IAS Working Paper Series

Working Paper Series

The Institute launched a Working Paper Series in 2012. It is a key component of the IAS profile both locally and internationally. The Working Paper Series acts as a publication resource to facilitate the rapid and open-access dissemination of work by IAS scholars, UBD faculty and other scholars working in and on the region. This Series of topical peer-reviewed research papers, many of which go on to finalized publication in international journals, is available in printed and online versions. Papers from the IAS WPS can be downloaded from the list located on this webpage. Printed versions are also available from the Institute’s publication collection.


Editorial Committee:

Prof. Lian Kwen Fee (kwenfee.lian@ubd.edu.bn)

Dr. Koh Sin Yee (sinyee.koh@ubd.edu.bn)


Copyright remains with the authors.


Working Paper Number: 38

Title: Kitchen Anthropology: Understanding Food, Cooking and Eating in Bruneian Middle-Class Families

Author: Faizul H. Ibrahim


Cooking food is a beautiful alchemy and transformation; the consequence of this is where we integrate various influences to create certain meanings. Claude Levi-Stauss said that food can be conceived as a language that expresses social structure and cultural system. Certain food means different things to different communities. In a time and age where we are infiltrated by commercial interest and encouraged to consume fast food, to cook or not to cook becomes a consequential question. When we do cook, we utilize a space very familiar to us called the kitchen for cultural mixing through hybrid dishes, negotiating gender identities through food preparation and determining kinship ties through sharing of food. What is the meaning of the kitchen for Malays who cook in their homes in Brunei? When we use complex ingredients, do we create a new ethnic culinary culture? What are the social realities such as gender, sex and kinship that will be the outcome when preparing, sharing and distributing food on the dining table? The consumption of everyday food is one of the most important everyday arenas in which rigid rules about how things should be done are often apparent, although they are often unspoken or only partially explicit. Preparation, sharing and distribution of food are significant and when we prepare cooked food in the Malay kitchen, there are meanings behind it and we instil these meanings in our friends, family and whoever sits down with us at the dining table.


Working Paper Number: 37

Title: Beyond Skilled Immigration: The Making of New Immigrant Enterprises in Canada

Author: Md Mizanur Rahman


Canada’s skilled worker program is designed to attract those educated and experienced individuals from around the world who are eligible to integrate into Canada’s labour market upon arrival. However, many skilled and other non-business-class immigrants do not find suitable jobs upon arrival in Canada. Some of them choose to open their own businesses and eventually become entrepreneurs. Drawing on the experiences of Bangladeshi immigrants, this paper examines how immigrants reposition themselves from the rank of non-business-class immigrants to that of entrepreneurs in the settlement process. The paper reports that migrant entrepreneurship is embedded within the dynamics of immigration trajectory and the broader context of the receiving society. Even though they are driven towards the lower end of the economy, innovations have expanded the breadth and depth of their businesses and made their businesses different and rewarding.


 Working Paper Number: 36

Title: Housing Matters: The Value of Home Ownership in Brunei Darussalam

Author: Noor Hasharina Hassan


House matters to consumers. However, there are varying values and meanings attached to a house depending on spatial and cultural differences. This research draws upon a study of consumers in Brunei Darussalam. Governance, consumption patterns and socio-cultural institutions shape how consumers value housing and influence their desire to become homeowners. This research suggests Brunei’s housing development and culture are unique compared to societies that underwent great financial liberalisation such as the UK and USA. Financial liberalisation, also known as financialisation, involves governments reducing their restrictions on financial institutions and the financial markets. Based on the results of a qualitative research approach that involved 210 structured interviews which was substantiated by qualitative interviews and secondary data analysis, this study identifies the variables that influence the culture of housing consumption.



Working Paper Number: 35

Title: Emerging Tourisms and Tourism Studies in Southeast Asia

Author: Victor T. King


The field of tourism studies is now addressing a range of issues which in part stem from the problems engendered by multi-disciplinary approaches and from the post-modernist, post-colonialist, post-structuralist criticisms that its priorities and concepts have been determined by a Western-centric (Euro-American) view of the world of tourism. In this regard comparisons are made in this paper between tourism studies and area studies (specifically Southeast Asian Studies). Both suffer from some of the same difficulties. From this comparative perspective, it is suggested that we engage critically with unhelpful binary modes of thinking which have sought to distinguish between the West, and in this case the East, between Western-centred and Eastern-centred perspectives, and between insiders and outsiders. The issue of “emerging tourisms” only serves to complicate these matters.  How do studies of tourism accommodate novel tourisms? Do we view them as simply variations on a theme which can be addressed within existing conceptual frameworks? Is a “mobilities” or an “encounters” approach sufficiently robust and viable to handle apparent touristic innovations? In an Asian and Southeast Asian context does the issue of emerging tourisms in this region require us to re-engage with debates about Orientalism and Western academic hegemony?  


Working Paper Number: 34

Title: Absorbing External Shocks: ASEAN's Approach to Regional Stability

Author: Mikio Oishi


Since time immemorial, Southeast Asia has been exposed to external influence, which has sometimes appeared as shocks with negative effects. In post-independent Southeast Asia, the destiny of regional states and regional stability are inexorably intertwined. Thus, it is imperative that the region develop the capacity to effectively cope with external shocks stemming from different sources. This paper aims at identifying this capacity by looking at three contemporary cases of external impact: (1) the South China Sea dispute; (2) the Western pressure on Southeast Asia for the domestic conduct of the Myanmar government; and (3) the impact of the newly established international norm of the responsibility to protect (R2P) on Southeast Asia. The concept of mediation regime is adopted as an analytical tool for the case studies. Among the major findings of the paper are: (1) that Southeast Asia has developed the capacity to absorb external shocks in several ways unique to itself; and (2) that the region also acquired other capabilities to cope with the shocks, such as preventing external shocks, ensuring the co-existence of incompatible positions of the parties and deflecting external shocks.


