ASEAS 4(2) – Borderlands & Border Studies

Issue 4(2) was published in 2011. Find all article downloads below!

Editorial

  • Grenzregionen und Border Studies in Südostasien / Borderlands and Border Studies in South-East AsiaAlexander Horstmann
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-1
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Aktuelle Südostasienforschung / Current Research on South-East Asia

  • Music and Artistic Artefacts: Symbols of Rohingya Identity and Everyday Resistance in BorderlandsKazi Fahmida Farzana
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-2
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    This study looks at the creation of music and art by Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh as a symbol of social resistance and identity. Ethnographic research on the Rohingyas’ use of music and art suggests that these non-conventional means play an important role in communicating their coherent identity and expressing their resistance to the discrimination and oppression experienced in their country of origin as well as in their exile in Bangladesh. This informal resistance is used to keep their memory alive, to transmit that history through verbal and visual expressions to the new generations, and to communicate information about themselves to outsiders. This article posits that these forms of expression, while suggestive of their identity and everyday resistance, occur mostly in an informal and indirect form, rather than in direct confrontation and protest. These informal means also reflect the Rohingyas’ pragmatism and coping strategies for living in the borderlands.

    Keywords: Music; Art; Rohingya Refugees; Bangladesh; Burma/Myanmar
  • Flouting the Law: Vigilante Justice and Regional Autonomy on the Indonesian BorderMichael Eilenberg
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-3
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    After the Asian Economic Crisis in 1997 and the fall of president Suharto’s authoritarian regime in 1998, rural and urban Indonesia experienced a surge in vigilante killings and the rise of non-state forms of authorities working within the twilight of legality and illegality, assuming the role of the state. Institutional uncertainty, large-scale decentralisation reforms and the deterioration of formal legal authority in post-New Order Indonesia encouraged these processes. This apparent ‘lawlessness’ became especially evident along the fringes of the Indonesian state where state authority has continuously been contested and in a state of flux. This paper argues that observing these processes of lawlessness and vigilantism from the borderlands provides us with an exceptional window to understand the ambiguous relationship between law and order in post-New Order Indonesia.

    Keywords: Vigilantism; Illegality; Borderlands; Kalimantan; Indonesia
  • Sacred Spaces of Karen Refugees and Humanitarian Aid Across the Thailand-Burma BorderAlexander Horstmann
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-4
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    In this article, I demonstrate that the Karen National Union (KNU) was able to manipulate and politicise humanitarian aid in the Thailand-Burma borderland. I contend that in the context of the civil war in eastern Burma, Protestant Christianity provides a crucial vehicle for political mobilisation. The article shows that refugee camps in the Thai borderland become centres of proselytisation, and that Protestant evangelical and missionary networks open up passages across the Thai-Burmese border. The article thus considers a case where a homeland is constructed in the liminal space between two nations. Illegal emergency aid that doubles as missionary project reinforces the image of a helpless victim being vandalized by evil Burmese army.

    Keywords: Karen; Nationalism; Civil War; Refugees; Humanitarian Aid
  • Gendering Cross-border Networks in the Greater Mekong Subregion: Drawing Invisible Routes to ThailandAKM Ahsan Ullah & Mallik Akram Hossain
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-5
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    This article discusses human trafficking within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) in relation to the strengthened inter-state economic and infrastructural co-operation and connectivity, taking the life history of sex workers in Thailand into account. Over the last decades, Thailand became known as a hub of entertainment sectors. Traffickers often use socio-economic integration in the GMS to their advantage. A large number of trafficked women ends up in the Thai entertainment industry doing sex work in confined conditions similar to slavery. Poor women are often lured by false promises of well-paid jobs abroad and pay exorbitant fees to agents for such an opportunity. Intermediaries introduce family members to agents who promise to make arrangements for the relevant documentation and transportation across borders. Traffickers use their own marked routes to transport their prey which are more invisible than generally could be imagined.

    Keywords: Trafficking; Borders; Geopolitics; Greater Mekong Subregion; Thailand
  • The Jungle as Border Zone: The Aesthetics of Nature in the Work of Apichatpong WeerasethakulNatalie Boehler
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-6
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    In Thai cinema, nature is often depicted as an opposition to the urban sphere, forming a contrast in ethical terms. This dualism is a recurring and central theme in Thai representations and an important carrier of Thainess (khwam pen Thai). The filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul offers a new take on this theme. Significant parts of his work are set in the jungle, a realm radically different from the agricultural sphere that the mainstay of Thai representations tends to focus on. In Apichatpong’s work, the wilderness becomes a liminal space, on multiple levels. This paper focuses on how this liminality translates into Apichatpong’s aesthetics of the jungle and on how this aesthetics and the films’ narrations negotiate Thai nationhood via the perception of the spectators.

    Keywords: Film Studies; Thai Cinema; Identity Politics; Cultural Studies; Thailand

Forum Südostasien / Forum South-East Asia

  • „Normalisierung“ der Verhältnisse? Eine Analyse der Parlamentswahl 2011 in Singapur – Rolf Jordan
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-7
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Im Dialog / In Dialogue

  • Rethinking Conceptions of Borders in the Greater Mekong Subregion: An Interview With Chayan Vaddhanabhuti (RCSD) – Napakadol Kittisenee
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-8
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    After the Asian Economic Crisis in 1997 and the fall of president Suharto’s authoritarian regime in 1998, rural and urban Indonesia experienced a surge in vigilante killings and the rise of non-state forms of authorities working within the twilight of legality and illegality, assuming the role of the state. Institutional uncertainty, large-scale decentralisation reforms and the deterioration of formal legal authority in post-New Order Indonesia encouraged these processes. This apparent ‘lawlessness’ became especially evident along the fringes of the Indonesian state where state authority has continuously been contested and in a state of fl ux. This paper argues that observing these processes of lawlessness and vigilantism from the borderlands provides us with an exceptional window to understand the ambiguous relationship between law and order in post-New Order Indonesia.

    Keywords: Vigilantism; Illegality; Borderlands; Kalimantan; Indonesia

Südostasien sehen / South-East Asia Visually

Rezensionen / Review

  • Book Review: Phraxayavong, V. (2009). History of Aid to Laos: Motivations and ImpactsLan-Katharina Schippers
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-10
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  • Rezension: Schröter, S. (Hrsg.) (2010). Christianity in Indonesia: Perspectives of PowerChristian Warta
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-11
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  • Book Review: Fjelstad, K., & Nguyen, T. (2011). Spirits without Borders: Vietnamese Spirit Mediums in a Transnational AgeLukas Pokorny
    DOI 10.4232/10.ASEAS-4.2-12
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