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The State and Military in Burma, 1962‒88
General Ne Win’s state reformation in the name of the “Burmese Way to Socialism” contributed to the expansion of the political role of the Myanmar Armed Forces, the tatmadaw, but the underlying dynamics of this change remain poorly understood. Drawing on propaganda publications, profiles of the country’s political elites, and original documents in Burma’s military archives, Yoshihiro Nakanishi offers a fresh look at the involvement of the tatmadaw in Burma’s ideological discourse and civil-military relations. The tatmadaw’s anti-communist propaganda during the 1950s was a key element in state ideology under the Ne Win regime, and the direct participation of tatmadaw officers in the Burma Socialist Programme Party and government ministries at the national and local level transformed the political party system and civilian bureaucracy. Personal relationships — between Ne Win and the tatmadaw officer corps, and within the military — were central to the growing influence of the military, and to the outcome of the political crisis and subsequent military coup d’état in 1988. Nakanishi’s discussion of these processes reveals many heretofore-unknown facts about this “dark age” in the country’s political history, and highlights its institutional legacy for the post-1988 military regime and the reformist government that succeeded it. His thought-provoking conclusions are significant for Southeast Asia specialists and for students of politics generally, and his insights will be useful for anyone seeking to engage with Myanmar as it comes to terms with an outside world it once kept at arm’s length.
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.
SEATO and the Defence of Southeast Asia 1955-1965
The South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was the focal point of Western military efforts to deter and if need be defeat, communist aggression in Southeast Asia between 1955 and 1965. In this mission it was, on its own terms entirely successful, and none of the SEATO regional members (Pakistan, Thailand or the Philippines) succumbed to communist rule, then or later. Much of Southeast Asia emerged from the geo-strategic vulnerabilities of the immediate post-colonial period un-swayed by the efforts of local (or foreign-based) communist movements. To Cage the Red Dragon examines the role of SEATO during its first ten years as a military alliance in helping secure this outcome.
Indonesia in the 20th Century
The 12 chapters of this book present the reflections of a prominent historian on the nature of modern Indonesian history, over a 40-year time span. A central thread running through the book is the importance of the fact that Indonesia entered the modern community of nation-states through political revolution. This revolution has often been denied or downplayed as a failure because it did not have a communist outcome like those of China and Vietnam. A much better analogy is the French Revolution - a profound breaking with and discrediting of the ancien régime but without the guiding hand of a disciplined party intent on power. Like other revolutions, it demanded a huge price in violence, human suffering, and the loss of cultural traditions; like them too, it offered a glittering prize. The prize turned out not to be the freedom and equality of which the revolutionaries had dreamt, but a previously inconceivable unity enforced by a state of a completely new kind. The Faustian bargain by which Indonesia was created in the 1940s is at the heart of this book. All the chapters save one have been updated for this publication, with the injection of some additional optimism called for by post-1998 democracy. The exception is the earliest paper, from 1967, on the paroxysm of violence that punctuated Indonesia's independent history from 1965-1966. This piece has been left unchanged a document in the early quest for understanding of those horrific events.
Selected Papers from the 12th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists
The papers in Unearthing Southeast Asia's Past deal with the development of complex societies in Southeast Asia from the Neolithic until the later historic period. The authors present data from recent excavations as well as new analyses of previous finds, with a focus on cultural exchange and interactions with the natural environment. The volume contains 20 papers presented at the 12th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists (EurASEAA). Held in Leiden in 2008, the conference was jointly organized by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and Leiden University.