Working Paper Number: 33

Title: Re-framing the South China Sea: Geographical Reality and Historical Fact and Fiction

Author: Vivian Louis Forbes


The ‘labyrinth of detachable shoals’ in the South China Sea presented mariners during the late-18th and early-19th centuries with a maritime area of considerable hazard that was best avoided. These same marine features now not only pose a problem for safe navigation within the South China Sea basin but have also challenged the minds of lawyers and politicians since the early-1980s. The basic geographical concepts and definitions of banks, cays, islands, reefs, rock, seamounts and shoals are being debated and often misinterpreted as the legal fraternity and political parties of littoral nation states dispute sovereignty claims and create potential flashpoints in this regional semi-enclosed sea. Indeed, since 12 July 2016, these features have been re-framed in the context of Article 121 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Hydrographers from the western maritime powers, particularly, Britain, France, Spain and United States and those from Japan and to a minimal extent China had undertaken exploration and surveys and recorded and reported their findings on navigational charts and as narratives in journals and official documents since the early-1800s. This current study, whilst alluding to these historical involvements of the national hydrographical agencies engaged in the waters of semi-enclosed South China Sea focuses on the period from about 1930 to 1980 on account of the contemporary political and security issues raised since the 1960s and the national policies of regional and external maritime powers. The study centres on a geographical area commonly referred to on navigational charts and prose in various nautical publications as ‘Dangerous Ground’. The area is also affectionately known as ‘Archipelago of Reefs’ and ‘Reefs of the South China Sea’. This study examines the records and charts of the early hydrographic surveys and analyse the political and legal implications of the graphics and the uncertainty that has been brought to the fore by researchers of many disciplines. It offers description of the geographical marine features and bathymetry of the basin and the characteristics of the coastlines of the littoral states.


Working Paper Number: 32

Title: Between Hybridity and Identity: Chineseness as a Cultural Resource in Indonesia

Author: Chang-Yau Hoon


Hybridity is the antithesis to identity. It is a transgressive concept that blurs and traverses the boundaries by which identities are bounded. Between the poles of identity and hybridity lies the multiple positions that depends on how agency and power are exercised. This paper discusses the multidirectionality of the hybridizing process of the Chinese Indonesians, from assimilation during the Suharto’s New Order (1966-1998) to “resinicization” following the democratization process after fall of Suharto. It examines the cultural politics of the Chinese Indonesians in negotiating between hybridity and identity, as well as the underlying power dynamics in such negotiations. For many hybridized Chinese Indonesians who are unable to access the cultural resources in Chinese, learning Mandarin and performing Chineseness appeals more to economic rather than cultural logic. In light of the rise of China, this paper attempts to unpack the deeper embedded cultural and economic meaning to the return to primordial Chineseness among the Chinese in post-Suharto Indonesia.  


Working Paper Number: 31

Title: Silent the Sea, Writing the Shores – Traveling over the South China Sea

Author: Hendrik M.J. Maier


How to map the sea? ‘Silent the sea, writing the shores’ presents a series of reflections on the problems of maps and mapping, narrative and narration, as the background to a discussion of how older Malay writing dealt with the Sea, including the South China Sea – it is an entity beyond human understanding and beyond description. Given the historical fact that the South China Sea had been sailed by Malay – speaking mariners for centuries, it seems probable that they discussed the Sea in their conversations, mapping it out in words rather than in pictures. It is important to realize that the 17th century author Hamzah Pansuri makes explicit mention of the ‘China Sea’ in his poetry, a rare reference to the South China Sea that may have hung as a silent shadow over later Malay writing. Mapping an ever-moving space may be an impossible exercise, even in our human imagination.


Working Paper Number: 30

Title: “One Belt-One Road Initiative” and ASEAN Connectivity: Synergy Issues and Potentialities

Author: Bruno Jetin


The “One Belt-One Road” (OBOR) strategy was launched in September 2013 by President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan as regards the mainland area and in October 2013 in Indonesia as regards the maritime area. This is by far the largest project of interconnection between Asia, Europe and Africa that will last for decades, entail vast amounts of resources and involve a large multilateral collaboration. This Chinese initiative is potentially a good news for ASEAN which has huge infrastructure investments needs to implement its master plan for connectivity (AMPC). But this will depend on the capacity of ASEAN to maintain its centrality and speak with one voice to China when investment decisions will be taken. Otherwise, the risk is that the OBOR strategy may deepen existing divides between mainland ASEAN and maritime ASEAN, while the purpose of the AMPC is precisely to alleviate them. This paper will analyse these issues and explore the solutions to achieve a synergy between China’s OBOR and AMPC. 


Working Paper Number: 29

Title: Tourism, Communities and Quality of Life Indicators in Bali

Author: Shirley Chin Wei Lee


Global tourism’s continuing expansion as exemplified by rising international arrivals and number of new destinations suggests that understanding the socio-economic prosperity of a competitive destination is an essential component of effective destination management and planning. This paper applies Kim and Wicks’ (2010) tourism cluster development model to Bali – a small, mature destination in the developing economy of Indonesia. It demonstrates whether economic prosperity achieved through destination competitiveness can translate into better social welfare, particularly in mature destinations such as Bali. This paper investigates locals’ perceptions of how far the impact of destination competitiveness has actually improved the quality of life of locals in Bali. Through a qualitative approach involving N = 28 semi-structured interviews, this paper illustrates that successful and competitive tourism destination does not always mean better welfare for its residents as is shown clearly in this Bali case study. Planned tourism development does not necessarily stimulate balanced regional development and equitable growth, thus justifying the importance of taking a step further in analysing the links between destination competitiveness and the residents’ quality of life.


