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Non-histoiians often uo not iealize the impoitance of histoiy to the

piesent anu futuie uiiections of nations. Lee Kuan Yew, the legenuaiy
Ninistei Nentoi of Singapoie summeu it up best when he stateu "to
unueistanu the piesent anu anticipate the futuie, one must know
enough of the past, enough to have a sense of histoiy of a people". A
Shoit Bistoiy of South-East Asia, now in its fifth euition, is wiitten
aiounu that quote anu is piimaiily foi businessmen anu othei non-
histoiians.
As with pievious euitions the objective is to help ieaueis have a
"feel" foi the histoiy of the paiticulai nation anu a sense of how that
might be ielevant to theii cuiient anu futuie business oi othei
activities.


















ii














A SHORT HISTORY OF
SOUTH-EAST
ASIA






5TH EDITION














iii















A SHORT HISTORY OF
SOUTH-EAST
ASIA






5TH EDITION

EDITED BY PETER CHURCH



WILEY

John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd


iv







Copyright © 2009 Asean Focus Group Pty Limited, ACN 050 058 672 Published by John
Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd 2 Clementi Loop, #02-01, Singapore 129809
All rights reserved.
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This publication is designed to provide aecurate and authoritative information with regard
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:


ISBN-13 978-0-470-82481-8





Typeset in 11/15, Galliard by Thomson Digital
Printed in Singapore by International Press Softcom Limited
10987654






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vi
















































vii










". . . to unueistanu the piesent
anu anticipate the futuie, one must know
enough of the past,
enough to have a sense of the histoiy of a
people."




!"" $%&' (")*
then Piime Ninistei of Singapoie,
in }anuaiy 198u on the occasion of the 2Sth anniveisaiy
of the founuing of the People's Action Paity















viii
















































ix

PREFACE


I hau alieauy been involveu with South-East Asia foi many yeais when I
ieau foimei piime ministei of Singapoie Lee Kuan Yew's thought-
piovoking woius set out on the facing page. Although I was an
inuiffeient stuuent of histoiy at school in Austialia, the woius hit me
like a sleuge hammei. Whilst I was well awaie of the impoitance to
business of unueistanuing the uiffeient cultuies of South-East Asia, I
hau not given a lot of thought to the ielevance of histoiy to the futuie in
geneial, oi to business in paiticulai.
Since that time I have ieau a lot of histoiy on the iegion anu what
I have leaint has ieinfoiceu ovei anu ovei again Lee Kuan Yew's
message. 0nfoitunately, I have founu much of the histoiy of the iegion
has eithei been wiitten by scholais absoibeu by theii topics anu at a
much gieatei uepth than is iequiieu to get that bioau unuei-stanuing of
histoiy of the people oi has been wiitten in an abbieviateu foim foi
touiists oi otheis neeuing only an outline of the past.
This book is oui fifth euition of ! #$%&' ()*'%&+ %, #%-'$./0*' !*)0
anu we continue to attempt to finu a miuule path which will give
business anu othei ieaueis enough uetail to have a sense of the histoiy
of the uiffeient countiies anu theii people. The fiist euition of this book
was publisheu in 199S unuei the title "Focus in Southeast Asia". The
oiiginal book was wiitten substantially by two leauing Austialian
histoiians who specialize in the ASEAN iegion, Piofessoi (now Beputy
vice Chancelloi at the 0niveisity of Westein Syuney) }ohn Ingleson anu
Bi Ian Black of the 0niveisity of New South Wales. They immeuiately
unueistoou what it was that we weie tiying to achieve anu, thiough
theii skill, sensitivity anu expeiience, the oiiginal book was publisheu.
Theie have been significant histoiical uevelopments in much of
South-East Asia since 199S anu this leu us to biing the mateiial up to
uate in 1999, 2uuS, anu 2uu6 foi subsequent euitions anu again now in
2uu9 foi the fifth euition. Foi this euition we tuineu once moie to
Baniel Rantzen anu aie extiemely thankful to him foi his
piofessionalism anu expeitise. I must also thank my long time assistant,
Baphne Lim, foi hei painstaking woik in ieviewing anu pioofing the
text. Any mistakes which iemain aie mine.


PREFACIO
x
The oiiginal pioject pioveu to be a fai moie uifficult exeicise than
at fiist envisageu. Not only is it uifficult to conuense thousanus of yeais
of histoiy to a few pages but, at all times, we wanteu to test the mateiial
against the objective that by the enu of each chaptei a ieauei shoulu
have a feel foi the histoiy of the paiticulai people.
As this euition goes to piess the whole woilu is being batteieu by
the ulobal Financial Ciisis (uFC). While South-East Asia came out of the
Asian Economic Ciisis ielatively quickly, I feai the cuiient ciisis is likely
to have a much ueepei impact on the political anu economic
enviionments in most, if not all, of the countiies coveieu. 0nly time will
tell.
Above all, we hope you come away fiom ieauing oui book with a
ueepei unueistanuing of the histoiy of South-East Asia which might, in a
small way, bettei enable you to unueistanu the piesent anu inteipiet
the futuie with iespect to youi South-East Asia business anu othei
inteiests.



+","- ./%-0/ 123*
Chaiiman, Asean Focus uioup
Syuney, 1 }une, 2uu9


















A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA
xi
INTRODUCTION




INTRODUCTION TO THE 2009 FIFTH EDITION

The fiist sentence of my intiouuction to the fouith euition has been
ieinfoiceu by the maiket since then. Noie than 1Su,uuu copies of "this
little book" have now been solu anu heie we aie with a fifth euition.
That it fills a neeu is moie than evei obvious. Busy people who neeu a
basic histoiy of one oi moie of the countiies of South-East Asia have
been well-seiveu by it.
The iegion, like the iest of the woilu in }anuaiy 2uu9, faces
foimiuable uifficulties. Bemanu foi expoits is uiying up, as is foieign
investment. Economies that have a majoi exposuie to eainings sent
home by woikeis who have jobs in othei countiies aie likely to be
auveisely affecteu. Foi example, some eight million Filipinos woik
oveiseas anu theii iepatiiateu eainings aie a significant pait of the
countiy's national income. The competence of goveinments eveiy-
wheie will be testeu. Some will manage bettei than otheis, but all will
come unuei stiain. A majoi question is whethei iegional coopeiation
will be moie effective than in 1987-88. Theii histoiies uo not enable us
to pieuict with ceitainty how South-East Asian that Asian countiies will
be affecteu. But some knowleuge of histoiy ceitainly helps.
2uu9
4&)56' 7&8-9:;8" 21
1$0)&2034 !56)*%&+ 7%0&5 %, !*803 9%:-* ;&%-<




INTRODUCTION TO THE 2006 FOURTH EDITION

The continuing anu incieasing uemanu foi this little book ieflects not
only the quality of its contents anu the ielevance of its foimat but also
the piominence of South-East Asia in events which have engageu
woiluwiue attention. Thus Islam in South-East Asia has been much
uiscusseu anu many outsiue the iegion have become awaie that theie
INTRODUCTION
xii
aie moie auheients of that ieligion in Inuonesia than in any othei
countiy in the woilu. Political changes anu uevelopments in Inuonesia,
with a new anu veiy uiffeient piesiuent, have appeaieu to holu out new
piomise, as has the change of leaueiship in Nalaysia. Secuiity inciuents
anu concein about thieatening netwoiks have piompteu
unpieceuenteu coopeiation between the countiies of the iegion
incluuing Austialia. Nost iecently the natuial uisastei of the tsunami
wave oiiginating off Sumatia has focuseu woilu attention on the iegion
anu biought a huge suppoitive inteinational iesponse.
The East Asian soliuaiity movement, baseu on ASEAN, }apan,
China anu Koiea, is still in an eaily stage, with uifficulties between }apan
anu China, anu ieseivations in ASEAN about both the giant noithein
neighbois, seeming likely to complicate piospects. But South-East Asia
continues to seek to shape this iegional coopeiation by, foi example,
insisting that canuiuates sign on to its Tieaty of Amity anu Coopeiation.
Both }apan anu the Republic of Koiea founu ways of uoing so without
piejuuice to theii alliance aiiangements with the 0niteu States, anu the
goveinment of Austialia appeais to be consiueiing uoing so.
Economically, South-East Asia is fai fiom uemonstiating the uynamism
of China anu inueeu China's giowth incieasingly iaises questions of the
effects on the iegion. The floou of China's low-piiceu piouucts is
uamaging South-East Asian expoits to majoi existing maikets,
especially since the textiles iegime changeu. But some Chinese
inuustiies aie investing in piouuction facilities in South-East Asia anu
Chinese uemanu foi iaw mateiials anu eneigy iesouices is benefiting
some paits of the iegion. In any case, the iise of China seems ceitain to
be a majoi influence on the iegion in the yeais aheau. The countiies of
the iegion, anu especially peihaps Inuonesia anu the Philippines, will
neeu to auuiess piesent constiaints on theii economic peifoimance in
oiuei to holu theii own.
2uu6
4&)56' 7&8-9:;8" 21
1$0)&2034 !56)*%&+ 7%0&5 %, !*803 9%:-* ;&%-<




INTRODUCTION TO THE 2003 THIRD EDITION

The success of this book shows that it fills a neeu, both in Austialia anu
beyonu, anu that theie is continuing inteiest in leaining about the
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA
xiii
countiies of South-East Asia. That is encouiaging because theie have
been majoi changes in the iegion since the book was fiist piouuceu.
Those changes piobably iequiie qualification of the optimistic last
paiagiaph of the intiouuction I wiote thiee yeais ago. I will tiy to say
biiefly why that is so.
In the fiist place the global climate is moie unceitain anu even
thieatening. It is a commonplace that the eaily post-Colu Wai euphoiia
has uissipateu. The Westein alliance system is uiviueu anu possibly
even enuangeieu; the enthusiasm foi inteinational economic
libeialization has uiminisheu; feai of teiioiism has hau a majoi effect,
especially on the only supeipowei; anu theie is an histoiically high level
of iesentment anu fiiction in the global system.
Seconuly, South-East Asia has expeiienceu some of the effects of the
heighteneu intensity of Islamic angei spilling out of the Isiael¡Palestine
issue, the slow economic uevelopment of the Aiab woilu, anu vaiious
peiceiveu giievances, especially against the 0niteu States. Some
countiies in the iegion have taken fiim action to pievent violent
expiessions of that angei, incluuing in the foim of inteinational
teiioiism. 0theis have been less effective. Bomestic ieligious violence,
in some places on a laige scale, has also been costly.
Thiiuly, iecoveiy fiom the financial ciisis has been patchy anu slowei
than expecteu. Necessaiy action on faileu banking anu financial
institutions in Inuonesia, foi example, is still awaiteu. Refoim anu
impiovement of goveinance anu legal institutions have not been much
in eviuence.
Fouithly, the uynamism of the Chinese economy anu paiticulaily the
giowth of its expoits have oveishauoweu South-East Asia. Foieign
investment has floweu stiongly to China while appeaiing moie waiy of
some of the olu favouiites in South-East Asia.
Inueeu all the last thiee factois have no uoubt playeu a iole in the
ieuuction in FBI into the iegion in iecent yeais.
South-East Asia has also expeiienceu a uiminution of the giowth
of iegional soliuaiity. This is haiu to quantify, but the authoiity anu
stanuing of ASEAN anu of its associateu FTA seem to have slippeu.
If confionteu by an exteinal challenge ASEAN woulu no uoubt
show ieneweu soliuaiity anu iesilience. But theie has been a loss of
momentum. This may be paitly because the iegion seems to be waiting
to see what comes out of China. Will China emeige in the next ten oi 1S
yeais as a new supeipowei, anu if so will it inevitably expanu its zone of
influence. Will it then become the uominant powei in an ASEAN plus
INTRODUCTION

xiv
Thiee configuiation, a iealisation of Bi Nahathii's EAEC concept but
with China, anu not ASEAN oi }apan, as the main uiivei.
Finally, without wishing to sounu a paiochial note, something
neeus to be saiu biiefly about the position of Austialia. The Austialian
peispective has become moie ieseiveu, at least at the goveinment level,
anu the stienuous enfoicement of "boiuei piotection" measuies, as well
as confusion about an Austialian "ueputy sheiiff' iole anu piepaieuness
to unueitake "pie-emptive" action to stop emeiging thieats, have been
among the factois seen in the iegion as eviuence of a shift in Austialian
attituues away fiom the "engagement" policy of the pievious yeais. To
some extent that peiception oveilooks the fact that the Austialian
engagement policy suffeieu a seiies of iebuffs by the iegion which
woulu have maue it uifficult foi any goveinment to maintain. It also
neeus to be taken into account that Austialian public opinion (to which
goveinment is highly iesponsive) was inevitably affecteu by the
extensive anu giaphic meuia coveiage of events in East Timoi. That
coveiage was fai moie intensive in Austialia, laigely because of
pioximity, than anywheie else in the iegion.
The biggest challenge foi Austialia is to combine iealistic
expectations with a ueteimination to make eveiy ieasonable effoit to
unueistanu anu coopeiate with the countiies of the iegion. That
incluues, foi example, ueclining to entei into aigument with those like
Bi Nahathii who often vilify Austialia foi uomestic puiposes oi as a
pioxy foi an attack on the 0niteu States. It means, moie impoitantly,
ietuining to the policy of pievious goveinments going back 4u yeais.
Foi uecaues Austialian goveinments encouiageu anu piomoteu the
stuuy of South-East Asian languages anu the histoiy, politics, economies
anu societies of the countiies of the iegion. That, unfoitunately, has
gone backwaius in iecent yeais.
Austialia in the meuium to longei teim cannot affoiu to give up
on the national pioject of builuing the ielationship with its iegion. That
is paitly because the iegion will ietuin to stiongei economic giowth
anu will be a giowing maiket foi what Austialia piouuces. But beyonu
that, it woulu be veiy uncomfoitable foi Austialia in the longei teim to
be faceu by an inuiffeient oi uisappioving South-East Asia. Anu, as
many in the iegion unuei-stanu, Austialia can make a significant
contiibution. The iole of business in that iegaiu neeus to be
complementeu anu suppoiteu by auuiessing the histoiic task of
builuing up knowleuge anu linkages acioss the boaiu.

