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IAS Working Paper Series

The Institute launched a Working Paper Series in 2012. It is a key component of the IAS profile both locally and internationally. The Working Paper Series acts as a publication resource to facilitate the rapid and open-access dissemination of work by IAS scholars, UBD faculty and other scholars working in and on the region. This Series of topical peer-reviewed research papers, many of which go on to finalized publication in international journals, is available in printed and online versions. Papers from the IAS WPS can be downloaded from the list located on this web page. Printed versions are also available from the Institute’s publication collection.

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Working Paper No. 76

Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s The Girl from The Coast (1991) is a novel about women’s struggles under Javanese patriarchy, highlighting the controversial culture of polygamy and ‘practice wives’ in colonial Indonesia.

Previous studies of the novel have situated the character of The Girl as the victimised female under the Bendoro’s dominance due to her gender and class position. However, these reviews overlook the other female characters – mBok, Mardinah and the mother – and their relationships with The Girl.

This paper questions whether the female relationships in the novel perpetuate internalised oppression and misogyny, or do they offer solidarity and resistance for the women living under the structure of Javanese patriarchy? It focuses on the female characters by exploring the relationships between The Girl and her servants, mBok and Mardinah, and her mother through the lens of intersectionality.

I first analyse the hierarchical power relations which permeate The Girl’s relationships with the other female characters. Then, I consider how internalised misogyny challenges female solidarity in these characters. Lastly, I examine how the characters’ acceptance of patriarchal values function as a means of survival for them.

In the conclusion, I propose that assessing these relationships through the lens of intersectionality will uncover the significant role of women in replicating and reinforcing Javanese patriarchy.

Working Paper No. 75

The politics of identity is central to the study of race and ethnicity. This paper considers the utility of several methodological approaches relevant to making sense of ethnic identity. It details the contributions of narrative, performative, and dialogical understandings of identity-formation and the ways in which they intersect and inform one another. The paper further highlights their application to ethnicity through four case studies in Malaysia and Indonesia. Although analytically distinct approaches, it is important not to treat the three elements in isolation or separately. A performative or dialogical approach is only meaningful if the narratives implicit in both are uncovered and analyzed, while narratives gain greater import if they are regarded as dialogical. As this paper argues, if triangulated and used in careful combination, they can render a fuller sense of ethnic identity-formation and its complexities.

Working Paper No. 74

Wars, armed combat, and military occupations are as old as humanity with conflict arising over mates, food and subsequently territory and material resources and ultimately power, control, and domination. The weapons of conflict have also evolved in sophistication, efficacy, and destructiveness with little sign of abatement. There are presently scores of conflict hotspots (of varying degree) across the globe with others simmering under the surface.

This paper details examples drawn from Southeast Asia as an exploratory study to develop a compendium and potential typology set of wars and armed conflicts across the region over time. The aim is to discern patterns of occurrence, and more importantly, primary driving forces and/or ‘push’ factors that precipitated conflict in the first place. Scrutiny and analysis of discernible patterns might reveal certain conditions and situational commonalities that alert us to the need of making concerted efforts to avoid similar occurrences in the future.

Working Paper No. 73

Chinese sources have played a very important role in the writing of early Southeast Asian history. However, scholars have struggled to understand the information in those sources and over the past century, there have been countless different interpretations that have been put forward.

In this paper, we revisit the Chinese sources on early Southeast Asian history and do not simply offer a new interpretation, but also attempt to demonstrate why previous scholarship has been inaccurate.

In particular, previous generations of scholars failed to recognize the way that Chinese scholars in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries distorted information about Southeast Asia by (arbitrarily) equating historical placenames with the names of contemporary kingdoms. In doing so, they made false connections between placenames, thereby leading later scholars astray.

In this paper, we return to the earliest sources and build our knowledge from scratch. What emerges is a new picture of early Southeast Asian history and one that is free of the many textual problems and contradictions that scholars have struggled with over the past century.

Working Paper No. 72

Our ways of representing the cosmological world are core issues in the reconfigured animism field in contemporary anthropology, as well as a recurring theme in the social sciences’ current interest in ontologies.

This paper interrogates methodological questions of decisions regarding who to listen to as cosmological interlocuters in fieldwork, and how to interpret diverse perspectives and varied claims of expertise on the spirit-worlds.

The work is an attempt to be transparent about the methodological untidiness of fieldwork on a topic upon which there seemed to be a very nebulous body of ideas and practice.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Kulen plateau in northwest Cambodia, I describe an expressed paucity of specialized knowledge about the nature of the cosmological inhabitants of the place.

However, when it came to engaging with the spirit-worlds, mountain residents joined together in complex ritual practice. Cosmological knowledge was not held by one but many, and supernatural solutions were sought through a network of expertise and in community.

I contrast the types of knowledge held by pilgrims to the mountain with that of its long-term residents, and discuss the challenges presented in observing and representing a varied cosmological ethnoscape in a sacred place.

Working Paper No. 71

This paper contends that a state’s political-economic dynamics can have a key influence over the primary aims and rationale of conducting transdisciplinary projects in the Global South (TPGS).

By reflecting on fieldwork experiences in the study of dam-induced problems in northeast Cambodia, it problematises a tendency to overstate the impact of methodological challenges such as language barriers, internet access or unexpected funding expenses on project efficacy.

Instead, the paper employs a social-conflict lens to detail the political-economic agency of actors and the preponderant influence this can bring to bear on the aims of a transdisciplinary project.

In doing so, it foregrounds often-inimical and asymmetrical relationships that form among various non-academic stakeholders during a TPGS to significantly shape project outcomes.

Working Paper No. 70

This exploratory study seeks to detail propositions and a conceptual framework that factor ethnic heterogeneity and exclusive institutions in determining public service motivation (PSM).

Drawing on scholarly work on PSM, heterogeneity and institutions, our paper suggests that in assessing an individual’s PSM and chances of joining the public service, ethnic heterogeneity matters. It matters because while personal attributes – like education, personal values and identity, political beliefs, socialisation – are important in determining one’s public service motivation, they are not the sole determinants.