Working Paper Number: 28

Title: Space, Place, and Identity: How Migration have Transformed Kampong Ayer (Brunei)

Authors: Muhammad Faiz Zul Hamdi, Norhidayah Abdullah, and Hazimatul Diyana binti Narudin


Kampong Ayer was and is historically and culturally a significant place in Brunei. However, years of resettlement programmes and destruction caused by fires have resulted in droves of people moving in and out. This paper examines Kampong Ayer from the perspective of human geography, the social construction of space over time. Migration, as a manifestation of globalization in the last thirty years, is a key element in this process. 


Working Paper Number: 27

Title: Post-Authoritarian Discourses of “Indonesia” in Television Commercials

Author: Stefani Nugroho


This working paper examines the symbolic construction of “Indonesia” in eighteen television commercials that were aired between 2006 and 2013. Employing critical discourse analysis, I identify two imaginings of Indonesia: the first is a reproduction of the New Order’s notion of Indonesia as a country of diverse cultural traditions, and the second is the discourse of Indonesia as a nation of hardworking and self-reliant people. While the former is oriented towards the past, the latter is oriented towards the future.  Interestingly, this second discourse is symptomatic of the paradigmatic shift towards pragmatism that was manifested in Joko Widodo’s win of the presidency in 2014.  This research indicates that in post-authoritarian Indonesia, narratives of the nation and nationalism are no longer exclusively dictated by the state. This is convergent with a widespread phenomenon, where neo-liberal principles and market logic are increasingly informing discourses of nationhood.


Working Paper Number: 26

Title: Contestation between Riparian People and States: The Sesan River Hydropower Projects, Cambodia

Author: Ta-Wei Chu


This paper explores the relations between riparian people and states regarding the two Sesan River hydropower projects: the Yali Falls Dam and the Lower Sesan II Dam. I argue that the relations are contested and that these contested relations are rooted in the states’ predominance and the local population’s disempowerment, which are relevant to present-day human-security agendas.


Working Paper Number: 25

Title: Memories of World War II: Oral History of Brunei Darussalam (Dec 1941 - June 1945)

Authors: Frank Dhont, Janet E. Marles, and Maslin Jukim


Oral history sources add specificity and personal depth to traditional historical narratives commonly based on written sources. These interviews complement the historical context particularly where written sources are sparse or unable to provide a complete picture of an era. This paper specifically addresses the contribution of the oral history project conducted by Janet E. Marles, Maslin Jukim and Frank Dhont in Brunei Darussalam and Northern Borneo. Working with graduate students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam across diverse language groups the video project created an archival database of first person interviews of witnesses to the Japanese Occupation of Brunei Darussalam during World War Two.


Working Paper Number: 24

Title: Convergence and Divergence: Issues of State and Region in Tourism Development in Malaysian Borneo, Brunei Darussalam and Indonesian Kalimantan

Author: Victor T. King 


Tourism is making an increasingly important contribution to regional economic development in Borneo and is an important element in state development plans and programmes; considerable attention is also being paid to the potential offered in the East Asian market for attracting package tourists to the Borneo states, especially in Sabah, Brunei Darussalam and Sarawak. The Borneo states boast two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one in Sarawak (Gunung Mulu National Park) and the other in Sabah (Kinabalu National Park), and the collaborative and coordinated 'The Heart of Borneo' conservation and forest and wildlife reservation project in which all Borneo states participate and which offers opportunities for the development of ecotourism.  Nevertheless, tourism is a relatively new developmental enterprise in Borneo in comparison with the established tourism destinations in neighbouring Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Even now research on tourism in Borneo is uneven and its conceptual contribution to tourism studies though empirically interesting and useful is poorly developed. Developments in research during the past 20 years are reviewed. Three ASEAN states are represented in Borneo: the Federation of Malaysia, Negara Brunei Darussalam, and the Republic of Indonesia and they offer fertile ground for comparative studies in the tourism field. Whilst the emphasis and direction of tourism development policies indicate some convergence in those pursuits offered to tourists: in ecotourism, ethnic and longhouse tourism, heritage tourism and even beach resort tourism, there is also evidence of considerable divergence. The reasons for this divergence are examined in terms of the differences in overall political and economic priorities in the three nation-states, and to different environmental, cultural, historical and infrastructural characteristics.  These differences suggest that one way forward for tourism development is the organization and promotion of regional and cross-national tourism packages to take advantage of diversity in an already interconnected set of states.


Working Paper Number: 23

Title: Being Active Consumers: Indonesian Muslim Youth Engaging with Korean Television Dramas

Author: Imron Rosidi 

Abstract:  The rise of Korean pop culture signifies an active audience framework because, as this study finds, Indonesian Muslim youth are more active in their consumption of television dramas through laptops than through television. Globalisation has supported the instant availability of Korean television dramas on the internet, and these can be downloaded and shared as pirated DVDs and free files. Furthermore, Muslim youths who watch Korean television dramas actively imagine the modernity reflected in them, and seek to selectively experience the modern elements that are represented. This imagination is interwoven with their Islamic belief structure and thus allows them to be both modern and Muslim.


