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Contestations of Memory in Southeast Asia

Edited by Roxana Waterson and Kwok Kian Woon

Publication Year: 2012

Contestations of Memory in Southeast Asia applies a new theoretical literature on social memory to remembered eveents in Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Highlighting connections between theorizing based on European examples and unresolved memory issues in East and Southeast Asia, the authors show how comparative study of the interpenetration of politics and lived bodily experience, of communal and personal memories, and of dominant and suppressed narratives, can yield insights into the human potential to become either perpetrators, victims or bystanders. The memories found within different groups in any society are open to negotiation, suppression, contestation, or revision in the ever-evolving politics of the present. The searching and close-grained analyses of contemporary issues found in the volume vividly illustrate the essentially plural and multivocal nature of social memories, and demonstrate the intricate connection between transnational, national and sub-national politics. Readers seeking a more nuanced and complex understanding of the past and of its continued relevance to the present and future, will find here much food for thought.

Published by: NUS Press Pte Ltd

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

This volume brings together case studies in social memory from a wide range of historical contexts in different Southeast Asian countries. They all, in diverse ways, draw inspiration from the newly expanding literature on social memory, to which the authors seek...

Part I: Southeast Asia within the Field of Memory Studies

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pp. 15-50

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1. The Work of Memory and the Unfinished Past: Deepening and Widening the Study of Memory in Southeast Asia

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pp. 17-50

The past two decades have seen a remarkable development in the study of human memory. There has been a great burst of writing, crossing the boundaries between several disciplines and offering a wealth of new insights into this complex and multi-faceted...

Part II: Nationalisms and the Construction of Destinies

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pp. 57-181

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2. Remembering Kings: Archives, Resistance and Memory in Colonial and Post-colonial Burma

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pp. 53-82

The study of memory in Southeast Asia studies continues to be a topic of much attention, especially in the field’s critical reassessment of national histories (Zurburchen, 2005; Hong and Huang, 2008; Pelly, 2002; Ileto, 1998). Scholarship on the region has...

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3. Shifting Visions of the Past: Ethnic Minorities and the 'Struggle for National Independence' in Laos

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pp. 83-105

Since Ernest Renan’s much-quoted essay (1882), the modern nation has been considered by scholars to be constituted of two causal facets, one linked to the past, the other to the present and the future. Horizontal homogeneity is accomplished along an uninterrupted...

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4. Truth and Memory: Narrating Viet Nam

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pp. 106-124

The relationship between truth, memory and history is a complex one, with more grey than black-and-white areas. One cannot speak of history without acknowledging that memories — be they officially documented and thus supposedly objective...

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5. Textual Construction of a Nation: The Use of Merger and Separation

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pp. 125-155

In 1996, the Singapore government became alarmed by the growing number of younger Singaporeans who were ignorant of their own country’s history. They might know who the ‘founding father’ of Singapore was, or the country’s first President, but many were unsure...

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6. Remembering, Misremembering and Forgetting: The Struggle over Serangan Oemoem 1 Maret 1949 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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pp. 156-181

This chapter is about the ways in which Indonesians have tried to keep their memories of war alive, and the controversy over one particular wartime event: the...

Part III: Traumatic Memories: Interpenetrations of Collective and Personal Experience

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pp. 189-

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7. War and Violence, History and Memory: The Philippine Experience of the Second World War

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pp. 185-200

The subject of the Second World War and the Japanese Occupation still evokes intense emotions in the Philippines today, over 60 years after the events. Issues such as collaboration with the Japanese, Japanese war responsibility, America’s failure to defend the...

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8. The Past in the Present: Memories of the 1964 'Racial Riots' in Singapore

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pp. 201-229

The 1964 racial riots are seen as the worst in Singapore’s history because of the relatively large number of casualties involved: 22 people killed and 454 injured, according to official statistics. This chapter aims to examine the riots and their impact today from the...

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9. Memories at the Margins: Chinese-Educated Intellectuals in Singapore

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pp. 230-269

With the ‘Chinese’ comprising more than three quarters of the resident population since the 1920s, there is a tendency to refer to ‘the Chinese community’ as one large, indeed the largest, component in the demographic make-up of Singapore society...

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10. Living with the Spectre of the Past: Traumatic Experiences among Wives of Former Political Prisoners of the '1965 Event' in Indonesia

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pp. 270-291

As with the end of authoritarian rule elsewhere, the fall of Suharto in Indonesia created an opportunity for survivors of past political violence to break their silence publicly. Among those who have taken the chance to express themselves are former political...

Contributors

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pp. 292-295

Index

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pp. 296-300


E-ISBN-13: 9789971696214
Print-ISBN-13: 9789971695064

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 6 images
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: New