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Working Paper No. 20

AKM Ahsan Ullah, Yusnani Mohamed Yusof, Maria D’Aria

Safety issues of migration have come to the fore in the public and academic discourse in recent years. People seek irregular means of passage in their effort to migrate overseas. As a result, their lives are at put at risk. Female migrants are more vulnerable than their male counterparts in unsafe migration conditions.

This paper tries to understand the perception of migrants about their own migration experiences. About 94 female migrants were selected based on snow ball and convenient sampling from two destinations: Thailand and Malaysia. The study shows that most of the respondents underwent (pre-migration, enroute, post-migration) extremely dangerous and unsafe experiences. Gross human rights violation by travel agencies, brokers and employers as well were revealed.

Safe migration entails a series of policies, programs, and initiatives which focus on all aspects of migration- from education of potential migrants in the home countries to policies which protect migrants while in transit, to the protection of human rights in holding centers, and proper border control and policing. Safe migration requires the participation of all countries involved in the migration process in creating more opportunities for safe migration by empowering and educating people on migration options and by creating policies that protect human rights.

Working Paper No. 21

A careful observation of the ways in which conflicts in East Asia are managed reveals a unique approach to addressing incompatibilities involved in conflict. This approach is fundamentally different from the mainstream Western approach, which is characterized by an effort to integrate the incompatible positions of the parties to conflict.

According to John Burton, this integration is made possible by delving into human needs that lie beneath these positions. In contrast, an East Asian approach (in its best case scenario) seems to result in the co-existence of incompatible positions without integration. This paper investigates how such co-existence of incompatible positions is achievable. After discussing several possible ways in which incompatibility of conflict can be addressed, the paper examines three representative East Asian conflicts from the standpoint of incompatibility management, namely the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.

It highlights that incompatible positions co-exist with each other in the management of these conflicts. While there are observable efforts to transform conflicts for better management in the three cases, a regional approach is found to manoeuvre around incompatibility. This is made possible partly by the function of the parties absorbing tension arising from incompatibility. Yet, more fundamentally, this paper argues that the Buddhist concepts of sōsoku-sōnyū (mutual presence and mutual merging), shi-hokkai (four realms of existence) and dai’enkyō-chi (wisdom comparable to an infinite round mirror), originating in Kegon-kyō or the Avatamsaka (Flower Garland) Sutra of the Mahayana Buddhism are key to explaining outcomes in these cases.

Working Paper No. 22

In the early 2000s, Indonesia witnessed a proliferation of Islamist paramilitary groups and terror activity in the wake of Suharto’s downfall. Having said this, over the years since Suharto’s downfall, the dire threat predictions have largely failed to materialize at least strategically.

This outcome raises some interesting questions about the ways in which Indonesian policy-makers responded to the security threat posed by Islamist militancy. Drawing on Temby’s thesis about Darul Islam and negara Islam Indonesia and combining this with Colombijn and Lindblad’s concept of ‘reservoirs of violence’, the following paper establishes that persistent and excessive punitive action by the state is potentially counter-productive in the long run.

On its own, punitive action fails to address effectively the conditioning factors underlying militancy and its different social imaginary. If over-utilized, it runs too high a risk of antagonizing and further polarizing oppositional segments of the population by perpetuating a ‘ghettoized’ sense of enmity and alienation amongst them towards the state and wider society.

This paper argues that a more nuanced approach that both supports and utilizes various preventative measures is also critical for addressing complex and deeply rooted types of insecurity. By situating localized responses to the problem in historical context, the paper underscores the importance of charting a course between strategic and human security concerns to counter the specific imaginary of extreme thinking and limit the conditions under which Islamist militancy reproduces in Indonesia.

Working Paper No. 23

The rise of Korean pop culture signifies an active audience framework because, as this study finds, Indonesian Muslim youth are more active in their consumption of television dramas through laptops than through television. Globalisation has supported the instant availability of Korean television dramas on the internet, and these can be downloaded and shared as pirated DVDs and free files. Furthermore, Muslim youths who watch Korean television dramas actively imagine the modernity reflected in them, and seek to selectively experience the modern elements that are represented. This imagination is interwoven with their Islamic belief structure and thus allows them to be both modern and Muslim.

Working Paper No. 24

Tourism is making an increasingly important contribution to regional economic development in Borneo and is an important element in state development plans and programmes; considerable attention is also being paid to the potential offered in the East Asian market for attracting package tourists to the Borneo states, especially in Sabah, Brunei Darussalam and Sarawak.

