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Working Paper No. 01

In an attempt to promote a wide-ranging comparative investigation in Borneo Studies and one which looks beyond Borneo’s shores to the wider nation-states in which Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan are situated, this paper examines the interrelated concepts of culture and identity, and more especially identities in motion, in analysing interrelationships and encounters between a range of peoples and communities.

Although it is an attempt to re-orient and promote the study of Bornean identities what it is doing in a more modest fashion is to bring some of the available literature together and explore some of the links between case-studies and ideas.

The cases are grouped under four heads (though as the research develops there could be more) whilst keeping in mind the underlying concepts of centres and margins and cores and peripheries: (1) the nation-state, majorities and minorities; (2) the media, identities and nation-building; (3) borderlands, margins and identities; and (4) emerging middle classes, lifestyles and identities.

Working Paper No. 02

The production, dissemination and utilization of knowledge are essential for development and the introduction of information and communication technology (ICT) is a precondition for developing a knowledge society. Countries, regions and populations are, however, divided, in terms of access to ICT. Socio-economic indicators on Brazil, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Germany are used to show that the existing global digital divide and the knowledge gap are widening between developing countries and the industrial countries and within individual nations.

The moral and cultural issues of the digital divide and the knowledge gap are identified. Access to primary education and the acquisition of reading and writing skills is a basic human right and an internal digital divide between those that have access to further knowledge and others without access is unjust and not acceptable. Furthermore a civilization needs “meta-narratives” as a common ground, an anchorage for basic cultural values, which have to be disseminated, known and accepted by all members of a society to avoid violent conflict, fundamentalisms of various kinds and alienation.

Some countries have embarked on an ambitious plan to close the digital divide and to use knowledge as a base for economic development, by-passing earlier stages of industrialization. Some commentators have, in contrast, asserted that it is doubtful that closing the digital divide will let developing countries leapfrog to higher levels of development as the knowledge economy will deepen the digital divide between regions and populations and actually expand the gap between rich and poor. The paper discusses this controversy by arguing that global knowledge has to be localized and local knowledge utilized in developing a knowledge society. If it seems unlikely that the digital gap between developing and developed countries will be closed completely at least narrowing the gap at the lower end should be targeted. For this purpose minimal standards of “basic digital needs” should be formulated.

Working Paper No. 03

In many respects, this paper is a starting point in the consideration of research on Borneo as a field of studies which has both relied upon and contributed to the more general field of anthropology and the wider social sciences.

I believe that this represents the first attempt  to take stock of and to reflect on what has been achieved in scholarship on Borneo in the post-war period and it has also considered the post-war colonial legacy and what has been achieved in research during the period of independence in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo and Brunei Darussalam and in the era of nation-building and development.

In presenting an overview of the field I have reflected on the literature and attempted  to arrange and evaluate it in a more consistent and ordered fashion. I have used an overlapping set of organisational principles based on chronology, themes, individual legacies and contributions, and debates and controversies. There is much more I could have referred to and discussed in this introductory overview but the intention has been to stimulate reflection and debate on the development of our understanding about the societies and cultures of Borneo since the 1940s.

Working Paper No. 04

UNESCO in Southeast Asia: World Heritage Sites in Comparative Perspectives

Victor T. King

The region’s 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS) make a significant contribution to national identity, international profile, and government plans for domestic and international tourism development.  Yet we still know very little about these sites in comparative terms. The sites are defined generally as those of ‘universal human value’.

Once UNESCO has inscribed a site then it becomes ‘a validation of quality’ and even more importantly it confirms its ‘authenticity’; these attributes can and usually do provide significant attractions for the international tourism market and governments also deploy them for political and economic purposes. Moreover, they are globally important, but they are also locally demarcated sites which are the focus of cultural encounters, social and political conflicts, and tensions and accommodations between competing interests (international bodies, national governments and their agencies, NGOs, conservation experts, tourists and local communities). They provide the ideal laboratories for multi-disciplinary analysis, bringing together perspectives from history, political science, economics, geography-ecology, sociology and anthropology.

Some preliminary and summary observations are presented here from a four-year British Academy-ASEASUK-funded project (2009-2013) designed to examine a range of both cultural and natural sites across seven countries in the Southeast Asian region.

This is the first large-scale comparative research programme of its kind and, among other issues, it considers how sites are being managed and how they are coping with the conflicting pressures to which they are subject in a globalising heritage industry and in serving as symbols of identity and prestige in national policy-making and development plans.  In comparing sites within and beyond a particular country I draw out lessons for best practice in order to assist UNESCO and national governments in relation to their concerns about heritage protection, conservation and tourism development.

Working Paper No. 05

Foreign direct investment is supposed to stimulate economic growth through the transfer of new technical knowledge and product innovation.