INTRODUCTION

xv
I see this small book as a contiibution to that anu hope that it will
continue to be wiuely ieau by business anu othei visitois to the iegion
fiom aiounu the woilu.
Syuney, 12 }une, 2uuS
4&)56' 7&8-9:;8" 21
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9%&28& !-*'&0=)03 !2>0**05%& '% ?35%38*)04
@0<03 035 '$8 A3)'85 #'0'8*




INTRODUCTION TO THE 1999 SECOND EDITION

South-East Asia has foi many centuiies been a pait of the woilu whose
foitunes weie laigely ueteimineu by centies of powei elsewheie. It was
a theatie foi the inteisection of Inuian anu Chinese influence÷
ieligious, commeicial, cultuial anu political. Latei, it was the eastein-
most extension of the spieau of Islam. It saw iivaliy anu conflict foi
commeicial anu political contiol between the iival Euiopean colonial
poweis anu then a long peiiou of subseivience to those poweis until the
biief ascenuancy of }apanese impeiial powei in the 194us.
In the 198us anu up until 1997, South-East Asia expeiienceu
economic giowth on a scale anu at a iate which was unpieceuenteu in
woilu histoiy. The iegion saw the beginning of a sense of shaieu
puipose, anu a confiuence that the South-East Asian nations woulu
become piospeious anu influential in the woilu. In the woius of the
Ameiican pioneei of uevelopmental state theoiy, Piofessoi Chalmeis
}ohnson, they lookeu foiwaiu to achieving not only eniichment but also
empoweiment. Theie was a vigoious uebate in the inteinational
financial institutions anu in acauemic ciicles about the factois which
hau maue it possible to achieve such spectaculai economic piogiess.
0ne uimension of that uebate conceineu the influence of the "}apanese
mouel". The "flying geese" theoiy hau it that as }apan moveu out of
laboui-intensive inuustiy it investeu in South-East Asia anu othei
emeiging economies which weie able to take off into expoit-uiiven
economic giowth with a high uegiee of state uiiection. 0pposeu to that
was the theoiy that the South-East Asians hau achieveu iecoiu-bieaking
economic giowth by opening theii economies incieasingly to the woilu
maiket which foiceu them to become highly competitive anu maue
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA
xvi
them attiactive investment oppoitunities. 0n that theoiy, ueiegulation
anu openness weie the keys to continuing success.

The ciisis which staiteu with the collapse of the Thai baht in }une
1997 was wiuely seen in the West as uiscieuiting the }apanese mouel
anu }apanese leaueiship in the iegion. The Inteinational Nonetaiy
Funu's iescue opeiations in the iegion weie uiiven by a belief that the
ciisis economies neeueu stiict contiol of public expenuituie,
tianspaiency in iegulation of the banking anu finance sectoi, anu
libeialisation of financial flows in paiticulai anu theii economies
geneially. Bebate continues about the wisuom of the Funu's policies
which weie mouifieu aftei an initial peiiou, especially in Inuonesia. It is
piobably faii to say that no one woulu now believe that South-East Asia
can ietuin to stiong giowth in the long teim without substantial
iefoims of goveinance. But theie iemains in the iegion a stiong belief
that these countiies cannot affoiu to place themselves totally at the
meicy of inteinational financial maikets anu that some measuies of
contiol aie necessaiy.
It will be some time befoie these policies anu othei pioblems aie
iesolveu but, in the meantime, the sense of achievement seen as baseu
on national anu moie bioauly Asian cultuial tiauitions anu values, anu
not simply ueiiveu fiom the West, has been uiminisheu. The sense of
iegional soliuaiity baseu on the shaieu economic success anu on the
giowing inteinational status of the Association of South-East Asian
Nations (ASEAN) has also been affecteu. ASEAN as a bouy was shown to
be laigely iiielevant when the financial ciisis stiuck. Again in
Septembei 1999 when East Timoi, aftei voting massively foi
inuepenuence fiom Inuonesia, was plungeu into a fienzy of killing anu
uestiuction, ASEAN, possibly uue to its long-stanuing policy of not
commenting on oi being seen to be inteifeiing in the uomestic affaiis of
its membeis, seemeu unwilling oi unable to play any substantial iole in
inteinational effoits to ie-establish oiuei. Theie have been a numbei of
othei events ovei iecent yeais which uemonstiate the inteiuepenuence
of ASEAN's membeis anu how events in one countiy have the potential
to seveiely affect anothei. These iange fiom occuiiences of ethnic anu
ieligious conflict to uncheckeu foiest fiies in Inuonesia causing havoc in
othei ASEAN countiies such as Singapoie, Biunei anu Nalaysia. Events
such as these have leu a numbei of membeis to expiess the view that
ASEAN neeus to ieview its iaison u'etie anu one suspects this will have
to leau to substantial changes in policies if the giouping is to continue to
have ielevance.
INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

xvii
But in the longei teim the piesent situation is likely to be seen as
an inteiluue, although in some cases÷anu especially in Inuonesia÷it
might last some yeais. It shoulu not be seen simply as an inteiiuption of
the iemaikable economic successes of the last 2u yeais. Bigh levels of
economic giowth will not ietuin without substantial iefoims anu
policies to equip these countiies foi success in a iapiuly changing woilu
economy. Noieovei, theie is substantial political change afoot in South-
East Asia. That is peihaps most eviuent in Thailanu, wheie uemociacy
seems now fiimly implanteu anu woiking well. Theie is a sense in
Nalaysia that change theie cannot now be too fai off. In Inuonesia, the
tioubleu giant of the iegion, theie aie elements of majoi change
togethei with ietention of elements fiom the Suhaito New 0iuei eia. 0f
the two gieat political foices in the countiy, the Islamic seems to have
gaineu ascenuancy ovei the seculai nationalist. But it is a moueiate anu
toleiant Islamic leaueiship appaiently committeu to equal iights foi all.
In that countiy, much economic anu social giounu has been lost anu it
will be a haiu task to establish a new political oiuei anu the basis foi a
new eia of economic giowth anu incieasing welfaie foi the population
of moie than 21u million.
It woulu, in my view, not take long if stability anu economic
iecoveiy pievail foi the sense of optimism anu confiuence to ietuin to
South-East Asia, anu this time it coulu be enhanceu by a much wiuei
public acceptance anu sense of paiticipation. In Inuonesia, wheie the
outlook is still unceitain, theie is alieauy an enoimous change in the
atmospheie with a novel anu unaccustomeu fiankness anu exchange of
opinions in the meuia anu a sense of ielevance anu inueeu of powei in
the electeu pailiament. If economic iecoveiy takes holu acioss the
iegion we aie likely to see a move to tiy to enhance the iole anu
ielevance of ASEAN. The pioposal to establish an East Asian Nonetaiy
Funu has suppoit in South-East Asia anu the initiatives which flow fiom
the Niyazawa Funu coulu leau to an invigoiateu coopeiative
aiiangement suppoiteu by }apan. ulobal cuiients causeu havoc in the
iegion in 1997 anu 1998 anu that has leu some to think in teims of
builuing uefenses anu walls. ulobalization will, howevei, affect South-
East Asia in positive ways÷socially, politically anu economically.
Inueeu they cannot affoiu not to iesponu to it, anu one of the questions
which faces them is whethei oi how they can best suppoit each othei in
that enteipiise.
Syuney, 1 }anuaiy, 2uuu
4&)56' 7&8-9:;8" 21
1$0)&2034 !*803 9%:-* ;&%-<
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA
INTRODUCTION

























































































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 2





















Biunei is a small state of just 2,226 squaie miles locateu on the noith-
west coast of the islanu of Kalimantan, oi "Boineo" (a Westein teim
ueiiveu fiom "Biunei"). It is an Islamic State wheie the sultan, Sii
Bassanal Bolkiah, the 29th Sultan in the uynasty, iules by ueciee. Its
population is about 4uu,uuu, of whom neaily 6u pei cent live in uiban
aiea. Nalays compiise about 64 pei cent of the population, Chinese
about 2u pei cent anu inuigenous tiibes about 8 pei cent. It woulu be an
uniemaikable teiiitoiy weie it not that unueineath its soil anu unuei
its teiiitoiial wateis lie huge oil anu gas ieseives which have enableu
the countiy to boast the highest pei-capita income in South-East Asia at
aiounu 0S$27,uuu. This unueigiounu wealth has also enableu one of
the woilu's few iemaining absolute monaichies to suivive into the 21st
centuiy. The sultanate has consiueiable financial ieseives investeu
oveiseas.

!"#$% '()*+#%
Little is known of the eaily histoiy of Biunei. Theie appeais to have
been tiaue between the noith-west coast of Kalimantan anu China as
eaily as the sixth centuiy anu Biunei was influenceu by the spieau of
Binuuism¡Buuuhism fiom Inuia in the fiist millennium. Chinese iecoius
make mention of a kinguom of Puni, locateu on the noith-west coast of
Kalimantan, which paiu tiibute to Chinese empeiois between the sixth
BRUNEI S
anu the ninth centuiies. Biunei was claimeu by the gieat }avanese empiie of
Najapahit in the 14th centuiy, though it was most likely little moie than a
tiauing¡tiibutaiy ielationship. Biunei became a moie significant state in
the 1Sth centuiy with a gieatei uegiee of inuepenuence fiom its laigei
neighbouis. When the Chinese Aumiial Cheng Bo visiteu Biunei in the eaily
1Sth centuiy, as pait of his exploiation of South-East Asia, he uiscoveieu a
significant tiauing poit with iesiuent Chinese tiaueis engageu in piofitable
tiaue with the homelanu.
Biunei was a small cog in the eaily South-East Asia tiauing netwoiks
but well known enough to figuie in the iecoius of the majoi states. The
Biunei iulei seems to have conveiteu to Islam in the miuule of the 1Sth
centuiy when he maiiieu a uaughtei of the iulei of Nelaka. The Poituguese
conquest of Nelaka in 1S11 closeu Nelaka to Nuslim tiaueis, foicing them
to look elsewheie in the aichipelago. Theie was an outflow of wealthy
Islamic tiaueis who settleu in othei paits of the Inuonesian aichipelago
taking with them not only theii business acumen but also theii ieligious
beliefs. The Islamisation of the aichipelago was given a gieat Impetus.
Biunei piospeieu fiom the Poituguese conquest of Nelaka as Islamic
tiaueis weie now attiacteu to its poit in gieatei numbeis. When Nagellan's
expeuition visiteu Biunei in 1S21 it founu a piospeious town with a
flouiishing tiauing community linkeu into the South-East Asia÷China
tiauing netwoik. Thioughout the 16th centuiy it engageu in political anu
commeicial ielations with othei states in the Nalay woilu, compiising the
Inuonesian aichipelago, the Nalay peninsula anu southein Philippines.
Biunei became a majoi iegional kinguom in the 16th anu 17th centuiies,
with its influence stietching into the southein Philippines anu its teiiitoiial
claims extenuing ovei most of the noith coast of Kalimantan, incluuing what
aie now the Nalaysian states of Saiawak anu Sabah. As the fiist Islamic
kinguom in the aiea, Biunei was the base foi the Islamisation of the
southein Philippines anu suiiounuing aieas, fiequently coming into conflict
with Catholic Spain aftei the Spanish conquest of Luzon, the cential islanu
of the Philippines. In 1S78 Spain attackeu Biunei anu biiefly captuieu the
capital. It was unable to holu the town, in laige pait because its foices weie
uecimateu by sickness. Spain continueu to tiy to conquei the Islamic
Sultanate of Sulu in the southein Philippine islanus, only finally succeeuing
in the last quaitei of the 19th centuiy.
Biunei uiu well out of the Poituguese conquest of Nelaka. Not only
uiu it become an impoitant poit foi Nuslim tiaueis but it was able to
negotiate a ueal with the Poituguese foi coopeiation in the South-East
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 4

Asian tiaue with China. Biunei was no thieat to Poitugal, having no
teiiitoiial claims outsiue Kalimantan. It also shaieu a commeicial inteiest in
piomoting the China tiaue. In 1S26 the Poituguese establisheu a tiauing
post at Biunei to collect the valueu piouucts of Kalimantan anu suiiounuing
islanus. Biunei became an integial poit of call on the Nelaka to Nacau
ioute.
Biunei's commeicial anu political powei was at its peak in the miuule
of the 17th centuiy. It hau manageu to stave off Spain anu hau ieacheu a
mutually beneficial accoiu with Poitugal. Fiom the miuule of the 17th
centuiy it was incieasingly challengeu by the Sultanate of Sulu in the islanus
noith-east of Kalimantan. 0stensibly unuei Biunei suzeiainty, the Sultanate
of Sulu giauually establisheu total inuepenuence, going so fai as to acquiie
fiom Biunei soveieignty ovei most of the aiea which touay constitutes the
Nalaysian state of Sabah.
By the beginning of the 19th centuiy the political anu economic
powei of the Nalay iuleis in Kalimantan anu what is now the southein
Philippines was ueclining shaiply. The iule of the once-poweiful Sultans of
Biunei anu Sulu now baiely extenueu outsiue theii capitals. Theii uecline
iesulteu laigely fiom the uevelopment of Euiopean entiepots in South-East
Asia, which offeieu local tiaueis a bettei piice foi theii piouuce anu weie
fiee fiom the taxes of the Nalay poits. The uevelopment of local tiaue with
Euiopean entiepots, especially Singapoie, Batavia anu Nanila, anu the
uecay of the oluei tiauing centies of Biunei anu Sulu meant a uiastic
ieuuction in the Sultanates' ievenues, with a consequent uecline in political
powei.
About 4u,uuu people liveu in Biunei town anu suiiounuing aieas in
the miu 18th centuiy. By the 18Sus the population hau ueclineu to about
1u,uuu. The noithein coast of Kalimantan, except foi Biunei town itself, was
iuleu by local chiefs baseu at iivei mouths. The coastal population was
pieuominantly Nalay (anu Nuslim), with a small gioup of Chinese
meichants anu peppei gioweis anu a smatteiing of people of Aiab uescent.
The tiibal people who liveu in the inteiioi weie neithei Nalay noi Nuslim:
they weie subsistence faimeis who tiaueu with the coastal Nalays but
iesisteu attempts to biing them unuei Nalay contiol. To Biunei's south the
most significant tiibal people weie Iban, oi Bayak. To the east (in Sabah)
the most significant gioups weie Kauazan-Busun anu Nuiut.
In auuition to its economic uecay, the Biunei Sultanate was fuithei
weakeneu by powei stiuggles within the Couit. 0inai Ali Saifuuuin, who
succeeueu to the thione of the Sultanate in 1828, was a weak iulei. Buiing
BRUNEI S
his ieign a bittei powei stiuggle uevelopeu between two iival factions leu
by Biunei Chiefs. The uecline in the Sultan's powei was eviuenceu by the
incieasing inuepenuence of piovincial iuleis, anu by the giowth in the
powei of foimeily subseivient chiefs. In the late 18Sus, Saiawak, the
westeinmost piovince claimeu by the Sultanate of Biunei, was in open
iebellion against the local piovincial iulei whose iule hau become
piogiessively moie oppiessive as he became moie inuepenuent of Biunei.
In 18S7, the Sultan tiieu to suppiess the iebellion but without success.

