Archives de catégorie : Articles

Thailand’s triple threat: culture, politics, and security

Podcast : Panel on Nicholas Farrelly’s « Thailand’s triple threat: culture, politics, and security », 30/06/2017, New Mandala

New Mandala co-founder Nicholas Farrelly joined an expert panel comprising Tyrell Haberkorn (ANU), Sunai Phasuk (Human Rights Watch), and John Blaxland (ANU) to discuss his paper, Thailand’s triple threat: culture, politics, and securityto be published by the Lowy Institute for International Affairs. The event was hosted by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, and was moderated by the Lowy Institute’s Matthew Busch.

The Lowy Institute have made audio available via SoundCloud, which can be played below.

A écouter sur : http://www.newmandala.org/panel-discussion-thailands-triple-threat-culture-politics-security/

The literary advancement before the 1932 Revolution

The first volume of Suphapburut magazine (photo from: Museum Thailand)

The literary advancement before the 1932 Revolution by Kittinun Klongyai, 04/07/2017, Prachatai

The 1932 Siamese Revolution was heralded in part by stories, novels and writing groups. The ideals of the People’s Party were nothing new, compared to movements that had already taken place in the literary field.

The 1930s in Thailand have been recognised as a time of change marking the transition from absolute monarchy to democracy, as well as the birth of the first constitution. But the power of writing was given to the people earlier than the power of self-rule. Works from the period are now, in some ways, memorial plaques of the literary revolution that contributed in turn to political revolt.

Revolutionary literature

Preedee Hongsaton, a historian teaching at Thammasat University, told Prachatai that literature must not only entertain, but also reflect the intellect, values, and perspectives of society, conveying efforts to strive towards progress and equality.

During the 1930s, a number of writing groups such as « The Gentleman » or Khana Suphapburut rooted their works in the ideal of equality, just as the People’s Party or Khana Ratsadon stated in their manifesto that, “Everyone will have work to do. Everyone will have equal rights and be free from the slavery of the aristocrats”.

The works of Kularb Saipradit Sri Burapha, the head of Khana Suphapburut, for instance, center around love between classes. “A Real Man” or Luk Phu Chai (1928) stood out in particular as a novel preaching that people should be judged by their own deeds, rather than their family’s fame.

The writer Sri Burapha, a pen-name, deconstructed Thailand’s class system by depicting villains from noble families, showing a disjuncture between class and virtue. Sri Burapha, however, was also skeptical of trends from the Western world, and played with them critically.

Lire la suite sur : http://prachatai.org/english/node/7248

With Social Media, Vietnam’s Dissidents Grow Bolder Despite Crackdown

Nguyen Anh Tuan, a human rights activist, said that when police interrogated him in 2011, he had no one to turn to. But now with supporters on Facebook, “I cannot feel lonely anymore,” he said.

« With Social Media, Vietnam’s Dissidents Grow Bolder Despite Crackdown » by Julia Wallace, 02/07/2017, The New York Times

HANOI, Vietnam — A prominent blogger and environmental activist in Vietnam was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison on charges of national security offenses, including sharing anti-state propaganda on social media.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, better known by her online handle Mother Mushroom, had been held incommunicado since she was arrested in October, and attendance at her trial was strictly controlled.

But barely one hour after the verdict was handed down on Thursday, one of Ms. Quynh’s lawyers summarized his arguments and posted her final statement at the trial to his 61,000 Facebook followers.

“I hope that everyone will speak up and fight, overcome their own fears to build a better country,” she said, according to the lawyer. The statement was reposted thousands of times.

 In authoritarian Vietnam, the internet has become the de facto forum for the country’s growing number of dissenting voices. Facebook connections in particular have mobilized opposition to government policies; they played a key role in mass protests against the state’s handling of an environmental disaster last year. Now, the government is tightening its grip on the internet, arresting and threatening bloggers, and pressing Facebook and YouTube to censor what appears on their sites.

“Facebook is being used as an organizing tool, as a self-publishing platform, as a monitoring device for people when they are being detained and when they get released,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

Lire la suite sur : https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/07/02/world/asia/vietnam-mother-mushroom-social-media-dissidents.html?

Photographing the Soul of Cambodia: Interview with Sophal Neak

Photographing the Soul of Cambodia: Interview with Sophal Neak by Francesca Masoero, 04/07/2017 in ArtAsiaPacific

Sophal Neak was born in Takeo, a province in southern Cambodia, in 1989. Since 2011, her works—in particular her photographs—have been showcased across Asia, Europe and Australia. Her unique and uncompromising take on history and people, as well as her distinctive and powerful vision, has played an important role in contributing to the cultural re-awakening of her country. In an interview with ArtAsiaPacific, the photographer discusses her art and creative processes, her take on gender in Cambodia and more.