As the paper highlights, an ethnically heterogeneous environment with the potential of producing numerous types of exclusive institutions can influence one’s perception of the public service, alter one’s motivation to serve in the public service or even eliminate one’s chances of joining the civil service.

Working Paper No. 69

Due to geopolitical tensions, such as those brought about by COVID-19 and the US-China trade war, many multinationals have been closing factories in China and relocating to countries along the Mekong such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

As a result, these countries will inevitably experience more international commerce in the future and attention will focus on their legislative and judicial systems. While much has been written about these countries’ laws, scant attention has been paid to a common feature in their development, the pervasive influence of Japanese private law.

Since 1996, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has played a major role in the modernization of law in the region. Through its Legal and Judicial Development Project, JICA has provided technical assistance for the reform of codes and the training of lawyers in the use of those codes.

This paper critically examines JICA’s contribution to the rule of law in the region. It considers whether Japanese soft power (as manifested by JICA) complements or is at cross-purposes with projects of other organisations and initiatives (such as, Asian Development Bank and World Bank).

It then evaluates the extent to which JICA’s work is currently attuned to or has the potential to be made more responsive to the social and economic aspirations of the relevant countries.

Working Paper No. 68

Places are social constructs. They become individuated and significant when imbued with meaning through people’s lived experience, usage, and imagery.

This paper discusses the construction of Patanian places in Thailand’s Deep South, a region consisting of the provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala, where the Malays constitute the ethnic majority.

Using the Krisek Mosque, the Tomb of Sultan Ismail Shah, and the former home of Haji Sulong as examples, the paper shows how Patanian Malay narratives about these places illustrate their sorrow about the demise of the historical Malay kingdom of Patani and their community’s strained political relationship with the Thai state and nation.

Viewed collectively, these places constitute a landscape of grief for the Patanian Malays.

Working Paper No. 67

Lian Kwen Fee, Yabit Alas, Tong Chee Kiong, and Faizul Ibrahim

The etymology of the term ‘Dusun’ is disputed. It has been attributed to British colonialists to refer to a place where people practised horticulture and to the Brunei Malays to describe orchard or countryside. Over time, as a consequence of official ascription, it has been accepted by the indigenous community itself, even though the Dusun themselves initially preferred to call themselves Sang Jati (our people).

In this paper we address the question of what is Dusun identity and who are the Dusun by examining the work of local and foreign scholars and the views of informants who have been influential in the community.

Equally important, we also identify critical issues that have dominated the work of these scholars and assess their relevance to current and future research on the Dusun. These issues include ethnic identity and religion, ecology and language, and kinship and leadership. We come to the conclusion that ecological variations matter.

Future research should address how the Dusun are represented and essentialised and recognise the diversity of ‘Dusunness’ today.

Working Paper No. 66

It is a commonly held assumption that while migrants can contribute to economic growth, their impacts on population composition may also generate socio-cultural tensions and political instability. As such, ethnic diversity of a province or a community may have a positive or negative affect on regional development. This raises the question of whether impacts of migration on ethnic diversity correlate with economic growth.

Taking Indonesia as the locus of the study, the following paper presents new empirical data in response to that question. By analysing statistics on ethnic groups and regional composition derived primarily from the Indonesia 2010 Population Census and cross referencing them with recent ethnic classifications and fractionalisation and polarisation indexes, a fuller overview of ethnic diversity across the archipelago and its relationship to migration and economic growth is gained.

Based on the data, a mixed pattern emerges on the role ethnic diversity plays in intermediating the relationship between migration and economic growth. The findings suggest a correlation between indicators of ethnic diversity and economic regions but in less developed regions in particular, other variables also modulate the relation between migration and economic growth. While ethnic diversity appears to be a primary variable in more developed regions.

Working Paper No. 65

This paper is based on fieldwork on selected Iban communities in Temburong, Brunei Darussalam during research visits there between 2018 and 2021.

In Brunei, the Iban are a minority population of about 20,000 and, in terms of its Constitution and the Nationality Act of 1961, they are not considered as one of the recognised indigenous populations (puak jati) of the state. Despite being marginal to the Brunei state, they have chosen to make their home here and enjoy the support and the employment opportunities that the state provides.

This paper aims to fill a gap in Iban Studies by providing recent data on the Temburong Iban’s social organisation, economic activities and cultural identity in conjunction with their responses to their minority status in Brunei. It is also an ethnographic prelude to a prospective major study of the Iban of Brunei.

Working Paper No. 64

Caroline Anne Yong Suk Zhen, Siu Tzyy Wei, and Paul J. Carnegie

This paper considers whether regional digital partnership offers an effective strategy for post-pandemic recovery.

To ground the paper in critical reflection, we combine personal impressions of our current situation with a discussion of the ways to achieve meaningful digital partnership.

Drawing on work as varied as Thomas Kuhn, Bong Joon-ho, Nikolai Kondratieff and Piyawat Sivarak, the paper argues that our future wellbeing is predicated on our ability to bridge the digital divide and cooperate effectively for mutual benefit.

Working Paper No. 63

The COVID-19 pandemic calls for a collective response at the global and regional level. Otherwise, some nations may be left behind and the potential for the contagion to return remains high.

As advanced regional blocs, the EU and ASEAN have a major responsibility to their members for coordinating health protection measures and access to vaccines, maintaining the mobility of people and goods, and supporting their economy. The pandemic is therefore a test for regions. They must demonstrate that they are at least making national measures more effective.

This paper seeks to determine whether the EU and ASEAN have passed the COVID-19 test. It does so by analysing their responses in 2020 when the countries were hit by the first wave of contagion.

The first section of the paper considers their attitude and action when the initial cases appeared in Europe and Southeast Asia in the early part of 2020. While the second section focuses on vaccines and the policies adopted in each region.

The paper concludes that overall, the responses of the two regions to their COVID-19 test were late and insufficient.