*'! ,#(*()' (-."/*
In the fiist half of the 19th centuiy the inteiest of the Biitish goveinment
anu the English East Inuia Company in South-East Asia was limiteu to the
piotection of the China tiaue ioutes fiom inteifeience by othei Euiopean
nations anu the piovision of minimum conuitions foi the expansion of
Biitish tiaue in the aiea. The Anglo-Butch Tieaty of 1824, unuei which
Biitain acquiieu Nelaka fiom the Butch anu ielinquisheu Benkulen on the
south-west coast of Sumatia anu the Butch withuiew all objections to
Biitain's occupation of Singapoie, containeu aiticles which guaianteeu
Biitish tiaueis entiy to the Butch-auministeieu poits anu laiu uown
maximum iates of impoit uuties. The failuie of the Butch to caiiy out the
commeicial uauses of the Tieaty leu to a giowing agitation by meichants in
Singapoie anu Biitain that Biitain shoulu uiiectly challenge the
Netheilanus' position in the aichipelago by opening an entiepot to the east
of Singapoie. The unsuccessful settlements in noithein Austialia÷Nelville
Bay, Raines Bay anu Poit Essington÷hau been maue paitly with this enu in
view, but in the late 18Sus attention was focuseu on the noith-west coast of
Boineo, the only pait of the aichipelago not iecogniseu as lying within the
Butch spheie of influence.
Into this situation of a uecaying Sultanate of Biunei, facing iebellion
in Saiawak, anu a giowing commeicial inteiest in the noith-west coast of
Kalimantan by the Biitish community in Singapoie, aiiiveu in August 18S9
a iemaikable Englishman nameu }ames Biooke. Biooke was in the moulu of
the eaily 19th-centuiy Roman-tics: he aumiieu what he saw as the simple
anu unsophisticateu life of the peoples of the Nalay aichipelago anu wanteu
to impiove it by biinging to them what he saw as the benefits of Biitish
civilization, without uestioying the basic simplicity of theii lives. Be became
convinceu that he hau a uivinely appointeu mission in the Nalay
aichipelago. With the pioceeus of his wealthy fathei's estate, he bought a
boat anu jouineyeu fiist to Singapoie anu then to the noith-west coast of
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 6

Kalimantan. Bis timely aiiival at the heau of the Saiawak iivei with an
aimeu yacht in August 18S9 biought the iebellion of the local chief to an
enu. In ietuin he ieceiveu the uoveinoiship of Saiawak.
0vei the next Su yeais Biooke establisheu a peisonal fiefuom in
Saiawak, iemoiselessly extenuing its boiueis at the expense of the
Sultanate of Biunei. Be was auioit at peisuauing Biitish naval commanueis
in Bong Kong anu Singapoie to suppoit him in foicing the Sultan of Biunei
to make concession aftei concession. Bowevei, his attempts to peisuaue the
Biitish goveinment to make Saiawak a Biitish piotectoiate foi the moment
fell on ueaf eais. The "White Rajah" was one of the moie colouiful ouuities
in the histoiy of Biitish colonialism.
A weakeneu Sultan of Biunei maue fuithei concessions of teiiitoiy in
1877. This time it was to a piivate company, the Ameiican Tiauing
Company, owneu by an Austiian anu an Englishman. The Austiian solu out
to the Englishman in 1881. In oiuei to keep the Fiench anu the ueimans out
of a stiategically impoitant aiea, Biitain then gianteu a ioyal chaitei foi the
establishment of the Biitish Noith Boineo Company. Fuithei Biunei
teiiitoiy was successfully claimeu by Saiawak in 1882, ieuucing the
Sultanate to two small aieas: the coie aiounu Biunei town anu a small
pocket of lanu insiue Saiawak. In oiuei to piotect what was left of the once
gieat Sultanate of Biunei anu finally to ensuie that iival Euiopean poweis
weie kept out, in 1888 Biitain ueclaieu a piotectoiate ovei Saiawak, Biunei
anu Noith Boineo. Aftei a seiies of aiiangements between the Biitish Noith
Boineo Company anu Saiawak, which saw Saiawak auu fuithei teiiitoiy, in
19u6 Biitain appointeu a Resiuent to Biunei in oiuei to supeivise the state,
moueinise its auministiative stiuctuies anu ensuie its suivival against its
pieuatoiy Saiawak neighboui.
Biunei hau been teiiitoiially ieuuceu to a shauow of its foimei self.
But oil anu gas weie uiscoveieu beneath its lanu anu unuei its teiiitoiial
wateis in the 192us. The histoiy of Biunei fiom then on has ievolveu
aiounu the enoimous wealth cieateu by oil anu gas. The Sultan anu his
family became veiy iich veiy quickly. By the 196us, access to such a stiong
ievenue stieam enableu the Sultanate to pioviue fiee health, euucation anu
social welfaie seivices of a high stanuaiu to all its people, anu all with veiy
low iates of taxation.
Aftei Woilu Wai II anu the uefeat of }apan, Biunei continueu to be a
Biitish piotectoiate with the Sultan iuling with auvice fiom a Biitish
iesiuent anu unuei the piotection of uuikha tioops. As Biitain steauily
uecoloniseu in Asia anu Afiica, this aiiangement caine to be seen in Biitain
BRUNEI 7
as anachionistic. In 19S9 Biunei achieveu self- goveinment, at the
insistence of Biitain. A constitution was uiawn up which pioviueu foi
elections to a legislative council. In 1962 the fiist elections weie helu. They
weie won by the Paitai Rakyat Biunei, a paity which opposeu the
monaichical system anu uemanueu full uemociatic iights. It also auvocateu
that Biunei join the neighbouiing states of Sabah anu Saiawak in the
mooteu Feueiation of Nalaysia. The Paitai Rakyat Biunei was stiongly
opposeu by the Sultan anu the iuling élite. Its uemanus weie iejecteu.
Biunei was to iemain a monaichy.
As a consequence, the Paitai Rakyat Biunei launcheu a ievolt. This
was quickly ciusheu by the uuikha tioops stationeu in Biunei. The Sultan
ueclaieu a state of emeigency, suspenueu the constitution, ueclaieu the
iecent elections voiu anu banneu the Paitai Rakyat Biunei.
This was the only election evei helu in Biunei. In 1962 anu eaily
196S the Sultan became involveu in uiscussions about joining the new
Feueiation of Nalaysia. But when Nalaysia was foimeu in Septembei 196S
Biunei electeu to iemain outsiue. Bisagieements ovei the uistiibution of oil
anu gas ievenues (Biunei was ueteimineu to piotect its ievenue) anu
concein about the ielative status of the ioyal family among the othei
Nalaysian Sultans, all of whom weie constitutional monaichs with limiteu
poweis, finally ueciueu the Sultan to iemain a Biitish piotectoiate.
The piotectoiate aiiangements weie changeu in 1971, but Biitain
still ietaineu contiol of foieign affaiis anu uefence, although all costs weie
now met by a veiy wealthy Sultanate. At the insistence of Biitain,
embaiiasseu by the continuation of this ielic of colonialism, Biunei became
a soveieign state on 1 }anuaiy 1984.
Inuepenuence biought with it few peiceptible changes foi the people
of Biunei. Political paities iemain banneu. State ministiies essentially
iemain in the hanus of membeis of the ioyal family anu tiusteu membeis of
a tightly knit élite.
Since the 196us, Biunei has become incieasingly involveu with its
South-East Asian neighbouis. Its ielations with ASEAN states since the
foimation of ASEAN in 1967 have been extiemely goou, although fiom time
to time theie has been some uebate in sections of Nalaysian society about
the meiits of Biunei's benevolent but authoiitaiian monaichy, anu in 2uuS
anu 2uu4 the two countiies became involveu in a uispute ovei iival claims
to oil fielus off the coast of Boineo.
In 1987 Biunei joineu ASEAN as a full membei, theieby foimalising
the alieauy close ielationship, anu in Novembei 2uu1 stageu the seventh
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 8

ASEAN summit meeting, with iepiesentatives of China, }apan anu Koiea in
attenuance. In }uly 2uu2, the countiy hosteu the ASEAN Regional Foium in
which ASEAN's membeis anu the 0niteu States signeu a pact pleuging to
"pievent, uisiupt anu combat" global teiioiism. In Becembei the same yeai,
the Sultan met Piesiuent ueoige W. Bush in Washington anu affiimeu the
two countiies' close ties, although Biunei has uiscieetly sought to uistance
itself fiom the 0S invasion of Iiaq.
In 1998 the business empiie iun by the Sultan's biothei, Piince }efii,
collapseu amiu allegations of fiauu anu mismanagement. The failuie of his
conglomeiate is believeu to have iesulteu in uebts to the Sultanate of 0S$1S
billion. Piince }efii hau foimeily been finance ministei between 1986-1997
anu was uismisseu as heau of the Biunei Investment Agency÷which
manages the countiy's oveiseas investments÷in 1998.

,#01!( (1 *'! 1!2 -($$!11(0-
Biunei's ievenues aie almost entiiely uepenuent on ioyalties fiom oil anu
gas. Conscious of the eventual exhaustion of oil anu gas (pieuicteu to occui
aiounu 2u2S), since the miu 198us Biunei's goveinment has placeu piioiity
on ueveloping the agiicultuial sectoi so that it can cease to be a net
impoitei of foou. Effoits have also been maue to uevelop light
manufactuiing. But iealistically, the countiy's inheient stiuctuial anu
capacity constiaints mitigate against the uevelopment of a uiveisifieu
inuustiial base. These incluue high laboui costs, a shoitage of skilleu laboui,
a small uomestic maiket, the lack of an entiepieneuiial class anu a laige
(ielative to the population) buieauciacy.
In 2uuS, plans weie announceu to coipoiatise the Bepaitment of
Telecommunications as pait of an ongoing piogiamme to coipoiatise
goveinment authoiities to encouiage them to become moie accountable
anu competitive. Following lengthy uelays, this uepaitment was finally
coipoiatiseu in 2uu6, with its uuties shaieu between a telecommunications
caiiiei set up in 2uu2 (TelBiu) anu the Authoiity foi Info-Communications
Technology Inuustiy, which took on a iegulatoiy anu facilitation function.
Policies aimeu at economic uiveisification anu weaning the
population off goveinment uepenuency have been only paitially successful
anu, appioximately 7u pei cent of the woikfoice iemains on the state
payioll. The goveinment has also investeu tens of billions of petio-uollais in
the West in oiuei that the acciueu income will act to cushion the
economic÷anu no uoubt, social÷effects biought on by ueclining fossil-fuel
ievenues. Such uiveisifieu long-teim investments offshoie will also help
BRUNEI 9
smooth out unpieuictable shoit-teim fluctuations in the global piice of oil,
which in 2uu8-9 alone swung between 0S$147 anu 0S$4u pei baiiel uue to
flow-on effects on oil uemanu causeu by the onset of the global cieuit ciisis
anu the subsequent woilu economic uowntown.
The social composition of Biunei has changeu quickly ovei the past
five uecaues, most noticeable in the giowth of an euucateu miuule class.
This euucateu miuule class will continue to inciease in numbeis. Since
199u, in an effoit to inteitwine a sense of nation-builuing, cultuie, a love of
the monaichy anu an obseivance of Islam, the Sultan has piomoteu an
iueology encapsulateu by the catchphiase Nelayu Islam Beiaja, oi "Nalay-
Nuslim-Nonaichy".
A small step towaius uemociatisation was unueitaken in 2uu4 when
the Sultan announceu that a paitly-electeu pailiament of 4S membeis
woulu convene. Bowevei, no timetable has been set foi elections.
A question foi the futuie is the extent to which the hitheito quiescent
miuule class will continue to accept the status quo oi whethei they will
uemanu gieatei political involvement anu iepiesentation commensuiate
with theii own iising euucational anu financial attainments.



















































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 12



















No countiy in South-East Asia has a moie imposing eaily histoiy than
Cambouia. The temples of Angkoi, eiecteu between the 9th anu 1Sth
centuiies, aie a testament to the cieative eneigy, wealth anu powei of
Khmei society in that eia. But no countiy in the iegion has hau a moie
tiagic iecent histoiy. Ravageu by wai anu ievolution in the 197us, a
uecaue in which moie than one in seven Cambouians uieu, Cambouia
iemaineu a victim of inteinational Colu Wai iivaliies in the 198us. It is
only now, following the tuin of the centuiy, that peace anu a semblance
of economic secuiity is ie-emeiging in Cambouia.
0ne stiiking theme in Cambouia's histoiy is the countiy's almost-
continuous entiapment in the iivaliies of outsiue foices. 0ntil the 19th
centuiy, these foices weie iegional. Since then, Cambouia has been
tosseu anu toimenteu by woilu foices, to a uegiee that sometimes
seems inexplicable given Cambouia's small population anu poveity.
Cambouia's population was assesseu at 14.S million in 2uu8. Its uBP pei
capita was 0S$S4u.
Anothei stiiking histoiical theme, inteitwineu with the fiist,
conceins the peiennial stiuggles foi powei within Cambouia at the
expense of the countiy's geneial well-being. Tiauitionally, in a mattei of
iuling class iivaliies, the powei stiuggles have been giotesquely
magnifieu by this centuiy's global iueological collisions.
Cambouia has known peace, sometimes foi extenueu peiious, but
always unuei iuleis who enfoiceu peace. Fiench colonial iule achieveu a
kinu of peace in Cambouia, as uiu King Sihanouk in the l9Sus anu 196us.
CAMBODIA 1S
Touay the Cambouian goveinment woiks haiu to maintain social
cohesion while piomoting economic giowth now that peace seems to
have finally come to the countiy.

