southeast Asia. The significance of Pagan as an important pilgrimage site of the region, where numerous relics of the Buddha were enshrined, had been maintained until long after the fall of its civilization. It is evident that the artistic influences of Pagan, particularly in the architectural and decorative domains, had been transmitted to various other Buddhist civilizations in the area. This study provides a detailed analysis on the relationships between the mural tradition of Pagan and those of its neighboring civilizations in Thailand—of the Ayutthayā, Lānnā and Sukhothai schools —dating from after the Pagan Period in the fourteenth century to the sixteenth century. Surprisingly, as the analysis of this study has suggested, such relationships seemed to be trivial, more on a minor stylistic basis than on substantial ideological and iconographic grounds. They suggest that transmission of the complex idea and superb craftsmanship of the mural tradition would not have been maintained adequately at Pagan after its civilization, probably due to the lack of royal patronage. It would have been extremely difficult for foreign pilgrims who visited Pagan after its dynastic period to appreciate the surviving murals of this lost tradition in terms of their complex programs and associated symbolism. Also, there had been a new center of the Sinhalese Buddhism firmly established in the Martaban area of lower Burma since the mid-fourteenth century that outcompeted Pagan in terms of supplying the new Buddhist ideas and tradition. Its fame spread wide and far among the Buddhist communities of Southeast Asia. Later, these Buddhist communities also established direct contact with Sri Lanka. The Sukhothai murals and the Ayutthayā murals in the crypt of Wat Rātchaburana, dating from the fourteenth/fifteenth century, show obvious Sri Lankan influence in terms of artistic style and Buddhist iconography. They could be a product of these new religious movements, truly active in Southeast Asia during that time.
  • 3.

    Hindu Iconography in Bagan

    Myint Myint San | 2014, 6(1) | pp.67~105 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This study focuses on the iconography of Hindu deities in Bagan period. As a country in Southeast Asia, Myanmar received her culture from Indianized culture. As aforesaid, sailors, traders, and settlers brought with them Brahmanism and Buddhism into Myanmar. A possibility is that local chiefs or the rulers invited Brahmans to conduct coronations, weddings, and burials in Brahmanical rites as they will much impressed by the Brahmanical thoughts and beliefs. Accordingly, Brahmanic icons as objects of worship are found quite in number of places, especially in Thaton, Bago, Vesali, Sriksetra, Bagan and Kawgoon. Apart from Buddhist iconography, the Brahmanic icons of various sects can be found in Bagan. Brahmanic deities are illustrated with Buddhist painting, which is a characteristic of Baganreligious iconography. Most of the scenes on Hinduism are to be found in NatlaungKyaung, Nanpaya and Shwesandaw Pagoda. Myanmar people, however, knowingly or unknowingly ignore some features of Indian deitiesand eventually the iconsare found in various places in Bagan.
  • 4.

    Construction of Cham Identity in Cambodia

    Yekti Maunati , Betti Rosita Sari | 2014, 6(1) | pp.107~135 | number of Cited : 1
    Abstract PDF
    Cham identities which are socially constructed and multilayered, display their markers in a variety of elements, including homeland attachment to the former Kingdom of Champa, religion, language and cultural traditions, to mention a few. However, unlike other contemporary diasporic experience which binds the homeland and the host country, the Cham diaspora in Cambodia has a unique pattern as it seems to have no voice in the political and economic spheres in Vietnam, its homeland. The relations between the Cham in Cambodia and Vietnam seem to be limited to cultural heritages such as Cham musical traditions, traditional clothing, and the architectural heritage. Many Cham people have established networks outside Cambodia with areas of the Muslim world, like Malaysia, Indonesia, southern Thailand and the Middle Eastern countries. Pursuing education or training in Islam as well as working in those countries, especially Malaysia has become a way for the Cham to widen their networks and increase their knowledge of particularly, Islam. Returning to Cambodia, these people become religious teachers or ustadz (Islamic teachers in the pondok [Islamic boarding school]). This has developed slowly, side by side with the formation of their identity as Cham Muslims. Among certain Cham, the absence of an ancient cultural heritage as an identity marker has been replaced by the Islamic culture as the important element of identity. However, being Cham is not a single identity, it is fluid and contested. Many scholars argue that the Cham in Cambodia constitute three groups: the Cham Chvea, Cham, and Cham Bani (Cham Jahed). The so-called Cham Jahed has a unique practice of Islam. Unlike other Cham who pray five times a day, Cham Jahed people pray, once a week, on Fridays. They also have a different ritual for the wedding ceremony which they regard as the authentic tradition of the Cham. Indeed, they consider themselves pure descendants of the Cham in Vietnam; retaining Cham traditions and tending to maintain their relationship with their fellow Cham in Central Vietnam. In terms of language, another marker of identity, the Cham and the Cham Jahed share the same language, but Cham Jahed preserve the written Cham script more often than the Cham. Besides, the Cham Jahed teaches the language to the young generation intensively. This paper, based on fieldwork in Cambodia in 2010 and 2011 will focus on the process of the formation of the Cham identity, especially of those called Cham and Cham Jahed.
  • 5.

