This essay clarifies the post-colonial character of Malaysian social sciences by analyzing their historical formation from the viewpoint of the concept “plural.” It argues that concepts such as “plural society,” “multiculturalism,” and “cultural pluralism,” which often emerge in the analysis of Malayan and Malaysian society, are contained within the concept “plural.” This concept was produced during the development of Area Studies, which centered on the United States after World War II. It was relevant to the problems of national integration and modernization that were faced by most newly independent nation states. In this regard, “plural” was firstly interpreted as a lack of national integration and as an obstacle to modernization. In the 1980s, however, however, some Malaysian scholars tried to revise the concept under the rubric of Ethnic Studies. They proposed the possibility of integration and modernization while maintaining the “plural” situation. In the 1990s, a new conception of “plural” emerged that undermines and contaminates boundaries. It has the possibility of breaking out of the national framework, although scholars still use the concept within the framework of Malaysia. This essay shows that the concept of “plural” has varied with time, as well as with the individual scholar. In this regard, the formation of the social sciences in Malaysia is under negotiation between different ideas of “plural” and what it means for national integration and modernization.
Unlike many Middle Eastern states which have unequivocally resorted to repression to outflank Islamist opposition, Malaysia’s response to Islamic resurgence since the formative decade of 1980s has typically combined cautious encouragement of official dakwah (missionary effort) and checks on activities of independent Islamist groups so as to minimize possibilities of violence. Coercion was employed only as a temporary measure. Enjoying a relatively buoyant economy, problems such as mass demonstrations, riots, “terror” campaigns and assassination attempts, have largely eluded Malaysia. The state's strategy of coopting major Islamists and committing itself to an Islamisation programme has added to the regime's legitimacy. Previously strident Islamists have decided to discard their anti-establishment image and pursue their Islamic state ambitions through channels acceptable to the dominant political elite. Islamists' verbal and tacit espousal of Islamisation signal the fruition of the state's accommodationist strategy which, in turn, has obviated the need for Islamists to indulge in fifth-column activities. In turn, the mellowing of mainstream Islamist trends have convinced the state that the continuance of piecemeal Islamisation features, coupled with ambiguous assurances as to its long-term intentions of guiding the nation towards a modern Islamic polity, are sufficient to contain the sociopolitical influence of Islamic movements.
While the writing of Singapore's “history from below” has begun to gain momentum in academic circles, there is still a considerable lack of understanding about the contributions and experiences of the ordinary person to the city-state's remarkable growth after 1965. In Singapore's broader historiography, the success of the nation's economy is commonly attributed to the genius and foresight of key personalities, or in more recent times, the spirit of entrepreneurship by a select few. Thus, the non English-literate Chinese factory worker in Singapore currently only exists in a marginalised space in Singaporean historical discourse, in spite of their role in Singapore's transition “from Third World to First,” touse the parlance of Lee Kuan Yew. Through the use of collective reminiscence and biography, this paper seeks to present the lives of the workers in narrative. In doing so, it aims to solicit an alternative, Chinese working-class account of the “economic miracle” epoch.
What conditions have made it possible for television celebrities to enter politics? Why are there many Filipino celebrities who are elected as national government officials? Most political analysts and media critics devoted time in analyzing public approval ratings and ad spending during the campaign period to understand voting behavior and political choice. While those studies may also be helpful, they do not cover the overall set-up that contributes to the rising trend of celebrity politicians. This article offers to fill a gap in current scholarship on celebrity politician phenomenon by identifying factors that affect the communication process between the celebrity candidate and voters even BEFORE the official campaign starts. For this reason, I chose to loosely base my framework on DavidBerlo's Source-Message-Channel-Receiver (SMCR) communication model. I found out that 1) the socio-cultural and political backgrounds of Source and Receiver; 2) the social role and spectatorship in relation to Message; and, 3) the television's nature as a Channel and its socio-economic background were critical communication factors in paving the way for Philippines to have 11 celebrity politicians as president, vice president and, senators during the 1998 and 2004 elections combined.
This paper reports on a case study that explores women's access to land, especially among peasant households with a bilateral kinship system in a Sundanese community in an upland village of West Java. Based on values of equity in gender, locally called sanak, the parents treat their sons and daughters equally as children and tend to allocate their land based on the customary law. This law supports gender equality in land ownership, which falls into three categories applicable both for paddy field (sawah) and dry land (pasir). The three categories of land ownership are (a) land solely owned by the husband, (b) land solely owned by the wife, and (c) land with joint ownership (locally called gono-gini). Of the total98.29 ha of the land belonging to households studied, about 50.6% is in gono-gini, while the percentage owned solely by the husband is 28.4% and solely by the wife is 21.0%.
Of the 111 households owning land, about 90.1% of them obtained the land either through inheritance, grant or by purchasing after their marriage. The facts show that the owners of the household's land are predominantly women, reaching 43% compared to only 38% owned by men. The gender equality in land ownership is also evident in the inheritance system that passes through both male and female lines. Based on 20 cases (households), the total land obtained from the mother is 6.389 ha (39.23%), while that obtained from the father is 7.496 ha (46.04%) and that from both parents is 2.389 ha (14.73%).Both women and men, including widows/widowers, have control over their land, not only over their inherited/granted/purchased land, but also over to other land that is used in sharecropping, rented and mortgaged. This phenomenon has been recognized by the community and by the external authority at the village level as documented in the Letter C.