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Past Events

Seminar: The Import of Art: Exhibiting Singapore’s National Development through MoMA’s Visionary Architecture

29 Sep 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series

About the Seminar

This seminar looks at how the nation-building process can be visually framed by foreign aesthetics. It looks specifically at the MoMA International Program which was established in 1952 in order to send American exhibitions around the world. As an inherently American nationalist project, the International Program sent a total of five different exhibitions to Southeast Asia from 1957 to 1984. These exhibitions Recent American Prints in Colour, the Family of Man, Classic American Film, The Photographers Eye and Visionary Architecture, were hosted by cultural institutions and grassroots communities.

I will focus on one exhibition, Visionary Architecture, which was presented alongside the exhibition Housing in Singapore in 1963. This exhibition came under the auspices of the National Library Board Singapore and was co-sponsored by the Housing & Development Board. With this exhibition I will examine how the International Program exhibitions were included in ‘local’ projects of nation-building. I will interrogate the impulse to ‘exhibit’ in projects of nation-building and address the empowered positions of local agents to mediate the international Cold War cultural landscape.

About the Speaker

Kathleen Ditzig is a researcher, as well as Assistant Curator and Manager in Curatorial and Programmes at the National Museum of Singapore. Her current research interests include the relationship between art, globalism, and power. Her art historical research addresses the relationship of Cold War globalism and the emergence of Southeast Asia as a cultural region. She received a scholarship from NHB and Curatorial Fellowship from the Centre of Curatorial Studies (CCS) to pursue her MA in Curatorial Studies from CCS, Bard College, which she received in 2015. She intends to pursue her PhD at NTU ADM from January 2018. She has published in academic journals such as Southeast of Now and Finance and Society and in art magazines such as Art Forum and Flash Art.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 28 September 2017.

 

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Seminar: Indonesian Art in 1976: A Hundred Years of Indonesian Art

14 Sep 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series

 

About the Seminar

In 1976, Indonesia’s President Suharto opened the exhibition A Hundred Years of Indonesian Art in what is now the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics, on the town square of the old city of Jakarta. At the time, Indonesia had no public national collection, and the exhibition brought together public and private collections for the first time since the colonial period. The exhibition is remarkable not just because of the masterpieces it displayed, but also because of its range. With some notable omissions, it covered the political spectrum of Indonesian artists. The exhibition was produced at a time when the Suharto’s New Order regime was still consolidating power. It came after the birth of the New Art Movement, Southeast Asia’s first Contemporary Art movement. Despite the air of optimism around the exhibition, it did not lead to public attention to modern art, and the National Gallery was only created twenty years afterwards. Why did the state not continue as a major patron of the arts in the intervening period, and what were the implications of this hiatus for the Indonesian art world?

About the Speaker

Dr Adrian Vickers holds a personal chair at the University of Sydney, and researches and publishes on the cultural history of Southeast Asia. His books include the highly popular Bali: A Paradise Created (new edition 2012),
A History of Modern Indonesia (new edition 2013) Balinese Art: Paintings and Drawings of Bali, 1800-2010 (2012), and co-authored with Julia Martínez The Pearl Frontier: Labor Mobility across the Australian-Indonesian maritime zone, 1870-1970 (2015), which won two book awards. Professor Vickers has taught subjects on Southeast Asian history and culture from first year to Honours and Masters levels. During the second half of 2017, he is a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 13 September 2017.

 

 

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Seminar: The Indonesia National Survey Project: Economy, Society and Politics

07 Sep 2017
INDONESIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

A number of important changes that have been transforming Indonesia’s economy, society, and politics are shaping this country’s future trajectory of development and democratic consolidation. Against the backdrop of these key developments, the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute commissioned a nation-wide survey to enhance our understanding of public perceptions of economic, social, and political issues in Indonesia. The survey collects public opinion data in a wide range of areas, fielding questions on macroeconomic performance, economic policy, the state, political participation, political parties, infrastructure, Islam, ethnicity, and international relations. Data were drawn from a nationally representative sample of 1,600 respondents in all 34 provinces in Indonesia to ensure countrywide representation of opinions and attitudes. Conducted in the wake of the Jakarta gubernatorial election, where certain religious and ethnic fault-lines were accentuated, the findings of this survey provide important and useful data for understanding the recent cleavages in Indonesian politics and society.