Working Paper No. 62

This paper explores various notions of masculinity among young Malay men in Brunei Darussalam. Using interview data from 16 male and female informants, it elucidates other forms of self-expressions and identities in contrast to the stereotypical and traditional notion of masculinity.

While the data attest to the normative values and ways of being men recognized by the mainstream society and institutions in Brunei, it also found a significant “modern” approach and perception of expressing different notions of masculinity.

This pilot study sheds light on the norms and values that define and shape masculinity among young Malay men within their socio-cultural contexts of contemporary Brunei Darussalam.

Working Paper No. 61

The South China Sea is a significant maritime region both strategically and economically. Its valuable resources provide major economic benefits for the countries of the surrounding region. Maintaining the maritime security of Brunei’ territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) against illegal activity is key to ensuring the long-term viability of its benefits for the country. This paper considers the effectiveness of maritime co-ordination and information sharing in combatting illegal fishing activities within Brunei Darussalam’s EEZ and the challenges it faces.

Working Paper No. 60

This paper examines the contribution of overseas scholars to Chinese studies.

Given that eighty percent of the Chinese diaspora are located in Southeast Asia, it pays particular attention to social science scholarship in the region. The work of scholars in religion and ethnicity are highlighted. . .

Working Paper No. 59

Borassus flabellifer L., is a semi-domesticated palm of cultural and economic importance to local communities from the Persian Gulf to the Cambodian- Vietnamese border.

Drawing from a qualitative study conducted in Southern India, we bring out its biocultural significance to the local people, and the mutualistic relationship between the palm and its tappers. . .

Working Paper No. 58

The Malay peasantry in peninsular Malaysia has been the subject of fieldwork and ethnographic research by both colonial and local anthropologists.

Raymond Firth’s Malay fishermen, based on fieldwork in Perupok, a fishing community in Kelantan, stands as an early and now classic example of the genre.

I was born some seven years after Firth’s first fieldwork in another east coast Malay fishing village, Kampung Che Wan, Kijal, in Terengganu. This article is about my own process of remembering the ethnographic details of my home village, thinking like an anthropologist over the period of a lifetime. . .

Working Paper No. 57

Jennifer Kim Lian Chan & Victor T. King

During the past two decades the Southeast Asian region has experienced a range of major crises. Its substantial tourism industry has often taken the brunt of these difficult and testing events, from natural and environmental calamities, epidemics and pandemics, downturns and financial slumps in the world economy, terrorism and political conflict.

The latest peril, this time on a global scale, is the ‘Novel Coronavirus’ (Covid-19/SARS-CoV-2) pandemic; it has already had serious consequences for Southeast Asia and its tourism development and will continue to do so. . .

Working Paper No. 56

There are an estimated 14,000 to 20,000 Iban living in Brunei, most of them in the Ulu Belait and Temburong districts. They migrated to Brunei from Sarawak just before the Second World War in search of new land and opportunity to improve their livelihood.

Not recognized as one of the seven puak by the state, the common narrative is that they face challenges of incorporation into the Sultanate. In Mukim Sukang (Ulu Belait) there are eight Iban longhouses.

This case study of the Iban of Melilas documents how one particular community has successfully negotiated and managed their acceptance as full citizens of Brunei while retaining their Iban identity. . .

Working Paper No. 55

Proposing constitutional reform and the process of establishing it are two distinct matters. The former is largely a normative projection of what could be whilst the latter involves the manner in which reform is brought about.

In reality, translating proposals into accepted practice involves overcoming legacies of the past. Whether or not they can persist over time is a process that is invariably fraught and often generates mixtures of trade-off and compromise.

The following paper examines the merits or otherwise of a gradualist approach to constitution-making. By anatomizing the constitutional reform process that took place in Indonesia from 1999-2002, it considers whether or not such an approach is appropriate for establishing meaningful constitutionalism in plural and divided societies. . .

Working Paper No. 54

While the myth of the exotic Oriental is a subject of rejection and subversion in conventional postcolonial studies, in contemporary studies of Southeast Asia, self-exoticism is evident at both the individual and national levels. It is deployed to achieve positional status in a globalised world.

This paper investigates what Graham Huggan (2001) terms the postcolonial exotic, particularly in terms of a re-politicisation of the female body in contemporary literature concerning Southeast Asia. It also draws on Christopher B. Balme’s theory of performative metonymy (where postcolonies mimic the expectations of the ex-colonisers) to foreground the workings of Huggan’s postcolonial exotic in selected texts.

The two primary texts selected for this purpose are Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan’s Sarong Party Girls (2016), which traces the practice of postcolonial exotic through the self-exoticising of the female body, and Amir Falique’s The Forlorn Adventure (2014) in which the presentation of Brunei can be read as an extension of the politics of the female body. . .

Working Paper No. 53

In this paper, I trace the development of my work on race and ethnicity over my academic career, as a reflection in part of my biographical background.

My interest in race and ethnic relations originated from my experience of the race riots in Kuala Lumpur on May 13th in 1969, subsequently grounded in graduate school in New Zealand where I conducted research on the Chinese and the Maoris.

My early work on returning to Singapore was on Malay identity in the region. It moved on later to writing about the marginalization of Tamils as an underclass in Malaysia and then a broader consideration of race, class, and politics in Peninsular Malaysia precipitated by the General Election of 2008.

Since the 1990s the representation of race and politics has pre-occupied many social science discourses, which is reflected in my work on the politics of racialization and Malay identity in Singapore. . .

Working Paper No. 52

Dispute, disagreement and debate are the very stuff of academic activity. The problem arises when the language of the debate takes on a personal dimension and the authority that is claimed in arguing in favour of a particular position, approach or perspective becomes so entrenched that other voices are assigned to the margins.

This paper reviews the origins and development of the exchange of views between competing voices in the interpretation of the importance and ‘meaning’ of the ritual textiles of the Iban of Borneo and whether or not they embody and express a language of symbols. . .