Working Paper Number: 22

Title: Of Social Imaginary and Violence: Responding to Islamist Militancy in Indonesia

Author: Paul J. Carnegie 

Abstract: In the early 2000s, Indonesia witnessed a proliferation of Islamist paramilitary groups and terror activity in the wake of Suharto’s downfall. Having said this, over the years since Suharto’s downfall, the dire threat predictions have largely failed to materialize at least strategically. This outcome raises some interesting questions about the ways in which Indonesian policy-makers responded to the security threat posed by Islamist militancy. Drawing on Temby’s thesis about Darul Islam and negara Islam Indonesia and combining this with Colombijn and Lindblad’s concept of ‘reservoirs of violence’, the following paper establishes that persistent and excessive punitive action by the state is potentially counter-productive in the long run. On its own, punitive action fails to address effectively the conditioning factors underlying militancy and its different social imaginary. If over-utilized, it runs too high a risk of antagonizing and further polarizing oppositional segments of the population by perpetuating a ‘ghettoized’ sense of enmity and alienation amongst them towards the state and wider society. This paper argues that a more nuanced approach that both supports and utilizes various preventative measures is also critical for addressing complex and deeply rooted types of insecurity. By situating localized responses to the problem in historical context, the paper underscores the importance of charting a course between strategic and human security concerns to counter the specific imaginary of extreme thinking and limit the conditions under which Islamist militancy reproduces in Indonesia.


Working Paper Number: 21

Title: Co-existing Differences: Towards an East Asian Way of Incompatibility Management

Author: Mikio Oishi 

Abstract: A careful observation of the ways in which conflicts in East Asia are managed reveals a unique approach to addressing incompatibilities involved in conflict. This approach is fundamentally different from the mainstream Western approach, which is characterized by an effort to integrate the incompatible positions of the parties to conflict. According to John Burton, this integration is made possible by delving into human needs that lie beneath these positions. In contrast, an East Asian approach (in its best case scenario) seems to result in the co-existence of incompatible positions without integration. This paper investigates how such co-existence of incompatible positions is achievable. After discussing several possible ways in which incompatibility of conflict can be addressed, the paper examines three representative East Asian conflicts from the standpoint of incompatibility management, namely the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Strait and South China Sea. It highlights that incompatible positions co-exist with each other in the management of these conflicts. While there are observable efforts to transform conflicts for better management in the three cases, a regional approach is found to manoeuvre around incompatibility. This is made possible partly by the function of the parties absorbing tension arising from incompatibility. Yet, more fundamentally, this paper argues that the Buddhist concepts of sōsoku-sōnyū (mutual presence and mutual merging), shi-hokkai (four realms of existence) and dai’enkyō-chi (wisdom comparable to an infinite round mirror), originating in Kegon-kyō or the Avatamsaka (Flower Garland) Sutra of the Mahayana Buddhism are key to explaining outcomes in these cases.


Working Paper Number: 20

Title: How safe is Safe? ‘Safe migration’ in Southeast Asia

Author: AKM Ahsan Ullah, Yusnani Mohamed Yusof, Maria D'Aria

Abstract: Safety issues of migration have come to the fore in the public and academic discourse in recent years. People seek irregular means of passage in their effort to migrate overseas. As a result, their lives are at put at risk. Female migrants are more vulnerable than their male counterparts in unsafe migration conditions. This paper tries to understand the perception of migrants about their own migration experiences. About 94 female migrants were selected based on snow ball and convenient sampling from two destinations: Thailand and Malaysia. The study shows that most of the respondents underwent (pre-migration, enroute, post-migration) extremely dangerous and unsafe experiences. Gross human rights violation by travel agencies, brokers and employers as well were revealed. Safe migration entails a series of policies, programs, and initiatives which focus on all aspects of migration- from education of potential migrants in the home countries to policies which protect migrants while in transit, to the protection of human rights in holding centers, and proper border control and policing. Safe migration requires the participation of all countries involved in the migration process in creating more opportunities for safe migration by empowering and educating people on migration options and by creating policies that protect human rights.


Working Paper Number: 19

Title: Digital Memoir of the South China Sea

Author: Shui Kong Ho

Abstract: A Chinese junk in full sail is one of most enduring symbols of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour and the surrounding South China Sea, which brings life and commerce to the region. Inspired by this symbol of Chinese culture along with other found artifacts, I have created a series of digital artworks based on my childhood memories of these iconic symbols of my Hong Kong upbringing. This series of work is based on deconstructed photographs of vintage patterns and sections of objects that were once common household and everyday articles. I then manipulate and reformat them into swirling designs of color that can only be described as having an association with contemporary digital images of fractals. Another category of found objects that appear in my work are natural wonders, such as shells and plants that are commonly found on Hong Kong’s rocky shores. My journey of selecting objects to photograph, deconstruct, manipulate, print, exhibit, and reflect on is integral to my artistic research. As such, it comprises material critical to understanding my identity as a bicultural artist and how I have come to understand certain cultural aspects of my youth as a person of Chinese heritage growing up in the harbour city of Hong Kong. In this paper, I intend to use complex spiral digital art to trace the inspirational forms that frequently materialize in my work. This work was exhibited in Hong Kong in March 2014 in conjunction with an explanation on how it might influence the visual culture there.


