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The Political Economy of Clientelism: A Comparative Study of Indonesia’s Patronage Democracy

Ward Berenschot, « The Political Economy of Clientelism: A Comparative Study of Indonesia’s Patronage Democracy », 19/03/2018, Comparative Political Studies

Abstract

What kind of economic development curtails clientelistic politics? Most of the literature addressing this relationship focuses narrowly on vote buying, resulting in theories that emphasize the importance of declining poverty rates and a growing middle class. This article employs a combination of ethnographic fieldwork and an expert survey to engage in a first-ever, more comprehensive comparative study of within-country variation of clientelistic politics. I find a pattern that poorly matches these dominant theories: Clientelism is perceived to be less intense in rural, poverty-prone Java, while scores are high in relatively wealthy yet state-dependent provincial capitals. On the basis of these findings, I develop an alternative perspective on the relationship between economic development and clientelism. Emphasizing the importance of societal constraints, I argue that the concentration of control over economic activities fosters clientelism because it stifles the public sphere and inhibits effective scrutiny and disciplining of politico-business elites.

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High-tin bronze bowls and copper drums

« High-tin bronze bowls and copper drums: Non-ferrous archaeometallurgical evidence for Khao Sek’s involvement and role in regional exchange systems »

FREE access until May 2nd of this article by Pryce and Bellina on high-tin bronze bowls and copper drums from Khao Sek (ISEAA)

https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1WiZm8MrPrspSW

Photomicrograph is from a ‘Dong Son drum’ ( SEALIP/TH/KS/2) showing equi-axed cored microstructure, image courtesy of Pira Venunan.The article demonstrates Upper Thai-Malay Peninsula’s Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea interaction spheres. The analysis of copper-base artifacts also contributes to defining the political and economic organization of the early trading-polities that emerged during the first millennium BC.

Rebranding Thailand: why is junta so obsessed with wordplay?

Petra Desatova

« Rebranding Thailand: why is junta so obsessed with wordplay? » by Kornkritch Somjittranukit, 04/02/2018, Prachatai (English)

During the past four years, the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has added many terms to the dictionary of Thai politics. At the beginning of their regime, the NCPO coined the term “Returning Happiness”, which later became the name of a weekly TV programme that junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha uses as a channel to communicate with the Thai people.

In 2016, the NCPO launched the “Pracharat” campaign, directly translated as “people-state,” as part of its attempt to form a political coalition among the military, the private sector, the bureaucracy and civil society. The most recent term is “Thai-ism democracy” which was invented after Prayut showed an intention to participate in the upcoming election.

Prachatai talked to Petra Desatova, a PhD student from Leeds University, who pointed out that these terms are not merely a play on words, but rather a systematic attempt to strengthen its authoritarian regime. An advisee of Prof Duncan McCargo, Desatova conducted research which examines the phenomenon of nation branding in the context of post-coup Thailand. It focuses on the period from the 22 May 2014 coup until 1 December 2016, when King Vajiralongkorn officially ascended the Thai throne.

Why is nation branding so important for the junta?

The solution that nation branding offers is in the ‘correction’ of people’s attitudes and behaviours towards the nation, and its socio-economic and political systems instead of changing the country’s economic, social and political conditions. It is about creating expectations, ‘selling’ attractive visions, making people feel proud of their nation, and encouraging particular behaviours while setting boundaries to others. This is exactly what the NCPO needed following the 2014 coup. They needed to re-engage the Thai people with the old elite’s vision of a creatively modernising yet socially traditional Thailand consisting of people that will reject the Shinawatras once and for all, abandon their provincial identities and democratic and social aspirations in exchange for a semi-authoritarian rule modeled on the military regimes from the early 1960’s (Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat) to the late 1980’s (General Prem Tinsulanonda).

Lire la suite sur : https://prachatai.com/english/node/7606

 

 

Ownership and control in 21st century Malaysia

« Ownership and control in 21st century Malaysia » by Charles Brophy, 17/01/2018, New Mandala

In a series of public lectures beginning in 2016, Professor Terence Gomez began to distil the findings of his latest research into corporate governance in Malaysia. The first finding was a marked reduction in the holding of private directorships by members of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. The second was a major growth in the influence and power of Government Linked Companies (GLCs; individual state-owned enterprises) and Government Linked Investment Companies (GLICs; state-owned investment vehicles) over the Malaysian economy.