Working Paper No. 51

In the last three decades, labour casualization has become synonymous with Public Service reform in many developing countries. Reforms were meant to restructure and streamline public service delivery by establishing a more flexible workforce. Yet, labour casualization brings with it significant uncertainties such as diminished security of tenure, minimal employment protections and no guarantee of long-term employment prospects.

The following paper considers the structural impact of casualization on labour relations and the ways in which it influences the effectiveness of public service delivery. It argues that despite popular views about the advantages of labour casualization, it is less than beneficial to public service delivery in the long-run. The levels of precariousness generated by excessive labour casualization are more likely than not to undercut morale and stifle the ability of public service workers to carry out their roles effectively.

Working Paper No. 50

Hajah Siti Norfadzilah Binti Haji Kifli

This research explores how halal is regulated and practised in Brunei by highlighting the process of Halal Certification in Brunei.

In the recent enforcement of the Halal Certificate and Halal Logo (Amendment) Order of 2017, this research discusses the effects it has towards the local food and beverage (F&B) businesses, particularly the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

By comparing halal certification in Brunei with Singapore and Malaysia. . .

Working Paper No. 49

This paper explores critically and historically some of the popular academic views or ‘myths’ concerning the development of the study of Southeast Asia through the lens of the contributions of particular scholars and institutions. Within the broad field of Southeast Asian Studies the focus will be on the disciplines of geography, history and ethnology, and major scholars who contributed to the early study of the region.

There are certain views concerning the development of scholarship on Southeast Asia which continue to surface and have acquired, or are in the process of acquiring ‘mythical’ status. Among the most enduring is the claim that the region is a post-Second World War construction primarily arising from Western politico-strategic and economic preoccupations. More specifically, it is said that Southeast Asian Studies has been subject to the American domination of this field of scholarship, located in particular programmes of study in such institutions as Cornell, Yale and California, Berkeley, and, within those institutions, focused on particular scholars who have exerted considerable influence on the directions which research has taken.

Another is that, based on the model or template of Southeast Asian Studies (and other area studies projects) developed primarily in the USA, it has distinctive characteristics as a scholarly enterprise in that it is multidisciplinary, it requires command of the vernacular, and assigns special importance to what has been termed ‘groundedness’ and historical, geographical and cultural contextualization; in other words, a Southeast Asian Studies approach as distinct from disciplinary-based studies addresses local concerns, interests, perspectives and priorities, and it does so through in-depth, on-the-ground, engaged scholarship.

Finally, and, more recently, views have emerged that express the conviction that a truly Southeast Asian Studies project can only be achieved if it is based on a set of locally-generated concepts, methods and approaches. In other words, Western ethnocentrism and intellectual hegemony encourages ‘a captive mind’ in local scholarship which must be replaced by a genuinely local research endeavour presenting alternative views of the region, its past, present and future.

Working Paper No. 48

This paper examines woman (gender), Muslim (Orient) and elderly (age) from a postcolonial perspective. It highlights the relevance of spirituality to ageing, which is currently under-studied in sociology. Ten Brunei Malay Muslim women aged 60 – 76 were interviewed, with the aid of photo-elicitation method, about their experience of ageing.

All interviewees perceive ageing as a gift from God and should be embraced wholeheartedly but this is not necessarily translated into practice. Nonetheless, spirituality remains prominent and heightened as one grows older. This study also demonstrated how these women’s ageing experience is mediated by structural influences. They include ongoing Islamisation discourse, strong Malay cultural and Islamic values, interdependence of family structure (social expectation of filial piety) and social rapport and network.  Their experiences reveal a nuance understanding and diverse narratives of ageing. These findings open up new possibilities of understanding ageing in non-Western contexts.

Working Paper No. 47

Brunei Darussalam is a Malay and Islamic state that is well known for its various local cultural heritage and Adat (customs and traditions) that are steadfastly maintained until today. Adat is considered to be one of the most significant local practices that reflects the unique identity and foundation of Brunei Malay society and culture. It is part of being Calak Brunei and has been carried out and passed down from one generation to another.

Adat functions as a social, political and cultural marker of Brunei Malay society. However, with exposure to and influence of Islamisation in Brunei Darussalam, there has been a decline in the performance and practice of Adat especially in Malay traditional marriage customs as some of these customs are seen to be religiously incompatible. This paper explores and understand the extent to which tension and conflict between Adat and Islam exist in practices in the marriage customs of Brunei. It will also take into account the various changes and negotiations made to accommodate Adat within Islamic practices and values.

Working Paper No. 46

This article focuses on the experiences, aspirations and challenges of Sri Lankan Muslim returnees to the northern part of Sri Lanka, Jaffna and analyzes their strategies to cope with the ambivalent situation they face. The empirical point of departure is drawn from the stories of three Muslim returnees in Jaffna who returned from different parts of Sri Lanka.

The article finds that the Muslim returnees conceptualize home as a place where they can have a “better future” than the displaced location where they stayed for so long. We argue that this unveils the different kinds of attachment they have to their homes through memories, emotions, as well as material and other immaterial concerns. There even, exist feelings of alienation and detachment from their homes among some. Furthermore, their aspirations of a good life seem to be fading after their return.

Working Paper No. 45

This paper seeks to understand how it is that a small number of Europeans were able to extend their authority and control over the northern region of the island of Borneo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to establish a state known as British North Borneo, as well as to understand why the multi-ethnic society there remained largely peaceful during that time period.

Often mentioned only in passing in histories of the colonial era in Southeast Asia, British North Borneo came to share many similarities with the colonial states in the region, particularly with the development of plantations and the importation of laborers. British North Borneo was also similar to other colonial societies in that a very small number of Europeans controlled a much larger local population.

That said, while the concept of the “plural society,” which posits that shared economic interests can enable diverse populations to find common ground, has been employed to explain the relative stability of colonial possessions such as British Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies, in this paper we argue that such an “economic factor” was not yet present in the early years of British rule in North Borneo.