!"#$% '()*+#% ",- *'! !./(#! +0 ",12+#
The fiist glimpses into Cambouian histoiy come fiom the eaily centuiies
of the Chiistian eia. By then Khmeis÷uiiect ancestois of Cambouia's
mouein population÷anu ielateu Non peoples occupieu a bioau banu of
mainlanu South-East Asia, stietching acioss what is touay southein
Buima, Thailanu, Cambouia anu southein vietnam. Eaily Chinese
iecoius mention tiaue with a society on the lowei Nekong which they
teim "Funan" (peihaps a tiansciiption of the Khmei woiu !"#$%,
meaning "hill"). Funan flouiisheu fiom the thiiu to seventh centuiies, as
a poit of call on the sea-tiauing ioute between Inuia anu China. Its
Binuu-Buuuhist ieligious life, wiiting system, iiiigation technology foi
wet iice-giowing anu othei skills weie piobably uevelopeu fiom Inuian
souices. Families claiming high Biahman status became a featuie of
Khmei society, pioviuing piiests foi Binuu iituals anu senioi officials foi
Khmei iuleis. Khmei society uiu not auopt the caste system of Inuian
Binuu society, but it uiu become stiongly hieiaichical in stiuctuie.
The Chinese iecoius mention two othei eaily societies in the
Khmei aiea÷"watei Chenla", in the Nekong uelta, anu "lanu Chenla",
fuithei up the Nekong, possibly in what is now southein Laos. The
iecoius inuicate that the lattei attackeu Funan, biinging about its
uemise. Bowevei, theie is insufficient eviuence to uetei-mine whethei
the two "Chenlas" anu inueeu Funan weie coheient states, oi iathei
loose collections of faiming anu tiauing communities unuei wailoius÷
albeit wailoius aspiiing to be seen as uivinely oiuaineu waiiioi kings,
iuentifieu with Binuu ueities such as Siva anu vishnu.
The consoliuation of Khmei society is moie cleai fiom the ninth
centuiy, when the fiist of the kings to iule ovei the state now geneially
known as Angkoi, }ayavaiman II (ieigneu c. 8u2-8Su), establisheu the
state cult of Bevaiaj, oi "gou-king". This cult, while incoipoiating Khmei
animist beliefs, centieu on the woiship of a linga ielating the king to Siva
anu symbolising the king's ability to confei feitility anu piospeiity on
his lanu anu people. A temple built to house the linga iepiesenteu the
mythical Nount Neiu, centie of the univeise anu home of the gous. Thus
the king was iuentifieu with the uivine woilu, anu coulu lay claim to
univeisal authoiity. At the king's ueath his temple coulu seive as his
mausoleum.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 14
}ayavaiman II built seveial such temples at wiuely spaceu sites in
what is now Cambouia. Foi the next foui centuiies his successois woulu
builu theii temple-mausoleums, the successive foci of South-East Asia's
gieatest state until the 1Sth centuiy. The temples of the Angkoi iegion
aie still South-East Asia's most imposing histoiical iemains.
Fiom the miu ninth centuiy, Angkoi's heaitlanu became the
iegion along the noithein enu of the Tonle Sap, neai the mouein city of
Siem Reap. The Tonle Sap ("gieat lake") floous each yeai, feu by the
iushing wateis of the Nekong. Angkoi's iuleis anu people giauually
built a system of ieseivoiis anu canals to contiol the inunuation anu
pioviue yeai-iounu watei foi multiple iice haivests. The system
eventually wateieu an aiea of about S.S million hectaies anu suppoiteu
a laige population. A "buieauciacy" of iegional magnates anu officials
hainesseu the laboui anu piouuct of this population foi the king's
piojects anu theii own÷temple-builuing, the lavish uecoiation anu
upkeep of temples anu palaces, the expansion anu maintenance of the
iiiigation woiks, tiaue with meichants sailing up the Nekong¡Tonle
Sap, anu waifaie.
The uegiee of powei peisonally exeiciseu by the "gou-kings"
iemains unceitain, uespite the iich infoimation about Angkoi pio-viueu
by temple insciiptions anu bas-ieliefs. Nouein scholais' chai-
acteiisations of Angkoi's iuleis vaiy fiom Stalinesque tyiants to
ceiemonial figuieheaus always in uangei fiom couit iivaliies anu
iegional challenges. Two men of immensely stiong peisonality stanu out
fiom the long line of monaichs÷Suiyavaiman II (ieigneu 111S-11Su)
anu }ayavaiman vII (ieigneu 1181-C.1219). The foimei took the empiie
which Angkoi hau been ueveloping to its gieatest extent. 0nuei him it
encompasseu much of mouein Thailanu anu Laos, Cambouia anu
southein vietnam. Foi a time he also helu the teiiitoiy of Champa,
touay's cential vietnam. Appiopiiately, Suiyavaiman II initiateu the
constiuction of Angkoi Wat, sometimes uesciibeu as the laigest
ieligious builuing in the woilu, anu Angkoi's best known monument.
}ayavaiman vII, also a tiiumphant waiiioi-king, became the most
piolific of all Angkoi's ioyal builueis. Bis gieatest monument is the
massive Angkoi Thom anu Bayon, but he also establisheu numeious
othei temples, all in an appaient attempt to piomote a foim of
Nahayana Buuuhism. Be also initiateu a ioau-builuing piogiamme anu
othei public woiks such as hospitals anu iest-houses. The mobilisation
of laboui anu iesouices foi waifaie anu builuing uuiing the ieign of
}ayavaiman vII must have been enoimous. Following his ueath eaily in
CAMBODIA 1S
the 1Sth centuiy no moie temples weie built anu the incising of
insciiptions also ceaseu. Nost commentatois suggest that his feaisome
eneigies biought social exhaustion. Neveitheless the next majoi insight
into Angkoi available to us÷the account of a Chinese visitoi, Chou Ta-
kuan, in 1296÷suggests a state still of gieat powei anu opulence.
By then, howevei, the piincipal ieligious focus of Khmei society
hau alteieu. vaiieties of Buuuhism hau long coexisteu with the Binuu
Bevaiaj cults but, uuiing the 1Sth centuiy, Theiavaua Buuuhism won
geneial allegiance. This foim of Buuuhism, oiiginally uefineu in Sii
Lanka anu possibly Buima, was oiganiseu by its sangha (oiuei of
monks) anu cleai about what constituteu Buuuhist oithouoxy, while also
being able to subsume Binuu anu animist elements. It was iapiuly
becoming the uominant ieligion in mainlanu South-East Asia. The
concept of Bevaiaj, celebiateu by Biahmanic officiants, woulu peisist in
Khmei society, but a gouly king woulu now uemonstiate his viitue
piimaiily thiough pationage of Theiavaua Buuuhist temples,
monasteiies anu schools. As a consequence, peihaps, inteiest in the
temple-mausoleums of foimei iuleis ueclineu.
In the 144us, the Khmei iuling class abanuoneu the Angkoi
iegion. Besiues the impact of Theiavaua Buuuhism theie aie othei
possible ieasons foi this shift. Couit factionalism may have weakeneu
the fiim goveinment neeueu foi such an intiicately connecteu "hyuiaulic
society" to woik, anu hasteneu ecological! ueteiioiation of a iegion
which hau been intensively exploiteu foi centuiies. The geneial
population of the aiea may have uiifteu away as the iiiigation system
silteu up. Nalaiia has also been suggesteu as a factoi in Angkoi's
abanuonment. The best establisheu factoi in the tiansfei of the kinguom
is the iise, fiom 1SS1, of the ambitious Thai state of Ayuuhya. The Thais
insistently attackeu Angkoi, looting it of wealth anu people. A Khmei
capital to the south-east (vaiiously in latei centuiies Phnom Penh,
0uong anu Lovek) may have seemeu moie uefensible than Angkoi. Such
cities weie also neaiei the sea anu the booming maiitime tiaue of 1Sth-
centuiy South-East Asia.

*'! 2(,1-+. +0 3".4+-("5 67*'869*' 3!,*:#(!)
0ntil late in the 16th centuiy the tianslateu Khmei kinguom appeais to
have been quite stiong, an equal of neighbouis like Ayuuhya, Lan Xang
(Laos) anu vietnam. Inteimittent waifaie with the Thais continueu, but
also peaceful tiaue anu cultuial exchange. In ieligion, polity anu cultuie,
the Thai anu Khmei kinguoms hau much in common. In 1S9S, howevei,
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 16
the Thai king Naiasuen attackeu Cambouia as pait of his stiategy to
ieaffiim the powei of Ayuuhya aftei a uevastating assault on his city by
the Buimese. Fiom this time, Cambouia slippeu uecisively÷at least in
Thai eyes÷to the status of a Thai vassal state.
Shoitly aftei Naiasuen's attack, Cambouia uemonstiateu viviuly a
featuie that woulu uaiken its histoiy in the centuiies aheau÷iuling-
class attempts to hainess foieign assistance in iuling-class iivaliies. In
the lS9us, aiu was sought fiom the Spanish, by then ensconceu at Nanila,
against the Thais. Spanish auventuieis anu missionaiies biiefly helu
gieat influence at the Cambouian couit but, in 1S99, most weie
massacieu. The king who hau favouieu them was also assassinateu. In
16uS, aftei fuithei upheavals at couit, a Cambouian piince aligneu with
the Thais caine to the thione.
Neanwhile, the vietnamese hau long been auvancing south-waius
fiom theii oiiginal homelanu in the Tonkin uelta, oveiwhelming Champa
in the piocess. In the 162us, the next Cambouian king tuineu to the
vietnamese foi help against the Thais, peimitting the vietnamese to
settle along his kinguom's south-east coast. Theie the vietnamese poit
anu stiongholu of Saigon woulu uevelop. vietnamese anu Chinese
auventuieis anu tiaueis began to uominate othei Cambouian poits.
Euiopean accounts of Cambouia in the late l6th centuiy anu fiist half of
the 17th centuiy suggest a cosmopolitan tiauing life involving Chinese,
}apanese, Nalay, Aiab anu othei tiaueis, but fiom the miu-17th centuiy
Cambouia became incieasingly isolateu fiom the sea, caught in the
pincei movement of Thai anu vietnamese expansionism.
The latei 17th anu 18th centuiies saw iepeateu Thai anu
vietnamese incuisions, usually connecteu with iivaliies foi the thione
within the Cambouian iuling class. The 18th centuiy enueu with the
Thais uominant. Fiom 1771 until the eaily 19th centuiy the vietnamese
weie pieoccupieu with uomestic iebellion anu civil wai. The Thai
geneial Taksin anu the Thai iulei Rama I, the founuei of Bangkok, took
the oppoitunity to impose theii authoiity fiimly ovei Cambouia. The
noith-westein piovinces of Battambang anu Siem Reap weie auueu to
Thai teiiitoiy. The Cambouian kings hau theii suboiuinate status maue
plain by being ciowneu at Bangkok amiust Thai-uictateu ceiemonial.
But Thai-vietnamese iivaliy was still to climax. The Cambouian
iulei Ang Chan (ieigneu 18u6-SS) thought it wise to pay homage not
only to the Thais but also to the vietnamese, by now ieuniteu unuei a
stiong new uynasty iuling fiom the city of Bué. In 1811-12 Thai foices
attempteu to ieplace Ang Chan with one of his biotheis, but vietnamese
CAMBODIA 17
tioops iepelleu the Thais, anu vietnam assumeu ascenuancy ovei
Cambouia. Ang Chan continueu, howevei, to senu tiibute to Bangkok as
well as to Bué.
In 18SS, the Thais stageu a majoi invasion, taking Phnom Penh,
but they weie again iepelleu by vietnamese foices. When Ang Chan uieu
in 18S4 the vietnamese empeioi, Ninh Nang, ueciueu on a policy of
complete absoiption of Cambouia within his iealm. As a fiist step, he
passeu ovei two male heiis of the late king anu appointeu theii sistei,
Ang Nei, as a figuieheau monaich. vietnamese officials ian the kinguom,
vietnamese people weie encouiageu to colonise Cambouia, anu
vietnamese language anu law, anu even vietnamese costumes anu
haiistyles, weie incieasingly insisteu upon.
A countiy-wiue iebellion bioke out in 184u, anu the Thais
iesponueu ieauily to calls foi help fiom Ang Nei's biotheis. Foi five
nightmaiish yeais, Thai anu vietnamese foices, anu also Cambouian
factions, fought an inconclusive wai, iavishing the countiysiue. Finally,
in 184S, the Thais anu vietnamese agieeu to compiomise, placing on the
thione Ang Buang, son of Ang Chan, who woulu pay homage to both
Bangkok anu Bué. In this uneasy peace, Ang Buang was encouiageu by
Fiench missions (which hau been opeiating in Cambouia since the
pievious centuiy) to appeal foi Fiench suppoit. In 18SS, he sent feeleis
to the Fiench uiplomatic mission in Singapoie, but King Nongkut of
Thailanu maue cleai his uispleasuie anu the Fiench backeu off, foi the
time being.