What such findings did was to challenge typical understandings of “money politics”, and the relationship between politics and business, in Malaysia. The data pointed not towards the direct influence of the political class over private enterprise, but rather a growing centralisation of economic and political power in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance (an office which is today held concurrently), and the influence of the state over the economy through the GLCs and seven large GLICs. The resulting book, Minister of Finance Incorporated: Ownership and Control of Corporate Malaysia, written alongside Gomez’s team of research assistants, has brought into the spotlight not only problems of political centralisation and GLC/GLIC governance reform, but also the effect of the very structure of the Malaysian economy on the country’s continuing prospects for development. (Disclosure: the author works for Gerakbudaya, the Malaysia/Singapore publisher of Prof Gomez’s book, but writes here in a personal capacity.)

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/ownership-control-21st-century-malaysia/

 

Power Plays in Indonesian Waters

« Power Plays in Indonesian Waters : Transforming Indonesia into a Global Maritime Power is a Complicated Game » by Muhamad Arif, 01/02/2018, Asia and the Pacific Policy Society

The new Maritime Security Agency has only heightened competition in the Navy-dominated governance of Indonesian maritime security, Muhamad Arif writes.

When Indonesian President Joko Widodo signed the presidential regulation on the establishment of the country’s Maritime Security Agency (Badan Keamanan Laut or BAKAMLA) on 8 December 2014, the mood among interested observers was bright. The complicated management of Indonesian maritime security – for which no less than 12 national agencies had responsibility – would finally be settled. The country would soon have a dedicated coastguard to carry out most of the law enforcement functions in Indonesian maritime jurisdictions.

The vision for BAKAMLA was that it would work alongside the Indonesian Navy, which could finally focus on building its much-needed war-fighting capability amidst the increasingly volatile geopolitics of the region. This optimism was justified since the regulation was among the first signed by a president who came to power with a vision to build the geographically strategic country as a prominent maritime power. Or so it was thought.

Three years after the establishment of BAKAMLA, the reality is still a far cry from the original vision. Indonesian maritime security governance is still complicated by well-known problems such as inter-agency competition, overlapping legal frameworks, separate information and intelligence management systems, as well as limited and scattered resources.

In the last couple of years, the number of security violations in Indonesian waters and jurisdictions has decreased substantially. But this outcome is actually a result of sporadic, sub-efficient and, in some cases, conflicting policy directions. Indonesia’s pioneering National Maritime Policy with its attached Action Plan, released by the government in 2016, have not done much to tackle the problems on the ground.

Lire la suite sur : https://www.policyforum.net/power-plays-indonesian-waters/

Muhamad Arif is Researcher at The Habibie Center’s ASEAN Studies Program and Lecturer at the Department of International Relations, University of Indonesia.

A multitude of sins: the revised criminal code

Many of those calling for criminalisation of LGBT Indonesians may not realise they are just as vulnerable under the revised criminal code. Photo by Fahrul Jayadiputra for Antara

« A multitude of sins: the revised criminal code » by Naila Rizqi Zakiah, 30/01/2018, Indonesia at Melbourne

Over the last two weeks, the bitter debate over whether lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Indonesians should be criminalised has reached new heights of acrimony. The never-ending argument about LGBT rights was revived following the decision of the Constitutional Court to reject the Family Love Alliance (AILA) petition that sought to extend the scope of articles in the Criminal Code (KUHP) on same sex relations and sex outside marriage.

The speaker of the Constitutional People’s Assembly (MPR), Zulkifli Hasan, added fuel to the fire when he made unsubstantiated claims that the People’s Representative Council (DPR) was discussing a bill on LGBT and same-sex marriage  and five political parties were attempting to legalise LGBT behaviour. In reaction, politicians are now expediting efforts to pass long discussed reforms to the KUHP, including provisions that would criminalise same sex relations.

But while the media and the public have focused on the criminalisation of homosexuality, the proposed revisions to the KUHP are much broader, and seek to criminalise all extramarital sex, regardless of gender. The anti-LGBT propaganda has obscured the threat the revisions pose to the privacy and human rights of all Indonesians. There is a real danger that society will support increasing criminalisation based on moral and religious arguments without knowing or thinking about the consequences.

As is stands, the KUHP already criminalises adultery (zina). But the provision on adultery applies to sex between a married person and a person who is not their spouse, and is a complaint offence (delik aduan). This means it is only considered a crime if a party who feels they have suffered from the act reports it to the police. Article 484 of the revised criminal code, however, converts zina where one of the parties is married into a ‘normal offence’ (not based on a complaint or report), meaning that anyone can report cases to police.