Instead, this paper argues that the theory of the “stranger-king,” the idea that some societies welcome an outside ruler to resolve their internal divisions, can also be of benefit in understanding early British North Borneo. Ultimately, however, any historian who wishes to understand the reality of life in early British North Borneo faces the challenge of having to rely on sources that reflect a clear colonial bias, a mindset that saw “Asiatic” societies as inherently different.

This paper takes on that challenge, but also recognizes that we cannot help but be left with a great deal of ambiguity in our understanding of human relations in early British North Borneo. This paper also argues, however, that it is precisely the ambiguity of the relations between “strangers” and “stranger-kings” that might be key maintaining of that relationship.

Working Paper No. 44

This paper examines ordinary people’s voices by foregrounding their sentiments and perspectives on Duterte’s imposition of martial law following the Marawi siege in May 2017. The paper purposively privileges the voices of everyday citizens, which are often overlooked, to generate alternative viewpoints to the elite-driven narratives dominating political discourses and counter-discourses.

Drawing on 4-month extensive fieldwork in south-central Mindanao, we surface how martial law has caused political anxiety, resistance, and widespread support despite its tentativeness and apparent perplexities. We argue that the prevailing narratives of those in the peripheries of Mindanao directly affected by martial law are sharply in contrast to the chilling and attention-grabbing headlines.

While the political atmosphere initially turned precarious and tumultuous, the apparent military rule in fragile areas of Mindanao has actually gained traction and widespread support.

The article concludes that the populist appeal of Duterte’s version of the military rule is synoptic of the multiple and pervasive sources of insecurity in large part of Mindanao. Additionally, the public enticement of the current martial law is symptomatic of swelling frustrations on the shortcomings of state’s apparatuses working within “democratic terms” in addressing personal and communal insecurities.

Working Paper No. 43

On the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, scholars have documented a precarious land tenure, livelihood and security situation for many smallholders. Agrarian political economy studies provide insightful analysis of the underlying causes of much poverty and violence on the island. Less attention has been given to cases of smallholder success.

This article proposes that conditions for smallholder farming, even among ethnic minority groups, are more varied across the island than the literature suggests. In upland villages of north-central Mindanao, there are signs of dynamic smallholder economies. The main case study is from a thriving mixed swidden and fixed field Maranao-Muslim farming village. Almost all the households in the village had successfully claimed land as their own and diversified and improved their livelihoods in recent times. To explain this positive outcome of agrarian transition, the article builds on a relational approach developed to assess the bargaining power of smallholders in land deals.

To elaborate on the kinds of relationships smallholders use to access land and improve livelihoods, the article draws on anthropological literature on kinship, land tenure and place. A stronger cross-fertilization of key insights in agrarian political economy and anthropological literature on kinship helps develop the debate on agrarian transition in the southern Philippines.

Working Paper No. 42

Nur Shawatriqah Binti Hj Md Sahrifulhafiz and Chang-Yau Hoon

This paper explores the ways in which Bruneians who are born into a Chinese-Malay family define their identity, how the state classifies them in terms of “race”, how they negotiate their bicultural practices, and what challenges they face while growing up. It argues that possibly due to their relatively small population and due to the hegemonic force of assimilation, the Chinese-Malay community in Brunei has not developed a distinct hybrid identity like their Peranakan counterparts in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Nonetheless, by examining the experience of inbetweenness among these biracial subjects, the paper alludes to the power relations that define the boundaries of exclusion and inclusion, belonging and non-belonging.

Working Paper No. 41

Tourism promotional videos are known to play an important role in shaping destination image which motivates people to travel to the destination. Since destination images create expectations, marketing videos should ideally promote realistic scenarios which the tourist would experience at the destination. Failure to match the communicated destination image with reality, would only lead to tourist disappointment.

Applying content analysis, we analyse the Brunei Tourism Promotional Video produced by Brunei Tourism in 2012, looking into possible areas where viewers are presented with unrealistic scenarios on Brunei’s rainforests and people. We also look into the Biocultural content of the video, to understand how the biological and cultural diversities of the country has been portrayed. The video is then compared objectively with other prominent videos from the region to generate a comparative understanding. The results show that tourism promotion videos published from Brunei and Indonesia have a significant percentage of unrealistic content.

Working Paper No. 40

One of the major research interests in the study of development, culture and identity in Thailand during the past four decades has comprised the effects and processes involved in the development of international tourism and the globalization of leisure. More recently attention has also been paid to the importance of domestic tourism in Thailand and the wider Southeast Asia as economic growth has led to an expansion in the local middle classes and greater opportunities for leisure activities.

Tourism in Thailand has tended to focus on selected sites along an axis which includes the northern hill or ‘tribal’ regions, Chiang Mai and its environs, the greater Bangkok metropolitan area, and several beach and island resorts in southern Thailand. The leading scholar in research in this field has been Erik Cohen. Not only has he contributed to the store of empirical material on Thailand on a wide range of tourism-related subjects, but also to an important series of theoretical debates in the sociological-anthropological study of tourism.

These debates examine the appropriate concepts to be deployed in understanding tourism and the transformations which it has set in motion. In tourism studies, there are several key ideas which have preoccupied researchers, many of them in relation to Thailand: cultural ‘touristification’ and commoditization; imaging and representation; staging and authenticity; identity and ethnicity; host-guest relations; mediation and tour guides; trajectories of change; sequential typologies; and the tourist gaze.

A most recent set of discussions generated by Erik Cohen and Scott Cohen has considered the utility of the sociological concept of ‘mobilities’ and the problem of Eurocentrism in understanding local-level touristic encounters. The paper will critically review these concepts in a changing Thai tourism context.

Working Paper No. 39

This working paper proposes an advancement of geographies of religion by putting forward three interconnected key areas for consideration in future research. It starts by briefly looking at the past and current discourse within this field in an attempt to lay out the field’s future directions.