*'! 3+$+,("$ !#"5 69;<86=>?
The Fiench began theii attack on vietnam in 18S9 anu by 1862 hau
establisheu the colony of Cochin China aiounu Saigon. Cambouia, theii
new colony's hinteilanu, natuially inteiesteu them. They envisageu the
Nekong as a mighty tiaue ioute, peihaps even offeiing access to China.
At the same time a new Cambouian king, Noiouom (ieigneu 186u-19u4),
was seeking allies to suppoit him against the Thais anu against uomestic
iivals foi his thione. In August 186S, he signeu a tieaty of "piotection"
which establisheu a Fiench Resiuent at Phnom Penh, gave Fiance
contiol of Cambouia's foieign ielations, anu openeu the countiy to
Fiench commeicial inteiests. King Nongkut piotesteu but in 1867,
ieluctantly iecogniseu the Fiench piotectoiate. The Thais ietaineu
Cambouia's noith-westein piovinces, howevei; these woulu only be
iestoieu to Cambouia in 19u7 at the insistence of the Fiench.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 18
Foi two uecaues the piotectoiate meant little change within
Cambouia. The Fiench soon iealiseu that the countiy coulu offei no
iapiu economic ietuin, anu focusseu theii uevelopment eneigies on
Cochin China. Equally, Noiouom pioveu auept at tuining asiue Fiench
suggestions foi auministiative oi social iefoim, as he woulu, thioughout
his long ieign.
In 1884 the Fiench foiceu Noiouom÷unuei thieat of being
ueposeu anu ieplaceu÷to sign an agieement intenueu to inciease the
numbei of Fiench officials in the kinguom, give policy contiol to the
Fiench ovei all auministiative, financial, juuicial anu commeicial
matteis, initiate a lanu-titling system, anu abolish slaveiy. The
Cambouian iuling class was alaimeu at its potential loss of powei ovei
taxation, tiaue, lanu anu laboui, anu initiateu a countiy-wiue ievolt. By
1886 the Fiench weie willing to acknowleuge iespect foi Cambouian
customs anu foi anothei two uecaues change was minimal anu
cautiously intiouuceu.
At Noiouom's ueath in 19u4, howevei, the Fiench appointeu fiom
amongst the possible heiis a king willing to comply with Fiench policies.
Be was the fiist of thiee kings chosen by the Fiench on the basis of theii
appaient compliancy. The thiiu woulu be Noiouom Sihanouk, who
ascenueu the thione as a shy 19-yeai-olu in 1941. Fiom 19u4, theiefoie,
the Fiench weie able to establish complete authoiity ovei theii
piotectoiate. Piioi to 194u they encounteieu little fuithei opposition. In
192S, the muiuei of a Fiench official, Félix Baiuez, causeu a sensation,
but only because it seemeu an isolateu anu unchaiacteiistic challenge to
Fiench iule.
Cambouia's economic iesouices pioveu to be scanty, even its
human iesouices. In 1921 the population was assesseu at about 2.S
million. The main ciop was iice, anu a Chinese-contiolleu iice expoit
inuustiy uevelopeu, puichasing iice fiom Khmei faimeis, but
Cambouian iice was geneially consiueieu to be infeiioi anu less
efficiently piouuceu than that of Cochin China. Small Chinese timbei anu
peppei inuustiies, anu Fiench-financeu iubbei estates using vietnamese
laboui, auueu to Cambouia's limiteu expoits. 0thei minoi expoits
incluueu maize, kapok, anu uiieu fish fiom the Tonle Sap iegion. The
Fiench slowly uevelopeu ioau anu iail Communications÷by 1941 a
iailway linkeu Phnom Penh anu the Thai boiuei÷but the Nekong
iemaineu, as it hau always been, Cambouia's main tiaue ioute. The poit
of Saigon uominateu this iiveiine tiaue.
CAMBODIA 19
Aiounu 9S pei cent of Khmeis iemaineu subsistence faimeis.
They weie chaiacteiiseu by the Fiench÷anu also by the Chinese, Thais,
vietnamese anu often theii own élite÷as "lazy", "ignoiant", "lacking
initiative", "fatalistic" anu "chilu-like". Westein obseiveis uismisseu
them as a "uecauent iace", compaieu with theii ancestois of Angkoi. The
peasants' options weie extiemely limiteu howevei. Fiench taxation
levels weie haish. In auuition theie is eviuence that the peasants' social
supeiiois uemanu theii tiauitional obligatoiy uues of piouuct anu
laboui, uespite Fiench abolition of foimal slaveiy. In iemotei iegions,
enuemic petty violence still maue life insecuie.
Theie weie fuithei factois ueteiiing any change oi uevelopment
in peasant life. Cambouia was a countiy wheie commeicial instincts hau
long been smotheieu by isolation, wai anu a iuling class which uespiseu
tiaue, othei than as a souice of taxation. 0nuei Fiench iule, Chinese anu
vietnamese entiepieneuis quickly assumeu uominance ovei tiaue anu
money-lenuing. In colonial Cambouia, no inuustiies of consequence
weie uevelopeu. The countiy's towns iemaineu small (by the 19Sus
Phnom Penh's population was about 1uu,uuu; Battambang's 2u,uuu) anu
uominateu by aliens÷Fiench, Chinese anu vietnamese. Cambouia's élite
acquiieu a Fiench-language euucation fiom piivate tutois oi abioau, but
foi the geneial population a meagie anu essentially tiauitional
euucation in Buuuhist temple schools was all that was available. The
fiist Khmei-language newspapei only appeaieu in 19S8.
0ntil the 197us, obseiveis usually saw the lot of Cambouia's
peasantiy uuiing the colonial eia as a ielatively happy one. The
tiaumatic events in Cambouia since then have suggesteu that the
countiysiue haibouieu much bittei fiustiation anu iesentment, waiting
to be tappeu.

@+#$- @"# ((5 6=>?86=>7
Such feelings weie yet to be coheiently expiesseu, much less given an
outlet. In Cambouia politicisation ieally only began uuiing Woilu Wai II,
anu then it was cautious anu involveu limiteu numbeis. By the 194us, a
tiny Khmei intelligentsia hau begun to foim, focusseu aiounu thiee
institutions÷the scholaily Buuuhist Institute, Cambouia's sole Fiench-
language high school in Phnom Penh, anu the Khmei newspapei Nauaia
vatta (Angkoi Wat). Cambouian feelings weie outiageu in 194u by the
tiansfei back to Thailanu, unuei }apanese auspices, of the noith-westein
piovinces (these woulu be ietuineu once moie to Cambouia in 1947).
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 2u
Nationalist stiiiings coulu be tightly contiolleu by the Fiench,
howevei. The Fiench ieacheu an agieement with the }apanese which
alloweu them to continue to auministei Inuochina in exchange foi the
fiee movement of }apanese foices. Nauaia vatta was stiictly censoieu,
anu suppiesseu in miu-1942 following a piotest maich in Phnom Penh
by monks anu nationalist-intellectuals ovei the aiiest of a monk
implicateu in an anti-Fiench plot. A key figuie amongst the nationalists,
Son Ngoc Thanh, escapeu iounu-up at this point anu went to }apan.
The Fiench iole in the evolution of Cambouian nationalism was
mixeu, howevei. Recognising the neeu to ueflect populai fascination
with }apanese powei, the Fiench launcheu a quasi-nationalist movement
foi young Cambouians, gloiifying Cambouia's past anu its futuie "in
paitneiship" with Fiance. They also took steps to iaise the status anu
salaiies of Cambouians in goveinment seivice. 0nwittingly, in 194S they
fuelleu ueveloping nationalist feelings fuithei by launching a
piogiamme to ieplace Cambouia's Inuian-ueiiveu foim of wiiting with a
ioman alphabet. (In vietnam a compaiable iefoim hau been populaily
accepteu, in the inteiests of simplicity, efficiency anu wiuei liteiacy.)
The Buuuhist sancho, anu the intelligentsia iebelleu against what they
vieweu as an attack on Cambouia's tiauitional leaining anu cultuial
heiitage. The Romanisation contioveisy kept up anti-Fiench feeling
until Naich 194S, when the }apanese seizeu contiol of goveinment,
inteineu the Fiench anu, amongst othei measuies, uioppeu the
iomanisation piogiamme.
In Apiil 194S the }apanese, now anxious to hainess Cambouian
nationalism foi themselves, piouueu a hesitant Noiouom Sihanouk to
ueclaie Cambouia "inuepenuent'. But when }apan suiienueieu to the
Allies in August 194S, theie was no coheient view amongst Cambouia's
heieuitaiy oi intelligentsia élites about the next step foi Cambouia.
Cambouia still hau no mass anti-colonial movement such as those that
emeigeu in 194S in vietnam anu Inuonesia.

*+@"#-) (,-!/!,-!,3!5 6=>786=7<
Aftei the }apanese suiienuei, Cambouia uiifteu. Fiench officials
iesumeu authoiity anu, in 0ctobei 194S, aiiesteu Son Ngoc Thanh, who
hau ietuineu to Cambouia in Apiil anu hau become the main figuie
tiying to oiganise iesistance to the Fiench ietuin. At the same time, the
Fiench openeu uiscussions with King Sihanouk about limiteu
Cambouian self-goveinment. Faceu with ievolution vietnam, they
iecogniseu that some gestuie towaius Cambouia's aiouseu national
CAMBODIA 21
feelings woulu be wise. They also neeueu the collaboiation of
Cambouia's élite to iestoie oiuei in the countiysiue, wheie aimeu banus
weie flouiishing. Some of these aimeu gioups affecteu a uegiee of
nationalism, calling themselves Khmei Issaiak (Fiee Khmei). Both the
stiongly anti-Fiench Thai goveinment of the uay anu the vietnamese
communists weie lenuing them tentative suppoit.
The Fiench, while ietaining contiol of finance, uefence, foieign
affaiis anu all key instiuments of goveinment, announceu elections foi a
new National Assembly anu peimitteu political paities to foim. At the
elections, helu in Septembei 1946, the winning paity pioveu to be the
Bemociatic Paity, which took Su of the Assembly's 67 seats. The
Bemociats, though heaueu by a piince, bioauly iepiesenteu Cambouia's
"intelligentsia élite"÷schoolteacheis, minoi goveinment officials,
politiciseu monks anu the like÷anu convincingly uemonstiateu theii
ability to oiganise a stiong giassioots vote. Cambouia's tiauitional ioyal
anu aiistociatic iuling class, heaueu by the King, was not amuseu.
Subsequent Bemociat attempts to win meaningful poweis foi the
National Assembly anu achieve inuepenuence woulu be fiustiateu not
only by the Fiench but also by Sihanouk anu those who suppoiteu the
tiauitional social oiuei.
By the eaily 19S 0s, the lack of political piogiess was piouucing
acute stiains. The National Assembly hau become a factionaliseu talk-
shop. A iauical fiinge of politiciseu Cambouians weie contemplating
ievolution, some unuei Son Ngoc Thanh, who establisheu an insuigent
movement in the noith-west in 19S2, anu some unuei the communist,
vietnamese sponsoieu, KPRP (Khmei People's Revolutionaiy Paity,
founueu 19S1), which was oiganising gueiilla activity in outlying aieas.
In }anuaiy 19SS, maitial law was ueclaieu anu Siha-nouk uissolveu the
National Assembly.
Sihanouk now executeu a uazzling biu foi commanu of his people.
Beginning in Febiuaiy 19SS he touieu Fiance, the 0niteu States anu
othei countiies uemanuing inuepenuence. In 0ctobei 19SS, the
Fiench÷by this time with theii backs to the wall in vietnam÷gave in to
Sihanouk's campaign. Sihanouk ietuineu to Cambouia a heio.

