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Debating democratization in Myanmar

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 56 (2014)
Number: 
3
Author Information: 
NICK CHEESMAN, NICHOLAS FARRELLY & TREVOR WILSON (eds)
Publication Information: 
Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014 381pp., ISBN 978-981-4519-13-7 pb S$39.90/US$29.90 ISBN 978-981-4519-14-4 hb S$49.90/US$39.90
Reviewed by: 
Robert H. Taylor, SOAS, University of London

Like similar volumes derived from the previous ‘Update’ conferences on Myanmar held at the Australian National University, the volume under review is rather like the curate’s egg, good in places depending upon your taste.

Regional dynamics in a decentralized Indonesia

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 56 (2014)
Number: 
2
Author Information: 
HALL HILL, ed.
Publication Information: 
Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014 517 pp, ISBN 978-981-4459-84-6, $45.58
Reviewed by: 
Michael Buehler, SOAS, University of London

This book provides a comprehensive account of Indonesia’s experience with decentralisation over the past 16 years. After the collapse of the New Order dictatorship in 1998 and within only a few months of Suharto’s demise, the successor government under Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, shifted most authority to districts (kabupaten) and municipalities (kota), the administrative layer below the province.

Contemporary Islamic discourse in the Malay-Indonesian world: critical perspectives

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 56 (2014)
Number: 
1
Author Information: 
AZHAR IBRAHIM
Publication Information: 
Petaling Jaya: Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, 2014 xx + 315pp. ISBN 978-967-5832-97-0 RM50.00
Reviewed by: 
Kevin W. Fogg, University of Oxford

Studies of Islam in Southeast Asia over the last 30 years, especially by foreign researchers, have largely focused on the way the religion is lived out in politics, society, and history. A minority of studies, although a larger percentage of those written by Southeast Asian Muslims themselves, have addressed the more purely intellectual and theological sides of the religion. Azhar Ibrahim’s collection of six essays aims to speak to both of these traditions, writing on theological and intellectual debates with an eye to their social and political implications and outcomes.

The shadow puppet theatre of Malaysia: a study of wayang kulit with performance scripts and puppet designs

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 55 (2014)
Number: 
8
Author Information: 
BETH OSNES
Publication Information: 
Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2010 x, 194pp., ISBN 978-0-7864-4838-8, pb US$55.00
Reviewed by: 
Matthew Isaac Cohen, Royal Holloway, University of London

Wayang Siam, the Thai-derived shadow puppet theatre of Malaysia’s northernmost state of Kelantan, would probably today be a dead art if it had not been designated as a national art form at Malaysia’s 1971 National Cultural Congress.

The end of innocence? Indonesian Islam and the temptations of radicalism

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 55 (2014)
Number: 
7
Author Information: 
RÉMY MADINIER & ANDRÉE FEILLARD, Translated by Wong Wee
Publication Information: 
Leiden: KITLV Press, 2011 270 pp., ISBN 978-9971-69-512-5, pb US$30.00
Reviewed by: 
Claudia Merli, Durham University

The revised 2011 English edition of Rémy Madinier and Andrée Feillard’s work (originally published in French) is a superb study that takes the reader through the historical changes concerning the global representation of Indonesia with a special focus on the period between the end of the 1990s and 2010. It also analyses how Islamist movements reinterpreted this history (chapter 4) and the continuum rather than the opposition between ‘openness and intransigence’ (p. 267).

Contemporary Indonesian film: spirits of reform and ghosts of the past

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 55 (2014)
Number: 
6
Author Information: 
KATINKA VAN HEEREN
Publication Information: 
Leiden: KITLV, 2012 xiii+239pp., ISBN 978 90 6718 381 9; pb €31.69
Reviewed by: 
Ben Murtagh, SOAS, University of London

This book is an invaluable contribution to the extant literature on Indonesian film and television. While the early 1990s saw the publication of three English-language books on Indonesian film, Krishna Sen (1994), Karl Heider (1991) and Salim Said (1991), the subsequent demise of the film industry and the challenges brought about by the financial crisis and political changes of the late 1990s led to something of a demise in filmmaking and also in academic interest in Indonesian film.

Being Malay in Indonesia: histories, hopes and citizenship in the Riau Archipelago

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 55 (2014)
Number: 
5
Author Information: 
NICHOLAS J. LONG
Publication Information: 
Singapore: NUS Press; Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2013 xiv, 288pp, ISBN 978-9971-69-769-3, pb £18.99
Reviewed by: 
Victor King, SOAS and University of Leeds

Is there much more to be said about Malay identity (in my terms Malay ethnicity), or as Long prefers ‘Malayness’? The conceptual bases and the processes of ‘being ’and ‘becoming’ Malay and expressing that identity have been the subject of intense debate for at least the past 30 years.

Land for the people: the state and agrarian conflict in Indonesia

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 55 (2014)
Number: 
4
Author Information: 
ANTON LUCAS & CAROL WARREN, eds.
Publication Information: 
Athens OH: Ohio University Press, 2013 408pp., ISBN 9780896802872, pb £22.99
Reviewed by: 
Rebecca Elmhirst, University of Brighton

Although conflicts over land and livelihood have a very long history in Indonesia, it was the economic crisis at the end of the 1990s and the end of the New Order regime that sharpened the focus of international attention on the injustices of access to resources and on the waves of popular protest that were intensified by the disappointments of the reformasi period and the intensified land speculation and dispossession that followed.

Global Filipinos: migrants’ lives in the virtual village

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 55 (2014)
Number: 
3
Author Information: 
McKAY, DEIDRE
Publication Information: 
Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press, 2012 264pp, ISBN: 978-0-253-00205-1 £17.99; e-book £23.99
Reviewed by: 
Rebecca Elmhirst, University of Brighton

As Deirdre McKay’s book makes abundantly clear, since the late 1970s, overseas migration has emerged as a definitive part of the Philippines story, and what it means to be Filipino in the world today. Supported by government policy that marketed its citizens as a global workforce, by the mid 2000s, Filipinos were the world’s third largest group of temporary migrant workers, after India and China, with 10% of the country’s population working overseas.

Red stamps and gold stars: fieldwork dilemmas in upland socialist Asia

Edition: 
ASEASUK News 55 (2014)
Number: 
2
Author Information: 
SARAH TURNER, ed.
Publication Information: 
Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2013 308 pp, ISBN 9780774824934, hb $95
Reviewed by: 
Mandy Sadan, SOAS, University of London

This book is a very valuable multi-authored work diligently edited by Sarah Turner. It is divided into three parts, the first of which outlines some of the theoretical issues arising from the book and gives general historical background, while the second (the largest) covers a range of fieldwork experiences, with three chapters in the final section being concerned with ‘Post-Fieldwork’. In all, 14 contributors each write reflectively about their experiences working in different fieldwork sites, often over extended periods.

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by Dr. Radut