Articles in Southeast Asia
Few issues are more controversial in Malaysia than the country’s National Development Policy, particularly its extensive “affirmative action” provisions that provide economic and social advantages for the majority (61%) indigenous population (“Bumiputeras”) at the expense of the Chinese and Indian communities. Dating back to the early 1970s, this policy has resulted in significant economic gains for the Malay community, but …
Thailand has been a major destination for migrants from the neighboring Burma (Myanmar) for decades. In the past, members of ethnic groups residing along the Thai-Burma border, such as the Karen, the Mon, and the Shan, often crossed the borders to visit friends, buy goods, or seek healthcare services. In the 1980s, under the military regime administration in Burma, this temporary migration continued unofficially even though border crossings were not officially allowed. A large number of asylum-seekers fighting against the government of Burma started to enter Thailand to take refuge in the same period. Since the 1990s, migrants from Burma, both members of ethnic minorities and Burmans, have come to Thailand mostly for economic reasons.
Indonesia and Malaysia have a long history of mutual distrust, despite—or perhaps because of—their similar historical and cultural backgrounds. Indonesia objected so strongly to the creation of an independent Malaysian state out of several British colonies in the early 1960s that it instigated a four-year undeclared war, the so-called Indonesian–Malaysian Confrontation (1962–1966). But with the fall of the Sukarno government …
Many U.S. public schools, especially those in inner city districts and rural areas, are having trouble recruiting teachers, particularly in math, science, and special education. Baltimore has pioneered a new strategy of hiring foreign educators. Most of those teachers come from the Philippines, a country whose public school system was established by American educators when the United States took possession of it in 1898.
The southern rim of the Himalayas is rarely mapped as a region, as it encompasses two independent countries (Nepal and Bhutan) and five Indian states.* As a result, maps depicting economic and social development of the area can be misleading, as they typically contrast the two Himalayan countries with India as a whole. To address this situation, I have made …
New political maps of India are now needed, as the state of Orissa has officially changed the English spelling of its name to “Odisha.” The new name, however, does not imply a change in pronunciation. As the Wikipedia notes, “… the name Orissa is closer to the actual Oriya pronunciation of the name, whereas Odisha is an intentionally archaising transcription.”
In April 2012, two massive earthquakes hit northern Sumatra. The earthquakes—one of magnitude 8.2 and the other 8.6—were far in excess of what one would expect to encounter many miles from a tectonic plate boundary. Indeed, “strike-slip earthquakes”, where pieces of crust rub against each other laterally, had been completely unknown in the area before the two quakes.
Over the last half-century, peace and stability have remained elusive goals in East Timor, officially known the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Invaded by Indonesia shortly after it achieved independence from Portugal in 1975, East Timor has only been a formal country with de facto control of its borders only since 2002.
A recent post in Robert Kelly’s Asian Security Blog that lists “America’s 8 most important allies … in order” (see map) has been getting a lot of attention. Kelly’s response to his critics has not done much to bolster his position. Consider, for example, what he has to say about Indonesia (here and here), which he regards as the sixth …
Although Burma (Myanmar) has seen substantial reform over the past few months, several deeply entrenched conflicts create major obstacles for the country’s transition. According to The Irrawaddy, tensions in the western Arakan region recently exploded into violence when “300 people stopped a bus carrying Muslims from a religious gathering, dragged out the 10 occupants, beat them to death and burned the vehicle in Taunggup…” The attack occurred in retaliation for the alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist girl by three Muslim youths.
Yonlada Suanyos, a transsexual woman, recently gained fame by becoming Thailand’s first katoey (or openly transgender person) to be elected to public office. Ms. Suanyos, a PhD candidate who also runs a television station and a jewelry business, will soon become a councilor in Nan province in northern Thailand. She was formerly a member of a transgender music group called Venus Flytrap, performing under the name of Posh Venus.
Indonesia’s province of East Kalimantan, located on the massive island of Borneo, is by far the most economically productive part of the country. Its Gross Regional Product is almost five times the national average, exceeding even than of Jakarta, the national capital, by a substantial margin.
International marriages are on the rise worldwide, and one of the countries that “imports” many brides is South Korea. This influx of foreign brides arouses concerns as to the fate of these women who search for new opportunities outside of their home countries, both within Korea and in the “bride-exporting” countries.
Although Vietnam is in name a Communist state, the practice of mother goddess worship endures through much of the country. For the first time, the worship of Mother Goddesses is on display at a public museum in Hanoi.
In early 2012, the Burmese government again astounded many by suspending an $8 billion, 4,000-megawatt, coal-fired power plant at Dawei in the southern part of the country, due mainly to environmental concerns,