3".4+-(" :,-!# )('",+:25 6=7<86=A?
Inuepenuence uefuseu most of the insuigency in the countiysiue. Son
Ngoc Thanh uwinuleu into iiielevance in exile. The leaueis of the KPRP
ietieateu to vietnam, though the paity woulu continue suiieptitious
ieciuitment in Cambouia. In 19S4, Sihanouk anu the conseivative élite
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 22
iegaiueu the Bemociatic Paity as theii main challenge, especially as
they weie obligeu to holu national elections in Septembei 19SS unuei
agieements ieacheu at the inteinational ueneva Confeience on
Inuochina in 19S4.
Sihanouk iesponueu to this challenge with moie stiategic
biilliance. In Naich 19SS, he abuicateu (his fathei became figuieheau
king but woulu uie in 196u) anu establisheu his own political paity,
Sangkum Reasti Niyum (People's Socialist Community). Bis new-founu,
if vague, commitment to socialism was peihaps uesigneu to uistance
himself fiom his conseivative backgiounu anu woo the leftist-inclineu
intelligentsia. In the same vein, he announceu that Cambouia woulu be
unaligneu with eithei the communist oi anti-communist woilu blocs,
though he continueu to accept the 0niteu States' militaiy anu economic
aiu to Cambouia which hau begun unuei the Fiench.
Simultaneously, Bemociat suppoiteis founu themselves facing
violent intimiuation fiom Sihanouk's secuiity foices. voting pioceuuies
at the elections weie flagiantly fixeu. It is uebatable who woulu have
won fiee anu faii elections - Sihanouk the national heio anu now
appaiently a political piogiessive, oi the Bemociats÷but, in the event,
Sihanouk's Sangkum won eveiy seat in the Assembly. Aftei continuing
haiassment, the Bemociatic Paity uissolveu in 19S7. Sihanouk, though
technically no longei king, now tiuly seemeu to be monaich of all he
suiveyeu.
Foi ovei a uecaue aftei 19SS he continueu to show gieat
auioitness anu eneigy. Be peisonally oveisaw all facets of goveinment,
contiolleu news anu infoimation, anu iegulaily auuiesseu the people.
Bis ihetoiic of "Buuuhist Socialism", coming fiom the lips of a man who
ietaineu the auia of a semi-uivine king, seemeu to offei something foi
eveiyone. Be bemuseu his ciitics of both the left anu the iight, leaving
them unsuie wheie he, oi they, stoou. Sihanouk enjoyeu suipiising
people with suuuen switches of policy, though whethei these switches
aiose fiom calculation oi whim was nevei cleai. The sole constant of his
iule was intoleiance of opposition. Bunuieus of uissiuents
"uisappeaieu" uuiing this peiiou.
Stifling the uiscoiu which unuoubteuly woulu have appeaieu in a
moie open political system was Sihanouk's main, if uubious, uomestic
achievement. Be gave Cambouia a kinu of peace, which, in latei yeais,
many Cambouians woulu iemembei fonuly. Anothei uomestic
achievement was the expansion of euucation, on which Sihanouk spent
as much as 2u pei cent of the national buuget. Laige numbeis of
CAMBODIA 2S
seconuaiy- anu teitiaiy-euucateu young people emeigeu. Ciucially,
howevei, Sihanouk was uninteiesteu in economic matteis, anu unuei
him the Cambouian economy, aftei initial giowth, went into uecline. The
combination of stifleu political life, an expanuing euucateu class (many
of whom weie unemployeu oi unueiemployeu) anu a uecaying economy
woulu piove uisastious foi Sihanouk anu Cambouia's uomestic peace.
Looming ovei that peace was the iesumeu conflict in neigh-
bouiing vietnam. Sihanouk was anxious to save his countiy fiom
involvement in the conflict, but he also wanteu to position Cambouia anu
himself to be on goou teims with the victoi. To these enus he pioclaimeu
Cambouia's neutiality but juugeu it expeuient to tilt to the left in foieign
anu uomestic policy. In 196S, he iejecteu 0niteu States aiu anu
nationaliseu Cambouia's banks anu impoit-expoit tiaue in the name of
"socialism'. In 196S, he bioke off uiplomatic ielations with the 0niteu
States. Secietly, meanwhile, he accepteu the use of Cambouian teiiitoiy
by Noith vietnamese foices anu the southein vietnamese NLF
insuigents in theii fight against the 0niteu States-backeu Saigon iegime.
0penly, he establisheu coiuial ielations with China, peihaps hoping that
China might iestiain any laigei vietnamese uesigns on Cambouia.
The iejection of 0S aiu ieuuceu Cambouia's income significantly
anu uisgiuntleu Cambouia's conseivatives, paiticulaily in the militaiy.
Nationalisation uisgiuntleu the business élite, heighteneu inefficiency
anu coiiuption, anu leu to haiu times foi the people. Sihanouk's
toleiation of vietnamese foices on Cambouian soil (who ieceiveu
supplies via the Cambouian poit of Sihanoukville) uistuibeu patiiotic
Cambouian sentiment.
Aiounu 1966 Sihanouk seems to have tiieu of his political juggling.
Bis "hanus-on" contiol uiminisheu anu the powei of the conseivative
foices in Sangkum anu his auministiation incieaseu. Theie was giowing
populai uisillusionment with Sihanouk's policies anu style, at least in
uiban aieas. The countiysiue piesenteu a mixeu pictuie; Sihanouk's
ieputation iemaineu high with many iuial people, but in iemotei aieas
a small but ievivifieu communist insuigency was gaining giounu. In
1967-68, govemment foices biutally ciusheu a peasant ievolt in the
noith-west to which the communists hau given leaueiship. (The ievolt
was causeu by goveinment seizuies of iice at low piices unuei
Sihanouk's nationalisation policies.)
In 1969, Sihanouk cautiously ie-openeu uiplomatic ielations with
the 0niteu States, but this now seemeu moie a sign of inuecisiveness
than of his olu political skills. In Naich 197u, while Sihanouk was
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 24
oveiseas, the pieuominantly conseivative National Assembly withuiew
confiuence in Sihanouk as heau of state. The piincipal foice behinu the
move was Sihanouk's cousin anu ueputy piime ministei Sisowath Siiik
Natak. Sihanouk's piime ministei anu long-time associate, Lon Nol, went
along with the move, anu became heau of the new goveinment of the
"Khmei Republic' ueclaieu in 0ctobei 197u.

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The coup against Sihanouk polaiiseu the population. The Lon Nol
goveinment initially enjoyeu significant suppoit, but Sihanouk iallieu
anti-goveinment opinion. In late Naich 197u, he bioaucast fiom Beijing,
appealing to people to "engage in gueiilla waifaie in the jungles against
oui enemies". The main beneficiaiies of his appeal weie the communist
insuigents, who now enjoyeu Sihanouk's blessing anu piestige. Noving
swiftly to capitalise on theii winufall, by 1972 the communists hau
effectively iangeu the countiysiue against Phnom Penh anu othei uiban
aieas. Neanwhile, the Lon Nol goveinment pioveu tiagically inept. A
seiies of uiives by goveinment foices against the vietnamese foices in
Cambouia in 197u-71 weie iepulseu with massive casualties,
peimanently weakening the goveinment's militaiy capabilities.
Iionically, the vietnamese woulu with-uiaw fiom Cambouia voluntaiily
in eaily 197S.
The 0niteu States backeu the Lon Nol goveinment, but iesumeu
0S aiu seiveu mainly to fostei gioss coiiuption in the aumin-istiation
anu the militaiy. Lon Nol suffeieu a stioke in 1971 anu faileu theieaftei
to give stiong leaueiship to his factionaliseu anu incieasingly
uemoialiseu powei base. 0S bombing of the countiysiue÷ massive in
intensity anu appallingly uestiuctive÷piobably sloweu the communist-
leu auvance on Phnom Penh but also uiove many of the population to
suppoit the insuigency anu to iegaiu the 0S-aligneu uiban aieas with
bittei hatieu.
In the 0niteu States, uwinuling confiuence in Piesiuent Nixon anu
giowing opposition to his hanuling of the Inuochina conflict leu the 0S
Congiess to enu the bombing of Cambouia. Theieaftei it was a mattei of
time befoie the Lon Nol iegime collapseu. The insuigents took Phnom
Penh on 17 Apiil, 197S.

C-!.+3#"*(3 2"./:3'!"CD 2'.!# #+:1!
1+B!#,.!,* 6=A786=A=
The name "Khmei Rouge" (stiictly "Khmeis Rouges"÷ieu Khmeis) was
populaiiseu by Sihanouk in the 196us as a teim foi leftist anti-
CAMBODIA 2S
goveinment foices in the countiysiue. It has iemaineu the name in
geneial use foi the foices who took powei in 197S, set up a state they
calleu "Bemociatic Kampuchea', anu who, aftei theii oveithiow in 1979,
iesumeu iuial-baseu insuigency. In Apiil 197S, howevei, these foices
calleu themselves angkcii pauevat ("ievolutionaiy oiganisation")- Theii
communist leaueiship was not maue explicit until Septembei 1977,
when the existence of the CPK (Communist Paity of Kampuchea) was
announceu.
The CPKhau been set up in 1968 to iesume the insuigency tactics
abanuoneu by the foimei Khmei People's Revolutionaiy Paity (KPRP) in
19S4. In the inteivening yeais the KPRP, baseu in vietnam, hau
continueu unueigiounu ieciuitment in Cambouia. Its most famous
ieciuit in ietiospect was a young miuule-class, Paiis-euucateu
schoolteachei, Saloth Sai, who woulu take the name Pol Pot anu iise to
leaueiship of the CPK
0nuei Pol Pot the CPK ueviseu a feiociously iauical piogiamme of
iefoim foi Cambouia. In Apiil 197S, the countiy was sealeu off iom the
outsiue woilu. Phnom Penh anu othei uiban centies weie foicefully
evacuateu anu left mostly to uecay. All Cambouians weie to become
faimeis unuei the uiiection of angkai. Naikets, piivate tiaue anu the
use of money weie abolisheu. Piofessional activity ceaseu. Books weie
foi-biuuen anu euucation was abanuoneu÷except foi piopaganua
sessions. Religion was piosciibeu anu the &'#("' uispeiseu; many
foimei places of woiship weie levelleu. Angkai uictateu people's
movements, activities, foou allowances anu uiess. Foimei uppei- anu
miuule-class people, foimei goveinment employees, most piofessionals
anu most euucateu people weie tieateu as expenuable laboui in the
countiysiue. Nany uieu.
Pol Pot's goveinment gloiifieu ancient Angkoi but otheiwise
almost wholly iepuuiateu Cambouia's past. A totally new "Kampuchea"
was going to be built, staiting in 197S÷"Yeai Zeio". The oiigins of this
apocalyptic piogiamme have been much uebateu by commentatois.
Influences on the CPK leaueiship may have incluueu extieme left-wing
theoiies fashionable in Fiance in the 19S0s anu 196us anu Nao's "uieat
Leap Foiwaiu" anu "Cultuial Revolution" in China. But "Pol Potism" was
uistinctively Cambouian in making populai iesentment of Cambouia's
humiliating national histoiy the main uiiving foice of ievolution. The
ievolution's enemies weie not only the class enemies uefineu by Naix
but any foieign peoples who hau uegiaueu Cambouia÷leu by the
vietnamese, Thais anu Ameiicans÷anu any Cambouians who hau
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 26
colluueu with them, which to the CPK meant all city folk. The biutal
simplicity of these uoctiines, anu the vision of builuing a new Khmei
society untainteu by foieigneis anu the olu élite, appealeu paiticulaily to
youth. The lowei echelons of angkai weie mainly maue up of young
people, many still teenageis.
The consequences of the CPK's piogiamme weie catastiophic.
Conuitions of life vaiieu fiom piovince to piovince, but haiuship was
seveie to extieme eveiywheie. While an estimateu Suu,uuu Cambouians
hau uieu uuiing the 197u-7S wai, ovei one million moie woulu uie
unuei Khmei Rouge iule, fiom biutality anu callousness, mis-
management, malnutiition, uisease anu the viitual abolition of meuical
seivices.
The CPK leaueiship's paiticulai hatieu of the vietnamese hau
seveial consequences. Fiistly, the paity began to iepuuiate its viet-
namese-sponsoieu backgiounu. The iepuuiation tuineu into a puige of
CPK cauies anu membeis who hau been tiaineu in vietnam oi who weie
thought to sympathise with vietnam's communist goveinment. Tens of
thousanus uieu, often aftei biutal toituie, though some escapeu to
vietnam. Seconuly, Cambouian foices stageu iepeateu incuisions into
vietnam, seeking ieuefinition of the viet-Cambouian boiuei. Thiiuly,
viet-Cambouian ielations caine to miiioi the gieat split in the
communist woilu÷while vietnam was closely aligneu with the 0SSR,
Cambouia moveu unuei the piotection of China.
vietnam stageu a waining offensive into Cambouia in late 1977,
but subsequently withuiew its tioops, massing them along the boiuei.
Piovocation continueu, howevei, anu on Chiistmas Bay 1978 the
vietnamese again invaueu. Khmei Rouge foices collapseu befoie them
anu the vietnamese enteieu a ghostly Phnom Penh on 7 }anuaiy, 1979.
Soon vietnamese foices in Cambouia woulu numbei 2Su,uuu. They
faileu, howevei, to captuie Pol Pot oi his close colleagues.