    Postmodern Vietnamese Literature

    Le Huy Bac, A | 2014, 6(1) | pp.137~160 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This study explores postmodernism in Vietnamese literature. While there has been much dispute among critics regarding postmodernism in Vietnamese literature, postmodernism is now thought to be something that cannot be denied. Vietnamese postmodernism has Vietnamese characteristics and is strongly influenced by American literature. The structure of some Vietnamese short stories is similar to that of some American writers. In the writings of Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard and Ihab Hassan, for example, we find out many characteristics which are ascribed to postmodern Vietnamese literature. We propose the use of the term ‘Lao Tzu discourse’which is to include the main concepts of postmodernism such as chaos, nothingness and fragmentation. We propose that postmodern Vietnamese Literature appeared in the 1940s with the collection, Fall Spring Poems (1942), and is also seen with the prose of Nguyen Khai and Nguyen Minh Chau in the 1980s, and the drama written by Luu Quang Vu in the 1980s. There now exists a large group of postmodern Vietnamese writers, like Le Dat, Thanh Thao, Bao Ninh, Cao Duy Son, Nguyen Ngoc Tu and Nguyen Binh Phuong, among others.
  • 6.

    The Commanding Amigo and Its Spirit Embodiment: An Inquiry into the Relationship between Manobo-Visayan Compadrazgo Social Relationship in the "Modern" Manobo Cosmology and Ritual

    Jose S. Buenconsejo | 2014, 6(1) | pp.161~191 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    The entry of the logging industry in the once heavily forested riverine middle Agusan Valley where aboriginal Manobos live meant the entry of the material practice of wage labor into this out-of-the-way place. Wage labor converted the once relatively isolated, subsistence animist Manobos into laborers of the expanding capitalist regime. A symptom of modernity, this wage labor also accompanied the coming of Visayan settlers (also loggers paid by wage) who introduced indigenous Manobos the compadrazgo social relationship. This friendly relationship across ethnic identities legitimated social ties and is a social material practice represented in recent bilingual Manobo possession rituals where the Visayan spirit is incarnated along with Manobo spirits. To understand the idea behind spirit embodiment, I explore Manobo ritual as mimesis or poeisis. This representation is shaped by concrete material realities as much as these realities, in turn, are reconfigured by ritual practice. In the older Manobo cosmology, which is based on subsistence economy and dependent on the forest and rivers, individuals have an externalized self (as manifest in the idea of twin soul), in which the inner vital principle is co-extensive with a spirit double in cosmos. Manobos imitate the perceived workings of nature in ritual so as to control them in times of illnesses. In contrast, the mimesis of the Visayan spirit is based on a different political economic set up with its attendant asymmetrical interpersonal relationship. By symbolically representing the Visayan patron as friend, Manobos are able to negotiate the predicament of their subalternity in local modernity.
  • 7.

    Archipeligiality as a Southeast Asian Poetic in Cirilo F. Bautista’s Sunlight on Broken Stones

    Louie Jon A. Sanchez | 2014, 6(1) | pp.193~221 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Archipeligiality, a concept continuously being developed by the scholar, is one that attempts to articulate the Filipino sense of place as discoursed in/through its literatures. As a country composed of 7,107 islands, the very fragmentation and division of the country, as well as its multiculturality and multilinguality, have become the very means by which Filipino writers have "imagined" so to speak—that is, also, constructed, into a singular, united frame—the "nation." This, the author supposes, is an important aspect to explore when it comes to discoursing the larger Southeast Asian imagination, or poetic, as similar situations (i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore), may soon compel for a comparative critico-literary perspective. This paper continues this exploratory "geoliterary" discourse by looking at a Filipino canonical work in English by Cirilo F. Bautista, the epic The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus, the title of which already signals a geographic allusion to the first map-name granted by the Spanish colonizer to the Philippines in the region, and consequently the first signification of the country’s subjected existence in the colonial imagination. The work, published between 1970 and 1998, is composed of three parts: The Archipelago, Telex Moon, and Sunlight on Broken Stones, which won the 1998 Philippine Independence Centennial Literary Prize. In these epics, notions of Philippine history and situation were discoursed, and Filipino historical figures were engaged in dialogue by the poet/the poet’s voice, with the end of locating the place [where history and time had brought it; or its direction or trajectory as a nation, being true to the Filipino maxim of ang di lumingon sa pinanggalingan, di makararating sa paroroonan (the one who does not look back to his origins would not reach his destination)]. of the Philippines not only in the national imagination, but in this paper, in the wider regional consciousness. The paper proposes that the archipelagic concept is an important and unique characteristic of the Southeast Asian situation, and thus, may be a means to explicate the clearly connected landscapes of the region’s imagination through literature. This paper focuses on Sunlight on Broken Stones.