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NUS Press Pte Ltd

NUS Press Pte Ltd

Website: http://www.nus.edu.sg/nuspress

NUS Press Pte Ltd is the publishing house of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Organized as a private limited company, it is 100% owned by the University, and operates on a not-for-profit basis. The mission of the Press is to enable the dissemination and creation of knowledge through the publishing of scholarly and academic books; and to empower learning, innovation and enterprise for the Singapore- and Asia-focused global community, as a publisher of authoritative works for the trade and professional markets.


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NUS Press Pte Ltd

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Melayu: Politics, Poetics and Paradoxes of Malayness

Edited by Maznah Mohamad and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied

People within the Malay world hold strong but diverse opinions about the meaning of the word Melayu, which can be loosely translated as Malayness. Questions over whether Filipinos or Mon-Khmer speaking orang asli in Malaysia are to be properly called "Malay" can generate controversy and heated debate. So too can the question of whether it is appropriate to speak of a kebangsaan Melayu (Malay as nationality) as the basis of membership within an aspiring postcolonial nation-state -- as a political rather than a cultural community embracing all residents of the Malay states, including the immigrant Chinese and Indian population. In Melayu: Politics, Poetics and Paradoxes of Malayness, the contributors examine the checkered, wavering and changeable understanding of the word Melayu by considering hitherto unexplored case studies dealing with use of the term in connection with origins, nations, minority-majority politics, Filipino Malays, Riau Malays, orang asli, Straits Chinese literature, women's veiling, vernacular television, social dissent, literary women, and modern Sufism. Taken as a whole, this volume offers a creative approach to the study of Malayness while providing new perspectives to the studies of identity formation and politics of ethnicity that have wider implications beyond the Southeast Asian region.

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The Memoirs and Memorials of Jacques de Coutre

Security, Trade and Society in 16th- and 17th-century Southeast Asia

Peter Borschberg

A native of Bruges (now part of Belgium), Jacques de Coutre was a gem trader who spent nearly a decade in Southeast Asia in the early 17th century. In addition to a substantial autobiography written in Spanish and preserved in the National Library of Spain in Madrid, he wrote a series of memorials to the united crown of Spain and Portugal that contain recommendations designed to remedy the decline in the fortunes of the Iberian powers in Southeast Asia, particularly against the backdrop of early Dutch political and commercial penetration into the region. Translated into English for the first time, these materials provide a valuable first-hand account of the bigger issues confronting the early colonial powers in Southeast Asia, and deep insights into the societies de Coutre encountered in the territory that today makes up Singapore, Malaysia,Thailand and the Philippines.

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Merdeka and Much More

Reminiscences of a Raffles Professor, 1953-67

Ken Tregonning

Professor K.G. Tregonning's anecdotal memoir of his years as a member of the Department of History in the University of Singapore, culminating as Raffles Professor, captures the mood and milieu of Singapore as the country emerged from colonial rule to become a self-governing independent nation. Arriving at the height of the Cold War, Tregonning was acutely conscious of the ongoing Malayan Emergency and of the political shifts taking place across Southeast Asia. He records meetings with a number of the region's leaders, and encounters with students and colleagues who would later feature in Singapore's politics, or become leading figures in the academic world. The result is an engaging and very personal account of a university and a professional, political and social environment that is quite different from that found in Singapore today.

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Migration Revolution

Philippine Nationhood and Class Relations in a Globalized Age

Filomeno V. Aguilar, Jr.

Since the 1960s, overseas migration has become a major factor in the economy of the Philippines. It has also profoundly influenced the sense of nationhood of both migrants and nonmigrants. Migrant workers learned to view their home country as part of a plural world of nations, and they shaped a new sort of Filipino identity while appropriating the modernity of the outside world, where at least for a while they operated as insiders. The global nomadism of Filipino workers brought about some fundamental reorientations. It revolutionized Philippine society, reignited a sense of nationhood, imposed new demands on the state, reconfigured the class structure, and transnationalized class and other social relations, even as it deterritorialized the state and impacted the destinations of migrant workers. Philippine foreign policy now takes surprising turns in consideration of migrant workers and Filipinos living abroad. Many tertiary education institutions aim deliberately at the overseas employability of local graduates. And the “Fil-foreign” offspring of unions with partners from other nationalities add a new inflection to Filipino identity.

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Modern Thai Buddhism and Buddhadasa Bhikkhu: A Social History

Tomomi Ito

The Buddhist monk Buddhadasa Bhikku (1906-1993) injected fresh life into Thai Buddhism by exploring and teaching little known transcendent aspects of the religion. His investigations excited both monks and lay people, and gave rise to vigorous discussion in shops, temple and yards and newly founded Buddhist associations. While these discussions included serious exchanges on doctrine and practice, they also included jokes and light humour, criticisms of weak evidence for various positions, and rumours that Buddhadasa was a communist sympathizer. Some of this material was captured in Buddhist journals and in numerous "pocket books" aimed at a general audience. Departing from the classical method of studying Buddhism through philology, Tomomi Ito's account of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu draws on this popular literature and on detailed interviews with a very broad spectrum of the people involved in these exchanges. The result is a lively intellectual and social history of contemporary Thai Buddhism built around the life of an exceptional monk who captured the interest of Buddhists pursuing spiritual depth in the context of the ideologcial conflicts of the Cold War.

