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In 2009, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) co-organized the inaugural Penang Outlook Forum with the Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI). The inaugural Forum, with a focus on “Restructuring and Reshaping Penang”, was held in George Town, Penang on 1-2 June 2009. I am pleased to note that this inaugural Penang Outlook Forum resulted in the joint publication of Pilot Studies for a New Penang by the two research institutions in 2010.
It was therefore with great pleasure that ISEAS decided to host the second Penang Outlook Forum with the focus on “Penang in Asia”. In the event, I was most encouraged by the enthusiastic response from the Singapore community to the forum and pleased that the forum has resulted in a second joint publication. I would like to congratulate the editors and the paper writers for their sterling effort.
As I understand it, the book aims at positioning Penang, and its primary city, George Town, in context of the rise of Asia as the new growth hub of the world economy. George Town is not a capital city or a megalopolis, yet it has still managed to carve out a niche for itself in a range of sectors. Second-tier cities, such as George Town, are clearly emerging as important sites for innovation, as their smaller size and pro-active policy-making has enabled them to attract or nurture a range of new industries. Specialized industries and services must also be served by efficient infrastructure, wellplanned townships, functioning public transport as well as the proper management of basic resources such as water.
We in Singapore are of course happy to share with Penang our experience in areas such as economic efficiency, in public transport, housing and infrastructural development. But I hasten to add that the two cities have developed quite differently over time although they shared a common history as Straits Settlements under the British.
The author, Puan Sri Dr Rohana Zubir, came to see me at ISEAS about three years ago upon the introduction of a mutual friend, Ramon Navaratnam, a retired senior Malaysian civil servant. In the course of the conversation, Dr Rohana disclosed to me that she had been working on a book about her father for some time and that she was looking for help to find a good publisher. When, in response to my query, she said her father was Zubir Said, my ears pricked up. To my generation, the name was easily recognizable as the person who composed Singapore's national anthem.
As I had always been intrigued by the personality of Pak Zubir and the circumstances under which Majulah Singapura was conceived, I readily agreed to have the book published by ISEAS. After reading the manuscript, I was even more convinced that it would be a book that would shed light on the broader canvas of the region's post-war history. It was also going to be a story about a teacher who would be instrumental in guiding a whole generation into the world of music.
The story is all the more poignant and moving as it is an account by a daughter, who made the telling of it her lifelong passion. ISEAS Publications Unit, under the redoubtable leadership of Mrs Triena Ong, supported Dr Rohana in her arduous journey to have the book published. The book is accompanied by a CD, produced by Trabye, Raja Mahafaizal Raja Muzaffar, containing some of Zubir Said's musical compositions.
I am happy to have been a part of this recording of Pak Zubir Said's life and achievements.
This volume is the third in the series of ASEAN-Russia relations books published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and its counterpart Russian institute, formerly with IMEMO and now with MGIMO. We warmly welcome our new Russian partner, with which we organized the third ASEAN-Russia Conference in April 2011. These conferences are particularly useful as Track Two diplomacy efforts to examine the state of relations between both sides, and to share some ideas on how to advance cooperation between ASEAN and Russia. This year's conference was useful as it precedes Russia's Chairmanship of APEC in 2012, and as Russia is searching for new ways to add value and substance to its recent membership of the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM).
This year's conference witnessed some stimulating discussions. One of the highlights was an animated discussion on Russian soft power. Another major point of discussion was how to ascertain Russia's value-adding capability for ASEAN, and vice versa. The presentation of the paper on a roadmap on Russia-ASEAN economic cooperation was especially relevant in this context. Also highly relevant were the discussions on the possible Russia-ASEAN FTA; Trans-Pacific Partnership, including possible Russian participation; and energy cooperation. In the area of geopolitics, there were excellent discussions on Russia-China relations, and how this will impact upon Asia-Pacific regional security. One example was the paper on maritime logistics, an area seldom examined. In the area of educational cooperation, the National University of Singapore paper evoked high interest from the Russian education representatives present, namely, MGIMO, Moscow State University and the Russkiy Mir Foundation. In the area of cultural cooperation, there were diverse and interesting presentations about cooperation on paintings, food, translations of books, and the publication of a bilingual magazine. Many of the topics mentioned above are covered in the papers published in this book.
Lastly, I wish to commend the paper-writers and the co-editors for their hard work and interesting ideas, which have made this volume an illuminating and distinguished book, and a very useful reference for students and scholars of ASEAN-Russia relations.