About the Speakers

Diego Fossati is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and an Associate Fellow at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute. He studies voting behavior, democratization and development in low and middle-income countries, with an empirical concentration on Indonesia and Southeast Asia. He was trained as a political scientist at Cornell University, where he earned a PhD in January 2016 with a dissertation on the politics of health insurance for the poor in decentralized Indonesia. His research has been published or is forthcoming in leading peer-reviewed international journals such as World Development, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of East Asian Studies and Contemporary Southeast Asia.

Hui Yew-Foong is Senior Fellow with the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and Associate Professor at Hong Kong Shue Yan University. His research interests include the Chinese overseas in Southeast Asia, religion and politics in Southeast Asia, decentralization in post-Suharto Indonesia, and heritage politics. Besides Singapore, he has conducted multi-sited field research in Indonesia, East Malaysia, China and Hong Kong. He is the author of Strangers at Home: History and Subjectivity among the Chinese Communities of West Kalimantan, Indonesia, co-author of Different Under God: A Survey of Church-Going Protestants in Singapore and co-editor of Citizens, Civil Society and Heritage-Making in Asia.

Siwage Dharma Negara is Fellow with the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute. He is currently an editorial member of Journal of Southeast Asian Economies. Before joining ISEAS, he was a researcher with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). His current research interests include development policy, regional connectivity, industrial and trade competitiveness with special focus on Indonesia. He received his PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents3@iseas.edu.sg by 6 September 2017.

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Seminar: Malaysia in a Constitutional Democracy

05 Sep 2017
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

Malaysia’s economy is doing relatively well despite external challenges, and there are encouraging signs that the recovery momentum is getting stronger. However on issues such as human and political rights, progress has been quite limited. There must be well-balanced growth on all fronts – economic, social and political – to achieve the government’s objective of making Malaysia a developed country.

As a constitutional democracy, Malaysia is no different from other countries in terms of the basic rights of its citizens and the system of checks and balances against abuse of power by any one branch of government.  There is another aspect of the Malaysian constitution, however, which makes it unique among countries in this region – the special position of Islam as the official religion of the Federation. The administration of Islam has raised concerns about the impact on the rights and freedoms of Muslims, and the implications on the rule of law are also making non-Muslims worry about the future direction of Malaysia as a secular, multiracial country. On top of this, the country is also beset with issues such as the breakdown of governance as well as the decreasing independence of regulatory agencies and institutions of justice in enforcing regulations and implementing laws. The issues of law, governance and religious tolerance can have a major impact on the peace and stability of the country, and if they are not addressed at the political level in a timely manner, investor confidence on Malaysia will be adversely affected.

In the light of these concerns over the future of the country a group of Malays called G25 – comprising retired civil servants and diplomats – has emerged as a voice for change and reform. The talk will highlight the reform agenda that G25 has been involved with.

About the Speaker

Tan Sri Sheriff Kassim is a Malaysian former senior civil servant, whose career spanned 1963-1994. His position upon retirement was the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Finance. He subsequently was Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, from 1994-2003. Tan Sri Sheriff is currently Director and non-executive Chairman of PLUS, a public sector-owned toll highway company. He is also non-executive Chairman of Scientex Berhad, a listed private sector company active in the manufacturing and property sectors. Tan Sri Sheriff is an active member of G-25. He has degrees from the Universities of Malaya, Oxford, and Vanderbilt, and was a long-serving President of the Malaysian Economic Association.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 4 September 2017.

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Seminar: Martial Law in Mindanao

17 Aug 2017
REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

From the beginning of his term in June 2016, President Duterte frequently discussed the possibility of declaring martial law in the Philippines. On 23 May this year, at the beginning of the Marawi City siege pitting government forces against an alliance of terrorist groups, President Duterte declared martial law and lifted the writ of habeas corpus for all of Mindanao. On 22 July, Congress renewed both until the end of 2017. In both cases, the Marawi City siege and the larger threat of Islamic State-affiliated terrorist groups in Muslim Mindanao were used as the main justification for the declaration of martial law.