“Flowers,” your most recent exhibition, is currently being showcased in Phnom Penh, but your work has travelled quite a bit across the globe. How do you feel about the fact that your photographs are allowing more people to get to know Cambodia?

Allowing people outside Cambodia to understand the complexity of my country is really important, but I’d actually like my work to serve as a certain reminder for the Khmer people as well. Most Cambodians tend to stick with the traditional culture and perceptions. This includes, for example, that women have to be young and beautiful, or that they have to cook and have children. By drawing attention to these concepts in my work, I try to raise the awareness of viewers and invite them to move forward from these ideas.

Lire la suite sur : http://artasiapacific.com/Blog/PhotographingTheSoulOfCambodiaInterviewWithSophalNeak

A Conversation with Mikael Gravers: Research among the Karen, Past and Present [Part 2]

A Conversation with Mikael Gravers: « Research among the Karen, Past and Present » [Part 2]

Pia Jolliffe interviews anthropologist Mikael Gravers.

This week on Tea Circle, we’re pleased to feature a two-part interview with anthropologist Mikael Gravers, an expert on nationalism, ethnic conflict, and peace and reconciliation, with extensive experience working among Karen communities in Thailand and Myanmar. He is the author of a number of books on Burma/Myanmar, including Burma/Myanmar— Where Now?, Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Burma, and Nationalism as Political Paranoia in Burma. He is also a researcher on the project “Everyday Justice and Security in the Myanmar Transition”.

Lire l’article sur : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/07/06/a-conversation-with-mikael-gravers-research-among-the-karen-past-and-present-part-2/

A Conversation with Mikael Gravers: Research among the Karen, Past and Present [Part 1]

A Conversation with Mikael Gravers: « Research among the Karen, Past and Present » [Part 1]

Pia Jolliffe interviews anthropologist Mikael Gravers.

This week on Tea Circle, we’re pleased to feature a two-part interview with anthropologist Mikael Gravers, an expert on nationalism, ethnic conflict, and peace and reconciliation, with extensive experience working among Karen communities in Thailand and Myanmar. He is the author of a number of books on Burma/Myanmar, including Burma/Myanmar— Where Now?, Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Burma, and Nationalism as Political Paranoia in Burma. He is also a researcher on the project “Everyday Justice and Security in the Myanmar Transition”.

Lire https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/07/05/a-conversation-with-mikael-gravers-research-among-the-karen-past-and-present-part-1/

 

Murder and black magic: Cambodia’s modern-day witch-hunts

« Murder and black magic: Cambodia’s modern-day witch-hunts » by Paul Millar, 06/07/2017, Southeast Asia Globe

A single word from one of Cambodia’s traditional healers can turn a whole community against outsiders in their ranks – often with fatal results.

… With the country’s feeble healthcare system struggling to keep up with the undiagnosed death and disease plaguing rural Cambodians, kru khmer or lou kru – wide-reaching terms describing traditional healers ranging from fortune tellers to spirit mediums – continue to play a central role across the country. Men and women, monks and laity, these healers call spirits into their bodies, ink protection spells onto their patients’ skin and root out black magic within the community – sometimes to devastating effect. In Kong Pisei alone, which has a population of just under 113,000 as of the 2008 census, two other alleged sorcerers have been beheaded in the past two years. Others accused of witchcraft have barely managed to escape with their lives.

On the second day of Khmer New Year in April, Prak Kong and his wife were forced to flee their home in Kong Pisei’s Prey Vihear commune just hours before a mob of villagers tore their house apart with hammers and rocks. As the crowd swelled to more than 600, the most violent attackers splintered the family’s spirit house and splashed petrol around the inside of the house, hoping to set it ablaze. According to Kong’s brother-in-law, who now lives there, the violence was unleashed by a local kru khmer who had accused the man of using sorcery to murder his newborn nephew-in-law.

“The problem started before the water festival [last year],” he said. “[His relative’s] child died after surgery. They wanted to find out why their child died so they went to see a lou kru. The lou kru gave him Kong’s name. They said he was responsible for the child’s death.”

Fabienne Luco, a social anthropologist in Cambodia who has done extensive research on the killing of people accused of being sorcerers, said that kru khmer often used accusations of witchcraft to provide a scapegoat for suffering or chronic disease within the community.

