The title belies the contents of this paper, which is a narrative of the transformation of the Bhutanese scholarship from Buddhist to secular matters, from religious to modern authors, and from classical Tibetan to English medium. The paper looks at the traditional Bhutanese scholarship—monastic education—which was dominated by lamas and monks, pursued only Buddhist themes, and wrote in the classical Tibetan; the western-style education system with English as the medium was introduced in the late 1950s parallel to the traditional education system; and the modern education system which is still biased towards studying science subjects, and hence the absence of anthropological study of and in Bhutan. The paper ends with discussions on potential areas of future anthropological research areas and challenges of doing fieldwork in Bhutan.
This paper aims to study historical discourses of Pakistan in the context of the modern Islamic world. Although the history of Pakistan has long been a subject of study, there is little agreement on the define of Pakistani people or Pakistan itself. School textbooks offer a key to understanding how Pakistani people share a historical view of the dynamic transformations in South Asia. Here, I analyse historical discourses to show the historical perception of Pakistan based on primary documents written in Urdu: for example, textbooks for Urdu language and Pakistan Studies for Pakistani students (primary and secondary level), published by the Punjab or Sind state government textbook board. Textbooks are categorised into four periods: first, the Islamic Sultanate State to the Mughal period; second, the British colonial period to the freedom movement; third, Kashmir and the national security force; and fourth, multi-ethnicity and the Islamic brotherhood. I will clarify the historical discourses and determine the image of nationhood in Pakistan.
This study examines the political implication of “Directive Principles of Fundamental State Policies” in the context of Thailand’s constitution, in comparison with other countries’ constitutions. Democratization in Thailand accelerated in the 1990s. As pointed out in many previous studies, the urban middle class and traditional elite began increasingly to express their frustration with the democratically elected government, citing, among others, corrupt politicians and electoral fraud as problems. A new constitution was promulgated in 1997 with the ostensible goal of resolving these issues, and this goal has been inherited by the current 2007 constitution. “Constitutionalism” was declared a keyword of the political reform, and it was expected that the judiciary would be the institution responsible for resolving these issues. Careful examination of the 1997 and 2007 constitutions reveals that they codify various efforts aimed at constraining the National Assembly, comprising representatives of the citizens, and the Council of Ministers. In contrast to Western-style constitutionalism, in which the constitution and laws are employed to protect citizens’ rights and to prevent the arbitrary use of state power while respecting democracy in the sense of rule by the majority, Thailand’s constitution is structured in such a way that it enables arbitrary restriction of state power, and particularly that of the Council of Ministers, by the judiciary. Further, I point out that, as such, the 1997 and 2007 constitutions both serve to suppress the popular will that is expressed through elections.
Changes in political and funding circumstances stemming from the ongoing “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” REDD-plus mechanism for action against global warming have encouraged some concerned people to increase momentum for tackling the non-forest sector measures that are the most troublesome and important matters related to improving tropical forest management. Some studies have already unraveled which policies give rise to deforestation. However, few studies have clarified specific processes to protect forests from destructive policies, despite the significance of such structural analyses to the REDD-plus mechanism. By taking various processes related to Thai mangrove area dynamics as a clue, this study aims to show what helps to protect tropical forests, particularly in developing countries, from devastating policies. A recent article [Gregorio et al. 2012] mentioned common situations and challenges in seven countries that had made efforts to introduce REDD-plus mechanisms. The article pointed out that a high dependence of economic development on unsustainable exploitation of natural resources is deeply engrained in politico-economic structures of the seven countries, and that preconditions need to overcome such hurdles. These include the relative autonomy of nation states from key interests that drive deforestation and the presence of new coalitions that call for transformational change. Through a review of policy and institutional developments relevant to Thai mangrove areas and examination of their structural triggers, this study illustrates some indicative examples leading to the satisfaction of the preconditions above.
Ge-tai is a famous Chinese singing show performed in the 7th lunar month in Singapore and Malaysia generally. In addition to the 7th lunar month, it is also performed on other days through the year. The languages used on the stage are not only Mandarin but also other dialects such as Hokkien and Teochow. Why does Ge-tai in Singapore have many variations? This paper will show that Ge-tai stages emerged from the links that start with certain images of the 7th lunar month. All of the examples in this paper have happened on different occasions. The details show a chain of images of hungry ghosts, dead souls, death, netherworld deities, temples, heavenly gods, and entertainment. Moreover, it will be clarified that Ge-tai that emerged as a lively phenomenon in the public arena is an aggregation of problems such as sickness, social troubles, the aged, death and religion, language/dialects, education, culture and the generation gap.