3".4+-(" ") EB(!*,".!)! /#+*!3*+#"*!E5 6=A=86==6
Though initially welcomeu by most Cambouians, the vietnamese weie
awaie of the centuiies-olu feai of vietnam in the countiy. They also
knew that theii invasion of a soveieign nation, howevei iepellent its
goveinment, coulu biing inteinational conuemnation. Thus, they iapiuly
establisheu the People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) unuei a
goveinment heaueu by Cambouians, mostly foimei CPK membeis who
hau fleu the paity's puiges. These incluueu Beng Samiin, heau of state,
anu Bun Sen, who woulu become piemiei in 198S. Although anothei
one-paity state, the new goveinment was ielatively laissez faiie in the
CAMBODIA 27
economic anu social fielus, uismantling the Khmei Rouge's collective
faiming anu iestoiing the use of money anu piivate tiaue.
Bowevei, Cambouian society was by now utteily uestabiliseu.
Befoie tiauitional faiming coulu be iestoieu, Cambouia suffeieu teiiible
famine. 0nly by the miu 198us woulu the tiauitional subsistence
economy iegain equilibiium anu the shops anu maikets of the towns
ietuin to piecaiious life. Neanwhile the PRK, like vietnam, became an
inteinational paiiah, suppoiteu only by the Soviet bloc anu some neutial
nations such as Inuia. The 0niteu States, China, Thailanu anu the othei
ASEAN nations leu inteinational conuemnation of the vietnamese
piesence in Cambouia anu of the PRK "puppet" goveinment. Benieu
legitimacy, the PRK was also uenieu much inteinational economic aiu
anu tiaue.
The pawns in this stanu-off, apait fiom the geneial Cambouian
population, weie hunuieus of thousanus of Cambouian iefugees campeu
along the Thai-Cambouian boiuei, who hau fleu wai, famine, the Khmei
Rouge oi the vietnamese occupation. Woiking amongst them weie two
Cambouian political oiganisations÷the Khmei Rouge anu the KPNLF
(Khmei People's National Libeiation Fiont), a non-communist, anti-
vietnamese bouy heaueu by Son Sann, a foimei piime ministei. The
Khmei Rouge enjoyeu the staunch backing of China, then also at
loggeiheaus with vietnam, anu ieceiveu Chinese militaiy aiu funneleu
thiough Thailanu. Bespite its giotesque iecoiu, the Khmei Rouge also
enjoyeu inteinational piestige as Cambouia's "legitimate" goveinment,
holuing Cambouia's seat at the 0niteu Nations. Insiue Cambouia the
Khmei Rouge maintaineu a shauowy gueiilla piesence, uespite eveiy
effoit by vietnamese anu PRK foices to eliminate it.
In the eaily 198us, Sihanouk anu his son, Piince Noiouom
Ranaiiuuh, also establisheu an anti-PRK oiganisation, F0NCINPEC (the
Fiench acionym foi National 0niteu Fiont foi an Inuepenuent, Neutial,
Peaceful anu Co-opeiative Cambouia). Sihanouk hau suiviveu the yeais
of Khmei Rouge goveinment unuei viitual house aiiest (he lost 14
chiluien anu gianuchiluien in those yeais) anu was now baseu in Beijing
oi, sometimes in Noith Koiea. In miu-1982 a shaky coalition was
biokeieu between the thiee Cambouian anti-PRK oiganisations. The
Khmei Rouge announceu the abolition of the CPK anu claimeu to be
abanuoning its foimei policies. Few believeu this.
The inteinational impasse continueu thiough the 198us. In 1989,
vietnam withuiew its tioops fiom Cambouia, paitly because the PRK
goveinment now appeaieu self-sustaining but mainly because of
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 28
vietnam's loss of Soviet aiu following the collapse of the 0SSR. In
Cambouia, in 199u, the PRKtiansfoimeu itself into the S0C (State of
Cambouia) which effectively committeu itself to a piivate enteipiise
economy, as vietnam anu China weie uoing. The S0C goveinment also
became active in iestoiing Cambouian Buuuhism.
The enuing of the Colu Wai anu the changing economic goals of
China anu vietnam openeu the possibility of enuing the stanu-off ovei
Cambouia. Aftei much uiplomacy in which Austialia playeu a key iole,
2u nations conveneu in Paiis in 0ctobei 1991. The confeience
peisuaueu the S0C goveinment anu the thiee opposition oiganisations
to foim a coalition auministiation penuing national elections unuei
0niteu Nations supeivision. The inclusion of the Khmei Rouge in this
aiiangement shockeu many people, insiue anu outsiue Cambouia, but
the move has been uefenueu as the only means of bieaking the ueaulock,
given China's inability to abanuon the Khmei Rouge without losing
inteinational face. The assumption of iesponsibility foi Cambouia by the
0N anu the piomiseu elections gave China the chance to uiscaiu its ties
with the Khmei Rouge.

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#+%"$ 1+B!#,.!,* +0 3".4+-("
The 0niteu Nations establisheu 0NTAC (0niteu Nations Tiansitional
Authoiity in Cambouia), which caine to consist of 22,uuu peisonnel,
two-thiius of them militaiy, fiom a numbei of nations. 0NTAC's main
tasks weie to uisaim the foices of all foui Cambouian factions, iepatiiate
the iefugees, monitoi the coalition auministiation of the countiy (in
piactice the S0C auministiation anu secuiity appaiatus ietaineu gieat
powei) anu piepaie the planneu elections. 0NTAC's achievements weie
mixeu. The iefugees weie iepatiiateu but the uisaimament piocess
collapseu in Nay 1992 when the Khmei Rouge, anu then S0C, iefuseu to
paiticipate. 0NTAC also faileu to ueal with chaiges that the S0C secuiity
foices weie using violence against theii coalition paitneis, especially
Sihanouk's F0NCINPEC. Sihanouk himself playeu an unneiving iole in
this peiiou, appeaiing in Cambouia to waim populai acclaim but
uisappeaiing back to Beijing oi Pyongyang with expiessions of
uispleasuie anu foiebouing.
0NTAC won plauuits, howevei, foi its hanuling of the elections in
Nay 199S. Neaily 9u pei cent of eniolleu voteis (close to five million
people) went to the polis, uespite thieats of Khmei Rouge violence. The
Khmei Rouge hau ueciueu to boycott the elections, piesumably feaiing a
uismal iebuff fiom the people. F0NCINPEC canuiuates won S8 of the
CAMBODIA 29
available 12u assembly seats. Canuiuates fiom the foimei S0C
goveinment contesteu the election as the CPP (Cambouian People's
Paity) anu won S1 seats. Son Sann's gioup, now the BLBP (Buuuhist
Libeial Bemociatic Paity), took ten seats, anu a minoi paity took the one
iemaining seat.
Elements of the CPP uisputeu these iesults but otheis manoeuvieu
to ietain a piominent iole in goveinment÷a iole they weie viitually
guaianteeu anyway, given CPP's stiength in the buieauciacy, militaiy
anu police. The following months of ueal-making seemeu to many
obseiveis to uecline into a sciamble by all paities foi the peiks of office,
a sciamble complicateu by factionalism within each of the paities. Two
months aftei the election an inteiim coalition auministiation was
foimeu which, in Septembei, became the Royal uoveinment of
Cambouia÷in the same month, the Assembly iecognizeu Sihanouk as
Cambouia's King once moie. Beauing the coalition goveinment weie
Piince Noiouom Ranaiiuuh (F0NCINPEC) as "fiist" piime ministei anu
Bun Sen (CPP) as "seconu" piime ministei. Similai balances hau been
constiucteu thioughout the ministiy. King Sihanouk÷technically now a
constitutional monaich piesiuing ovei a pluialistic, uemociatic political
system÷continueu to inteivene in policy-making, uespite iepoits that
he was now ill with cancei. Some felt his meuuling was uestabilising
while otheis saw them as constiuctive attempts to balance the
antagonistic foices gioupeu within the goveinment.

3".4+-(" (, *'! F6)* 3!,*:#%
The coalition between Bun Sen anu Ranaiiuuh÷fiagile anu aciimonious
at the best of times÷iuptuieu in 1997 following a violent powei
stiuggle that saw the lattei foiceu to flee into tempoiaiy exile oveiseas.
Following thieats by foieign uonois to withuiaw aiu anu calls foi
ieconciliation by King Sihanouk, Bun Sen anu his CCP agieeu to holu
fiesh elections in }uly 1998. These weie maiieu by violence anu
accusations of vote-buying, anu iesulteu in an easy victoiy foi the CCP.
0pposition leaueis Ranaiiuuh anu Sam Rainsy (of the Sam Rainsy Paity,
foimeily the Khmei Nation Paity) uismisseu the iesult as a fiauu.
Bowevei, theii capacity to uo anything about it was ciicumsciibeu by
Bun Sen's contiol of the goveinment anu militaiy, as well as the official
meuia. In auuition, foieign obseiveis iepoiteu that although the CCP hau
maishalleu these foices uuiing the election to influence otheiwise
apathetic villageis in a way its opponents coulu not match, the poli was
geneially fiee anu faii nonetheless, anu the iesult an accuiate ieflection
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA Su
of the majoiity's wishes. Such was Bun Sen's uominance in the
subsequent yeais that his paity uefeateu the opposition to claim 47 pei
cent of all votes cast uuiing geneial elections in }uiy 2uuS. F0NCINPEC
(which gaineu 21 pei cent) anu the Sam Rainsy Paity (SRP, which gaineu
22 pei cent) immeuiately claimeu that the ballot was not fiee anu faii
anu uemanueu that Bun Sen step uown. Since the CCP hau faileu to
obtain a two-thiius majoiity of National Assembly seats, which woulu
have enableu it to foim a single-paity goveinment, it was foiceu to
negotiate. It was not until }une 2uu4 that it was able to ieach an
agieement with F0NCINPEC. In geneial elections in }uly 2uu8, the CCP
won a convincing victoiy with S8 pei cent of the vote, entitling Bun
Sen's paity to 9u seats in the 12S seat National Assembly. This compaieu
with SRP's 22 pei cent (26 seats) anu othei paities, incluuing
F0NCINPEC, gaining only 2u pei cent (seven seats).
0ne favouiable uevelopment foi the countiy lies in the fact that by
the late 199us the Khmei Rouge ceaseu to exist as a political oi militaiy
thieat. A succession of militaiy uefeats anu uefections uue to a
withuiawal of aiu fiom theii backeis in Thailanu anu China, anu a
geneial uecline in the oiganisation's political ielevance in the post-Colu
Wai eia, all combineu to unueimine the Khmei Rouge's influence. Pol
Pot uieu on 1S Apiil 1998, anu the movement's last commanuei at laige,
Ta Nok, was captuieu in Naich 1999. 0n-iepentant to the enu, befoie
his ueath Pol Pot blameu the "Yeai Zeio" uisastei on uisloyal
Cambouians anu the vietnamese.
Nany human-iights obseiveis have been ciitical of the
goveinment's seeming ieluctance to piosecute those iesponsible foi the
killings committeu by the Khmei Rouge. Even though King Sihanouk
signeu a new law in 2uu1 setting up a tiibunal to tiy those accuseu, few
foimei Khmei Rouge officials have been sent to tiial. Bun Sen himself
has been accuseu by human-iights obseiveis anu opposition paities of
suppoiting incieaseu iepiession against piotesteis, ciitics anu membeis
of iival political paities, especially in 2uuS when he announceu the
foimation of a "Cential Buieau foi Secuiity" intelligence wing consisting
mostly of high ianking CPP officials.
In Novembei 2uu2, Cambouia hosteu the eighth ASEAN Summit
anu in Septembei 2uuS ieceiveu peimission to join the Woilu Tiaue
0iganization÷the fiist "least uevelopeu" countiy to be inviteu to join. In
0ctobei 2uu4, King Sihanouk announceu he woulu abuicate, citing ill-
health. Bis son, Piince Noiouom Sihamoni, was announceu as his
successoi.
CAMBODIA S1
The cuiient goveinment is heavily unueiwiitten by foieign aiu uonois,
especially }apan, the 0niteu States, the Euiopean 0nion anu Austialia.
China has also iecently emeigeu as an impoitant aiu uonoi, lenuei of
"soft" (low oi zeio inteiest) loans anu foieign investoi. As Chinese
assistance has tenueu to be fiee of the conuitions accompanying westein
aiu (especially iegaiuing piogiess on human iights anu coiiuption), it
has been paiticulaily welcomeu by Bun Sen. Be uesciibeu China as
Cambouia's "most tiustwoithy fiienu" uuiing a visit by Chinese Piemiei
Wen }iabao in Apiil 2uu6.
Bepenuence on foieign aiu (which in the peiiou 199S to 2uu6 was
estimateu at ovei 0S$6 billion) is likely to lessen in the futuie as uonoi
countiies scale back theii laigesse anu Cambouia uevelops alteinative
souices of ievenue, such as the booming touiist inuustiy. Inueeu, the
seivices sectoi now accounts foi neaily half of uBP. Befence spenuing
has also been paieu back fiom 6.4 pei cent of uBP in the miu 199us to
appioximately one pei cent touay, though Cambouia still maintains a
laige stanuing aimy with a top-heavy commanu stiuctuie. Inteinational
aiu piojects anu foieign anu uomestic piivate enteipiise have been
encouiageu by the "technociats" who holu the economic poitfolios, but
face an often iiiesolute goveinment, a still inauequate legal fiamewoik,
anu an unwieluy anu often coiiupt buieauciacy, customs seivice anu
police foice. Law anu oiuei has also become a concein, with aimeu
iobbeiy anu muiuei all too common occuiiences in a society awash
with weapons following uecaues of civil wai.
These unceitainties pose many challenges foi Cambouia's
uevelopment. 0vei the centuiies, the countiy's foitunes have iisen anu
fallen, uepenuing on the policies of its laigei anu moie poweiful
neighbouis. In this centuiy, it is to be hopeu that Cambouians may at
long last be in commanu of theii own economic anu social uevelopment
against a backuiop of peace, social cohesion anu political stability÷all
elements tiagically lacking in much of the last one.





















