Lire la suite sur : http://sea-globe.com/cambodia-witch-hunts/

 

Mounting threats to Thailand’s order

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn watches the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony in central Bangkok on May 12. © Reuters

Mounting threats to Thailand’s order by Nicholas Farrelly, 11/07/2017, Nikkei Asian Review

A new king, old generals and southern conflict play on country’s anxieties.

These are nervous times for Thailand. After the death in October of King Bhumibol Adyulyadej, and with his son King Maha Vajiralongkorn on the Chakri throne, anxiety about the country’s long-term direction is building among those who wonder whether the current crop of military rulers has any real appetite for surrendering control.

Since seizing power in May 2014, the generals have sought to stamp out dissent from groups aggrieved at the abandonment of democratic principles. The strongman Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his team worry that forces allied to deposed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra still wait in the shadows for their chance to re-take power.

 For Prayuth, in his preferred role as guardian of the realm, this prospect encourages a blunt approach to opposing views. The defense of the new king — a man with a reputation for erratic behavior — has been steadfast. The country’s strict lese-majeste law is used to tackle critics and threaten those who question the orthodoxy of royalist-military dominance.

Prayuth’s alternative to free-flowing debate is a narrow vision of Thai values, ordained from on high and proliferated through a propaganda apparatus well-honed in the grim arts of manipulating public opinion. While much of the military’s attention focuses on what happens in Bangkok, there is no hiding from the darkest shadow hanging over the kingdom.

In the southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat a long-running conflict between local Malay-Muslims and the central government has seen over 6,500 deaths. In this war of attrition, the insurgency shows no signs of losing momentum: It has been regularly attacking symbols of Thai state authority since 2004. Attacks outside the Muslim rebellion’s usual zones of operation are a significant new development.

Lire la suite sur : http://asia.nikkei.com/Viewpoints/Nicholas-Farrelly/Mounting-threats-to-Thailand-s-order

Why Singapore is struggling to reinvent itself

A general view of the Central Business District of Singapore and the Merlion, illuminated with a projection during the iLight Marina Bay on March 23. © Getty Images

« Why Singapore is struggling to reinvent itself » by William Pesek, 11/07/2017, Nikkei Asian Review

Roots of today`s problems were visible in the city-state over 20 years ago.

There is a hot new industry in Singapore: Kremlinology.

Paul Krugman once compared the city-state to the Soviet Union under Stalin, and the Nobel laureate had a point. He was not referring to communism or to mass killings, of course — but the art of observing, deducing and obsessing over a secretive organization is again consuming the nation of 5.5 million people. The subject of the latest intrigue is a bizarre spat within the family at the core of Singapore’s astounding success and the row is fueling an unprecedented scandal that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says could dent the nation’s squeaky-clean image.

 As far as Singapore’s budding Kremlinologists can tell, the tiff concerns the estate of Lee Kuan Yew, who died in 2015. Some of Lee’s children accuse their brother, the current prime minister, of preserving a family home that Singapore’s founding father wanted demolished. They took to social media to air the dirty laundry of a family that long maintained a facade of having none. Many are asking what is really going on and what the first family brawling means for the trajectory of Singapore’s top-down political and economic system.

The echoes of Krugman’s 1994 critique are impossible to miss. His over-the-top comparison was this: Lee Kuan Yew’s model of appropriating domestic savings, championing state-linked companies and steering the workforce into moderate-paying jobs « would have done Stalin proud, » but would ultimately prove unsustainable. The fallout from that unsustainability is now the biggest challenge facing the younger Lee. Efforts to recalibrate the engines of growth away from demographics to greater productivity and innovation are not doing Singaporeans proud.

Lire la suite sur : http://asia.nikkei.com/Viewpoints/William-Pesek/Why-Singapore-is-struggling-to-reinvent-itself?page=1

 

Not Just ‘Pots’: Understanding Social Complexity through Ceramics in Prehistoric Mainland Southeast Asia

Tse Liang Lim, « Not Just ‘Pots’: Understanding Social Complexity through Ceramics in Prehistoric Mainland Southeast Asia », NSC Highlights # 4 (Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre)

The number and quality of artefacts found in burial sites (mortuary goods) are good indicators of ancient social complexity. Social complexity was fairly low during the Neolithic age, suggesting a period of comparatively equal wealth distribution (Higham 2014:183-195; O’Reilly 2014b:478). Social complexity rose during the later Bronze Age in prehistoric Mainland Southeast Asia, intensified during the Iron Age, and culminated in the emergence of intricate prehistoric chiefdoms. This emergence coincided with the expansion of Chinese influence into north Vietnam, as well as the development of a maritime trading network between China and the Mediterranean world via Southeast Asia and India (Higham 2014:196-269; O’Reilly 2014a:485-490).

