Archive for September, 2009

Islamism — Between the Hard and Soft Variety

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

A year ago I was present at a dialogue session in my beloved adopted city of Jogjakarta and had the opportunity to listen to an Islamist politician answer questions that were put to him by a group of Indonesian gender rights activists.
One of them asked the following question: “What is your Islamic Party’s stand on [...]

Leaderless Politics is Not Democracy

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Populist politics is not the same thing as democratic politics, and we are in danger of making a fatal error if and when we confuse the two as one and the same. It has always been the bane of democratic politics that it throws up populist leaders who, for want of a better phrase, will [...]

Irrational Politics Revisited: How Conventional Political Theories No Longer Work In Malaysia

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Its bad enough that academics and political theorists are badly paid and overworked; now it seems that we have to make sense out of a mode of politics that is, frankly, nonsensical and irrational in Malaysia.
Perhaps the cause of the dilemma that is faced by many academics today lies in the fact that we were [...]

Exaggerating the ‘Threat’ of Indonesia’s Anti-Malaysian Premans Does Not Help Anyone

Friday, September 25th, 2009

I am somewhat taken aback by the article in the Singapore Straits Times entitled ‘Malaysian Students in Jakarta Feel the Heat‘ (Sept 25, Straits Times), for I feel that the ideas and sentiments contained therein do little justice to the maturity and sensibility of Indonesian citizens themselves, and further compounds the already thorny problem of [...]

Morality and Fast Cars: The Costs of F1 in Malaysia

Friday, September 25th, 2009

I have to begin this note with a confession: Ive never understood the fascination with fast cars and Ive never understood how or why anyone would pay hundreds of dollars to sit by a road and watch a car race past for 5 seconds.
Having said that, I do accept that car racing is seen as [...]

Indonesia’s Answer to Islamophobia: Fun

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

As the centre of my universe has moved to Central Java, I find myself traveling to the cities of Jogjakarta and Surakarta quite a lot. The last time I was there was during the celebration of Eidul Firtri (or Lebaran) as its called in Indonesia, just in time to catch the celebrations that customarily take [...]

The implications of growing Indonesian Assertiveness on ASEAN

Friday, September 18th, 2009

In his book ‘Losing an Empire, Finding a Role’ the British Political scientist David Sanders poses the intesting question of whether Britain could have found a better role for itself in the wake of the Second World War and the decolonisation process.
Sanders’ argument runs along the following lines: After the end of the Second World [...]

The Dalang Behind the Wayang Part II: Understanding the context of the anti-SBY campaign in Indonesia today

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

It should be noted that the current anti-Malaysian campaign that is being led by right-wing nationalist groups in Indonesia today is damaging primarily to Indonesia and the image of its President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). While the tension between Indonesia and Malaysia was damaging to the international image of Indonesia, which had long been associated [...]

Power, politicians and brutality

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

(Note: This article first appeared on The Nut Graph, a very stylish website with superb writing. And pretty pictures. – Yusseri)
FOR a region that prides itself for its so-called Asian values, we in Southeast Asia don’t seem to practise what we preach. We talk about how the region’s peoples are peace-loving, but we forget — [...]

The Dalang Behind the Wayang: Identifying the Actors and Agents behind the anti-Malaysian Demos in Indonesia

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Countries do not behave in a hostile manner against other countries for no apparent reason; and they do not engage in hate campaigns without someone orchestrating them. The downturn in Malaysian-Indonesian relations today has taken place over a series of related incidents, many of which were sparked by news reports of ill-treatment and abuse of [...]