ISEAS Perspective 2022

ISEAS Perspective provides analysis of specific current events and their significance for the Southeast Asian region. This will be published occasionally, and is aimed at keeping decision-makers in both the public and private sectors informed; as well as scholars, laymen and the interested public. This series undergoes a peer-review process.


2022/80 “The Complicated Role of Kerohanian Islam (Rohis) Alumni in Disseminating Islam in Indonesia” by Sari Oktafiana and A’an Suryana


2022 No. 80

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The role of the Rohis (Kerohanian Islam) group in disseminating Islam (dakwah) in Indonesia has been understudied. The organization’s executives are in fact responsible for organizing significant events such as religious learning forums (majelis taklim) and Quranic studies for senior high school students. This article discusses the unique role played by the Rohis […]


2022/79 “How the Party-State Retains Controls over Vietnam’s Blossoming Media Landscape” by Dien Nguyen An Luong


2022 No. 79

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Most of the popular news sites in Vietnam are currently run by three private tech conglomerates, namely FPT, Zalo/VNG and VCCorp. On the face of it, this situation poses a challenge to the Vietnamese party-state. But in fact, there are no signs that these tech companies have ventured into editorial independence. The nexus […]


2022/78 “Between Taipei and Beijing: Education Options among the Yunnanese Chinese of Northern Thailand” by Aranya Siriphon


2022 No. 78

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Yunnanese Chinese in Northern Thailand are generally made up of two different ethnic groups, the Hui and the Han. This article focuses on the Han; these were mainly supporters of the Chinese Nationalist Army (Kuomintang-KMT). Now Thai citizens, but historically, they had had a strong attachment to Taiwan and have also retained their […]


2022/77 “The Media Landscape in Indonesia: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same” by Sofie Syarief


2022 No. 77

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The structure of Indonesia’s media landscape has remained largely unchanged over the last decade, and continues to be dominated by a handful of conglomerates. As this study shows, many of these conglomerates have clear political leanings and affiliations, and have often used their media platforms to advance the agendas of their political allies. […]


2022/76 “Piracy and the Pandemic: Maritime Crime in Southeast Asia, 2020-22” by Ian Storey


2022 No. 76

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 there were concerns that maritime crime in Southeast Asia would surge due to an expected global economic slump. Although incidents of piracy and sea robbery (PSR) in the region did increase in 2020 the numbers were much lower than during previous spikes. In […]


2022/75 “Did China Eke out a Vaccine Diplomacy Victory in Southeast Asia?” by Khairulanwar Zaini


2022 No. 75

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This Perspective examines the 2021 Covid-19 vaccine portfolios of five Southeast Asian (SEA5) countries—Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines—in terms of the different vaccine brands, their production provenance, and whether the vaccines were procured or donated. The most heavily reliant on China-made vaccines were Cambodia (88.5% of its portfolio) and Indonesia (68%), […]


2022/74 “What do the Official Chinese Media’s Mixed Messages on the Myanmar Coup Mean?” by Su Mon Thazin Aung and Nan Lwin


2022 No. 74

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Myanmar public and Myanmar watchers have been carefully looking out for China’s responses to the 1 February 2021 coup in the former country. In the weeks and months that followed the coup, China’s mixed messages resulted in differing understandings of Beijing’s position vis-à-vis the new State Administrative Council junta. This fuelled the […]


2022/73 “On the United States, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and US Freedom of Navigation Operations” by Robert Beckman


2022 No. 73

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The US has not become a party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) despite the overwhelming support for US accession by all American government agencies, major interest groups, business sector, marine scientists and environmental organisations, and is not likely to do so in the foreseeable future. […]


2022/72 “Digital Transformation under Indonesia’s G20 Presidency: What can it Deliver?” by Lili Yan Ing, Titik Anas and Maria Monica Wihardja


2022 No. 72

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The call made by the G20 under Indonesia’s presidency for urgent global action to make digital transformation more equitable is timely. Digital transformation has raised economic inequality in at least three ways: through displacement effects, premature deindustrialisation and skill-biased technological change. The G20 has three routes through which it can help address the […]


2022/71 “The Arakan Dream in Post-Coup Myanmar” by Aung Tun


2022 No. 71

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Following intense warfare between the Arakan Army and Myanmar’s military in recent years, Rakhine State has arguably become the region of the country to make the most promising progress towards greater autonomy. The Arakan Army’s “Arakan Dream” has been partially implemented through the establishment of a new local administration, including a judicial sector, […]