Understanding the evolution of social complexity is important for the region because the Iron Age’s social complexity paved the way for the rise of Funan, the earliest documented Southeast Asian polity (Higham 2014:278-286; Stark 2006a).

Lire la suite sur : https://www.facebook.com/notes/nalanda-sriwijaya-centre/not-just-pots-understanding-social-complexity-through-ceramics-in-prehistoric-ma/1460864773991901/

 

 

 

The Poet Parliament – an artistic administration ready to deliver?

 

The Poet Parliament – an artistic administration ready to deliver? by Matt Grace, 22/06/2017, Tea Circle : an Oxford forum for new perspectives on Burma/Myanmar

Matt Grace reviews developments in the arts.

This post is part of Tea Circle’s “Year in Review” series, which looks back at developments in different fields over the last year.

After Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) strolled to victory in the 2015 General Election, much discussion was dedicated to the demographic make-up of the country’s new ruling party. Analysis of the NLD’s new parliamentary body was often critical, characterising it as both too old and too inexperienced (negative assessments individually, but uniquely damning together), and rightly condemning its decision not to run a single Muslim candidate for office.

One demographic oddity which did make positive headlines, however, was the election to office of 11 poets. In fact, the number of NLD MPs voted in on 8th November who defined themselves as poets was only two fewer than those who listed their profession as politician.

Although there is no doubt that the victory of poet and former political prisoner U Tin Thit over former Defense Minister U Wai Lwin was a sensational story, there is an argument that column inches dedicated to the number of poets in parliament gained more traction due to alliterative potential than newsworthiness. That being said, the phenomenon did highlight an artistic streak running through Myanmar’s new ruling party.

Lire la suite sur : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/06/22/the-poet-parliament-an-artistic-administration-ready-to-deliver/

 

The Anniversary of a Massacre and the Death of a Monarch

The Anniversary of a Massacre and the Death of a Monarch by Tyrell Haberkorn in The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 76, n° 2 (mai 2017)

As part of this year’s anniversary of the October 6, 1976, massacre at Thammasat University, an outdoor exhibit of photographs of the violence and the three preceding years of student and other social movements was displayed upon the very soccer field in the center of campus where students were beaten, shot, lynched, and murdered forty years prior. Several of the photographs were printed on large sheets of acrylic and positioned such that the images of the buildings in the photographs were aligned with the actual buildings, which remain largely unchanged. The most striking of these was a photograph of hundreds of students stripped to the waist who were lying face down on the soccer field prior to being arrested and taken away. At the edge of the image was the top of the university’s iconic dome building, which lined up with the existing building. The organizers explained that their intention was “to reflect a perspective on the past through the eyes of people in the present in order to show the cruelty of humans to one another.” The proximity generated by the image was underlined by the fact that the fortieth anniversary of the massacre and coup in 1976 that led to twelve years of dictatorship was taking place under yet another dictatorship, that of a military junta calling itself the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which seized power on May 22, 2014, in the twelfth coup since the end of the absolute monarchy on June 24, 1932. Suchada Chakphisut, founding editor of Sarakadee magazine and Thai Civil Rights and Investigative Journalism, who was a first-year Thammasat student during the massacre, began her autobiographical account of the day, written for the anniversary this year, by writing: “We meet every year when 6 October comes around, and with it an inexplicable sadness always takes hold of my psyche. It has grown even more devastating since the 22 May 2014 coup, in which we must face the news of the arrest and detention of activists and those who oppose dictatorship.” This was not a commemoration after dictatorship such as those of the same era held in Argentina or Chile during recent years of democratization, but memories of dictatorship in situ.

A télécharger sur : https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies/article/anniversary-of-a-massacre-and-the-death-of-a-monarch/4FD9FA295086CE51B654BCAD342D1F88

A Lexicon of Repression in Thailand

A Lexicon of Repression in Thailand by Tyrell Haberkorn, 14/06/2017, AsiaNow (AAS blog)

In an essay for the May 2017 issue of the Journal of Asian Studies (“The Anniversary of a Massacre and the Death of a Monarch,” currently free to download), I reflect on the fortieth anniversary of the 6 October 1976 massacre, when state and para-state forces brutally murdered unarmed students at Thammasat University in Bangkok. Unresolved questions about the possible role of the institution of the monarchy in the massacre have been a primary factor both ensuring impunity for the perpetrators and constricting public discussion about the massacre. The anniversary events, held under the military regime of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and marked by calls for recognition of the humanity of those killed, directly challenged the ongoing impunity of the perpetrators of the massacre. One week after the anniversary, Rama IX, Bhumipol Adulyadej, died and the crown prince, Maha Vajiralongkorn, was named his successor as Rama X.

