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History, Law, and Rebellion in Colonial Burma
In late 1930, on a secluded mountain overlooking the rural paddy fields of British Burma, a peasant leader named Saya San crowned himself King and inaugurated a series of uprisings that would later erupt into one of the largest anti-colonial rebellions in Southeast Asian history. Considered an imposter by the British, a hero by nationalists, and a prophet-king by area-studies specialists, Saya San came to embody traditional Southeast Asia’s encounter with European colonialism in his attempt to resurrect the lost throne of Burma.
The Return of the Galon King analyzes the legal origins of the Saya San story and reconsiders the facts upon which the basic narrative and interpretations of the rebellion are based. Aung-Thwin reveals how counter-insurgency law produced and criminalized Burmese culture, contributing to the way peasant resistance was recorded in the archives and understood by Southeast Asian scholars.
This interdisciplinary study reveals how colonial anthropologists, lawyers, and scholar-administrators produced interpretations of Burmese culture that influenced contemporary notions of Southeast Asian resistance and protest. It provides a fascinating case study of how history is treated by the law, how history emerges in legal decisions, and how the authority of the past is used to validate legal findings.
Farmers, Students, Law, and Violence in Northern Thailand
In October 1973 a mass movement forced Thailand’s prime minister to step down and leave the country, ending nearly forty years of dictatorship. Three years later, in a brutal reassertion of authoritarian rule, Thai state and para-state forces quashed a demonstration at Thammasat University in Bangkok. In Revolution Interrupted, Tyrell Haberkorn focuses on this period when political activism briefly opened up the possibility for meaningful social change. Tenant farmers and their student allies fomented revolution, she shows, not by picking up guns but by invoking laws—laws that the Thai state ultimately proved unwilling to enforce.
In choosing the law as their tool to fight unjust tenancy practices, farmers and students departed from the tactics of their ancestors and from the insurgent methods of the Communist Party of Thailand. To first imagine and then create a more just future, they drew on their own lived experience and the writings of Thai Marxian radicals of an earlier generation, as well as New Left, socialist, and other progressive thinkers from around the world. Yet their efforts were quickly met with harassment, intimidation, and assassinations of farmer leaders. More than thirty years later, the assassins remain unnamed.
Drawing on hundreds of newspaper articles, cremation volumes, activist and state documents, and oral histories, Haberkorn reveals the ways in which the established order was undone and then reconsolidated. Examining this turbulent period through a new optic—interrupted revolution—she shows how the still unnameable violence continues to constrict political opportunity and to silence dissent in present-day Thailand.
Rice is a staple part of the diet of virtually every Malaysian, to the extent that in each of the major languages used in Malaysia, rice means food and food means rice. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Rice in Malaya opens with an examination of the often fragmentary evidence of rice-growing in prehistoric South-East Asia and then considers the great changes that followed the rise of commercial agriculture in the region before and during colonial times. A pioneering work when it first appeared in 1977, Rice in Malaya successfully combined the area-by-area approach of the geographer with the period-by-period approach of the historian to give a well-balance picture of rice-growing. The comprehensive use of evidence in several languages made the study the definitive work in the field. This re-issue of Rice in Malaya makes a classic work of scholarship available to a new generation of readers. The book remains of great importance not only to geographers, historians, agriculturalists and economists but also to anyone with an interest in South-East Asia, for it explains in great measure many of the deeply-etched patterns of life found in modern Malaysia.
Singapore and Its Pasts
The Scripting of a National History: Singapore and Its Pasts is highly relevant not only to academics but also for the Singapore general reader interested to see what are meant to be received wisdoms for the citizenry interrogated in a well-reasoned and engaging exercise, as well as for an international readership to whom Singapore has become a fascinating enigma. They may well be intrigued by the anxieties of being Singaporean.
Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the 17th Century
The first half of the 17th century brought heightened political, commercial and diplomatic activity to the Straits of Singapore and Melaka. Key elements included rivalry between Johor and Aceh, the rapid expansion of the Achenese empire, the arrival of the Dutch East India Company, andthe waning of Portuguese power and prestige across the region. This account of the period draws on archives in Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands that contain detailed information in the form of maps, rare printed works, and unpublished manuscripts, many of them unfamiliar to modern researchers. The Singapore and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the 17th Century examines early modern European cartography as a projection of Western power, treaty and alliance making, trade relations, and the struggle for naval hegemony in the Singapore and Melaka Straits. This book provides an unprecedented look at the diplomatic activities of Asian powers in the region, and also shows how the Spanish and the Portuguese attempted to restore their political fortunes by containing the rapid rise of Dutch power. The appendices provide copies of key documents, transcribed and translated into English for the first time. This book will be invaluable for historians and others interested in the European presence in Asia. It provides a fascinating look at Malay world, trade and international relations during a pivotal period about which relatively little is known.