This timely book commemorates the Twentieth Anniversary of the October 1991 Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia. The Paris Conference on Cambodia itself was the high-water achievement and culmination of a long and determined campaign by the ASEAN countries to bring about a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Cambodian conflict. It succeeded where previous attempts had failed, primarily because the international, regional and domestic Cambodian parties were now supportive of a negotiated peace settlement. Various papers in this book describe how the various factors fell into place, which enabled the many participants to be ready to accept an UN-organized, Permanent Five UNSC members-brokered, Cambodian factions-accepted peace settlement.
Cambodia was one of the first major challenges confronting the decade old ASEAN, to test how it would face up to the question of whether ASEAN could countenance the overthrow of a small state in its region by armed force. What about its hallowed principles, such as the non-use of force to settle disputes; of respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all states; of the use of consultation, consensus and dialogue to settle disputes? It was because of these deeply-held principles that ASEAN decided to oppose the foreign invasion and occupation of Cambodia for over a decade, until the conditions were ripe for a peaceful settlement.
Now that the UNTAC PKO and UN-supervised general elections of 1993 have peacefully come and gone, key questions remain, such as: what is the state of Cambodia today, eighteen years later, and after millions of dollars in ODA by various countries and generous assistance by numerous NGOs have been provided to Cambodia to recover and reconstruct its economy and society? What will be the future of Cambodia in the 21st Century? The various papers in this volume seek to address these complex issues of socio-economic development, of human resource development, of good governance, and of Cambodia's foreign relations. The story of the liberation and reconstruction of Cambodia is one of the noblest achievements of the international community and one of ASEAN's finest successes, and it is a story well told within this book.
That is not to say, however, that there are no difficulties or that all sides are happy with the current situation within the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Most Indian families of my generation in Singapore and Malaysia would have had some connection with Subhas Chandra Bose and his struggle for India's independence through the Indian National Army. Even after World War II had ended, and for many years later, Bose's picture took pride of place in our homes.
Following my assumption of duty as Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in 2002, I had several conversations with then-President S.R. Nathan. He noted that, while there were many accounts of Bose's life and wartime exploits, his legacy had not been explored sufficiently and written about. Mr Nathan hoped that this would be done.
It was against this background that I decided to commission a book on Bose which would highlight his contributions to the emergence of nationalist movements in Southeast Asia. I also wanted the book to show how Bose had affected the lives of ordinary men and women living in Malaya.
About ten months ago, I came to know Nilanjana Sengupta. I discussed the idea of her writing the book. Coming from Calcutta, Bose's home town, she had a first-hand feel for the subject in the larger Indian context. What she needed was knowledge of developments in and around Southeast Asia. Reading voraciously, she came up to speed on the subject and completed writing the book in a record ten months. Although this book is very well researched, it is written engagingly for both the scholar and the layman. It brings to life an epic period of Singapore and Malayan history through the iconic figure of Bose and the legacy that he so richly left behind.
I would like to express my appreciation to Nilanjana for working so assiduously on a legendary personality who remains enshrined in the hearts and minds of many. I would also like to thank Rinkoo Bhowmik, another daughter of Calcutta, and the staff of ISEAS Publications Unit for all the hard work they have put into the production of this book.
Although there is a tendency among some analysts to dismiss Europe as a “has-been”, the world in which we live is still shaped by ideas emanating from Europe. This is why it is important for us to augment our knowledge of Europe's contribution to civilization. This effort will enable us to borrow and use facets of the European experience and transform them into building blocks around the world. Perhaps even the Europeans could take heart and gain courage by looking at their own past!
The European Union is today buffeted by a financial storm never seen in its history. However, Europe's past tells Europeans that, even though they are struggling to overcome a calamitous economic situation, there is no reason for despair. The “old continent” has overcome worse challenges and has come out stronger and more mature. Indeed, it has been purified by threats that were directed at the plinth of what Europe stands for. Well-wishers of Europe hope that its union will endure and prove to be a permanent contribution to world peace.
Seen from the outside, Europe is vast collection of nation-states, regions, some reminiscences from the past, and, of course, the European Union, which encompasses 27 countries. However, Europe is more than the European Union. European ideals, cultivated over centuries, have benefited from diversity, the continent's great strength.
The European Union has tried to define what it stands for. I quote from its proposed Constitution: “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”
These principles are a valuable contribution to the making of a better world. Europe today offers a mixture of political freedom, respect for human rights, and a genuine wish to find solutions to global problems such as global warming and poverty.
