In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Editors' Note
  • Benjamin Loh

The Editorial Committee under whose leadership this issue of SOJOURN appears reflects change at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Dr Ooi Kee Beng has stepped down from the post of Deputy Director of ISEAS and chairperson of the Editorial Committee to become Executive Director of the Penang Institute. Dr Ooi has been a resourceful and thoughtful chairperson of the journal, and a genial colleague whose advice to our editorial team has proved invaluable. We would like to thank him for his guidance and assistance, and we wish him every success in his new role in Penang. Dr Ooi will remain involved with SOJOURN as a member of the Editorial Committee. ISEAS Director Mr Tan Chin Tiong has now assumed the post of chairperson, effective with this issue of the journal. We are pleased to have him on board at SOJOURN.

Leading off this issue of SOJOURN is Andrew Carruthers's research article on the migration of ethnically Bugis Indonesians to the East Malaysian state of Sabah. The article considers the use that residents of that state make of hearing and listening in policing "illegal" immigration. It thus brings linguistic anthropology to the study of migration, one of the central foci of the journal. Demography and the changing Southeast Asian family are another such focus. Ann Marie Leshkowich's article here addresses the ascendance of the market economy and the naturalization of the middle-class biological nuclear family in urban Vietnam as these relate to the narratives, often marked by secrecy, created by families that have adopted children. Attention to these narratives allows Professor Leshkowich to highlight questions of class, of gender roles and of political economy in the country. In taking inventive approaches to contemporary social dynamics in two very different Southeast Asian contexts, these articles exemplify the journal's commitment to and pursuit of its core mission. [End Page v]

Francis Hutchinson's article on processes of recent political and administrative decentralization in Indonesia and on patterns of deepening centralization in Malaysia calls attention to the common victim of these developments: "meso-level" governments at the provincial or state level. Arguing for more attention to governments on that scale in scholarship on decentralization, Dr Hutchinson suggests an important field of research for students of Southeast Asian politics and society. Chin Yee Whah and Benny Teh Cheng Guan untangle four decades of efforts to foster a "Bumiputera Commercial and Industrial Community" in Malaysia — an important regional case of ambitious social engineering. And Meredith Weiss proposes in her article a framework for the study of engagement with and protest against political regimes in Maritime Southeast Asia, one that incorporates activists' choices concerning resource use, alliance formation, and participation or non-participation in electoral politics.

In the book review section of this issue of SOJOURN, Keith Taylor contributes his thoughts on Christopher Goscha's Vietnam: A New History. Professor Taylor notes that the historiography of Vietnam has been confined, for too long, to linear narratives in the service of a united "Vietnam". He commends Professor Goscha's book for advancing multiple possibilities that vie with the regnant orthodoxy in defining the future of the nation. He also asks probing questions about the constraints that the close relationship between the contemporary ruling elites of China and Vietnam has imposed on the latter state. Nir Avieli offers a critical and delightful review of Food, Foodways and Foodscapes: Culture, Community and Consumption in Post-Colonial Singapore. His review explores the issues at stake in approaching the study of food in a country whose government has managed to exert substantial cultural control. Other new titles, including James Hoesterey's Rebranding Islam: Piety, Prosperity, and a Self-Help Guru and Erik Davis's Deathpower: Buddhism's Ritual Imagination in Cambodia, are the subject of thoughtful and rewarding reviews by, respectively, Norshahril Saat and John Marston.

The Notes & Comment section of this issue of the journal is particularly rich and varied. Its first item is Mary Callahan's [End Page vi] important and trenchant criticism of the treatment of ethnicity in Myanmar's 2014 Population and Housing Census. Both the Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi governments have failed to release the data...


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