Southeast Asian Studies Series – Call for Manuscripts

GerakBudaya and Asia Centre are pleased to announce the launch of a joint regional publications series which aims to focus upon the politics, history and culture of Southeast Asian societies.   Together we are launching a publications series on issues that matter to the peoples of the region.  The series will contribute to cross-disciplinary research and debate on the region and to highlighting new and innovative research on the region to a wider audience. Manuscripts are welcome from contributors who are critically examining contemporary issues and would like to reach a wider audience.   The Series In launching a Southeast Asian…

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Brexit: A Failure to Promote the European Union

UK voters were not properly informed by political leaders about the functions, institutions and powers of the EU, which has made a great contribution to the prosperity of the UK and peace in Europe. As a result, Britain’s referendum vote of 23 June 2016 ended up with a “leave the European Union (EU)” result – aka ‘Brexit’. This was the key conclusion from Asia Centre’s roundtable which attracted some 50 participants from academia, international organizations, the media, the NGO community, the public sector and the private sector.   The panel (L-R) was moderated by Asia Centre's Dr Robin Ramcharan and…

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Asia Centre to Focus on Human Rights Policy Analysis

Having established a presence and network in Bangkok in its first year, in its second year Asia Centre turns to its programmatic focus. This will centre on human rights policy analysis covering key regional and international institutions.   These are  the national human rights institutions, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council.   Asia Centre’s focus on human rights policy was highlighted during its one year anniversary commemorations with Bangkok based academics and civil society representatives. This provided an opportunity to catch up and thank all…

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Impunity waters down accountability in Southeast Asia

The provision of impunity to human rights violators is the biggest challenge for ensuring accountability. This was the general conclusion of the panelists at the event Confronting Elusiveness: Demanding Accountability in Southeast Asia.   The speakers from Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar highlighted how in each of their respective countries human rights violators went on to occupy positions in different human rights mechanisms which watered the whole idea of holding such violators accountable.   Speakers featured at the event included, Galuh Wandita, Co-founder and Director at Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR), Aung Khaing Min, Advocacy and Research Officer Burma Partnership and…

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Asia Centre: Regional Representative for Malaysian Publisher Gerakbudaya

Asia Centre has signed a partnership with Malaysian Publisher Gerakbudaya to be its regional representative in Thailand. Moving forward, Asia Centre will commission, edit, launch a publication series, distribute and sell books on Southeast Asian studies.     The publication series will explore critical issues impacting Southeast Asia as well as the region’s linkages to the rest of the world. The aim is to contribute to research and discussions on regional matters which are alternative and can highlight new and important issues to a wider audience.   The Centre will also act as a bookshop and has started featuring a…

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Cause Lawyering: Advocating For Justice

Cause lawyers set themselves apart in their profession by using the law as tool for social justice. They protect the rights of marginalised communities and bridge the gap between law as it is written in the books and the law as it is lived and experienced.   This was how our panelists described the linchpin role that cause lawyers play in advocating for justice. Cause Lawyering: In Conversation With Regional Advocates was held on 14 May 2016 and attracted about 20 participants.   Mr. Henning Glaser, Director of the  German-Southeast Asia Centre of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance…

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Entering Femininity: Reporting Rituals and Violations

Entering Femininity: Reporting Rituals and Violations seminar at Asia Centre attempted to open the topic of female genital mutilation (FGM) for a Bangkok audience. Organised by Alexander Demetrianova, an Asia Centre Associate, the seminar discussed FGM as a violation of child’s and women’s rights by international law and health standards.   Worldwide more than 300 million girls and women are “cut” under different interpretations and in different severity. But in most cases, FGM is a very important ritual, ancestral knowledge and practice. It allows girls to gain a status in their community and further enables them to elevate to other positions in life of a…

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Authoritarian Instituitions Help Najib Weather 1MDB Storm

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib has survived the fallout from the 1MDB scandal and is likely to continue in power despite the widespread feeling that it would lead to his ouster. This was Professor William Case assessment of the financial scandal that has dominated Malaysian politics since mid 2015.   The Asia Centre roundtable on 10th May 2016, entitled Stress Testing Single-Party Dominance in Malaysia, saw over a dozen people gather after lunch to discuss the changes precipitated by the 1MDB scandal and how Nabjib has managed to weather the storm. Professor Case,a well-known Malaysian studies scholar, provided the latest updates on…

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Singapore: A Political Dystopia for Democracy

Singapore is not the political utopia that it projects itself to be. Beneath the veneer, lies a dystopia of political repression, self-censorship and culture of fear. This was the nub of Jeannette Aruldoss’ presentation at Asia Centre on 19 March 2016. Aruldoss, a lawyer and an opposition candidate of two election campaigns, shared some of her personal experiences from campaigning in 2011 and 2015 and provided a succinct overview of the political system and raised questions about its efficacy. The lingering question after the latest elections of 2015 was if politics in Singapore was going to change, or would be…

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The Politics Of Conflict

The “Kachin conflict” at its heart is a political one. Even though the term “Kachin conflict” invariably leads to it being framed and discussed as an ethnic conflict, obscuring the politics at play. This was the main point made by Dr Karin Dean, our guest speaker, at the second installment of the Asia Centre Seminar series.   The seminar navigating the participants through the intricacies of the “Kachin conflict” in Myanmar, because to be Kachin can mean more than one thing- as the term does not represent a particular homogenous ethnic group united towards a particular purpose. The seminar attracted an audience…

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