Upland Transformations in Vietnam considers the effects of economic development, authority formation and landscape change on the country's "uplands". By positioning the uplands as an integral part of political, economic and cultural processes at the national and international levels, the book shatters stereotypes of upland regions as a separate ethnic and biophysical realm, and calls into question the assumptions that have informed research on upland areas and post-socialist transitions, and government policy for these regions. Movements from customary to state authority or from a subsistence to a commoditized economy are neither automatic nor uniform. The case studies in this book show that events in Vietnam's uplands mirror the country's cultures, organization, landscapes and larger political economy. Negotiations over authority and economy in the uplands recursively contribute to larger processes constituting the Vietnamese state and generating social inequalities. The Vietnamese experience thus provides valuable lessons applicable to research on upland regions and post-socialist transformations in other parts of the world. The book features work by young Vietnamese and foreign scholars deeply engaged with research on upland livelihoods and ecosystems in Vietnam. These emerging experts present cutty-edge analyses of negotiations over land, forest politics, trade relations, tourism, migration, social differentiation and cultural imaginaries based on research conducted in all major upland regions of Vietnam, including the Northern Mountains, the Truong Son Mountains and the Central Highlands.
Ho Chi Minh in Comparative Perspective
With the shift to a market economy, Hồ Chí Minh city became a magnet for migrants and experienced rapid growth. Migration provides labour for economic growth in Hồ Chí Minh City, and remittances sent by migrants to rural communities help to limit urban-rural inequality. but rural-urban migration creates a heavy burden for the city's physical and social infrastructure. Urbanization, Migration and Poverty in a Vietnamese Metropolis presents the results of a major interdisciplinary research project that gathered data on more than one thousand households in Hồ Chí Minh City over a three-year period, and on migration flows at the urban destination and in four sending communities in different regions of Vietnam. The study shows that migration to Hồ Chí Minh City has been shaped both by urban-rural inequality and by regionally diverse socio-cultural dynamics. It also demonstrates that despite official claims concerning poverty reduction in Hồ Chí Minh City, urban poverty rose, particularly among migrants. The research findings indicate that microcredit and other poverty reduction programs had little impact on the socio-economic mobility of households, but that the well-being of many households improved as a result of growth-related economic opportunities as well as the effects of social networks and processes of household formation.
Singapore fell to Japanese forces on 15 February 1942. Within a matter of days, the occupying army took prisoner more than 100,000 British, Australian and Indian soldiers, and massacred thousands of Chinese civilians. A resistance movement formed in Malaya's jungle-covered mountains, but the vast majority of people could do little but resign themselves to life under Japanese rule. The Occupation of Malaya would last three and a half years, until the British returned in September 1945. How is this period remembered? And how have individuals, communities, and states shaped and reshaped collections in the post-war era as the events of the time slipped out of living memory? This volume uses observations gathered from members of various communities involved in or affected by the conflict -- Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians, British and Australians to respond to these questions. Its young women who flocked to the Japanese-sponsored Indian National Army, hoping to march on Delhi. The authors also draw on other forms of memory, including the soaring pillars of Singapore's Civilian War Memorial and traditional Chinese cemeteries in Malaysia. In preparing this volume, the authors have reinserted previously marginalized or self-censored voices back into the story in a way that allows them to reflect on the nature of conflict and memory. Moreover, these voices speak of the searing transit from war and massacre through resistance and decolonization to the molding of postcolonial state and identities.
A Biographical Approach
Books on Southeast Asian nationalist movements make very little — if any — mention of women in their ranks. Biographical studies of politically active women in Southeast Asia are also rare. Women in Southeast Asian Nationalist Movements makes a strong case for the significance of women’s involvement in nationalist movements and for the diverse impacts of those movements on the lives of individual women activists. Some of the 12 women whose political activities are discussed in this volume are well known, while others are not. Some of them participated in armed struggles, while others pursued peaceful ways of achieving national independence. The authors show women negotiating their own subjectivity and agency at the confluence of colonialism, patriarchal traditions, and modern ideals of national and personal emancipation. They also illustrate the constraints imposed on them by wider social and political structures, and show what it was like to live as a political activist in different times and places. Fully documented and drawing on wider scholarship, this book will be of interest to students of Southeast Asian history and politics as well as readers with a particular interest in women, nationalism and political activism.