This paper aims to clarify the characteristics of debt servitude in pre-colonial Burma during the Konbaung period. Early travelers from the West often found the prevalence of debt servitude in pre-colonial Southeast Asia and left various remarks on the phenomena which looked somehow different from what they thought as slavery in the West. However, studies on the debt servitude in Southeast Asia remained very few, partly because of the lack of indigenous historical materials.
Utilizing 104 manuscripts of human mortgage and related contracts written in the period from 1829 to 1885 in Salin area, this study examines the causes of why people become debt slaves, the terms of contracts and the relationships between creditor and debtor in detail and tries to clarify the actual conditions of debt servitudes in the precolonial Burmese society. The creditors were those who called Salin-myo thu-kaung, members of powerful families in Salin who ruled this area for a long time and accumulated irrigated lands as well as debt slaves by their money-lending business. The debtors were ordinary poor people who resided in villages in Salin and neighboring areas.
One important characteristic of these human mortgage contracts is that after becoming debt slaves, they remained to be principals of making contracts with their owners. A head of family, who was in debt servitude, could make contracts with his creditor to borrow additional money or to put other family members into debt servitude. Among the manuscripts used for this study we do not find such evidence that owners of slaves traded their slaves each other. In this sense, there was no boundary between freemen and debt slaves. Debt servitude was not a social status but temporary situation, so when debtors repaid their debts, they became free again.
However, there is a special clause in some contracts that say children born of debt slave mothers become automatically debt slaves, and thus make some children born into servitude. Even without such a clause in the contract, the heirs of debt slave parents tended to become debt slaves as they could not repay the parent’s debt which usually ballooned with time, because the labor service of the debtor was regarded as paying the interest on the loan and the debt never became reduced. The debtors usually put new loans on the original loan to maintain their subsistence. Therefore, once people got into debt servitude it tended to be permanent.
The existence of the creditors was crucial for the poor people to sustain their living as the creditors rarely refused additional loans or borrowing paddies from their granaries that were set up in many villages. However, the precise records of the money or paddy loan were kept and if people failed to repay these loans, they had no choice other than becoming debt slaves of the creditors.
All terms in the contracts are strictly observed on both sides. If debt slaves ran away and hid themselves, the creditor would chase them thoroughly and make a new written pledge with the run away and joint guarantors.
Judging from the human bondage contracts in Salin, the author argues that the debt servitude in pre-colonial Burma cannot be interpreted simply as one of the patron-client relationships. It is more contractual although the parties concerned were not equal in socio-economic terms.
Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country, comprising 54 official ethnic groups. Some of the cadres of Communist Party planned the legislative bill for the establishment of an “ethnic law” several times since the first half of the 1990s; however, till date, it has not been approved. This paper examines the reasons behind this and considers how the Communist Party has placed ethnic minorities in the society.
The Ethnic Law was first drafted in 1993 when Vietnam still had confidence in its ethnic policies. There were four reasons for this particular timing. First, the collapse of the Soviet Union due to ethnic conflicts shocked the Communist Party in Vietnam, and it once again star ted to place importance on the ethnic minorities. Second, the Committee for Ethnic Minorities and Mountain Areas tried to draft the new law as same as the other ministries. It is because at the time the government drafted many laws in order to keep up appearances as a law-governed state. Specifically, in the law-making process, the ministries can get financial and technical aid from external sources and yet maintain the significance of their existence. Third, a section of the national cadres was anxious about ethnic conflicts caused by land disputes between the aboriginal minorities and settlers in the Central Highlands, and they wanted the ethnic law to be made in a manner that would help solve these disputes. Fourth, the Party had already made a number of individual laws for some of the ethnic minorities. However, these separate laws did not prove to be very useful in maintaining a balance between the interests of each ethnic group, for example, in solving the land disputes in the Central Highlands.
In 1993, several ethnologists joined the group that was involved in drafting the bill. Furthermore, they attached importance to the preservation of traditional cultures, i.e., Vietnam would maintain its diverse cultural environment. However, many of them were still unaware of the serious land disputes in the Central Highlands. The National Congress held a number of conferences in the areas populated with ethnic minorities in order to hear the views of the local cadres. Finally, in 1997, the National Congress drafted the thirteenth bill and asked for the opinion of the Communist Party. The Congress expected the bill to be passed in the next session; however, the Communist Party rejected and criticized the bill claiming that it did not cover economic and social issues. The Communist Party felt that the content of the bill focused so much on cultural field. As a result, the ethnic law was taken back to the drawing board.
In 1999, the National Congress organized a new group to draft the bill. This group did not include the representatives of the Ethnological Society or the Ministry of Culture and Information, but did include a number of members of the Ministry of Public Security. Further, after the riots in the Central Highlands in 2001, the Ethnic Law once again began to grab the attention of the Party. We can assume that the Party would have considered the Ethnic Law to be very useful if its content was altered. In fact, we can observe this in an interview with the Minister of the Ethnic Minorities. He said that the Ethnic Law would contribute to oppose the plots by the opponents who utilize religion in the ethnic minority areas. Moreover, in this interview, he did not refer to “traditional culture” or “diverse cultures of multi-ethnic groups”; rather, he strictly emphasized “national unity.” Finally, it can be assumed that the purpose of the Ethnic Law changed dramatically after the twenty-first century in the backdrop of the situation in the Central Highlands.
