Archive for November, 2009

Post-Lecture notes for students of: AS6011 State, Society and Politics in Malaysia (Week 3)

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Following from the previous two lectures where we discussed the development of pre-modern polities in Southeast Asia, let us remember some salient points:
1. That up to the mid-19th century (re our discussion of Munshi Abdullah etc) there was still NO understanding of what the term ‘Malaya’ meant. The political entity that we recognise today as [...]

Expanding the Horizons of Possibility in Muslim Normative Religio-Cultural Life

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Keynote address at the conference ‘Religious Activism and Women’s Development in Southeast Asia’, 20 Nov 2009, Singapore
(Note: below are selected passages only)
I. Introduction: How the Persian ambassador was shocked by the ruler of Aceh
There is an account of the 17th century Persian embassy that was despatched to the court of the Maharaja of Ayudhaya, Siam: [...]

Post-Lecture notes for students of: AS6011 State, Society and Politics in Malaysia (Week 2)

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

To sum up the discussion from last week and this week’s lecture, let us remind ourselves of the following:
1. The pre-modern, pre-colonial polities of Southeast Asia were by and large maritime or riverine polities where power was centralised in the form of the king, who in turn was not as powerful as he may have [...]

Post-Lecture Notes: AS6011 State, Society and Politics in Malaysia

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

One question that came up several times last week and which we will address further this week is the question of Culture and History and their impact on contemporary politics.
Now let me re-iterate some of the points we covered last week:
1. We cannot assume that culture and history - both variables - have a determining [...]

Sordid game of politics

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

(Note: This article first appeared in the epicly excellent site, The Nut Graph. Furthermore, at the said epicly excellent site (where there are many other excellent, sublime, seminal, magnum opus-sy articles, by the way), this article is accompanied by pretty pictures. And was properly edited too. – Yusseri)
Silly season seems to still be around in [...]

Neo-Liberalism and the ‘War on Terror’ Industry

Monday, November 16th, 2009

(Note: These are highlights of the presentation I gave at the Socialism 2009 meeting in KL over the weekend, organised by the PSM)
The logic of neo-liberal economics operates on one unstated premise: That citizens are universal subjects who are both suppliers of alienable/alienated labour as well as consumers of the very same goods and services [...]

When Jakarta’s Manipulation of Islam in Aceh Goes Badly Wrong

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I am currently reading the fascinating study ‘Official Ulama and the Politics of Re-Islamisation: The Majelis Permesyuwaratan Ulama, Shariatisation and Contested Religious Authority in Post-New Order Aceh’ by my dear friend and colleague Moch Nur Ichwan of Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University, Jogjakarta. It has proven to be a worthwhile effort that has taught me many [...]

Revisiting the ‘Wahabi Scare’ of the Past and Present

Monday, November 9th, 2009

It would appear that there are some in Malaysia who are fearful of the influence of Wahabis in the country, and what this might entail in the future. But before I continue this writer would like to congratulate Abdar Rahman Koya for his article ‘Asri’s Arrest Born of Ignorance and Fear‘, where he correctly notes [...]

Revisiting the Spin of Malaysia and Indonesia as ‘Moderate’ Muslim states

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

It is now ‘moderate’ season once again when the leaders of the developed Western world are on the lookout for moderate Muslim states and leaders to engage in dialogue with as strategic, economic and political allies and partners. Needless to say, the leaders and governments of the Muslim world are equally pleased with this open [...]

The Essentialist Reduction of Muslims in Inter-Faith Dialogue: Why dialogue is risky but necessary nonetheless

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

The inter-religious dialogue process is a risky yet necessary vernture. For more than a decade now I have been part of the so-called international dialogue circuit and during this time I must have participated in around a hundred of these dialogues between the Western world and Islam. Notwithstanding the physical cost of these dialogue sessions [...]