Most concerning is that Article 484 extends the definition of zina to all extramarital sex. If a man and woman who are not bound by a “legitimate marriage” have sexual intercourse, they could face up to five years in prison. Article 484(2) explains that this type of adultery between two unmarried people based on complaints of spouses, or any concerned third party. The article doesn’t contain a clear definition of third party, which could be interpreted loosely. Can society claim to be a third party? A neighbour? Or the police? The revised code could pave the way for anyone in society to interfere in their fellow citizens’ affairs, essentially providing the legal basis for the persecution of people who engage in extramarital sex.

Lire la suite sur : http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/a-multitude-of-sins-the-revised-criminal-code/

Tales of the Malay World

« Tales of the Malay World » by Annabel Teh Gallop, 22/01/2018, Asian and African Library Blog (British Library)

If you are in Singapore – or anywhere near – grab the opportunity to visit the exhibition Tales of the Malay World, at the National Library of Singapore, before it ends on 25 February 2018. The biggest international exhibition of Malay manuscripts ever held, the display of over a hundred Malay manuscripts and early printed books includes 16 manuscripts from the British Library, as well as 17 loans from the Royal Asiatic Society and 18 from Leiden University Library, which are being shown alongside treasures from the National Library of Singapore’s own collections.

This was not the only time that Malay books from the British Library have been exhibited in Southeast Asia. The first occasion was in Malaysia in 1990, when 22 early Malay printed books were loaned to the exhibition Early Printing in Malay (Pameran Percetakan Awal dalam Bahasa Melayu) held at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur, from 4-9 June 1990. The following year, 25 manuscript letters and books in Malay, Javanese, Balinese, Bugis and Batak travelled to Indonesia for the exhibition Golden Letters: Writing Traditions of Indonesia (Surat Emas: Budaya Tulis di Indonesia), held at the National Library of Indonesia in Jakarta and at the Palace (Kraton) of Yogyakarta in September 1991. In October 1995 five Malay manuscripts were loaned to the International Exhibition of Malay Manuscripts (Pameran Manuskrip Melayu Antarabangsa) at the National Library of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, including the beautifully illuminated Taj al-Salatin and the Hikayat Pelanduk Jenaka currently on display in Singapore. But apart from the two latter books, for the 14 other Malay manuscripts from the British Library featured in Tales of the Malay World, it is the first time that they have travelled back to the ‘lands below the winds’ since sailing westwards in the 19th century.

As suggested by the title, the exhibition celebrates the rich seam of Malay literature, and in the judicious hands of curator Tan Huism, deftly draws out some interesting threads.

Lire la suite sur : http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2018/01/tales-of-the-malay-world.html?

Following the opening of the exhibition, on 18 August 2018, Annabel Teh Gallop gave a talk at the National Library of Singapore on ‘Art and Artists in Malay manuscript books’, excerpts of which can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=AqpSi7vfClM

For Myanmar’s Army, Ethnic Bloodletting Is Key to Power and Riches

« For Myanmar’s Army, Ethnic Bloodletting Is Key to Power and Riches » by Richard C. Paddock, 27/01/2018, The New York Times

For Myanmar’s army, the campaign of atrocity it has waged to drive hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims out of the country is no innovation. The force was born in blood 76 years ago and has been shedding it ever since.

Its founders, known as the Thirty Comrades, established the army in 1941 with a ghoulish ceremony in Bangkok, where they drew each other’s blood with a single syringe, mixed it in a silver bowl and drank it to seal their vow of loyalty.

The army that they formed led the nation to independence in 1948. But except for a brief, initial period of peace, it has spent the last seven decades warring with its own people.

The army, known as the Tatmadaw, seized power from the civilian government in Burma, as the country is also known, in 1962. The military killed thousands of protesters to keep power in 1988 and suppressed another popular uprising, the Saffron Revolution, in 2007.

In constant fighting with ethnic minorities, the Tatmadaw has displaced millions of people while taking billions of dollars in profit from jade mines, teak forests and other natural resources. Its strategy has been to fight ethnic rebels to a standstill, manage the conflicts through cease-fires and enrich its officers.

“There has never been any sense of needing to win hearts and minds,” said Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College in Washington. “The Tatmadaw’s doctrine is based on total submission by the population through fear. And to that end, there is little they will not do.”

