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.
‘FOUND Cambodia’ is a project that traces some of the sociocultural changes Cambodia has witnessed since 1979. It is a constantly growing archive of everyday Cambodian photography, brought to light from individuals’ and families’ drawers, albums, and closets. The images provide a vernacular lens to how individuals in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia have experienced the social and cultural revival following the regime’s fall. Further, the project also includes photographs taken before the Khmer Rouge came into power. These images serve as poignant testimonies of the effects that macroscopic socio-political changes bear on the individual. A unique glimpse into Cambodians’ day-to-day lives over the past four decades, ‘FOUND Cambodia’ serves as a visual archive for anyone interested in understanding societal changes through the eyes of an individual.
Silvia Vignato (ed.), Dreams of Prosperity: Inequality and Integration in Southeast Asia, EFEO, Silkworm Books, 2017
Dreams of Prosperity offers a critical composite reflection on Southeast Asia as a progressively integrated and globalized space of production, exchange, and circulation within and beyond national boundaries. Through a broad array of contexts united by the theme of integration, the essays describe the successful or unsuccessful entry of specific individuals or groups into wider markets and networks in their quest for prosperity—in Thailand, by Lua peasant farmers, slum families, the last century’s teak laborers, and ethnic tour hosts; in Indonesia, by the urban poor and communities resisting environmental destruction; and in Vietnam, by human trafficking returnees. The authors examine how these groups are socially and symbolically defined and redefined in the process of integration, and consider the imaginaries of future that enable both active participation and unmitigated manipulation. Two key topics are the cognitive struggle that peasants and laborers face with their material environment and the process of sense-making that characterizes many destitute people in urban contexts.
Contributors are Matteo Carlo Alcano, Amnuayvit Thitibordin, Monika Arnez, Giuseppe Bolotta, Olivier Evrard, Karnrawee Sratongno, Runa Lazzarino, Manoj Potapohn, Amalia Rossi, Sakkarin Na Nan, and Silvia Vignato.
Green Aspirations and the Dynamics of Integration in Two East Kalimantan Cities— Monika Arnez
Neoliberalism and the Integration of Labor and Natural Resources: Contract Farming and Biodiversity Conservation in Northern Thailand—Amalia Rossi and Sakkarin Na Nan
Integration and Marginality in the Tourist Economy: The Geopolitics of Trekking in Chiang Mai Province—Olivier Evrard, Manoj Potapohn, and Karnrawee Stratongno
Migration and the Ethnic Division of Labor in Siam’s Teak Business, 1880s–1910s— Amnuayvit Thitibordin
After the Shelter: The Nuances of Reintegrating Human Trafficking Returnees in Northern Vietnam—Runa Lazzarino
Playing the NGO System: How Mothers and Children Design Political Change in the Slums of Bangkok—Giuseppe Bolotta
Making Sense of Poverty in Aceh and Surabaya—Silvia Vignato and Matteo Carlo Alcano