In recent centuries, the religious authority figures of Theravāda Buddhism were only bhikkhu, fully ordained monks. However, during the Buddha’s time, women were allowed to be ordained as bhikkhunıī, fully ordained nuns at the status equivalent to bhikkhu. The female ordination lineage was disrupted some centuries later, and since then Theravāda Buddhist women have had to do their ascetic practice with the status of lay devotee, rather than the ordained status of bhikkhunıī. In Thailand the head-shaven female devotees who don the white robes are called māe chıī, and they are not given as much honor, support, or opportunity to play religious roles as male bhikkhu enjoy.
The recent bhikkhunıī movement in Thailand was initiated by the novice ordination of the famous bhikkhunıī advocate scholar Chatsumarn Kabilsingh in Sri Lanka in February 2001, when she took the monastic name Dhammanandā. Her novice ordination attracted the attention of Thai media and foreign scholars as the new beginning of a female monastic order in Thailand. Most previous studies on Thai bhikkhunıī restoration have focused on the public debates about the rationales given for her ordination and negative critiques of them; it was for the most part taken for granted that Dhammanandā was singlehandedly leading and representing the bhikkhunıī restoration movement in Thailand.
The purpose of this paper is to trace the development of the Thai bhikkhunī restoration movement after Dhammanandā’s sāmaṇerī (novice) ordination in February 2001, particularly focusing on Thai sāmaṇerī (later bhikkhunıī) who were previously māe chī. Dhammanandā did play a significant role in transmitting her vast knowledge of the history of bhikkhunıī lineage and vinaya (monastic disciplines) to Thai māe chıī who were interested in bhikkhunıī ordination; however, only a few of them could receive her assistance for their ordination. The number of Thai sāmaṇerī increased after an old Thai monk in Yasōthōn province ordained his māe chıī disciple as a sāmaṇerī in November 2003, and subsequently more māe chıī came to him for their ordinations. Particularly, the members of the Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards Committee assumed a key role in connecting māe chıī candidates to the Yasōthōn preceptor monk. Nevertheless, the development of Thai women’s sāmaṇerī and bhikkhunıī ordination was not a continuous process. On the one hand, several unfortunate sāmaṇerī and bhikkhunıī met sufficiently serious obstacles that they disrobed to be māe chıī again; on the other hand, a group of better supported māe chıī and sāmaṇerī chose Sri Lanka as their place of ordination and contributed to the growth of the number of Thai sāmaṇerī and bhikkhunıī. In conclusion, the paper indicates that the bhikkhunıī movement is not solely represented by urban intellectuals such as Dhammanandā, but is even more significantly supported by conscious local māe chıī determined to overcome their unfair situation by taking up the yellow monastic robes as sāmaṇerī and bhikkhunıī.
This study takes up the subject of Ramayana folklore in Indonesia. The epic poem Ramayana from India, has spread throughout among many regions of Southeast Asia, having been adopted as the main theme in various performing art forms such as theater, dance drama, and mask dance even up to the present day. In Indonesia, the Ramayana has been performed in the art forms such as wayang kulit (puppet theatre), wayang golek (rod puppet theatre), and sendratari (dance drama). The tale of Ramayana has also been handed down in written text form such as in novels, romances, and comic books.
In this article, I consider about the Ramayana folklore in Indonesian comic books, citing the characteristic structure and plot of them. Among the Indonesian comic books, R. A. Kosasih’s work is the best-known and most successful one. His comic is called as komik wayang because of its close relationship with the wayang theater. Kosasih adopted many episodes from the wayang tradition, but he dealt these episodes in the unique way. He changed the episodes and also added the episodes created by himself. By doing so intentionally, he prevented “regionalism” such as Javanese, Sundanese or Balinese. He created his own version of the tale of Ramayana. Whereas, we can see the lineage that based on the classical Sanskrit version as written by Valmiki, in the structure of the tales in his comic books, there are many episodes that derived from the Serat Kandha scripts that have close relationship with the stories of the wayang theater. We can also see the many unique episodes that created by Kosasih himself. Through the creation of comic books, Kosasih has succeeded in presentation the entire plot of the Ramayana with his unique version.
This paper examines early Dutch policy on the Javanese colonization of Gedong Tataän in Southern Sumatra’s Lampung residency, and its influence on the Lampung society.
Lampung was the location of the first colonization to take place under the guidance and support of the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia. In November 1905, migration began in the Gedong Tataän district with 200 householders from Kedu. Subsequently, five settlements were opened, but they encountered many difficulties which retarded their growth.
In 1913 the Dutch colonial government decided to stop promoting the colonization, because due to the inadequacies of the applicants, they could not fill the numbers to be recruited in the fourth, fifth and sixth residencies.