Working Paper Number: 18

Title: Disciplining Rock Music and Identity Contestations: Hybridization, Islam and New  Musical Genres in Contemporary Malaysian Popular Music

Author: Zawawi Ibrahim

Abstract: Sometime in 1989, Margaret Scott, a Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) journalist, observed the heightening fervour of Malay rock music among ardent young Malay followers calling  themselves ‘kutus’, when at the same time Islamic fundamentalism was on the rise. Fast forward towards the end of 1997, however, Raihan, a Nasyid(Islamic religious song) group, signed by Warner Records, sold a record-breaking half-a-million of their debut album. Since then Nasyidmusical groups and Raihan wannabes began to mushroom creating a new hype in Malaysian popular music and industry, culminating in the Nasyid pop ‘success’ story. The focus of the article is  to analyse how, at a particular phase in the evolution of Malaysian popular music, ‘rock’ was ‘disciplined’ to make way for the rise of other musical genres, in this case, Balada Nusantara (Irama Malaysia)  and Nasyid pop. Taking a critical  perspective, I argue that the  ‘transition’ from rock to these  musical genres occurred  on a  terrain  which involves several levels of contestation,  constituted by the juxtapositions  of  different  institutions and social actors -  such as the  role of the  state, state actors, political parties, the mediation of Islam and national culture,  and ultimately, the ‘agency’ of non-state actors and the creative nucleus.


Working Paper Number: 17

Title: Reconsidering Ethnicity: Classification and Boundary Formation

Author: Kiran Sagoo

Abstract: Research focusing on ethnic relations in plural societies often assume the ethnic groups under discussion are natural categories. While ethnic categories appear clear and fixed at a given point, a closer examination of these categories over time demonstrate that ethnic boundaries are often fluid and can be based on a variety of criteria. The following paper focuses on the formation of ethnic identities in Malaysia with comparisons made to Fiji and South Africa.  Through an examination of archival censuses, this paper attends to the following research questions, “What are the current ethnic categories in Malaysia, Fiji and South Africa?” and “How have the boundaries between them developed over time?” In doing so, it addresses the issue of saliency in ethnic boundary formation.


Working Paper Number: 16

Title: Social Stratification in the Southeast Region of Viet Nam

Author: Cuong The Bui 

Abstract: In 2010, the Southern Institute of Social Sciences of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences conducted two surveys in the Southeast region of Viet Nam. The first survey was conducted in Ho Chi Minh City. It consists of 1,080 households living in 30 wards or communes. The second one was carried out in other provinces of the Southeast region, consisting of 1,080 households living in 30 wards, towns or communes. This paper outlines the social stratification structures by occupational groups, social strata and quintiles of income based on the data set analysis of the surveys. Three properties attached to the social groups, namely the economy, knowledge and power resources, are measured by three variables: household’s income, years of schooling, and being a member of the ruling Party. The analysis highlights that the distributions of these resources are consistently structured by the configuration of social stratification.


Working Paper Number: 15

Title: From Island to Nation-state Formations and Developmentalism: Penan Story-telling as Narratives of ‘territorialising space’ and Reclaiming Stewardship

Author: Zawawi Ibrahim

Abstract: This paper is an attempt to position Penan story-telling in the context of the evolution of Borneo from an island to that of a nation-state formation, defined ultimately by the grand narratives of Malaysian developmentalism. The paper initially addresses the historical picture of this transformation. It also critically interrogates the question of epistemology in relation to the anthropology of ‘the Other’, specifically the methodology of research on indigenous society. Against the dominant state-capital narrations of development, the paper moves towards a postmodernist/storytelling ethnography of Penan de-territorialisation. It is argued that indigenous counter-narratives are equally capable of generating their own legitimate forms of knowledge and discourse on development. By adding to the Penan ethnographic base that has been paved by scholars such as Langub and Brosius,  I foreground my analysis of Penan de-territorialisation based on my fieldwork in the Ulu Baram area of Sarawak, where I present an overview of the impact of the state-sponsored modernisation process (read: developmentalism) on the Penan traditional landscape and communitas. My argument on Penan de-territorialsiation is further empowered by the storytelling of Penghulu James, which is a representation of an indigenous notion of place, space and territory. This may also be seen as a defence of Penan claims to 'stewardship' over the land despite their traditional status as non-cultivators, to contest the current bureaucratic 'rational legal' and official discourse which governs the present Penan landscape. The paper calls for the role of a de-colonising anthropology in mediating knowledge from the margins through the postmodernist texts and storytelling ethnography, to narrate not only the realities of de-territorialisation, but more importantly, the‘re-territorializing’ imaginings of indigenous society.


Working Paper Number: 14

Title: Domestic Maids in Brunei: A Case Study

Author: Nurul Umillah Binti Abdul Razak, Adira Rehafizzan Binti Anuar, Dk. Siti Nurul Islam Binti Pg. Mohd Sahar and Nur Hidayah Binti Matsuni

Abstract: This paper is a case study of Indonesian domestic maids or referred to locally as amah working in Brunei Darussalam. It is an account of the lives, hardships, difficulties, and dreams of five eastern Javanese women, and how their position as domestic maids abroad has changed the dynamics of gender and power relations in their traditionally patriarchal households in Java.


Working Paper Number: 13

Title: Between R2P and the ASEAN Way: The case of Myanmar’s Cyclone Nargis

Author: Mariam Bensaoud

Abstract: The following paper specifically addresses the challenge that the international norm of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) posed to the old ‘ASEAN Way’ of non-interference in the sovereign affairs of its members. It examines the extentto which the ‘ASEAN Way’ adapted in the face of the Cyclone Nargis R2P crisis. The paperargues that Myanmar’s R2P crisis was a wakeup call for ASEAN. It not only challenged ASEAN’s old ways of dealing with crisis but provided a potential precedent for dealing more effectively with regional problemsthrough mediation,action and hybridity. This in turn allowed for pragmatic adaptation without a wholesale abandonment of the Association’s founding principles and values.


