A traditional courtship custom practiced in the villages of eastern and central Bhutan has been blamed for some of the problems generally associated with any custom or marriage practice in most traditional as well as modern societies. Known as bomena (literally meaning going towards a girl) in Wamling village, this courtship involves a boy stealthily entering a girl's house at night for courtship or coitus with or without prior consultation. This is an institution through which young people fi nd their partners and get married.
This paper is the result of a short anthropological study of this custom in a small village in central Bhutan conducted in 2009. The study revealed that the custom is not as simple as it is generally assumed, but is related to the village's geography, history, economy, religion, social structures and institutions, inheritance, culture, customs, values and other factors. Besides its obvious courtship role, it performs some unacknowledged roles which are served by separate institutions in most societies.
What made the urban Bhutanese populations to brand it as ‘primitive' is not because of the custom's inherent nature, but their changing value system and the construction of farmers as the anthropological ‘other.' The paper calls for respecting a culture as fundamental as courtship institution and for giving people time and space to evolve such institutions, which are largely a function development.
Several weeks after the death of Āya Allāh al-‘Uẓmā ‘Alī Arākī in November 1994, Supreme Leader ‘Alī Khāmene'ī was promoted by the two Iranian Islamic jurist groups as one of the recommended marāja‘-e taqlīd (“sources of emulation,” the title of the highest-educated Islamic jurisconsults). This event has had an impact on not only the marja‘-e taqlīd system but also the relationship between political authority and religious authority in post-Khomeini Iran. Although many researchers have referred to this event, only a few have examined its subsequent influence on both Iranian politics and the marja‘-e taqlīd system in Iran.
In this paper, I will attempt to reveal the influence of this event on the marja‘-e taqlīd system in Iran in two ways. First, I will illustrate the character of the new marja‘-e taqlīd concept that was developed by the two associations, focusing on not only the intermittent aspect but also the continuous relationship between the marja‘-e taqlīd system and the two associations' announcements. Second, by focusing on the location of Khāmene'ī as a marja‘-e taqlīd in 2008, I will show the influence of this new marja‘-e taqlīd concept on the development of the marja‘-e taqlīd system in Iran after the 1994 event.
This study examines the politics of Chinese media in Malaysia, focusing on a case study of the Nanyang takeover issue. In June 2001, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), one of the major component parties of the Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling coalition, took over a Chinese daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, in the face of vehement opposition from the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Jiao Zong), famous Chinese writers, and even a part of MCA. Five years after the takeover, however, MCA sold off Nanyang Siang Pau to the rival daily Sin Chew Jit Poh. This deal created a monopolistic media group that controls 85% of the Chinese newspaper market. This study examines the following questions on the Nanyang takeover issue. Why did Dong Jiao Zong and other groups oppose the takeover? Why did MCA take over Nanyang Siang Pau? What happened in the opposition groups after MCA sold Nanyang Siang Pau? The conclusion of this study has implications with regard to how political actors, such as the state and ruling parties, owners of the media group, journalists, and civil society groups, fighting the conflict over the media in Malaysia.