A few years later however, the condition of the settlements improved a great deal. The arable lands, originally intended as wet rice fields but cultivated as dry fields due to the shortage of water, were eventually irrigated and the yields of paddy increased. This led to the resumption of the colonization policy in 1919. From this time, more and more settlers from central Java came at their own expense.
Most of the migrants were landless peasants or small farmers, mainly coming from some districts of Kedu where they had difficulty finding enough income due to the lack of labor opportunities. They could obtain their own land and earn their own living only by migrating to other islands. A strengthening rice trade caused by the expansion of the so-called technically irrigated rice fields, as well as sufficient labor opportunities, greatly helped the development of the colonies.
From the 1920s onward, a sudden rise in the pepper price resulted in continued economic development in Lampung which extended the labor market. Demand for workers was satisfied by the temporary labor supplied by Bantenese migrants and Javanese settlers. The latter, specializing in rice cultivation, also supplied rice to Lampungers. This development of rice trade was one of the conditions that enabled Lampungers to plant pepper without cultivating any food crops.
In the 1920s, the relations among Javanese settlers, Lampungers and Bantenese migrants had a reciprocal nature, and they coexisted with each other by working to their respective strengths and making up for the weaknesses of others.
The purpose of this paper is to reveal how the clove ‘strootje’ (native tobacco product) industry of Netherlands India reacted to the crisis driven by the tobacco tax in the 1930’s. At the end of the 1920’s, many enterprises of this industry cut production because of the rise in price of raw materials. Then, the tobacco tax in 1932 drove this industry into a more critical situation. Many enterprises of Kudus where the clove ‘strootje’ industry had appeared had to stop operation as well. This problem was brought up for discussion in the colonial legislature so that the government decided to levy the tax at a lower rate on hand-made ‘strootje’ and cigarettes than on those manufactured by machine. Consequently, the enterprises in Kudus gradually recovered and restarted expanding the business. The feature of this industry in Kudus was continuation of the ‘abon’ system that was the cottage industry. As a result, the Javanese enterprises of this industry in Kudus were superior to the Chinese enterprises even in the latter half of the 1930’s.
This paper analyses the Khmer document entitled “Affairee 〔Affaire〕 de Oknha Reachea Monty〔Ukañâ Râjâ Mupti〕 directeur Islamique sur le choix du chef de pagode, à Kompong Cham (1914)” in the possession of the National Archive in Phnom Penh (Document No. 20811), which refers to the nomination of a Hakim Me Vat of Chams-Chhvéas in Kieng Romiet Village, Tboung Khmum Province.
Muslim Chams constitute “the second largest ethnic group” in the Kingdom of Cambodia, where Buddhist Khmers account for more than 90% of the population. From the late 1990s, numerous results of surveys on contemporary Chams have been released, but only few attempts have so far been made at historical studies on Chams in Cambodia. The principal reason is that there are few historical sources on Chams, especially those written by Chams themselves. Thus, Document No. 20811 is considered as a rare example.
From the analysis of this source, we can recognize the following points. (1) Chiefs of Muslim Chams-Chhvéas in Cambodia were given the highest title of ministers, Ukañâ, by the Cambodian King. (2) In order to enhance their power, they relied on the King and the Buddhist monks, who had supreme authority in Cambodia. Ukañâ Râjâ Mupti insisted that being appointed as Ukañâ by the Cambodian King, gave him the official authority to control every Cham-Chhvéa in Cambodia, and asserted his right to nominate Hakim Me Vat of each mosque. His rival Ukañâ Râjâdhipatî / Râjâbhaktî appointed a Hakim with the backing of a high priest of Vat Unnalom in Phnom Penh. (3) Chiefs of Chams-Chhvéas announced the appointment of Hakim to the village leader, Me Khum, and asked him to give his assistance to Hakim Me Vat. Me Khum, as well as Chaovay Srok, the governor of the province, only approved their decision after, and avoided becoming actively involved in a matter inside the community of Cham-Chhvéa.
However, it must be noted that Document No. 20811 provides only one account and that we need to compile more information in order to describe the history of Chams-Chhvéas in Cambodia.
This paper focuses on recent research on cash hoards uncovered in northern Vietnam. Since 2006, authors have examined three hoards. Hoard No. 1 was probably buried in the beginning of the 19th century AD. Most coins contained inside a jar were minted during the Le Dynasty, whereas some Chinese and Japanese coins were also included. Chinese coins were mainly minted in Yunnan, indicating the monetary flow between Yunnan and northern Vietnam. Japanese coins, including Kan’ei-tsuho, prove the commercial relationships between Japan and Vietnam.
Hoard No. 2 probably was stored in the end of 14th or the beginning of 15th century AD, in which Northern Song coins predominated. Most coins were found as strings of cash that shows the actual form of usage at that time or of transport. Hoard No. 3 is most likely to have been buried some time between the 16th and the 18th century AD. Only low quality coins illegally minted in Vietnam were contained in a ceramic jar without any high quality ones minted by the state.
Close study of unearthed cash hoards has only recently started and has the possibility to throw light on the monetary flow in the middle and the modern ages of northern Vietnam.