King Vajiravudh famously published an essay titled Jews of the Orient in 1914 demonizing the Chinese in Siam as ingrates and parasites. The local Chinese became the "Other Within" in the Thai nation that the king was trying to establish. Whether his reaction to the local Chinese was fueled by ire over the recent strike by the Chinese which paralyzed Bangkok, or a reflection of his English education and exposure to European anti-Semitism, is not the focus of my concern. My interest for this exercise is to study how the Chinese in Siam/Thailand are portrayed in Thai language texts, that is, prose fiction and non-fiction produced in the twentieth century (I will not include related areas such as movies, television drama, music, and cartoons). This study does not involve an exhaustive review of all texts but will focus on a few well-known and popular ones. I would like to know whether King Vajiravudh's portrayal of the Chinese is reflected in subsequent literary production or muted by other realities that existed in Thai society, and how the production of texts on the local Chinese changed over time. More importantly, I am very curious to know how this issue is played out in neighboring countries, especially the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia, countries where the "assimilation" of the Chinese into the majority culture happens in varying degrees.
This paper examines legal and judicial reform in Thailand (then Siam) imposed in the southern Malay provinces, once a sultanate kingdom of Pattani, in the 1890s and 1910s. Legal and judicial reform was one of the three main reforms Siam imposed countrywide at the end of the nineteenth century as an attempt to modernize the country and defend it against Western colonial powers. However, Siam's rule and reform in the Malay region, especially during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, is viewed by recent studies as colonial modernity in itself. These measures included the appointment of a Siamese commissioner in the Malay region, the enforcement of Thai law, and Siam's endeavor to preserve local practices such as Islamic family law and courts, which resembled those of the British and Dutch East Indies. While the notion of Siam's inner colonialism is not entirely wrong, this paper argues that there is also another side of the coin that should be considered especially when looking from legal and judicial perspective. Right after a new regulation was imposed in 1901, it was clear that local people were ready to make use of the new judicial system. This is partly because the new system, regardless of its shortcomings, gave local people, including Malay ruling elites, opportunities to file cases against their enemies or demand justice.
As vividly depicted by James Scott (1998), environmental transformation and the utilization of natural resources for development have, in modern human history, often been driven by the high-modernist world views of (authoritarian) governments. In this context, environmental historians ascribe a powerful role to (hydraulic) engineers as agents of ecological and social transformation. With their epistemic power arising from their association with rational-modern science and technology development, engineers emerged as protagonists of large-scale landscape engineering and water control ventures coordinated by the nation state in the light of modernization. Against this historical background, this paper traces the post-reunification hydraulic mission in the Mekong Delta (1975.90) and highlights the strategic role that state-led water control efforts guided by hydraulic engineers have played in economic recovery, nation building, and state consolidation under socialism. It is argued that water resources development in the Mekong Delta is deeply embedded in the country's historical trajectory, which is framed by national division, the struggle for independence, and the subsequent reunification under the Vietnam Communist Party's leadership. The socialist hydraulic bureaucracy, which arose in the 1950s in North Vietnam, capitalized on the opportune moment of reunification of North and South and systematically expanded its control over the southern waterscape. In this context, the paper presents a historical perspective on how water development strategies and institutional arrangements evolved when North Vietnamese engineers took over water resources management in the Mekong Delta. These past developments still have far-reaching implications for present-day water management dynamics in Vietnam's largest river estuary.
In recent years, Vietnamese trade unions have made considerable strides in trade union organizing. However, studies show that workplace trade unions are generally dominated and controlled by employers. Increasing labor unrest, particularly in the private sector, reveals the failure of trade union organizing and operation in Vietnam. This article aims to provide a picture of trade union organizing as conducted by the communist Vietnamese trade union system in the private sector, particularly trade union organizing that is free from employers' interference. It also examines whether the new legal framework may contribute to this form of trade union organizing in the near future.
This article will describe and analyze the continuities and changes of Islam in Banjarese society, Indonesia, by looking at the existing studies of theological texts produced and transmitted by the Banjarese ulama since the eighteenth century up to the early twenty-first century. There is a scholarly controversy on the authorship of Tu.fat al-Raghibin, but there is strong evidence that it was written by Muhammad Arsyad al-Banjari in the eighteenth century. In this theological text, the author proposes a wider view of Sunnism, and at the same time attacks some local religious rituals considered opposed to Islamic monotheism. From the eighteenth to nineteenth century, the theological texts were written in Jawi. By the twentieth century, the ulama had also produced theological texts in Indonesian language, but the use and production of Arabic and Jawi texts still continued. From the early twentieth century, the Sanusi's conception of Sunni theology has become the dominant among the Banjarese. However, since the 1920s, this dominant theology has been challenged by Salafism introduced by the reformist Muslim group, the Muhammadiyah. By the 1990s, some of the ulama had proposed the theology of God's Beautiful Names as an alternative to the Sanusi's conception. All of these theological conceptions, however, seem to pay too little attention to the challenges of the increasing religious plurality of Banjarese society.
Recently concerns have been raised regarding the potential for the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) framework to recentralize forests, potentially setting back efforts to institute localized and decentralized forms of natural resource management. Here, I apply a political ecology approach to consider access and exclusion to land and natural resources in the contexts of three emerging REDD projects in Cambodia and Laos. I argue that each represents either a partial, incomplete, or so far unfulfilled.but nevertheless useful.example of efforts to use REDD to strengthen local resource tenure. Thus, it is possible to envision how REDD could be utilized to leverage decentralized forest tenure, even if such a reality seems far away at present.