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Money, Power, and Ideology

Political Parties in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia

Marcus Mietzner

Are political parties the weak link in Indonesia’s young democracy? More pointedly, do they form a giant cartel to suck patronage resources from the state? Indonesian commentators almost invariably brand the country’s parties as corrupt, self-absorbed, and elitist, while most scholars argue that they are poorly institutionalized. This book tests such assertions by providing unprecedented and fine-grained analysis of the inner workings of Indonesian parties, and by comparing them to their equivalents in other new democracies around the world. Contrary to much of the existing scholarship, the book finds that Indonesian parties are reasonably well institutionalized if compared to their counterparts in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and other parts of Asia. There is also little evidence that Indonesian parties are cartelized. But there is a significant flaw in the design of Indonesia’s party system: while most new democracies provide state funding to parties, Indonesia has opted to deny central party boards any meaningful subsidies. As a result, Indonesian parties face severe difficulties in financing their operations, leading them to launch predatory attacks on state resources and making them vulnerable to manipulation by oligarchic interests.

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Nature Contained

Environmental Histories of Singapore

Timothy Barnard

How has Singapore’s environment—and location in a zone of extraordinary biodiversity—influenced the economic, political, social, and intellectual history of the island since the early 19th century? What are the antecedents to Singapore’s image of itself as a City in a Garden? Grounding the story of Singapore within an understanding of its environment opens the way to an account of the past that is more than a story of trade, immigration, and nation-building. Each of the chapters in this volume—focusing on topics ranging from tigers and plantations to trade in exotic animals and the greening of the city, and written by botanists, historians, anthropologists, and naturalists—examines how humans have interacted with and understood the natural environment on a small island in Southeast Asia over the past 200 years, and conversely how this environment has influenced humans. Between the chapters are travelers' accounts and primary documents that provide eyewitness descriptions of the events examined in the text. In this regard, Nature Contained: Environmental Histories of Singapore provides new insights into the Singaporean past, and reflects much of the diversity, and dynamism, of environmental history globally.

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Noon at Five O'Clock

The Short Stories of Arthur Yap

Arthur Yap

The volume marks the recovery and first combined publication of the stories of Arthur Yap, one of Singapore's most accomplished and important writers. A hitherto neglected facet of Yap’s opus, his eight short stories are deceptive in their simplicity, housing within their sparse prose a complex engagement with Singapore society that he wrote in and within. With his signature minimalistic style, Yap simultaneously perplexes readers with stories of seemingly plotless ambiguity, yet draws them in with familiar characters playing out situations that still resonate in twenty-first century Singapore today. Angus Whitehead’s introduction highlights literary nuances in the stories and frames the stories within the wider backdrop of social change of Singapore at the time of Yap’s writing. The meticulous critical apparatus make this book of interest to not only the general reader but also students of Singapore and Southeast Asian literature in English.

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On Asian Streets and Public Space

Edited by Heng Chye Kiang and Low Boon Liang with Hee Limin

The rapid urbanisation of the Asian continent and the transformation of its cityscapes have led many professionals and scholars to pay urgent attention to the study of Asian streets and public places in the hope of recording them, learning their complex nature, and testing theories in new environments before they disappear under the assault of rapid urban transformation. This volume presents articles focusing on four prevalent themes, namely transformation and modernity, the culture of streets, the experience of the street and finally, the design and quality of streets. However, these themes inevitably overlap, pointing out the complexity of what we call the "street" and the necessity for interdisciplinary research. Finally, adding "Asian" to "street" opens up the discussion about spaces in the Asian city, and concepts of "Asian-ness," if indeed such a concept can be defined. This book will interest not only urban planners, architects and other design and building professionals, but also geographers, sociologists, environmentalists, anthropologists, historians as well as the general public.

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Organising under the Revolution

Unions and the State in Java, 1945‒48

Jafar Suryomenggolo

The years 1945-48 marked the peak of the Indonesian revolution, but they were also formative years for state-labour relationship in modern Indonesia. Drawing on a wide range of historical sources, Jafar Suryomenggolo reconstructs labour’s initial drive to form and orient unions during this critical period. The historical narrative captures early unions’ nationalist spirit and efforts to defend members’ socio-economic interests, and shows the steps taken by the labour movement to maintain its independence and build institutional capacity within the new Indonesia state. Organising Under the Revolution challenges the prevailing assumptions that see labour movements as political arms of the post-colonial state. The author’s conclusions provide a comparative lens for the study of labor movements in Southeast Asia, and developing countries in general.

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