One of the primary features of the NCPO’s regime has been a sharp spike in prosecution of alleged cases of lèse-majesté, the very accusation used to catalyze the 6 October 1976 massacre. Rightists alleged that the students had staged a mock hanging of the crown prince. My JAS essay on the fortieth anniversary ends with what was then an open question about how the use of the accusation of lèse-majesté may or may not change during the reign of Rama X.

As another anniversary passes, the question is now a markedly less open one. On 22 May 2017, the third anniversary of the coup by the NCPO passed in Thailand. After three years of military rule and the naming of Maha Vajiralongkorn as Rama X, there are no signs of a return to democracy or a letup in the use of the accusation of lèse-majesté to quash dissent anytime soon.

The third anniversary of the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) passed as the vast majority of nearly 70 million Thais went to work and school as usual and the several million tourists who visit each month continued to flow across the borders into the country. But the veneer of daily life hides the quiet battle taking place between the NCPO and those who want to see a return to democracy. Rather than the streets that figured in previous anniversary protests, the very lexicon used to describe the NCPO’s rule is the new terrain of struggle. The NCPO would like to erase the keyword most central to its existence: “coup.”

Lire la suite sur : http://www.asian-studies.org/asia-now/entryid/58/a-lexicon-of-repression-in-thailand

Local poll leaves Hun Sen looking vulnerable in 2018 election

Opposition CNRP youth activists at an election rally in Phnom Penh on June 2. (Photo by Duncan McCargo)

Local poll leaves Hun Sen looking vulnerable in 2018 election by Duncan McCargo, 08/06/2017, Nikkei Asian Review

Cambodia’s ruling party needs to woo disenchanted voters to retain hold on power.

The preliminary results of Cambodia’s June 4 local elections for its commune councils offer ambiguous signals for an all-important general election scheduled for July 2018.

Much depends on the choice of benchmark. In the 2012 elections for commune council chiefs, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party secured overwhelming control of local government, winning 1,592 contests with more than 70% of the vote, compared with just 40 contests won by opposition parties, which secured about 30% of the vote.

 By this standard, the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party’s twelvefold increase to 482 commune victories in 2017 is a remarkable turnaround, helped by the merger of the two opposition parties that challenged the ruling party in 2012.

Lire la suite sur : http://asia.nikkei.com/Viewpoints/Duncan-McCargo/Local-poll-leaves-Hun-Sen-looking-vulnerable-in-2018-election?page=1

Why is Ahok in prison? A legal analysis of the decision

On 9 May, the North Jakarta District Court found that Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama had violated Article 156a of the Criminal Code (KUHP) and sentenced him to two years in prison. Photo by Dharma Wijayanto.
Gubernur nonaktif DKI Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama atau Ahok bersiap menjalani persidangan lanjutan kasus dugaan penistaan agama di auditorium Kementerian Pertanian, Jakarta, Selasa (3/1). Ahok menjalani sidang lanjutan dengan agenda pemeriksaan saksi. ANTARA FOTO/POOL/Dharma Wijayanto/kye/16.

Why is Ahok in prison? A legal analysis of the decision by Simon Butt, 06/06/2017, Indonesia at Melbourne

Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has had a rough few months. Until recently, the Christian and ethnic Chinese Ahok was the governor of Jakarta – and one of the most committed reformers and effective administrators to ever lead the capital. In April, he lost a run-off election for governor, for a second term that would have begun in October. Then, on 9 May, he was convicted for blasphemy, in what was the most significant use of Indonesia’s blasphemy laws for political ends in the country’s history. The election loss and his trial were undeniably linked.

The blasphemy charges were clearly brought against him to undermine his chances of election. Worse, they related to his alleged misuse of a Qur’anic verse that the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) and Islamist groups say prohibits Muslims from electing a non-Muslim as a leader. So every mention of his blasphemy case reinforced the message of his unelectability.

Many commentators have looked at the broader implications of Ahok’s loss and his conviction for blasphemy. In this article, I instead offer a legal analysis of the decision itself. What arguments did the court hear and what did it accept?

Lire la suite sur : http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/why-is-ahok-in-prison-a-legal-analysis-of-the-decision/