Though it holds itself up as the protector of Myanmar’s people, the military has a long history of murdering civilians, torturing and executing prisoners, committing rape, conscripting child soldiers, impressing convicts as porters and making civilians walk ahead of its troops to trip land mines.

Lire la suite sur : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/27/world/asia/myanmar-military-ethnic-cleansing.html?

Religious extremism poses threat to ASEAN’s growth

« Religious extremism poses threat to ASEAN’s growth » by Gwen Robinson and Simon Roughneen, 14/12/2017, Nikkei Asian Review

Aided by social media, hardliners gain mainstream support

The Dec. 2 event marked a year since an estimated half-million people clamored in the rain for the arrest of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the then-governor of Jakarta. Since then, Purnama, a Protestant of Chinese descent nicknamed Ahok, lost the gubernatorial election and was sentenced to two years in jail on the same blasphemy charges that brought massive crowds onto Jakarta’s streets late last year.

The episode raised concerns around the world that Indonesia’s relatively tolerant variant of Islam — and its secular democracy — was under attack. And it was a startling display of the strength of Islamist groups in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population. Among the organizers were the Islamic Defenders Front, known as FPI, and the Islamic Ummah Forum.

Those groups do not claim affiliation with the al-Qaida-linked militants who killed 202 people in Bali in 2002, nor the estimated 1,150 Indonesians who traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the so-called Islamic State. But the government has been sufficiently alarmed to ban the local wing of Hizbut Tahrir, another Islamist movement involved in the anti-Ahok protests — and which hopes to establish a caliphate.

Across Asia, the rise of hard-line religious movements is fueling a macho form of nationalism and creating dangerous new fault lines in communities. Beyond Indonesia with its numerous Islamist groups are Myanmar’s zealous Buddhist organizations, which have stoked anti-Muslim sentiment to deadly effect. Bangladesh has seen the rise of Islamic fundamentalists including Hefazat-e-Islam, while Sri Lanka has Bodu Bala Sena, a radical Sinhalese Buddhist group.

Such groups number in the dozens across Asia — fundamentalist Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus who are adding new fuel on what are sometimes ancient ethnic conflicts. Some boast memberships that run into the hundreds of thousands, powered by zealous social media campaigns, community support programs and effective fundraising operations. The donations, often tiny amounts collected from poor followers, become a source of support for hard-line leaders.

Analysts warn that such ethno-religious chauvinism represents the biggest threat to the economic growth the region has enjoyed in recent years — and to the dream of greater cohesion over trade and economic issues. « Rapid economic growth over the past three decades has raised standards of living across much of Asia, but left marginal areas, like Mindanao in the Philippines and Rakhine State in Myanmar, untouched and therefore comparatively worse off, » said Michael Vatikiotis, Asia director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. « It is perhaps no coincidence that these areas are afflicted by violent conflict. »

Lire la suite sur : https://asia.nikkei.com/magazine/20171214/On-the-Cover/Religious-extremism-poses-threat-to-ASEAN-s-growth

 

Forest and Society, vol. 1, n° 2 (2017)

Forest and Society, vol. 1, n° 2 (2017)

Available online since November 28, 2017

 Le site de la revue

Table of Contents

Regular Research Articles

Moira Moeliono, Pham Thu Thuy, Indah Waty Bong, Grace Yee Wong, Maria Brockhaus
1-20
Bobby Anderson, Patamawadee Jongruck
21-32
Sitti Nuraeni
33-43
Ahmad Dhiaulhaq, Kanchana Wiset, Rawee Thaworn, Seth Kane, David Gritten
44-59
Messalina Lovenia Salampessy, Indra Gumay Febryano, Dini Zulfiani
60-66
Sukanlaya Choenkwan
67-76
Dewi Nur Asih, Stephan Klasen
77-84

412 Historic Artefacts to Return Home to Sarawak, Malaysia

412 Historic Artefacts to Return Home to Sarawak, Malaysia

 

On 22 November, in the historic surroundings of Museum Prinsenhof in Delft, the Netherlands, YB Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports of the Sarawak State Government, Malaysia, received one of the 412 historic artefacts which have been donated by the City of Delft to the Sarawak Museum to be displayed in the exhibition galleries of the new Sarawak Museum Campus.

A delegation from Sarawak, led by YB Datuk Karim, brought an appreciation visit to the city of Delft to convey the gratitude of the Sarawak State Government. The Deputy Mayor of Delft, Mr. Ferrie Forster, and the Director of Heritage Delft, Mrs. Janelle Moerman, ceremonially handed over the collection to the Minister and Mr. Ipoi Datan, director of the Sarawak Museum.

