Explorations Volume 09, Spring 2009

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 14
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    Boxing Day in Cotabato: Notes from the Field
    (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2009-08-14T16:46:26Z) Barter, Shane Joshua
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    Four Days in Papua: Notes from the Field
    (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2009-08-14T16:38:52Z) Margolis, J. Eli
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    Book Review: Benny Widyono’s Dancing in Shadows.
    (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2009-08-14T16:37:47Z) Lim, Alvin
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    Interrogating National Identity Ethnicity, Language and History in K.S. Maniam's The Return and Shirley Geok-lin Lim's Joss and Gold
    (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2009-08-14T16:37:02Z) Jeyathurai, Dashini
    The author examines how two Malaysian authors, ethnically Chinese Shirley Geok-lin Lim and ethnically Indian K.S. Maniam, challenge the Malay identity that the government has crafted and presented as the national identity for all Malaysians. In their novels in English Joss & Gold (2001) and The Return (1981) respectively, Lim and Maniam interrogate this construct through the lenses of ethnicity, history and language. In critiquing the government’s troubling construction of a monoethnic and monolingual national identity, Lim and Maniam present both the alienation and the unstable existences of ethnic minorities that are purposely excluded from the national identity by the Malay nationalist culture. Malaya attained independence from Britain on the 31st of August 1957. “Malaysia” came into existence after the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman convinced Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore, three British crown colonies, to join Malaya in a federal union. Singapore would later leave the union on the 9th of August 1965. When the British left Malaya, they transferred political power to the United Malay National Organization (UMNO), a right-wing political party that continues to be a powerful advocate of organization believes that the Malay ethnic majority are the rightful citizens of Malaysia and deserve to be given special political, economic and educational privileges. Then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, a Malay himself, created this concept as well as the practice of giving special privileges to Malays. He also coined the term bumiputera (sons/princes of the soil) to refer to Malays. Both the term and practice came into official use in 1965 and are still in existence today. Two years later, the predominantly Malay government established Malay as the national language of the country. In 1970, the government made Islam the state religion. Today, all Malays are required by law to profess Islam as their faith or lose their status as bumiputera1. By making special allowances for Malays based on their status as bumiputera and institutionalizing Malay as the national language and Islam as the state religion, the government constructed a national identity that was Malaysian in name, but Malay in spirit. Both Joss and Gold and The Return are two decades apart but their relevance to the recent political and social turmoil in Malaysia is undeniable. They speak to a burgeoning dissatisfaction among Malaysian ethnic minorities who have become far less willing to tolerate a government and national identity that denies them the full privileges of their citizenship.
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    The Geopolitics of Cambodia During the Cold War Period
    (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2009-08-14T16:35:17Z) Deth, Sok Udom
    After gaining its independence from France in 1953, Cambodia, like many other newly independent countries, had to face the new escalating global problem of the time: the Cold War. As far as Cambodia was concerned, the effects of the Cold War were discernible from the outset, with the formation of the Indochinese Communist Party in 1951 in Vietnam and its influence on the communist movement in Cambodia. However, it was not ideological conflict alone that accounted for the destruction of Cambodia in the following decades. Michael Leifer, for instance, notes: “Ever since the decline of the ancient Khmer Empire, geography has combined with politics to shape the fortunes of the Cambodian state.”1 Similarly, British journalist William Shawcross also writes: “Cambodia is a victim of its geography and of its political underdevelopment.”2 This essay therefore intends to examine the main factors that were crucial to the development of Cambodian geopolitics during the Cold War era. I would argue that the geopolitics of Cambodia from 1953 to 1991 is characterized mainly by three factors: the Vietnam War, the legacy of French colonial rule, i.e. the country’s territorial disputes with her neighbors, and finally, the rivalry of hegemonic powers in the region as well as the politics of the Cold War itself.