The Borneo states boast two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one in Sarawak (Gunung Mulu National Park) and the other in Sabah (Kinabalu National Park), and the collaborative and coordinated ‘The Heart of Borneo’ conservation and forest and wildlife reservation project in which all Borneo states participate and which offers opportunities for the development of ecotourism. Nevertheless, tourism is a relatively new developmental enterprise in Borneo in comparison with the established tourism destinations in neighbouring Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Even now research on tourism in Borneo is uneven and its conceptual contribution to tourism studies though empirically interesting and useful is poorly developed. Developments in research during the past 20 years are reviewed.

Three ASEAN states are represented in Borneo: the Federation of Malaysia, Negara Brunei Darussalam, and the Republic of Indonesia and they offer fertile ground for comparative studies in the tourism field. Whilst the emphasis and direction of tourism development policies indicate some convergence in those pursuits offered to tourists: in ecotourism, ethnic and longhouse tourism, heritage tourism and even beach resort tourism, there is also evidence of considerable divergence. The reasons for this divergence are examined in terms of the differences in overall political and economic priorities in the three nation-states, and to different environmental, cultural, historical and infrastructural characteristics. These differences suggest that one way forward for tourism development is the organization and promotion of regional and cross-national tourism packages to take advantage of diversity in an already interconnected set of states.

Working Paper No. 25

Oral history sources add specificity and personal depth to traditional historical narratives commonly based on written sources. These interviews complement the historical context particularly where written sources are sparse or unable to provide a complete picture of an era.

This paper specifically addresses the contribution of the oral history project conducted by Janet E. Marles, Maslin Jukim and Frank Dhont in Brunei Darussalam and Northern Borneo. Working with graduate students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam across diverse language groups the video project created an archival database of first person interviews of witnesses to the Japanese Occupation of Brunei Darussalam during World War Two.

Working Paper No. 26

This paper explores the relations between riparian people and states regarding the two Sesan River hydropower projects: the Yali Falls Dam and the Lower Sesan II Dam. I argue that the relations are contested and that these contested relations are rooted in the states’ predominance and the local population’s disempowerment, which are relevant to present-day human-security agendas.

Working Paper No. 27

This working paper examines the symbolic construction of “Indonesia” in eighteen television commercials that were aired between 2006 and 2013. Employing critical discourse analysis, I identify two imaginings of Indonesia: the first is a reproduction of the New Order’s notion of Indonesia as a country of diverse cultural traditions, and the second is the discourse of Indonesia as a nation of hardworking and self-reliant people. While the former is oriented towards the past, the latter is oriented towards the future. Interestingly, this second discourse is symptomatic of the paradigmatic shift towards pragmatism that was manifested in Joko Widodo’s win of the presidency in 2014. This research indicates that in post-authoritarian Indonesia, narratives of the nation and nationalism are no longer exclusively dictated by the state. This is convergent with a widespread phenomenon, where neo-liberal principles and market logic are increasingly informing discourses of nationhood.

Working Paper No. 28

Muhammad Faiz Zul Hamdi, Norhidayah Abdullah, and Hazimatul Diyana binti Narudin

Kampong Ayer was and is historically and culturally a significant place in Brunei. However, years of resettlement programmes and destruction caused by fires have resulted in droves of people moving in and out. This paper examines Kampong Ayer from the perspective of human geography, the social construction of space over time. Migration, as a manifestation of globalization in the last thirty years, is a key element in this process.

Working Paper No. 29

Global tourism’s continuing expansion as exemplified by rising international arrivals and number of new destinations suggests that understanding the socio-economic prosperity of a competitive destination is an essential component of effective destination management and planning.

This paper applies Kim and Wicks’ (2010) tourism cluster development model to Bali – a small, mature destination in the developing economy of Indonesia. It demonstrates whether economic prosperity achieved through destination competitiveness can translate into better social welfare, particularly in mature destinations such as Bali. This paper investigates locals’ perceptions of how far the impact of destination competitiveness has actually improved the quality of life of locals in Bali.

Through a qualitative approach involving N = 28 semi-structured interviews, this paper illustrates that successful and competitive tourism destination does not always mean better welfare for its residents as is shown clearly in this Bali case study. Planned tourism development does not necessarily stimulate balanced regional development and equitable growth, thus justifying the importance of taking a step further in analysing the links between destination competitiveness and the residents’ quality of life.