Working Paper Number: 12

Title: Pengangun as Ritual Specialist in Brunei Darussalam

Author: Mufidah Abdul Hakim

Abstract: This paper is an ethnographic account of the spiritual function of pengangun (a wedding attendant) based on anthropological research in the Brunei-Muara district. It explores the important role of women in wedding rituals and the ways in which their role has changed as a consequence of modernization and Islamization.


Working Paper Number: 11

Title: “No Federation Please-We Are Bruneians”: Scuttling the Northern Borneo Closer Association Proposals

Author: B. A. Hussainmiya and Asbol Haji Mail

Abstract: The reason for Brunei Darussalam’s refusal to join the Malaysia Federation in August 1963 remains an enigma to this date.  Scholarly speculations abound pointing to Brunei’s reluctance to share her oil income and the ire of then Brunei Sultan Sir Haji Omar Ali Saifuddin for losing priority in the hierarchy of the Malayan kings and so on.  This article sets the historical background of the Sultan’s unyielding resistance in diluting sovereignty of the State by becoming part of any Federation within or without Malaysia. Federalism, a cardinal British imperial policy to unite otherwise fledgling smaller colonial territories, may have worked elsewhere in the dominion, but the promoters in the British Colonial Office hit a blindwall when they tried to promote the same among the three Northern Borneo Territories namely Sarawak, North Borneo (Sabah) and the Sultanate of Brunei. No amount of persuasion, cajoling and even indirect threats could nudge Brunei to accept an ostensible Closer Association Proposals prior to the formation of a larger Federation including Malaysia and Singapore.  By focusing on this important but a still-born event, this article highlights complex issues that shaped Brunei’s modern history in which the Sultanate slithered towards neo-traditionalism as well as monarchic absolutism as witnessed today.  This article further highlights an ironic coalescence of disparate interests represented by a nascent nationalist movement in the Partai Rakyat Brunei (Brunei People’s party) led by Shaikh Azahari with that of the altruism of British colonial design to achieve the same goal vis-à-vis an obstinate Brunei Ruler who emerged victorious in the end to keep intact  the age-old Brunei monarchy while preserving the geographical integrity of a rump State that stood the danger of being obliterated during  the period under discussion.


Working Paper Number: 10

Title: Hyper-centralization of Political Power and Fragmentation of Local Authority Networks in Banten (Indonesia)

Author: Gabriel Facal

Abstract: In Banten (Indonesia), the recent detention of the governor and her brother introduces a level of uncertainty about future political dynamics in the province. These political figures belong to part of a powerful familial dynasty that has held power since the 1970s in the President Suharto era through connections with religious leaders and strongmen. The latter form a local structure of authority that has played an intermediary role between local communities and national political institutions since Indonesia’s independence in 1945. With the initiation of decentralization reforms in Indonesia in 1999 and the accession of Banten to province status, the governor’s family fragmented these local networks to consolidate political alliances on kinship relations. The strategy of regional political hyper-centralization is based on discourses that reshape historical and territorial markers. This leads to considerations about the kind of political representation proposed by the regional leaders and, in turn, how the wider Bantenese populace manages to articulate their expectations concerning political issues at the local level.


Working Paper Number: 09

Title: The Governance of Knowledge: Perspectives from Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia

Author: Farah Purwaningrum, Syamimi Ariff Lim, Hans-Dieter Evers and Tony Banyouko Ndah

Abstract: The paper revisits the concept of knowledge governance by drawing on the experience of building knowledge clusters in two countries, namely Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. By drawing on the experiences of selected Southeast Asian countries, it explores the strategies by which a country may take up the governance of knowledge in terms of avoiding the knowledge trap. We posit that an investigation of knowledge governance would require a study of the formal and informal institutional arrangements allowing knowledge flows in a cluster. The flow of tacit knowledge in particular may still require spatial proximity. We move on to explore the different perspectives of learning from the strategies of building knowledge clusters in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Peninsular Malaysia and Brunei-Muara District - Brunei Darussalam. Our research builds the foundation for knowledge governance inquiry by studying the spatial distribution of manpower and the science network of universities, in this case Universiti Sains Malaysia, with external knowledge producing organizations. Learning from the experience of the Northern Corridor and Multi Media Corridor in Malaysia, we discuss our preliminary analysis of knowledge clusters in the Brunei-Muara District, Brunei Darussalam. Results of the analysis highlight that indeed there is increasing clustering of organizations such as private companies and government agencies in the Brunei-Muara District. Nevertheless, high levels of knowledge sharing within the cluster are still lacking. We intend to follow up the study of the Brunei-Muara District knowledge cluster by focusing on the ICT (Information Communication and Technology) knowledge base. Lastly, in conclusion we summarise the current findings and present preliminary recommendations for developing a knowledge base in Brunei Darussalam.


Working Paper Number: 08

Title: Citizenship Regimes and the Politics of Difference in Southeast Asia

Author: Lian Kwen Fee

Abstract: The development of citizenship regimes in Southeast Asia in the lead up to independence and its immediate aftermath is inextricably tied to the formation of nation-states. This paper focuses on formal citizenship as an instrument of social closure in the years of decolonization that were dominated by political conflict between the ‘indigenous’ and the Chinese immigrant populations. In my comparative discussion of the different trajectories that citizenship regimes in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia took, I identify the simultaneous but contradictory presence of inclusiveness and exclusiveness. The contradiction can be explained by linking it to the ebb and flow of civic and ethnic nationalisms, the democratization process, and the specific circumstances in which the Chinese were perceived as the ‘Other’.


Working Paper Number: 07

Title: Is the Indonesian Transition a Model for the Arab Spring?