This seminar will analyse the impact of the declaration of martial law on the struggle against Islamic State-affiliated groups in Muslim Mindanao; the likelihood for the further extension of martial law in Mindanao and beyond; and the domestic political implications of President Duterte’s martial law declarations given the history of martial law in the Philippines.  

About the Speakers

Joseph Franco specialises in countering violent extremism, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism.  As Research Fellow with the Centre of Excellence for National Security at RSIS, Joseph examines terrorist networks in maritime Southeast Asia and best practices in countering violent extremism (CVE). He obtained his MSc in International Relations at RSIS through an ASEAN Graduate Scholarship. Joseph previously worked for the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the J3, AFP; researching extensively on internal conflict, peacekeeping operations, defence procurement, Asia-Pacific security, and special operations forces.

Sol Iglesias is a PhD candidate with the Southeast Asian Studies Department at the National University of Singapore. She is researching patterns of state repression in the Philippines in the post-Marcos democratic period.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 16 August 2017.

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Seminar: The Government’s Business: Politics, Policies and the Corporate Sector in Malaysia

16 Aug 2017
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

In 2008, when a global financial crisis erupted and brought the world to the brink of economic collapse, a strong critique of poorly regulated capitalism emerged, bringing to the fore debates about models of development that involve the use of government-linked companies (GLCs) to generate growth. Malaysia provides an interesting case of state intervention in the economy to drive economic growth and redistribute wealth equitably. GLCs, which serve as investment funds and savings-based institutions that vary significantly in terms of their size and objectives, have emerged as Malaysia’s leading enterprises with ownership and control of a huge number of companies through complex pyramid-type organizational structures. The government, under different Prime Ministers, has employed these GLCs in the economy and in the corporate sector in different ways.

This lecture provides an historical review of government-business relations in Malaysia, tracing how this nexus shaped the mode of the state’s intervention in the economy and the nature of its politics and policies. Particular attention will be paid to critical historical junctures, when crises precipitated change in models of development and the relationship between management control and public governance of GLCs.

About the Speaker

Edmund Terence Gomez is Professor of Political Economy at the Faculty of Economics & Administration, University of Malaya.  He specializes in state-market relations and the linkages between politics, policies and enterprise development. He has held appointments at the University of Leeds (UK) and Murdoch University (Australia) and served as Visiting Professor at Kobe University, Japan and at the Universities of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and California (San Diego). Between 2005 and 2008, he served as Research Coordinator at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), in Geneva, Switzerland. Other academic appointments include Visiting Fellowships at the Australian National University, Canberra and at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Denmark.

His international book publications include Malaysia’s Political Economy: Politics, Patronage and Profits (Cambridge University Press, 1997); Chinese Business in Malaysia: Accumulation, Ascendance, Accommodation (University of Hawaii Press, 1999); Political Business in East Asia (Routledge, 2002); The State of Malaysia: Ethnicity, Equity and Reform (Routledge, 2004); The State, Development and Identity in Multi-ethnic Countries: Ethnicity, Equity and the Nation (Routledge, 2008); The Politics of Resource Extraction: Indigenous Peoples, Multinational Corporations and the State (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012); The New Economic Policy in Malaysia: Affirmative Action, Horizontal Inequalities and Social Justice (National University of Singapore Press, 2013); and Minister of Finance Incorporated: Ownership and Control of Corporate Malaysia (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2017).   

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 15 August 2017.

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Seminar: Challenges for Railway Systems in South-East Asia: Lessons from 30 Years’ Experience of Japanese National Railways Privatization

16 Aug 2017
REGIONAL ECONOMIC STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

In 1987, Japanese National Railways (JNR), the government-owned body responsible for operating the railway network across Japan was privatised and divided into seven railway companies that together form the JR Group. In 1985, JNR made a loss of 1.8 trillion yen, but as of 2015, the JR Group makes a combined profit of 1 trillion yen per annum. Of the seven companies, JR Kyushu remains one of the few that consistently turns profits. The success of JR Kyushu is largely down to an innovative approach in which diversification has been embraced, whilst customer service has been placed at the core of the business model.