To assess the economic situation in Cambodia, we need to have a clear understanding of its past. Cambodia has moved in stages, many traumatic, from a position as a war-torn, conflict-ridden, isolated country to one of stability, which is underpinned by a gradual progress to a market economy. Notwithstanding the significant progress that has been made since 1993, when the UN- supervised elections were held, the country still faces many daunting challenges in its efforts to improve the livelihood of its people. In a larger sense, Cambodia's contemporary economy is the legacy of its troubled past and political conflict, during which the foundations for growth and development — physical, social, economic, and human — have been devastated.
After the Paris Peace Agreements were signed on 23 October 1991, Cambodia moved swiftly to integrate itself into the international community. Cambodia's membership in ASEAN, WTO, and the East Asia Summit, as well as cooperation within the framework of the Greater Mekong Sub- Region (GMS) provided great opportunities to reform the investment and foreign trade regime. This was done by focusing on the liberalization and decentralization of the decision making process, reducing impediments to investments, implementing reform programs and initiating the modernization of the national economy and upgrading its competitiveness to the regional and international standards.
The book entitled Cambodia Economy: Charting the Course of Brighter Future, A Survey of Progress, Problems and Prospects, written by HE Dr Hang Chuon Naron, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Royal Government of Cambodia, provides useful accounts about the current economic landscape and emerging challenges facing Cambodia that has evolved over the years.
This book also assesses rigorously the stage-by-stage evolution of all the important economic sectors of the country and the emerging vulnerabilities that the Cambodian economy has experienced since 1993, and as the result of the global economic and financial crisis starting in 2008. It also provides rich analysis of the economic policy making process as well as policy formulation and implementation, and a sharper focus on the priorities which should be addressed for Cambodia's future competitiveness and sustainable growth.
Twenty-one years ago, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies inaugrated a topical, forward-looking annual publication intended to benefit businesspeople, diplomats, security specialists, professionals, journalists, and others with a stake in understanding regional developments. That publication has long since earned the admiration and trust of readers both in the region and outside Southeast Asia. They have come to rely on its well-informed and timely analysis of the near-term developments and trends likely to have the greatest impact on their work. The latest edition of Regional Outlook: Southeast Asia builds on this strong tradition. Its contents underscore ISEAS' commitment to offering stakeholders in regional affairs access to the thinking of leading specialists in the fields of politics, security, and economics, as those stakeholders seek to anticipate events in the year ahead.
The present volume scrutinizes the political and economic outlooks for each of the ten ASEAN member states in order to help readers foresee both the opportunities that these states will enjoy and the challenges that they will confront during 2012. It also offers a range of specially commissioned thematic articles. These articles address topics such as the relevance of “the Arab Spring” to Southeast Asia, America's effort to re-focus its attention on the region, imminent challenges to Southeast Asia's multilateralist regional architecture, and the breadth and depth of the development of civil society in the various Southeast Asian countries. Particularly worthy of mention are two articles on the range of issues and dynamics that define the important relationship between Southeast Asia and China. And additional thematic articles treat likely trends in food prices and supplies in the region during 2012, Thailand's prospects for remaining a global automotive hub, the economic implications of Myanmar's ongoing process of reform, and Malaysia's Islamic bond market. In turning to near-term trends on the political front in each of the ten members of ASEAN, contributions on the Philippines and Indonesia detail these large democracies' need to surmount persistent obstacles to the consolidation of their political orders.
In November 2009 in Singapore, all the leaders of ASEAN met, for the first time in the organization's history, the President of the United States, Barack Obama. That historic meeting was another important milestone in the ASEAN-U.S. relationship.
The objective of this publication and of the workshop on which it is based is to illuminate the facts of those relations and the specific matter of the United States’ engagement with ASEAN and East Asia, for possible use by ASEAN in discussions at the subsequent ASEANU. S. Summit Meeting and at other ASEAN-U.S. policy forums. The topics of discussion cover several elements of this relationship, ranging from the U.S. military presence in the ASEAN region, cooperation on maritime security, and recent U.S. policy towards Myanmar, to progress on economic and technical cooperation.