Author: Paul J. Carnegie

Abstract: Over the last two years, the 'Indonesian model' has become an increasingly repeated mantra in media and policy circles. It seems to hold the promise of a 'road map' for the nascent transitions taking place in the Arab world. The logic and appeal here is obvious. Simply stated, Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country on the planet and in the decade or more since the downfall of Suharto; it has successfully, if not always without difficulty, transitioned from authoritarian rule to a functioning democracy. At the same time, initial concerns over radical Islamist ascendency have proved largely unfounded. In fact, Indonesia accommodates a diversity of political expression within the framework of democratic electoral politics. All of which explains the recent interest. Having said this, should we hold up the 'Indonesian model' as a general panacea for what ails the Middle East? The following paper introduces a note of caution by examining this question in more detail to see whether or not our apples are actually oranges and what lessons, if any, can we draw.


Working Paper Number: 06

Title: Epistemic Landscape Atlas of Brunei Darussalam

Author: Hans-Dieter Evers, Anthony Banyouko Ndah & LiyanaYahya

Abstract: This atlas presents the geo-visual outcome of the project titled "Knowledge hubs in Brunei Darussalam"1

The availability and application of knowledge has been identified as the most important driving force of innovation and the social and economic development of a knowledge-based economy. As an additional factor the spatial distribution of high-level manpower, of knowledge producing institutions and of high-tech driven industrial production, in short the development of knowledge clusters is seen as an essential precondition for sustainable economic growth. The initial attempt to map knowledge clusters was done with the aid of the free software ‘DIVA GIS’. Later on, with access to ArcGIS soft ware, the map quality and visual effects was improved upon. All the maps produced so far have therefore been included in this first atlas which is intended to serve as a reference document not only for similar studies and research but for development planning in Brunei Darussalam. This atlas will therefore serve as a valuable tool for both researchers and government departments. In the general map-making process, three vector layers – roads, rail roads and water areas – are overlaid on the Brunei shapefile which contains administrative boundaries, downloaded from Diva GIS web site. Coordinates of knowledge institutions were imported to the Diva GIS soft ware from an Excel spread sheet appearing as point symbols on the maps, representing individual institutions. It should however be borne in mind that the mapping process is still continuous and improvements and corrections will further be done to remove current imperfections. This is therefore not the final output.


1This project was carried out under a UBD research grant by a research team: Associate Professor Dr Roger Lawrey, (formerly FBEPS UBD) School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, University of Southern Queensland; Professor Dr Hans-Dieter Evers, Eminent Visiting Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UBD; Hjh Siti Rafidzah binti Hj Sulaiman, Lecturer, Faculty of Business, Economics and Policy Studies, UBD; Anthony Banyouko, PhD Research Fellow, Environmental Studies Program, FASS UBD; LiyanaYahya, Research Assistant, FBEPS UBD; Dr Farah Purwaningrum, Research Fellow, Institute of Asian Studies, UBD.


Working Paper Number: 05

Title: Knowledge Transfer within an Industrial Cluster in the Jakarta Metropolitan Area

Author: Farah Purwaningrum

Abstract: Foreign direct investment is supposed to stimulate economic growth through the transfer of new technical knowledge and product innovation. This paper deals with the knowledge flow within the Japanese automotive supply chain catalysed by the keiretsu network in Indonesia. For this purpose, we analyse the character of the keiretsu and we trace how the knowledge flow is managed via the vertical linkage between manufacturers and suppliers within an industrial cluster. By doing so, we intend to contribute to the growing literature on industrial upgrading of the global production network and the use of knowledge for innovation and development. Based on our qualitative study, we show that the process of industrial upgrading is cumbersome for the automotive supplier companies in Indonesia. This is partly due to the fiscal incentive based policy of the Indonesian government and at the micro level due to the keiretsu as an institution, whereby knowledge flow is mediated by the restrictive practices of the supplier development programme.

Working Paper Number: 04

Title: UNESCO in Southeast Asia: World Heritage Sites in Comparative Perspectives

Author: Victor T. King

Abstract: The region’s 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS) make a significant contribution to national identity, international profile, and government plans for domestic and international tourism development.  Yet we still know very little about these sites in comparative terms. The sites are defined generally as those of ‘universal human value’.

Once UNESCO has inscribed a site then it becomes ‘a validation of quality’ and even more importantly it confirms its ‘authenticity’; these attributes can and usually do provide significant attractions for the international tourism market and governments also deploy them for political and economic purposes. Moreover, they are globally important, but they are also locally demarcated sites which are the focus of cultural encounters, social and political conflicts, and tensions and accommodations between competing interests (international bodies, national governments and their agencies, NGOs, conservation experts, tourists and local communities). They provide the ideal laboratories for multi-disciplinary analysis, bringing together perspectives from history, political science, economics, geography-ecology, sociology and anthropology.  Some preliminary and summary observations are presented here from a four-year British Academy-ASEASUK-funded project (2009-2013) designed to examine a range of both cultural and natural sites across seven countries in the Southeast Asian region. This is the first large-scale comparative research programme of its kind and, among other issues, it considers how sites are being managed and how they are coping with the conflicting pressures to which they are subject in a globalising heritage industry and in serving as symbols of identity and prestige in national policy-making and development plans.  In comparing sites within and beyond a particular country I draw out lessons for best practice in order to assist UNESCO and national governments in relation to their concerns about heritage protection, conservation and tourism development.