The three key areas that this paper proposes to explore are as follows. First, through a discussion of techno-religious space as a religious conduit for young people to perform their religiosity, the significance of these online sites or spaces in religious and socio-cultural contexts will be underscored to advance further the new geographies of religion. Second, this paper will flag the importance of studying micro-geographies of young people as new religious agents. Transfers of religious authorities have been observed, and this is significant in understanding the transformation of religion in new contexts. Third is the performance of these young people’s religiosity in the online environment, and a consequence of their performance of religiosity is the concern with measuring or assessing religious performativity in online contexts.

While these three proposed key areas will be discussed within the context of Islam and Muslim identities, they are not limited to Muslim contexts.

Working Paper No. 38

Cooking food is a beautiful alchemy and transformation; the consequence of this is where we integrate various influences to create certain meanings. Claude Levi-Stauss said that food can be conceived as a language that expresses social structure and cultural system. Certain food means different things to different communities.

In a time and age where we are infiltrated by commercial interest and encouraged to consume fast food, to cook or not to cook becomes a consequential question. When we do cook, we utilize a space very familiar to us called the kitchen for cultural mixing through hybrid dishes, negotiating gender identities through food preparation and determining kinship ties through sharing of food. What is the meaning of the kitchen for Malays who cook in their homes in Brunei? When we use complex ingredients, do we create a new ethnic culinary culture? What are the social realities such as gender, sex and kinship that will be the outcome when preparing, sharing and distributing food on the dining table?

The consumption of everyday food is one of the most important everyday arenas in which rigid rules about how things should be done are often apparent, although they are often unspoken or only partially explicit. Preparation, sharing and distribution of food are significant and when we prepare cooked food in the Malay kitchen, there are meanings behind it and we instil these meanings in our friends, family and whoever sits down with us at the dining table.

Working Paper No. 37

Canada’s skilled worker program is designed to attract those educated and experienced individuals from around the world who are eligible to integrate into Canada’s labour market upon arrival. However, many skilled and other non-business-class immigrants do not find suitable jobs upon arrival in Canada. Some of them choose to open their own businesses and eventually become entrepreneurs.

Drawing on the experiences of Bangladeshi immigrants, this paper examines how immigrants reposition themselves from the rank of non-business-class immigrants to that of entrepreneurs in the settlement process. The paper reports that migrant entrepreneurship is embedded within the dynamics of immigration trajectory and the broader context of the receiving society. Even though they are driven towards the lower end of the economy, innovations have expanded the breadth and depth of their businesses and made their businesses different and rewarding.

Working Paper No. 36

House matters to consumers. However, there are varying values and meanings attached to a house depending on spatial and cultural differences. This research draws upon a study of consumers in Brunei Darussalam. Governance, consumption patterns and socio-cultural institutions shape how consumers value housing and influence their desire to become homeowners.

This research suggests Brunei’s housing development and culture are unique compared to societies that underwent great financial liberalisation such as the UK and USA. Financial liberalisation, also known as financialisation, involves governments reducing their restrictions on financial institutions and the financial markets. Based on the results of a qualitative research approach that involved 210 structured interviews which was substantiated by qualitative interviews and secondary data analysis, this study identifies the variables that influence the culture of housing consumption.

Working Paper No. 35

The field of tourism studies is now addressing a range of issues which in part stem from the problems engendered by multi-disciplinary approaches and from the post-modernist, post-colonialist, post-structuralist criticisms that its priorities and concepts have been determined by a Western-centric (Euro-American) view of the world of tourism. In this regard comparisons are made in this paper between tourism studies and area studies (specifically Southeast Asian Studies). Both suffer from some of the same difficulties.

From this comparative perspective, it is suggested that we engage critically with unhelpful binary modes of thinking which have sought to distinguish between the West, and in this case the East, between Western-centred and Eastern-centred perspectives, and between insiders and outsiders. The issue of “emerging tourisms” only serves to complicate these matters.

How do studies of tourism accommodate novel tourisms? Do we view them as simply variations on a theme which can be addressed within existing conceptual frameworks? Is a “mobilities” or an “encounters” approach sufficiently robust and viable to handle apparent touristic innovations? In an Asian and Southeast Asian context does the issue of emerging tourisms in this region require us to re-engage with debates about Orientalism and Western academic hegemony?

Working Paper No. 34

Since time immemorial, Southeast Asia has been exposed to external influence, which has sometimes appeared as shocks with negative effects. In post-independent Southeast Asia, the destiny of regional states and regional stability are inexorably intertwined. Thus, it is imperative that the region develop the capacity to effectively cope with external shocks stemming from different sources.

This paper aims at identifying this capacity by looking at three contemporary cases of external impact: (1) the South China Sea dispute; (2) the Western pressure on Southeast Asia for the domestic conduct of the Myanmar government; and (3) the impact of the newly established international norm of the responsibility to protect (R2P) on Southeast Asia.

The concept of mediation regime is adopted as an analytical tool for the case studies. Among the major findings of the paper are: (1) that Southeast Asia has developed the capacity to absorb external shocks in several ways unique to itself; and (2) that the region also acquired other capabilities to cope with the shocks, such as preventing external shocks, ensuring the co-existence of incompatible positions of the parties and deflecting external shocks.

Working Paper No. 33

The ‘labyrinth of detachable shoals’ in the South China Sea presented mariners during the late-18th and early-19th centuries with a maritime area of considerable hazard that was best avoided. These same marine features now not only pose a problem for safe navigation within the South China Sea basin but have also challenged the minds of lawyers and politicians since the early-1980s.

The basic geographical concepts and definitions of banks, cays, islands, reefs, rock, seamounts and shoals are being debated and often misinterpreted as the legal fraternity and political parties of littoral nation states dispute sovereignty claims and create potential flashpoints in this regional semi-enclosed sea. Indeed, since 12 July 2016, these features have been re-framed in the context of Article 121 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Hydrographers from the western maritime powers, particularly, Britain, France, Spain and United States and those from Japan and to a minimal extent China had undertaken exploration and surveys and recorded and reported their findings on navigational charts and as narratives in journals and official documents since the early-1800s.

This current study, whilst alluding to these historical involvements of the national hydrographical agencies engaged in the waters of semi-enclosed South China Sea focuses on the period from about 1930 to 1980 on account of the contemporary political and security issues raised since the 1960s and the national policies of regional and external maritime powers.