Nevertheless, JR Kyushu continues to face key challenges, and Mr Ishii will address what he considers to be particularly pertinent amongst these issues, and how we can overcome them. A railway system is a key infrastructure for passenger and cargo transportation and affects the relationship between the urban and regional economies in a fundamental way. Based on 30 years’ experience of JNR privatization, he identifies challenges for expanding railway systems in Southeast Asia, and proposes how the region could cooperate better for mutual benefits.   

About the Speaker

Yoshitaka Ishii served as the first president and chairman of JR Kyushu Railway Company between 1987 and 2002. JR Kyushu was formed after the Japan National Railway Corporation was privatised and divided into seven railway companies. During his tenure as president, Ishii diversified the business of JR Kyushu into new ventures ranging from property development to the management of shopping malls, restaurants and hotels, as well as the establishing a hydrofoil ferry service between Fukuoka and Busan. He also improved the quality of the railway service and the cutting-edge trains designed by a leading designer Mitooka received the Brunel Award, one of the most prestigious awards for railway industry design worldwide. Under his leadership, the company increased its total sales significantly from 150,000 million yen in 1987, with sales as high as 378,000 million yen in 2015. He has been advising the Japanese government and the Japan Freight Railway Company on its strategy. He began working in the National Railways in 1955 as a graduate engineer, and he played a pivotal role in the development of diesel railcars and locomotives in the early stages of his professional career. Drawing on his experiences in the railway industry, he has been a prolific writer over a period of more than 4 decades. His books on the KiHa series of diesel railcars has been well received, especially “KiHa 58”.

Mr Ishii served on the selection committee for the Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship, and has also been involved in the local community, and since retiring, he has served as the Chairman of the Fukuoka Prefecture Football Association and as President of the Kourokan-Fukuoka Castle History & Tourism Citizen’s Association. In the latter role, he has been heavily involved in the restoration of historic buildings in Fukuoka.

Mr Ishii holds a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Tokyo.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents3@iseas.edu.sg by 15 August 2017.

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Seminar: Recent Political Developments in Malaysia and Implications for PRU 14

16 Jun 2017

MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

 

About the Seminar 

While the 13th Parliament of Malaysia will automatically dissolve on 24 June 2018, it is most probable that Prime Minister Najib Razak will call the next general elections (GE14) earlier. Many analysts expect the GE14 to be held in October 2017 soon after the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur (19-30 August), the double celebration of the 60th Merdeka Day on 31 August and Malaysia Day on 16 September, and the expected Budget 2018 goodies.

 

There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the BN government, even in the Malay heartland including among Felda settlers, traditionally UNMO’s fixed deposit of votes, due to the Felda Global Ventures debacle. But, however, the serious and seemingly unsurmountable divisions within the opposition parties will make it very difficult for the opposition to wrest control of Putra Jaya. In fact, the opposition’s fractious divisions may help the BN, despite being fairly unpopular, to regain its 2/3 parliamentary majority. I will draw on polling results in PRU 13 as well as in some of the
by-elections to substantiate my arguments.


About the Speaker

Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj is a medical doctor who, after completion of 18 years in government service, took on the then MIC President Samy Vellu in the 1999 general elections. Jeyakumar lost in 1999 and again in 2004, but managed to displace Samy Vellu in 2008, and retained the Sungei Siput parliamentary seat in 2013.A social activist since his university days, he is a founder member of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and is currently a PSM central committee member. He has been the secretary of the Coalition Against Privatization of Health Care since its formation in 2004.

 

Jeyakumar has authored several books including Sucked Oranges (Insan 1989), Logging Against the Natives (Insan 1989), The Marginalised Society (Alaigal 1993 – in Tamil), Speaking Truth to Power (Alaigal 2002), Malaysia at the Crossroads (Parsosma 2009) and Maaf Tuan Speaker (Parsosma 2011 – in Malay).

 

Registration 
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 15 June 2017.