In his speech, YB Datuk Karim conveyed the gratitude of the Sarawak State Government on the generous donation of the highly unique 412 Bornean ethnographic items to the Sarawak Museum. He added that: ‘The donation greatly complements the Sarawak Museum’s own collection and augurs well to assist in achieving its Vision of becoming the “Global Centre for Bornean Heritage by 2030.” The Sarawak government is ever keen to ensure that such artefacts that originated from Borneo, the world’s third largest island, would be returned to its original abode.’ Datuk Karim, in his speech, acknowledged the role that Mr. Hans van de Bunte, the Senior Project Director of the Sarawak Museum Campus, had played in this matter.

In early 2018, after the artefacts have arrived in Sarawak, an exhibition will be set up at the Textile Museum in Kuching to show a selection of the Nusantara artefacts to the public. A special edition of the booklets on the Sarawak Museum’s collections will be published alongside the exhibition. For both the exhibition and booklet YB Datuk Karim extended his gratitude to the Dutch Embassy in Malaysia for their kind support and very helpful sponsorship.

Museum Nusantara, in the city of Delft, The Netherlands, closed its doors to the public in 2013 and the city government with Heritage Delft started a project to find new museum owners for the collection of artefacts. The possibility to acquire a selection of historic artefacts from Borneo came under the attention of the Sarawak Museum Campus’ Senior Project Leader. The Sarawak Museum, a member of ASEMUS, was seen as the appropriate location for this collection. A formal request was prepared and initiated the successful donation by the Dutch institute to the Sarawak Museum.

YB Datuk Karim extended an invitation to the city of Delft to attend the opening of the exhibition in Sarawak in early 2018. He offered the city of Delft the opportunity to collaborate with the Sarawak Museum to co-organise any events or activities, like seminars or exhibitions, for their mutual benefit, to be held in Sarawak in 2019, which happens to be Visit Sarawak Year.

The Sarawak Museum Campus and Heritage Trail

The Sarawak Museum Campus is a State-funded project to revive the international status of the Sarawak Museum and to build a new museum to showcase Sarawak’s rich cultural and historical heritage which will incorporate education and public outreach programmes. Its main goal is to establish a world-class museum campus and become one of the best museums in the region.

The objectives of the Sarawak Museum Campus include:

  • Establishing a world-class museum campus and restoring its status as one of the best museums in the region
  • Developing a new main museum building to showcase Sarawak’s rich cultural and historical heritage and provide visitor facilities for all.
  • Setting up an internationally recognized Sarawak Heritage Conservation Centre for research into Sarawak’s Heritage with conservation laboratories, collection storage facilities, research and museum staff offices, a library and the museum archive.
  • Ensuring conservation of the historic Sarawak Museum building and exhibitions to its former glory in an early 20th-century style museology and conservation of the ancillary buildings and gardens.
  • Harnessing the potential for education and public outreach through educational programmes for all, especially to younger generations.
  • Strengthening cultural tourism to Kuching and Sarawak.

The permanent exhibition galleries at the new museum span 6,000 sq. meters and research on the collections is being done by academic specialists to give depth to the exhibition storyline and provide new academic insights. The exhibition storyline is developed with a strong research background, and will be presented in an accessible format so that it engages with a local and broad audience. Especially as it will be presenting exciting knowledge about the local communities, culture, history and archeology of Sarawak and Borneo at large.

For  about the activities of the Sarawak Museum Department, please visit http://www.museum.sarawak.gov.my/

 

Pictured above: delegations of Sarawak and Delft, 22 November 2017; box, bamboo, early 20th century; jacket, bark, early 20th century

Religion and Violence in Myanmar: Sitagu Sayadaw’s Case for Mass Killing

Religion and Violence in Myanmar: Sitagu Sayadaw’s Case for Mass Killing by Matthew J. Walton, 06/11/2017, Foreign Affairs

The most common explanation given for the persecution of the Rohingya revolves around their nationality. Government officials, media commentators, and religious leaders have claimed that the Rohingya are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Ethnicity plays a role, as well. The government officially recognizes 135 indigenous ethnic groups, and Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution grants those groups certain rights. The Rohingya are not among them. More broadly, people in Myanmar insist that the Rohingya are not a real ethnic group because they worry about the unlikely possibility that the Rohingya will seek to secede, threatening the country’s territorial sovereignty.