*Previous versions of this paper as a PowerPoint presentation have been delivered at conferences in Oxford and Cambridge 2011, 2012 and 2013, as a public lecture at Universiti Brunei Darussalam in September 2012, and in seminars at Ateneo de Manila in June 2012 and Macau University of Science and Technology in July 2013. This paper is, in part at least, a reiteration and reorganisation of some of the material that has already been conveyed in King and Parnwell (2010, 2011) and King (2012). My sincere thanks go to my colleague Michael Parnwell for his scholarly companionship in producing the two pieces on Thailand (hence the ‘we’ and ‘our’ in the narrative). The section on Melaka from my own research is properly ‘I’  ‘me’ and ‘my’ in the narrative, and also with reference to the important work of Nigel Worden. The section on the Philippines refers, with due appreciation, to the research of Johanna Fross and Erik Akpedonu in addition to my work on Baroque churches.


Working Paper Number: 03

Title: Borneo and Beyond: Reflections on Borneo Studies, Anthropology and the Social Sciences

Author: Victor T. King

Abstract: In many respects, this paper is a starting point in the consideration of research on Borneo as a field of studies which has both relied upon and contributed to the more general field of anthropology and the wider social sciences. I believe that this represents the first attempt  to take stock of and to reflect on what has been achieved in scholarship on Borneo in the post-war period and it has also considered the post-war colonial legacy and what has been achieved in research during the period of independence in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo and Brunei Darussalam and in the era of nation-building and development. In presenting an overview of the field I have reflected on the literature and attempted  to arrange and evaluate it in a more consistent and ordered fashion. I have used an overlapping set of organisational principles based on chronology, themes, individual legacies and contributions, and debates and controversies. There is much more I could have referred to and discussed in this introductory overview but the intention has been to stimulate reflection and debate on the development of our understanding about the societies and cultures of Borneo since the 1940s.


Working Paper Number: 02

Title: Local Knowledge and the Digital Divide: Focus on Southeast Asia

Author: Hans-Dieter Evers & Solvay Gerke

Abstract: The production, dissemination and utilization of knowledge are essential for development and the introduction of information and communication technology (ICT) is a precondition for developing a knowledge society. Countries, regions and populations are, however, divided, in terms of access to ICT. Socio-economic indicators on Brazil, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Germany are used to show that the existing global digital divide and the knowledge gap are widening between developing countries and the industrial countries and within individual nations.The moral and cultural issues of the digital divide and the knowledge gap are identified. Access to primary education and the acquisition of reading and writing skills is a basic human right and an internal digital divide between those that have access to further knowledge and others without access is unjust and not acceptable. Furthermore a civilization needs “meta-narratives” as a common ground, an anchorage for basic cultural values, which have to be disseminated, known and accepted by all members of a society to avoid violent conflict, fundamentalisms of various kinds and alienation. Some countries have embarked on an ambitious plan to close the digital divide and to use knowledge as a base for economic development, by-passing earlier stages of industrialization. Some commentators have, in contrast, asserted that it is doubtful that closing the digital divide will let developing countries leapfrog to higher levels of development as the knowledge economy will deepen the digital divide between regions and populations and actually expand the gap between rich and poor. The paper discusses this controversy by arguing that global knowledge has to be localized and local knowledge utilized in developing a knowledge society. If it seems unlikely that the digital gap between developing and developed countries will be closed completely at least narrowing the gap at the lower end should be targeted. For this purpose minimal standards of “basic digital needs” should be formulated.


Working Paper Number: 01

Title: Culture and Identity: Some Borneo Comparisons

Author: Victor T. King

Abstract: In an attempt to promote a wide-ranging comparative investigation in Borneo Studies and one which looks beyond Borneo’s shores to the wider nation-states in which Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan are situated, this paper examines the interrelated concepts of culture and identity, and more especially identities in motion, in analysing interrelationships and encounters between a range of peoples and communities. Although it is an attempt to re-orient and promote the study of Bornean identities what it is doing in a more modest fashion is to bring some of the available literature together and explore some of the links between case-studies and ideas. The cases are grouped under four heads (though as the research develops there could be more) whilst keeping in mind the underlying concepts of centres and margins and cores and peripheries: (1) the nation-state, majorities and minorities; (2) the media, identities and nation-building; (3) borderlands, margins and identities; and (4) emerging middle classes, lifestyles and identities.





Working Paper Number: 36

Title: Housing Matters: The Value of Home Ownership in Brunei Darussalam

Author: Noor Hasharina Hassan


House matters to consumers. However, there are varying values and meanings attached to a house depending on spatial and cultural differences. This research draws upon a study of consumers in Brunei Darussalam. Governance, consumption patterns and socio-cultural institutions shape how consumers value housing and influence their desire to become homeowners. This research suggests Brunei’s housing development and culture are unique compared to societies that underwent great financial liberalisation such as the UK and USA. Financial liberalisation, also known as financialisation, involves governments reducing their restrictions on financial institutions and the financial markets. Based on the results of a qualitative research approach that involved 210 structured interviews which was substantiated by qualitative interviews and secondary data analysis, this study identifies the variables that influence the culture of housing consumption.



Working Paper Number: 36

Title: Housing Matters: The Value of Home Ownership in Brunei Darussalam

Author: Noor Hasharina Hassan


House matters to consumers. However, there are varying values and meanings attached to a house depending on spatial and cultural differences. This research draws upon a study of consumers in Brunei Darussalam. Governance, consumption patterns and socio-cultural institutions shape how consumers value housing and influence their desire to become homeowners. This research suggests Brunei’s housing development and culture are unique compared to societies that underwent great financial liberalisation such as the UK and USA. Financial liberalisation, also known as financialisation, involves governments reducing their restrictions on financial institutions and the financial markets. Based on the results of a qualitative research approach that involved 210 structured interviews which was substantiated by qualitative interviews and secondary data analysis, this study identifies the variables that influence the culture of housing consumption.