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Seminar: Johor’s Forest City: Challenges, Mitigation and Sustainability

15 Jun 2017
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

 

Forest City is a multi-million dollar mixed development project rising out of the Tebrau Straits between southwest Malaysia and Singapore. Positioned as a model future city, it is often cited as one of the catalysts for the evolution of Johor from the ‘backwaters of Singapore’ to a modern metropolis. However, the development project has been plagued with controversy since its inception. From environmental concerns to questions of sovereignty, the project and its developers constantly battle allegations arising from political posturing, business rivalry and misinformation.

 

This seminar will provide the background and context to the Forest City project and discuss its controversies and challenges. The economic, environmental and social impacts of the project will be examined, as well as the developers’ attempts to mitigate its impacts and compensate the surrounding community. The economic viability of the development and its long-term sustainability in light of the recent enforcement of capital controls will also be discussed. The success of the Forest City project and its proponents’ ability to match hype with action will determine if it is indeed a model of inclusive sustainable development.

 

About the Speaker

 

Serina Rahman is currently a Visiting Fellow under the Malaysia Studies Programme at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Her research interests lie in marine communities; human, floral and faunal; as well as their interaction and preservation. Her expertise is in inclusive sustainable development; community empowerment; and environmental education.

 

After graduating with a Business Marketing degree from NTU, Serina trained as an English teacher at the National Institute of Education (NIE). She then took up a Masters in Applied Linguistics at the University of Wales, Cardiff, specialising in Orientalism in Colonial Imagery. Serina left the teaching profession to work as a Content Programmer for Discovery Travel & Adventure (Discovery Networks, Asia), then moved to Malaysia in 2004 to work in coastal habitat conservation, community education and empowerment. This then became the subject of her PhD in Science, during which she began to live in the village that surrounds the Forest City project. Since then, she has also been the Director of UMCares – The Community & Sustainability Centre of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, before returning to NTU to work as a Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.  


Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 14 June 2017.
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Seminar: China’s “New Assertiveness” and the Decline in East Asian Regionalism: Implications for ASEAN

13 Jun 2017
REGIONAL STRATEGIC & POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME
AND ASEAN STUDIES CENTRE

About the Seminar

The Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998 awakened a decade of vibrant scholarly and political debate touting East Asian regionalism as “inevitable and necessary”. Today, however, the prospect of regionalism seems to have lost its luster in favour of a darker regional narrative. Has the heyday of East Asian regionalism and ASEAN’s vision of an emerging Asian community now come to pass? This presentation explores the declining policy and scholarly narrative of Asian regionalism since 2011 within the broader context of Asian security trends. Until recently, discussion of East Asia’s future vacillated between two different narratives: one marked by robust economic growth, increased interdependence, and the growth of Asian regionalism, and the other characterized by increased tensions, rising military budgets, and slower economic growth with conflict looming on the horizon. Since 2011, however, the discourse has shifted in favour of the latter narrative, casting a pall over the future of Asian regionalism. In particular, perceptions of China’s increasing assertiveness have resulted in a turn to more pragmatic interpretations of Asian regionalism defined by power balancing and institutional complexity. Thus, if ASEAN remains the driver of East Asian regionalism, China holds the key to further integration.

About the Speaker

Andrew I. Yeo is Associate Professor of Politics and Director of Asian Studies at The Catholic University of America. He is the author of Activists, Alliances, and Anti-U.S. Base Protests (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Dr Yeo is currently completing two book projects: the first explores the evolution of East Asia’s institutional architecture from 1945 to the present. The second is a co-edited volume titled Living in an Age of Mistrust (forthcoming with Routledge Press). His other research has appeared in International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Perspectives on Politics, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Comparative Politics, and Journal of East Asian Studies among others. He is the principal investigator of a two-year Korea Foundation sponsored project on North Korean human rights discourse and transnational advocacy. Dr Yeo is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, and was a Mansfield Foundation U.S.-Korea Scholar-Policymaker Nexus Fellow in 2013-2014. He received his Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University in 2008 and a BA magna cum laude in Psychology and International Studies from Northwestern University.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 12 June 2017.

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