This paper deals with the knowledge flow within the Japanese automotive supply chain catalysed by the keiretsu network in Indonesia. For this purpose, we analyse the character of the keiretsu and we trace how the knowledge flow is managed via the vertical linkage between manufacturers and suppliers within an industrial cluster. By doing so, we intend to contribute to the growing literature on industrial upgrading of the global production network and the use of knowledge for innovation and development.

Based on our qualitative study, we show that the process of industrial upgrading is cumbersome for the automotive supplier companies in Indonesia. This is partly due to the fiscal incentive based policy of the Indonesian government and at the micro level due to the keiretsu as an institution, whereby knowledge flow is mediated by the restrictive practices of the supplier development programme.

Working Paper No. 06

Hans-Dieter Evers, Anthony Banyouko Ndah & Liyana Yahya

This atlas presents the geo-visual outcome of the project titled “Knowledge hubs in Brunei Darussalam”.

The availability and application of knowledge has been identified as the most important driving force of innovation and the social and economic development of a knowledge-based economy. As an additional factor the spatial distribution of high-level manpower, of knowledge producing institutions and of high-tech driven industrial production, in short the development of knowledge clusters is seen as an essential precondition for sustainable economic growth. The initial attempt to map knowledge clusters was done with the aid of the free software ‘DIVA GIS’. Later on, with access to ArcGIS soft ware, the map quality and visual effects was improved upon. All the maps produced so far have therefore been included in this first atlas which is intended to serve as a reference document not only for similar studies and research but for development planning in Brunei Darussalam. This atlas will therefore serve as a valuable tool for both researchers and government departments. In the general map-making process, three vector layers – roads, rail roads and water areas – are overlaid on the Brunei shapefile which contains administrative boundaries, downloaded from Diva GIS web site. Coordinates of knowledge institutions were imported to the Diva GIS soft ware from an Excel spread sheet appearing as point symbols on the maps, representing individual institutions. It should however be borne in mind that the mapping process is still continuous and improvements and corrections will further be done to remove current imperfections. This is therefore not the final output.

Working Paper No. 07

Over the last two years, the ‘Indonesian model’ has become an increasingly repeated mantra in media and policy circles. It seems to hold the promise of a ‘road map’ for the nascent transitions taking place in the Arab world.

The logic and appeal here is obvious. Simply stated, Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country on the planet and in the decade or more since the downfall of Suharto; it has successfully, if not always without difficulty, transitioned from authoritarian rule to a functioning democracy. At the same time, initial concerns over radical Islamist ascendency have proved largely unfounded. In fact, Indonesia accommodates a diversity of political expression within the framework of democratic electoral politics. All of which explains the recent interest.

Having said this, should we hold up the ‘Indonesian model’ as a general panacea for what ails the Middle East? The following paper introduces a note of caution by examining this question in more detail to see whether or not our apples are actually oranges and what lessons, if any, can we draw.

Working Paper No. 08

The development of citizenship regimes in Southeast Asia in the lead up to independence and its immediate aftermath is inextricably tied to the formation of nation-states. This paper focuses on formal citizenship as an instrument of social closure in the years of decolonization that were dominated by political conflict between the ‘indigenous’ and the Chinese immigrant populations.

In my comparative discussion of the different trajectories that citizenship regimes in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia took, I identify the simultaneous but contradictory presence of inclusiveness and exclusiveness.

The contradiction can be explained by linking it to the ebb and flow of civic and ethnic nationalisms, the democratization process, and the specific circumstances in which the Chinese were perceived as the ‘Other’.

Working Paper No. 09

Farah Purwaningrum, Syamimi Ariff Lim, Hans-Dieter Evers and Tony Banyouko Ndah

The paper revisits the concept of knowledge governance by drawing on the experience of building knowledge clusters in two countries, namely Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. By drawing on the experiences of selected Southeast Asian countries, it explores the strategies by which a country may take up the governance of knowledge in terms of avoiding the knowledge trap.

We posit that an investigation of knowledge governance would require a study of the formal and informal institutional arrangements allowing knowledge flows in a cluster. The flow of tacit knowledge in particular may still require spatial proximity.

We move on to explore the different perspectives of learning from the strategies of building knowledge clusters in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Peninsular Malaysia and Brunei-Muara District – Brunei Darussalam. Our research builds the foundation for knowledge governance inquiry by studying the spatial distribution of manpower and the science network of universities, in this case Universiti Sains Malaysia, with external knowledge producing organizations.

Learning from the experience of the Northern Corridor and Multi Media Corridor in Malaysia, we discuss our preliminary analysis of knowledge clusters in the Brunei-Muara District, Brunei Darussalam. Results of the analysis highlight that indeed there is increasing clustering of organizations such as private companies and government agencies in the Brunei-Muara District. Nevertheless, high levels of knowledge sharing within the cluster are still lacking.

We intend to follow up the study of the Brunei-Muara District knowledge cluster by focusing on the ICT (Information Communication and Technology) knowledge base. Lastly, in conclusion we summarise the current findings and present preliminary recommendations for developing a knowledge base in Brunei Darussalam.