U.S. ENGAGEMENT WITH ASEAN
Since the ASEAN and American leaders met in 2009, many in Southeast Asia have believed that this was a new beginning in the United States’ re-engagement with ASEAN. In recent years, although bilateral activities were carried out smoothly, some people in ASEAN faulted the United States for inattention to Southeast Asia at the highest leadership levels, noting that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's attendance at key meetings was very sporadic and that President George W. Bush was not a frequent visitor to the region. A “presidential presence” in the region was considered to be a necessary complement to diplomatic and trade initiatives.
The United States’ re-engagement with ASEAN would allow Washington to become directly involved in regional institutions. This would also enable the United States to become deeply involved in shaping the agendas of such groups. It would undoubtedly serve America's own interests far better in the longer term than its staying at the periphery. Economically, the United States continues to be a key export market for the ASEAN countries, but its importance has been falling just as China's has been increasing. The United States has also been the leading single-country investor in the region. ASEAN could do more to increase its attractiveness to American corporations by improving its trade and investment policies and practices. A cooperative ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) would create a strong incentive for American corporations to invest in ASEAN nations, which, in turn, would boost overall U.S.-ASEAN economic activity.
The 2008–09 global recession is already over. However, at the time this message is being prepared in August 2011, the global economic situation does not look bright. People, including those in Southeast Asia, are worried that another recession may hit the world. As in all crises, the poor will again suffer the most, if another global crisis occurs.
It is therefore that I commend the publication of this book, which examines poverty and the 2008–09 global recession in Southeast Asia. Another important feature of this book is its attention to food security in discussing poverty.
I am happy that Dr Aris Ananta, Senior Research Fellow at ISEAS, and Professor Richard Barichello of the University of British Columbia have brought in experts with various scholarly backgrounds to examine the issue and edit the manuscript. I would like to thank Professor Peter Timmer of Harvard University for his Foreword, which has enriched this book.
Hopefully this book can help us understand poverty and food security, particularly during a financial crisis, not only in Southeast Asia, but other regions in the world as well.
In late 2006, the National Library Board (NLB), in the person of Mrs Pushpa Latha Devi Naidu, approached ISEAS with a proposal for a ‘Conference on Early Indian Influences in Southeast Asia’. The conference was to be held in conjunction with an exhibition that NLB was organising. Professors Mani and Ramasamy were asked to coordinate the conference with funding contributions from the NLB, Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), Asia Research Institute (ARI), and the Chola Mandalam Group in Tamil Nadu. ISEAS on its part provided the logistical support and coordination for the conference with additional funding support. It is important to note the help that Professors Hermann Kulke and Pierre-Yves Manguin, visiting scholars at ARI rendered to the conceptualisation of the conference. A total of 52 regional and international experts presented papers on various aspects of early Indian Influence in Southeast Asia at the three-day conference from 21 to 23 November 2007. The themes of the conference included ‘naval expeditions of the Cholas’, ‘archaeological and inscriptional evidence of early Indian influence’, ‘ancient and medieval commercial activities’ and ‘regional cultures and localization’.
The papers are being published as two separate volumes under the auspices of the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre at ISEAS. Hermann Kulke, K. Kesavapany and Vijay Sakhuja edited the volume on Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: Reflections on the Chola Naval Expeditions to Southeast Asia, while Pierre-Yves Manguin, A. Mani and Geoff Wade edited this volume on Early Interactions between South and Southeast Asia: Reflections on Cross-Cultural Exchange. The papers in both volumes present the reflections of scholars on this important historical period of Southeast Asia and its relations with South Asia.
I wish to thank all the co-sponsors of the project, namely the Directors of NLB, ISAS and ARI for their generous support. I also wish to thank Mr Subbiah of the Chola Mandalam Group in Tamil Nadu for the interest he showed by his active participation in the three-day conference. Finally I extend my appreciation to Professor Manguin, Professor Mani and Dr Wade for their editorial contributions in successfully completing the editing of this large volume.
This volume has its genesis in a conference co-organized by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in March 2011 entitled the “Five Power Defence Arrangements at Forty”. The conference celebrated the FPDA's contribution to regional security over the last four decades and explored its response to changes in the strategic environment.
The FPDA was set up in 1971 at a time of considerable geopolitical uncertainty. It was not just Singapore-Malaysian relations that were touchy at the time, after the Separation of 1965. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was also new, having been established only a few years earlier, and its members were still in the early stages of building confidence to work together to face the common security challenge of the time, namely communism. The war in Vietnam was not going well for the non-communist side, and a US withdrawal seemed inevitable at some point. US President Richard Nixon had already announced the Guam Doctrine in 1969, according to which American involvement in wars on the Asian mainland would be limited to a supportive role while allies and friends would be expected to bear the main burden of defending themselves by providing ground troops.