Reinventing the Global City
Once a centre for international trade and finance, Singapore has become a "global city." Singapore from Temasek to the 21st Century: Reinventing the Global City examines its evolution from trading port to city-state, showing how Singapore has repeatedly reinvented itself by creating or re-asserting qualities that helped attract capital, talent and trade. In the 14th century, the island's prosperity rested on regulating the regional carrying trade passing through the Straits of Melaka. In 1819, after a long period of decline, the British East India Company revived the island's fortune by making Singapore a "free" port, and trade sustained the city until the Japanese occupation and the postwar collapse of colonial rule. After independence, Singapore resumed its role as a major commercial and financial center, but added facilities to make the island a regional centre for manufacturing. More recently, it has transformed its population into an educated and highly-skilled workforce, and has made the island an education hub that is a magnet for research and development in fields such as biotechnology. Singapore's dramatic evolutionary struggle defies description as a sequentially unfolding narrative, or merely as the story of a nation. In this volume, an international group of scholars examines the history of Singapore as a series of discontinuous and varied attempts by a shifting array of local and foreign actors to optimise advantages arising from the island's strategic location and overcome its lack of natural resources.
Music and Mediums in Modern Vietnam
Songs for the Spirits examines the Vietnamese practice of communing with spirits through music and performance. During rituals dedicated to a pantheon of indigenous spirits, musicians perform an elaborate sequence of songs--a "songscape"_x000B_--for possessed mediums who carry out ritual actions, distribute blessed gifts to disciples, and dance to the music's infectious rhythms. Condemned by French authorities in the colonial period and prohibited by the Vietnamese Communist Party in the late 1950s, mediumship practices have undergone a strong resurgence since the early 1990s, and they are now being drawn upon to promote national identity and cultural heritage through folklorized performances of rituals on the national and international stage._x000B__x000B_By tracing the historical trajectory of traditional music and religion since the early twentieth century, this groundbreaking study offers an intriguing account of the political transformation and modernization of cultural practices over a period of dramatic and often turbulent transition. An accompanying DVD contains numerous video and music extracts that illustrate the fascinating ways in which music evokes the embodied presence of spirits and their gender and ethnic identities.
In this large-scale ISEAS study, Razeen Sally looks at Southeast Asia in the World Trade Organization, against the background of national trade policy trends post-Asian crisis, sluggish ASEAN economic integration, and the recent high-speed proliferation of bilateral and regional trade negotiations. ASEAN co-operation in the WTO has broken down, with little prospect of revival. Nevertheless, Sally argues forcefully that Southeast Asia needs a liberal, rules-based multilateral trading system; and that the WTO needs active Southeast Asian participation. ASEAN countries should forge multiple coalitions, revolving around the United States and China, to restore workability and purpose to a lame, crisis-ravaged WTO. This would provide headwind for what matters most: unilateral (national) trade-and-investment liberalization and pro-competitive regulatory reforms to revive and enhance policy competitiveness in the region.
Mubin Sheppard Memorial Essays
Almost every year history undergraduates at the honours level at the National University of Singapore have been given the option to undertake research and write a thesis on their choice of topic in their fourth year before graduation. This is part of their professional training as historians. This volume contains the best history graduation essays fro the 2008/2009 academic year. The essays, selected and edited for publication under the society's Mubin Sheppard Memorial Fund, demonstrate each student's competence and ability to apply research methods, adopt critical perspectives and approaches and present an original interpretation and analysis of issues and problems in Malaysian and Singapore history.
C.M. Turnbull and the History of Modern Singapore
C.M. (Mary) Turnbull's contributions to historical writing on Singapore extended from her 1962 thesis, published in 1972 as "The Straits Settlements, 1826-1867: Indian Presidency to Crown Colony", to her magisterial history of Singapore, first published in 1977 and re-issued in 2009 in anupdated edition as A History of Singapore, 1819-2005. Her approach to history involved detailed work with documents and published materials, with a particular focus on political and economic history. One contributor to the present volume described the book as an "exercise in endowing a modern 'nation-state' with a coherent past that should explain the present." As styles in history evolved, younger scholars including some of her former students and colleagues began exploring new approaches to historical research that drew on non-English-language souce material and asked fresh questions of the sources. Mary enjoyed controversy and expected debate, and had a deep interest in these accounts, which were in many ways a natural progression from her own publications even when they raised questions about her interpretations and conclusions. Studying Singapore's Past had its origins in a conference organised to discuss her work. The volume includes ten contributions, some from long-established scholars of Singapore's history, others from a new generation of researchers. Their work offers an evaluation of established understandings of Singapore's history, and gives an indication of new directions that researchers are exploring. In publishing the book, the editor not only pays tribute to a distinguished historian but also seeks to make a contribution to the historiography of Singapore and to ongoing debates about Singapore's past.