The study centres on a geographical area commonly referred to on navigational charts and prose in various nautical publications as ‘Dangerous Ground’. The area is also affectionately known as ‘Archipelago of Reefs’ and ‘Reefs of the South China Sea’. This study examines the records and charts of the early hydrographic surveys and analyse the political and legal implications of the graphics and the uncertainty that has been brought to the fore by researchers of many disciplines. It offers description of the geographical marine features and bathymetry of the basin and the characteristics of the coastlines of the littoral states.

Working Paper No. 32

Hybridity is the antithesis to identity. It is a transgressive concept that blurs and traverses the boundaries by which identities are bounded. Between the poles of identity and hybridity lies the multiple positions that depends on how agency and power are exercised.

This paper discusses the multidirectionality of the hybridizing process of the Chinese Indonesians, from assimilation during the Suharto’s New Order (1966-1998) to “resinicization” following the democratization process after fall of Suharto. It examines the cultural politics of the Chinese Indonesians in negotiating between hybridity and identity, as well as the underlying power dynamics in such negotiations. For many hybridized Chinese Indonesians who are unable to access the cultural resources in Chinese, learning Mandarin and performing Chineseness appeals more to economic rather than cultural logic.

In light of the rise of China, this paper attempts to unpack the deeper embedded cultural and economic meaning to the return to primordial Chineseness among the Chinese in post-Suharto Indonesia.

Working Paper No. 31

How to map the sea? ‘Silent the sea, writing the shores’ presents a series of reflections on the problems of maps and mapping, narrative and narration, as the background to a discussion of how older Malay writing dealt with the Sea, including the South China Sea – it is an entity beyond human understanding and beyond description.

Given the historical fact that the South China Sea had been sailed by Malay – speaking mariners for centuries, it seems probable that they discussed the Sea in their conversations, mapping it out in words rather than in pictures. It is important to realize that the 17th century author Hamzah Pansuri makes explicit mention of the ‘China Sea’ in his poetry, a rare reference to the South China Sea that may have hung as a silent shadow over later Malay writing. Mapping an ever-moving space may be an impossible exercise, even in our human imagination.

Working Paper No. 30

The “One Belt-One Road” (OBOR) strategy was launched in September 2013 by President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan as regards the mainland area and in October 2013 in Indonesia as regards the maritime area. This is by far the largest project of interconnection between Asia, Europe and Africa that will last for decades, entail vast amounts of resources and involve a large multilateral collaboration. This Chinese initiative is potentially a good news for ASEAN which has huge infrastructure investments needs to implement its master plan for connectivity (AMPC). But this will depend on the capacity of ASEAN to maintain its centrality and speak with one voice to China when investment decisions will be taken. Otherwise, the risk is that the OBOR strategy may deepen existing divides between mainland ASEAN and maritime ASEAN, while the purpose of the AMPC is precisely to alleviate them. This paper will analyse these issues and explore the solutions to achieve a synergy between China’s OBOR and AMPC.

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.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 19

A Chinese junk in full sail is one of the most enduring symbols of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour and the surrounding South China Sea, which brings life and commerce to the region. Inspired by this symbol of Chinese culture along with other found artifacts, I have created a series of digital artworks based on my childhood memories of these iconic symbols of my Hong Kong upbringing.

This series of work is based on deconstructed photographs of vintage patterns and sections of objects that were once common household and everyday articles. I then manipulate and reformat them into swirling designs of color that can only be described as having an association with contemporary digital images of fractals. Another category of found objects that appear in my work are natural wonders, such as shells and plants that are commonly found on Hong Kong’s rocky shores.

My journey of selecting objects to photograph, deconstruct, manipulate, print, exhibit, and reflect on is integral to my artistic research. As such, it comprises material critical to understanding my identity as a bicultural artist and how I have come to understand certain cultural aspects of my youth as a person of Chinese heritage growing up in the harbour city of Hong Kong.

In this paper, I intend to use complex spiral digital art to trace the inspirational forms that frequently materialize in my work. This work was exhibited in Hong Kong in March 2014 in conjunction with an explanation on how it might influence the visual culture there.

Working Paper No. 18

Sometime in 1989, Margaret Scott, a Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) journalist, observed the heightening fervour of Malay rock music among ardent young Malay followers calling themselves ‘kutus’, when at the same time Islamic fundamentalism was on the rise. Fast forward towards the end of 1997, however, Raihan, a Nasyid(Islamic religious song) group, signed by Warner Records, sold a record-breaking half-a-million of their debut album. Since then Nasyidmusical groups and Raihan wannabes began to mushroom creating a new hype in Malaysian popular music and industry, culminating in the Nasyid pop ‘success’ story.

The focus of the article is to analyse how, at a particular phase in the evolution of Malaysian popular music, ‘rock’ was ‘disciplined’ to make way for the rise of other musical genres, in this case, Balada Nusantara (Irama Malaysia) and Nasyid pop. Taking a critical perspective, I argue that the ‘transition’ from rock to these musical genres occurred on a terrain which involves several levels of contestation, constituted by the juxtapositions of different institutions and social actors – such as the role of the state, state actors, political parties, the mediation of Islam and national culture, and ultimately, the ‘agency’ of non-state actors and the creative nucleus.

Working Paper No. 17

Research focusing on ethnic relations in plural societies often assume the ethnic groups under discussion are natural categories. While ethnic categories appear clear and fixed at a given point, a closer examination of these categories over time demonstrate that ethnic boundaries are often fluid and can be based on a variety of criteria.

The following paper focuses on the formation of ethnic identities in Malaysia with comparisons made to Fiji and South Africa.  Through an examination of archival censuses, this paper attends to the following research questions, “What are the current ethnic categories in Malaysia, Fiji and South Africa?” and “How have the boundaries between them developed over time?” In doing so, it addresses the issue of saliency in ethnic boundary formation.