In 1971, nobody could tell how long the FPDA would last. Sceptics dismissed it as an impotent successor to the Anglo-Malaysian Defence Agreement (AMDA), a mere figleaf to cover the British military withdrawal from the region. They were proved wrong, given the fact that it has lasted 40 years and its five members continue to attest to its ongoing relevance. It has proved to be a valuable confidence-maintaining mechanism and its built-in flexibility allows it to adapt to a changing security environment.
Since its inception in 1971, the FPDA has played a critical confidence- building role in Singapore-Malaysian relations. Before its formation, the Malaysian and Singaporean armed forces had long been comfortable with working with British, Australian and New Zealand forces.
The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) produces research and policy papers on social, political, and economic issues in the region. As part of its work, it interacts with scholars outside ISEAS, including those in regional institutions. This interaction widens and deepens the studies that ISEAS conducts. For a country study, it works with experts from the country concerned.
This book is the result of our collaboration with Bank Indonesia (BI), the Central Bank of Indonesia, which shared with us not only expertise but also the financing of the research.
This book is important because Indonesia is ASEAN's biggest country in terms of population and national income. It has become an attractive market and production base in ASEAN and, indeed, in the rest of the world. The 1997–98 Asian crisis and the recent 2008–09 global crisis have affected Indonesia in different ways. Indonesia today is different from Indonesia forty years ago or even ten years ago. Moreover, what Indonesia does can have significant social, political, and economic implications for the region and the rest of the world.
This book does not discuss all issues relating to the Indonesian economy but contributes to better insights into the direction in which the Indonesian economy is moving. Reflecting cross-border collaboration, it is a product of formal seminars, meetings and conferences conducted in both Singapore and Jakarta, in addition to many informal meetings held among the three editors in Singapore and Jakarta. Comments on the draft of the book came from ISEAS, BI and other institutions. The fact that some of the authors are involved in policy-making in Indonesia gives this book added importance as a contribution to research and policy-making.
I would like to thank Aris Ananta, an economist and Indonesianist at ISEAS, who coordinated the research and is one of the editors of the book. My appreciation also goes to Bapak Muljana Soekarni, who initiated this collaboration and is also one of the co-editors. I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Bapak Sjamsul Arifin, who joined the team of editors.
In mid-2007, Dr Jayati Bhattacharya had approached me with this research proposal. It looked like a difficult proposition in view of the limited available sources on the subject. Gradually, as she began exploring different avenues for source materials, we had further discussions and the proposition looked feasible. What has been achieved is an analysis of the broad history of Indian business communities in Singapore spanning roughly over a century and a half. The book is the coordination and contextualization of the thoughts and ideas of the participating businessmen and entrepreneurs who have lived through different phases of Singapore's modern history. It is to Dr Bhattacharya's credit that she has ventured into an area that none had done so in the past. A book-length study of this kind has not been attempted before.
In recent decades, especially with the dawn of the new century, Singapore-India relations have attained new heights with an intensity of bilateral exchanges on the political, economic and social fronts. Against this background, a study of the different aspects of the multi-dimensional facets of Singapore-India relations could not have been more opportune. The signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) has further catapulted the volume of bilateral trade.
If Indian liberalization programmes in the 1990s has ushered immense opportunities of development for Indians, both on their home ground as well as abroad, Singapore has ably managed to attract a large pool of professional and entrepreneurial talent to enhance its status as a knowledge-based economy. Singapore has also served as a base for Indian companies to expand their venture into the Asia-Pacific region. As such, the complementary policy initiatives of both the states have been advantageous to business communities on both sides and have catalyzed and contributed to the “rising Asia” phenomenon. These changing paradigms of thought and action have been addressed in this research work. This book could pave the way for further research on lesser-known aspects of such linkages and connectivities in Southeast Asia.
ISEAS is happy to support this work by a young scholar from India now settled in Singapore with her family.
In 2010 there was good recovery in Southeast Asia from the global economic crisis of 2008–09, with economic performance returning to pre-crisis levels. However, the security environment was less benign. There were troubling developments in the South China Sea and more tensions in U.S.-China relations. The year also saw more active U.S. diplomacy in the region as well as a U.S. decision to seek membership of the East Asia Summit (EAS). Its admission to the EAS in 2011, together with Russia, became a virtual certainty.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held two summit meetings and also the inaugural ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus Eight, the eight being the Defence Ministers of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. ASEAN was also busy with efforts to bring about closer economic integration. Armed clashes between Thailand and Cambodia on their common border marred somewhat ASEAN's record of peaceful interstate relations.