Sitagu’s words could provide the final cover for Myanmar’s Buddhists to ignore international criticism and cloak themselves in the righteousness of holy war.

National identity in Myanmar has long been intertwined with Buddhist religious identity. But religion has had a particular effect in the case of the Rohingya. The so-called War on Terror—waged primarily against Muslims around the world—has made it easier for Myanmar’s elites to label the Rohingya as terrorists and for government officials to defend the violence against them as a legitimate response to extremism. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s attacks on government targets in October 2016 and August 2017, meanwhile, have validated many citizens’ belief that Islam is inherently violent and poses an existential threat to Buddhism, Myanmar’s majority religion. It has also allowed political and religious elites to unfairly and inaccurately associate all Rohingya with terrorism. Thanks to anti-Muslim ideas spread through social media sites, the popular press, and the writings and sermons of influential laypeople and monks, Myanmar’s citizens have come to see the Rohingya as doubly unwanted—as both national and religious “others.”

Lire la suite sur : https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/burma-myanmar/2017-11-06/religion-and-violence-myanmar

Changing political landscape allowing for greater public criticism in Vietnam

Changing political landscape allowing for greater public criticism in Vietnam

07
By student correspondent Diana Tung

 

Public criticism of the Vietnamese government has become commonplace in a nation previously known for strict political censorship, according to Emeritus Professor Ben Kerkvliet.
Professor Kerkvliet’s research focuses on data collection from the early 1990s through to 2015 to trace the emergence of increasingly vocal and public political complaints.  He presented his findings at a recent talk on political criticism in Vietnam at the Department of Political and Social Change.
“Prior to the 1990s, there was certainly a lot of criticism among citizens in Vietnam, but it was very low key. Since the mid-1990s political criticism in Vietnam has become very, very common,” said Professor Kerkvliet.
In contrast to foreign depictions of Vietnam as totalitarian and authoritarian, Professor Kerkvliet found ample evidence that challenged this simplistic view.
“Some scholars have written that the government tolerates no criticism. Other scholars though, have pointed out that’s really not the case. It’s much more nuanced and much more diverse by way of government reactions” added Professor Kerkvliet.
During the course of his research, Professor Kerkvliet and his assistant Pham Thu Thuy amassed hundreds of news articles, books, essays, blogs, and reports of political criticism. He also identified several themes and decided to explore four: labour, land, nation, and democratisation.
To vent their frustrations, Vietnamese citizens turned to various methods such as protests, petitions, and strikes. Meanwhile, government officials have been trying to navigate a fine line in responding to citizens’ public actions.
“To a considerable degree, authorities either let citizens speak or could not stop them. Moreover, authorities took rather seriously the idea that the government was ‘of the people, for the people, and by the people”, said Professor Kerkvliet.
Still, there have been limits to what the government has tolerated, with authorities resorting to evictions, intimidation and imprisonment.
To date, there has been insufficient attention paid to the changing nature of public political criticism in Vietnam. As Professor Kerkvliet said, “nobody has put it all together and done an analysis of some depth across the different topics.”
Professor Kerkvliet’s upcoming book will address this gap in scholarship and provide an in-depth understanding of contemporary public criticism in Vietnam.

 

http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/news-events/all-stories/changing-political-landscape-allowing-greater-public-criticism-vietnam

Youth and a culture of protest in Southeast Asia

Bersih-2012-Sham-Hardy

Youth and a culture of protest in Southeast Asia by Julian CH Lee, 08/11/2017, Regional Learning Hub, New Mandala

Shortly before Malaysia’s general elections in 2008, I sat on a cool floor with blank placards and marker pens, beneath a whirring ceiling fan in a bungalow house in Kuala Lumpur. I sat there with friends, some younger, some older than my 31 year old self, thinking of slogans for our campaign to educate voters about the representation of women in Parliament and the hurdles that women face in having their voices heard and issues addressed…

The particular energy that these young people brought to our campaign is worth drawing attention to. Malaysians, and especially young Malaysians, have often been characterised as being averse to political activism. But the work of scholars like Meredith Weiss has persuasively demonstrated that Malaysia has a rich history of student activism, one which has been actively suppressed and obscured such that many young people today have little idea of it. In this context, work such as Weiss’s book, activist Fahmi Reza’s documentary Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka, and discussions such as this on New Mandala, have a potentially important role in reconnecting people with lost histories and stories.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/youth-culture-protest-southeast-asia/