Working Paper No. 16

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

In 2010, the Southern Institute of Social Sciences of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences conducted two surveys in the Southeast region of Viet Nam. The first survey was conducted in Ho Chi Minh City. It consists of 1,080 households living in 30 wards or communes. The second one was carried out in other provinces of the Southeast region, consisting of 1,080 households living in 30 wards, towns or communes.

This paper outlines the social stratification structures by occupational groups, social strata and quintiles of income based on the data set analysis of the surveys. Three properties attached to the social groups, namely the economy, knowledge and power resources, are measured by three variables: household’s income, years of schooling, and being a member of the ruling Party. The analysis highlights that the distributions of these resources are consistently structured by the configuration of social stratification.

Working Paper No. 15

This paper is an attempt to position Penan story-telling in the context of the evolution of Borneo from an island to that of a nation-state formation, defined ultimately by the grand narratives of Malaysian developmentalism. The paper initially addresses the historical picture of this transformation. It also critically interrogates the question of epistemology in relation to the anthropology of ‘the Other’, specifically the methodology of research on indigenous society. Against the dominant state-capital narrations of development, the paper moves towards a postmodernist/storytelling ethnography of Penan de-territorialisation.

It is argued that indigenous counter-narratives are equally capable of generating their own legitimate forms of knowledge and discourse on development. By adding to the Penan ethnographic base that has been paved by scholars such as Langub and Brosius,  I foreground my analysis of Penan de-territorialisation based on my fieldwork in the Ulu Baram area of Sarawak, where I present an overview of the impact of the state-sponsored modernisation process (read: developmentalism) on the Penan traditional landscape and communitas.

My argument on Penan de-territorialsiation is further empowered by the storytelling of Penghulu James, which is a representation of an indigenous notion of place, space and territory. This may also be seen as a defence of Penan claims to ‘stewardship’ over the land despite their traditional status as non-cultivators, to contest the current bureaucratic ‘rational legal’ and official discourse which governs the present Penan landscape.

The paper calls for the role of a de-colonising anthropology in mediating knowledge from the margins through the postmodernist texts and storytelling ethnography, to narrate not only the realities of de-territorialisation, but more importantly, the‘re-territorializing’ imaginings of indigenous society.

Working Paper No. 14

Nurul Umillah Binti Abdul Razak, Adira Rehafizzan Binti Anuar, Dk. Siti Nurul Islam Binti Pg. Mohd Sahar and Nur Hidayah Binti Matsuni

This paper is a case study of Indonesian domestic maids or referred to locally as amah working in Brunei Darussalam. It is an account of the lives, hardships, difficulties, and dreams of five eastern Javanese women, and how their position as domestic maids abroad has changed the dynamics of gender and power relations in their traditionally patriarchal households in Java.

Working Paper No. 13

The following paper specifically addresses the challenge that the international norm of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) posed to the old ‘ASEAN Way’ of non-interference in the sovereign affairs of its members. It examines the extent to which the ‘ASEAN Way’ adapted in the face of the Cyclone Nargis R2P crisis. The paper argues that Myanmar’s R2P crisis was a wakeup call for ASEAN. It not only challenged ASEAN’s old ways of dealing with crisis but provided a potential precedent for dealing more effectively with regional problems through mediation, action and hybridity. This in turn allowed for pragmatic adaptation without a wholesale abandonment of the Association’s founding principles and values.

Working Paper No. 12

This paper is an ethnographic account of the spiritual function of pengangun (a wedding attendant) based on anthropological research in the Brunei-Muara district. It explores the important role of women in wedding rituals and the ways in which their role has changed as a consequence of modernization and Islamization.

Working Paper No. 11

The reason for Brunei Darussalam’s refusal to join the Malaysia Federation in August 1963 remains an enigma to this date.  Scholarly speculations abound pointing to Brunei’s reluctance to share her oil income and the ire of then Brunei Sultan Sir Haji Omar Ali Saifuddin for losing priority in the hierarchy of the Malayan kings and so on.

This article sets the historical background of the Sultan’s unyielding resistance in diluting sovereignty of the State by becoming part of any Federation within or without Malaysia. Federalism, a cardinal British imperial policy to unite otherwise fledgling smaller colonial territories, may have worked elsewhere in the dominion, but the promoters in the British Colonial Office hit a blindwall when they tried to promote the same among the three Northern Borneo Territories namely Sarawak, North Borneo (Sabah) and the Sultanate of Brunei.

No amount of persuasion, cajoling and even indirect threats could nudge Brunei to accept an ostensible Closer Association Proposals prior to the formation of a larger Federation including Malaysia and Singapore.  By focusing on this important but a still-born event, this article highlights complex issues that shaped Brunei’s modern history in which the Sultanate slithered towards neo-traditionalism as well as monarchic absolutism as witnessed today.

This article further highlights an ironic coalescence of disparate interests represented by a nascent nationalist movement in the Partai Rakyat Brunei (Brunei People’s party) led by Shaikh Azahari with that of the altruism of British colonial design to achieve the same goal vis-à-vis an obstinate Brunei Ruler who emerged victorious in the end to keep intact  the age-old Brunei monarchy while preserving the geographical integrity of a rump State that stood the danger of being obliterated during  the period under discussion.

Working Paper No. 10

In Banten (Indonesia), the recent detention of the governor and her brother introduces a level of uncertainty about future political dynamics in the province. These political figures belong to part of a powerful familial dynasty that has held power since the 1970s in the President Suharto era through connections with religious leaders and strongmen. The latter form a local structure of authority that has played an intermediary role between local communities and national political institutions since Indonesia’s independence in 1945.

With the initiation of decentralization reforms in Indonesia in 1999 and the accession of Banten to province status, the governor’s family fragmented these local networks to consolidate political alliances on kinship relations. The strategy of regional political hyper-centralization is based on discourses that reshape historical and territorial markers. This leads to considerations about the kind of political representation proposed by the regional leaders and, in turn, how the wider Bantenese populace manages to articulate their expectations concerning political issues at the local level.

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.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.