Elections were held in Myanmar and the Philippines. The former, as expected, resulted in a parliament and government dominated by military interests. However, it still constituted a break from the political stalemate that had existed from 1990 and held out the prospect of gradual change for the better. In the Philippines, the election of “Noynoy” Aquino as President revived hopes for good political leadership and better governance. No end was in sight to the political stalemate in Thailand, where street politics led to bloodshed when the army intervened to clear the red shirts from central Bangkok.
There were no major changes in the other countries. Indonesia's economy performed well, but the country was troubled by perceptions of governance shortcomings and the inability or unwillingness of the authorities to take firm action against hard-line Muslim groups who engaged in violence against minority religious groups. In Malaysia, the political fortunes of Prime Minister Najib Razak improved while the opposition coalition was plagued by internal problems.
Southeast Asian Affairs seeks to provide informed, in-depth, and readable analyses of developments in Southeast Asia. I am confident that this thirtyeighth edition of the series, like its predecessors, will be of value to all those interested in understanding Southeast Asia. I wish to thank the editor and the chapter contributors for the work they have put in to bring out this publication.
19 June 2011 is the 150th anniversary of Jose Rizal's birth. Rizal was a patriot, poet, novelist, scholar and artist. Through his writings, he galvanized the Filipino people into a nation that resisted continued colonization by Spain, although he himself emphasized the difficult tasks of preparation and education, the essential conditions, as he saw them, for personal freedom and national independence. It is because of this that he has been called “the first Filipino”.
However, Rizal's influence went beyond the Philippine archipelago. It radiated to other parts of Southeast Asia, inspiring their peoples on the possibilities of hoping and struggling for freedom and independence. Thus, he has also been called “the pride of the Malay race”.
It is for this reason that the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies decided to commission and publish this book on Rizal, one not so much on Rizal as a person or his place in the Philippines’ history, but on his role on the larger stage of Southeast Asia, at a time when the countries of the region were struggling both against their colonizers and to define themselves as nations.
In this endeavour, ISEAS has asked John Nery to write on Rizal from the point of view of his influence on the rise of nationalism and the movement for independence in Southeast Asia. John is a young Filipino journalist and, therefore, can be depended upon to regard Rizal with a fresh eye and share with us his “take” on Rizal's impact on Southeast Asia in a style that both regales and illumines.
For two decades, diplomats, security specialists, journalists, business people, professionals, and other readers, both in Southeast Asia and outside the region, have relied on ISEAS' annual Regional Outlook: Southeast Asia. They have come to value its timely and well-informed appraisals of the trends, figures, and developments likely to have the greatest impact in the near-term future.
While featuring a fresh new cover design, this twentieth edition of Regional Outlook carries on the tradition of previous editions of the book. It offers a unique resource to readers who require rigorous understanding of leading trends in Southeast Asia. Its coverage includes both insight- rich sections on the political and economic outlooks for each of the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and a number of specially commissioned thematic sections. Topics treated in those thematic sections include ongoing regional initiatives on the South China Sea, the increasing integration of the Greater Mekong Sub-region with China, the implications of the inclusion of the United States in the East Asia Summit, levels of trust in state institutions among Southeast Asians, food security in Timor-Leste, the significance of second tier cities in Southeast Asia, APEC's prospects during this year and the years ahead, “smart cities” in Southeast Asia, challenges for the Malaysian economy and the New Economic Model, and the contribution of integrated resorts to the Singapore economy.
The book's sections on what lies ahead on the political front for each of the ten members of ASEAN during 2011 and 2012 highlight the importance of the consequences of recent or imminent political transitions in the Philippines, in Myanmar, and in Vietnam. They consider the very different sorts of challenges confronting the governments of Singapore and Thailand as they look towards elections in the near future. Contrasting the confusion that prevails in Malaysian politics with the stability achieved in Brunei, Cambodia, and Laos, they suggest the implications of these countries’ circumstances for developments in the years just ahead.
This book is volume two of the ISEAS Energy Perspectives on the Region. It comprises papers based on the seminars delivered by speakers at the ISEAS Energy Forum as well as invited contributions from various experts on energy issues. This book serves to educate the general public on energy issues as well as to raise awareness in Singapore and the wider region about energy issues — both aims of the ISEAS Energy Forum.
The range of topics is wide in scope as well as touching on a number of countries, such as the United States, Japan, China, India, and Southeast Asia. It is also timely as some papers discuss the Spratlys, renewable energy, nuclear energy, and biofuels such as Jatropha. They are written by eminent experts who have kindly and graciously agreed to share their knowledge with the public. In an interesting departure, some papers are written by senior executives from the private sector who make their case for biofuels, solar energy, electric vehicles, and nuclear energy.
Energy issues continue to remain important to the world at large, intimately linked as they are to climate change and the environment, as well as to sustainable economic development. The price of oil has now crept inexorably upwards as the world economy slowly stabilizes and resumes growth from the global recession of 2008–09. Without adequate investments in new oil and gas resources, the price of energy in 2010 can be expected to rise in step with the global economic recovery. Thus continuous attention and effort must be paid to issues such as energy efficiency and conservation. Both the United States and Singapore, as well as other countries, have in 2009 launched sustainable development programmes, emphasizing green or clean technology and energy efficiency.
We hope this volume will help to inform readers about topical energy issues that remain high on the international agenda.
The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies is pleased to publish the follow-up volume to the 1989 Management of Success: The Moulding of Modern Singapore. This volume is a collection of essays by experts in their respective fields which delve into the numerous public policies that have shaped and influenced the everyday lives of Singaporeans since the early 1990s. In the spirit of academic inquiry, this volume serves to identify key public policies that have been deemed responsible for the success of Singapore and to re-examine them critically for a better understanding of our development and progress as a young nation.
Retrospection and introspection are usually not the prerogatives of young nations like ours. Singapore's short national history may make such a volume seem rather like an indulgence. But Singapore is no ordinary nation. In fact, its status as a nation was thought to be “an absurd proposition” many years ago by its first Prime Minister. Given the historical circumstances of Singapore's independence, both government and people plunged straight into the business of surviving. With survival never assured or taken for granted, the achievements and progress enjoyed through the decades have demanded not just good government, diligent citizens or favourable global conditions, but have also nurtured a Singaporean culture and mindset that harbours narrow and specific definitions of success.
The many chapters in this volume willingly acknowledge the tangible and material success that so many of our public policies have yielded. However, they go beyond the obvious and analyse the side effects of such policies, unintended or not, as well as to ponder alternative forms of success. For such an exercise, retrospection and introspection cannot be helped. Finally, this volume is meant to be neither a comprehensive nor final word on Singapore society, but a small contribution to the rich and ever expanding mosaic of the Singapore story.
The good news in 2009 was that the global economic crisis affected Southeast Asia less than had earlier been feared, and towards the end of the year most regional countries were poised for a sharp recovery. Yet, uncertainties and challenges for the future remained in view of the sluggish growth and indebtedness in the developed world.
In the realm of politics, the re-election of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Indonesia with a landslide majority in a peaceful election was a clear plus for both Indonesia and the region, notwithstanding the unfortunate attempts towards the later part of the year by certain forces to weaken the anti-corruption efforts of the government and to undermine two widely respected members of the President's government, namely Vice-President Boediono and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, over the issue of the bailout of Bank Century.
Politics in Malaysia was unsettled while in Thailand it remained tumultuous. In Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's well-conceived 1Malaysia concept seemed to lose its momentum amidst racial and religious tensions caused partly by attacks by extremists on religious establishments. Political uncertainty was also accentuated by the impending trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges. In Thailand, the destabilizing and disruptive street politics used by the anti-Thaksin yellow shirted mobs in 2008 to oust perceived pro-Thaksin governments were emulated in 2009 by the pro-Thaksin red shirts against Prime Minister Abhisit.
Politics in the rest of Southeast Asia was comparatively more quiescent and “normal”. In Myanmar, always an exception to the Southeast Asian norm, the generals were preparing for elections in 2010 for a new constitutional order that would be dominated by the military.
Meanwhile, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continued its evolution towards a more rules-based organization with the efforts directed at strengthening procedures for dispute settlement and implementation of agreements. During the year a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) was concluded with Australia and New Zealand and another involving trade in goods was signed with India. Meanwhile the FTA with China on trade in goods was due to be implemented on 1 January 2010, even though tariff reductions with China had been proceeding for some years.