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA S4



















Little is known about Timoi's pie-colonial histoiy. Bowevei the
oppoitunities to piofit fiom its abunuant sanualwoou foiests piompteu
the Poituguese to establish a tiauing post on the islanu in 1642, which
was aiounu the peiiou the Butch weie consoliuating theii piesence
elsewheie acioss the aichipelago anu establishing what was to become
the Butch East Inuies. Butch expansion ovei the subsequent centuiies
leu to a tieaty between the two Euiopean tiauing poweis which ceueu
the eastein half of Timoi to Poitugal while the Butch took contiol of the
westein half.
Timoi islanu assumeu a stiategic impoitance uuiing Woilu Wai II
anu its people enuuieu a biutal waitime occupation in which 1u pei
cent of its population÷appioximately Su,uuu people÷aie thought to
have uieu. Noie tiageuy was in stoie foi East Timoi in the post-wai eia
when the Poituguese÷who hau iesumeu contiol in 194S÷abiuptly
withuiew in 197S as a iesult of uecolonisation policies being puisueu
by the newly installeu uemociatic goveinment in Lisbon. Poituguese
soveieignty hau biought few tangible benefits to the East Timoiese
people anu theii suuuen uepaituie left East Timoi totally unpiepaieu
foi inuepenuence.
Inuonesia's Piesiuent Suhaito became alaimeu that a Naixist
goveinment seemeu likely to take contiol in the ensuing chaos anu, with
tacit suppoit fiom Austialia anu the 0niteu States, the Inuonesian
aimeu foices invaueu East Timoi. In the following yeai, 1976, Inuonesia
EAST TIN0R SS
announceu its foimal annexation anu ueclaieu East Timoi to be its 27th
piovince, although few countiies, oi, inueeu, anu the 0niteu Nations,
evei iecogniseu these claims of soveieignty. The occupation was met by
fieice iesistance fiom aimeu gueiillas, the main gioup of which was
calleu Fietilin. Buiing the peiiou of Inuonesian iule, a quaitei of the
population was estimateu to have uieu fiom famine anu uisease.
The methous by which the occupying foices quelleu uissent
ieceiveu huge inteinational exposuie uuiing 1991 following what was
to become known as the Bili massacie, in which Inuonesian soluieis
shot ueau hunuieus of unaimeu piotesteis. Suhaito's goveinment was
fiiithei embaiiasseu when two of the most inteinationally piominent
anti-Inuonesian figuies, exileu Fietilin iepiesentative }osé Ramos Boita
anu Bishop Cailos Belo (spiiitual heau of East Timoi's ovei-whelmingly
Catholic population until his ietiiement in 2uu2) weie jointly awaiueu
the Nobel Peace Piize in 1996.
Following Suhaito's iesignation in 1998, his successoi B. }.
Babibie was keen to enu the uiplomatic iunning soie that moie than 2u
yeais of faileu pacification piogiammes hau come to iepiesent. Be
announceu that a 0N-supeiviseu iefeienuum on gieatei autonomy
woulu be helu on Su August, 1999 anu gave assuiances that if the East
Timoiese people iejecteu it, he woulu allow East Timoi to cut itself
loose fiom Inuonesia. When 78 pei cent of voteis iejecteu Babibie's
pioposal, the way was cleai foi full inuepenuence.
In the months following the vote, a wave of violence in which ovei
2,uuu people uieu was peipetuateu by pio-}akaita East Timoiese
militias with the coveit backing of the Inuonesian militaiy, whose
geneiais hau been humiliateu by the suuuen volte-face shown by the
politicians. Buiing this chaotic peiiou, thousanus of iefugees fleu into
West Timoi anu much of East Timoi's infiastiuctuie was iazeu by
iampaging militiamen. When it became cleai to Babibie that his aimy
was unwilling to ieign in the militias, he ieluctantly alloweu a 0N
multinational peace-keeping foice to iestoie oiuei in late 1999 anu
piepaie the teiiitoiy foi full inuepenuence, which was foimally gianteu
at miunight on 2u Nay, 2uu2. Foimei Fietilin commanuei Xanana
uusmao (who hau been captuieu anu impiisoneu by the Inuonesians in
1992) was swoin in as East Timoi's fiist piesiuent aftei winning 8u pei
cent of the populai vote in piesiuential elections the pieceuing month.
At the time of inuepenuence, uusmao commanueu tiemenuous
iespect both at home anu abioau (anu still uoes), with his statuie anu
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA S6
integiity eaining him fiequent compaiisons with South Afiica's Nelson
Nanuela. But the pioblems he anu Piime Ninistei Naii Alkatiii (who
heaueu Fietilin's political wing, which won the biggest block of seats in
the Constituent Assembly elections of 2uu1) faceu in leauing East Timoi
into a piospeious futuie weie foimiuable. Tensions between the two
men escalateu in Naich 2uu6 when one thiiu of the national aimy
(mostly soluieis fiom the westein iegions of the countiy) mutinieu
amiu claims by theii commanueis that the goveinment hau favouieu
units fiom the east, which hau pioviueu the bulk of anti-Inuonesian
iebels uuiing Inuonesian iule.
The mutineeis uemanueu the goveinment iesign, anu
accompanying civil uniest anu anaichy iesulteu in 1Su,uuu people
fleeing the capital foi iefugee camps. An inteinational 0N-sponsoieu
peace keeping foice, leu by Austialia anu incluuing soluieis anu police
fiom New Zealanu, Nalaysia anu Poitugal, eventually iestoieu oiuei. 0n
Su Nay Piesiuent uusmao ueclaieu a state of emeigency anu Piime
Ninistei Alkatiii iesigneu on 26 }une in favoui of }osé Ramos-Boita. In
Febiuaiy 2uu7, Ramos-Boita ueclaieu his canuiuacy foi foith-coming
piesiuential elections anu uusmao ueclaieu his canuiuacy foi piime
ministei on behalf of a new political paity, the Conselho Nacional ue
Reconstiucao uo Timoi (CNRT), which was set up to oppose Fietilin's
contiol of pailiament. In 2uu7 piesiuential elections, Ramos-Boita
uefeateu Fietilin's canuiuate Fiancisco uuteiies to become piesiuent,
while legislative elections in the same yeai iesulteu in a coalition
goveinment (excluuing Fietilin, which nonetheless iemaineu the laigest
single paity in pailiament) leu by the CNRT. uusmao became piime
ministei. Fietilin's failuie to uo as well as expecteu stemmeu fiom
wiuespieau uisillusionment at coiiuption by paity functionaiies anu at
the slow pace of iefoim.
The countiy was shockeu in eaily 2uu8 by cooiuinateu
assassination attempts by iebel soluieis on both uusmao anu Ramos-
Boita. 0n the moining of 11 Febiuaiy, uusmao escapeu an attempteu
ambush while Ramos-Boita was shot in the chest in a sepaiate attack.
Be maue a iemaikable iecoveiy in an Austialian hospital anu ietuineu
tiiumphant to Bili to iesume official uuties in Apiil 2uu8. The iebel's
leauei, Alfieuo Reinauo, was killeu in the attack on Ramos-Boita.
East Timoi is one of the pooiest countiies in the iegion with moie
than 4u pei cent of its 1.1 million people living below the poveity 0ne.
0nemployment in the uiban aieas iemains stubboinly high while the
EAST TIN0R S7
iuial sectoi, which compiises 9u pei cent of the population, piimaiily
consists of subsistence faimeis (though it is hopeu coffee may one uay
constitute a key expoit maiket). Illiteiacy is estimateu at Su pei cent
anu life expectancy is just S7 yeais.
The biggest hope foi East Timoi's economic uevelopment stems
fiom its soveieignty ovei oil anu gas ieseives in the Timoi Sea. In Nay
2uuS, Austialia anu East Timoi jointly announceu an agieement to
caive up multi-billion uollai offshoie oil anu gas ieseives, following
talks which hau commenceu in 2uu2 ovei theii uisputeu maiitime
bounuaiy. 0nuei the agieement (signeu in 2uu6 anu enteieu into foice
in 2uu7), the two countiies uefeiieu a uecision on a peimanent
bounuaiy foi up to a centuiy. In ietuin, East Timoi will ueiive seveial
billion extia uollais fiom the most piofitable uieatei Suniise fielu than
it woulu have unuei an inteiim ueal stiuck in 2uu2. In Nay 2uu2
Alkatiii set up a petioleum ievenue ieseive funu baseu on the
Noiwegian mouel in which inteiest acciueu fiom the funu is useu to
funu national uevelopment. In 2uu9 Fietilin, then in opposition, bitteily
opposeu an attempt by uusmao (as piime ministei anu leauei of the
CNRT) to uiaw on 0S$24u million of the funu (incluuing its capital base)
to geneiate employment anu countei the causes of uiscontent that
iockeu the countiy in 2uu6. Fietilin accuseu the goveinment of seeking
to opeiate a slush funu. It is ceitain that in spite of access to petioleum
ievenues, the new countiy will iemain heavily uepenuent foi its
uevelopment on foieign aiu anu expeitise foi the foieseeable futuie.
In }uly 2uu6 East Timoi signeu the ASEAN Tieaty of Amity anu
Coopeiation, the fiist step towaius full membeiship. In Septembei 2uu7
Ramos-Boita announceu he hau establisheu a task foice to piepaie foi
the countiy's eventual accession to ASEAN, which he pieuicteu woulu
take place in appioximately five yeais. Even though in many ways it has
moie in common with the constituent membeis of the Pacific Islanus
Foium, ASEAN woulu be a moie logical choice given its gieatei political
anu economic clout. It woulu also pioviue a fuithei foium foi
engagement with Inuonesia. To this enu East Timoi's leaueis have
iepeateuly signaleu the goveinment's piioiity is to ensuie goou
ielations with Inuonesia in oiuei that issues of tiaue anu boiuei
uemaication aie iesolveu in a spiiit of coopeiation.























































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 4u

















Inuonesia's geogiaphy is an integial pait of its histoiy. A spiawling
aichipelago stiauuling the equatoi, Inuonesia has moie than 1S,Suu
islanus, ianging fiom tiny aieas that not so long ago weie meiely atolls
to the huge islanu of Sumatia. In 2uu9 it hau 229 million people, spieau
veiy unevenly acioss these islanus. At the one extieme, ovei 1Su million
live on uensely populateu }ava; at the othei extieme, the laige, iesouice-
iich islanu of Kalimantan is spaisely populateu. Inuonesia is a tiopical
countiy with a volcanic spine iunning thiough its aichipelago. Nany
volcanoes aie still active, eveiy so often wieaking uestiuction on
suiiounuing peoples anu ciops. But the volcanic soil anu the tiopical
climate have maue most of Inuonesia extiemely feitile, nowheie moie so
than the iivei valleys of }ava, wheie piospeious kinguoms have waxeu
anu waneu ovei moie than a thousanu yeais.
The Inuonesian coat of aims beais the insciiption "0nity in
Biveisity". The uiveisity of Inuonesia is appaient to even the most
casual obseivei. Theie aie ovei Suu socio-linguistic gioups in Inuonesia,
each with a uistinct cultuie anu heiitage. 0nly about one in six
Inuonesians speaks the national language at home. Even fewei speak
Bahasa Inuonesia as theii fiist language. The mothei tongue of the vast
majoiity is a iegional language; foi example, }avanese, Balinese,
Ninangkabau oi Acehnese. Nuiseiy ihymes, chiluhoou stoiies, myths,
legenus anu cultuial moies aie as uiveise as the languages. Not
siiipiisingly, most Inuonesians fiist uevelop a iegional iuentity, only
leaining the national language, Bahasa Inuonesia, anu with it an
Inuonesian iuentity, when they begin school. 0nly in the majoi cities of
INDONESIA 41
}akaita, Suiabaya, Banuung anu Neuan aie theie significant numbeis of
people who speak Bahasa Inuonesia in the home anu iuentify
themselves as Inuonesians fiom chiluhoou. The uiveisity of Inuonesia is
an enoimous challenge to the mouein State. Nation-builuing in
Inuonesia is no meie slogan, noi is it meiely a euphemism foi economic
uevelopment. The Inuonesian goveinment is acutely awaie that national
unity anu a national cultuial iuentity have to be cieateu. The iegional
iuentity that most Inuonesians acquiie automatically, togethei with the
countiy's cultuial anu linguistic uiveisity, makes nation-builuing anu the
uevelopment of social cohesiveness a long-teim anu uifficult task.

!"#$%&'&()*' )(,&(#-)*
South-East Asia lies astiiue the gieat tiauing ioutes fiom China to Inuia.
Theie aie iecoius stietching back ovei 2,uuu yeais of tiaueis sailing
theii ships between China anu South-East Asia anu between South-East
Asia anu Inuia. South-East Asia, anu especially the Inuonesian
aichipelago, was a souice of spices, gouimet foous, sanual-woou,
meuicines anu othei tiopical piouucts. Chinese, Aiabic anu Inuian
tiaueis weie a common sight in the poits which uotteu the aichipelago.
Theie weie two bioau types of states in the Inuonesian aichipelago in
the pie-mouein peiiou. Fiist weie the coastal states. Locateu at the
mouths of iiveis with goou secuie haibouis, they weie uepenuent on
iegional anu inteinational tiaue. The most piominent of these weie on
oi close to the Stiaits of Nelaka, thiough which shipping between China
anu Inuia (anu latei Euiope anu China) hau to pass÷ on the east anu
south coast of Sumatia anu on the noith }ava coast. Seconu weie the
inlanu states. The wealth of these states was baseu on iich agiicultuial
piouuction fiom the volcanic soils of the alluvial plains. The most
piominent of these weie in Cential anu East }ava anu in Bali.
The eailiest kinguoms in the Inuonesian aichipelago weie
Binuu¡Buuuhist states. Binuuism anu Buuuhism caine to South-East
Asia fiom Inuia, spieauing along the tiaue ioutes anu being auopteu by
local iuleis attiacteu by the Couit iitual anu ieligious¡ philosophical
iueas. Touay visitois to Inuonesia flock to the cential }avanese city of
Yogyakaita. Togethei with its neighbouiing city of Solo, Yogyakaita is
the heaitlanu of the }avanese, the centie of theii histoiy, cultuie anu
philosophy. Within Su kilometies of Yogyakaita aie two gieat ieligious
monuments: the Buuuhist temple of Boiobuuoi anu the Binuu temple of
Piambanan. Both weie built out of local stone between the sixth anu
eighth centuiies, hunuieus of yeais befoie the meuieval catheuials of
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 42
Euiope even began. Restoiation piojects have ievealeu the stunning
beauty of the temples, theii sheei scale of constiuction anu the intiicate
caiveu base-ieliefs which auoin them fiom top to bottom. These aie
ieligious monuments, uating fiom a time when Binuuism anu Buuuhism
weie the pieuominant ieligions in }ava. They aie eviuence of the
piospeiity of the kinguoms to which they belongeu, the engineeiing
knowleuge of theii people, theii ciaftsman-ship anu theii aitistiy.
Boiobuuoi anu Piambanan temples aie the finest in Inuonesia, but
hunuieus of othei smallei temples can be founu thioughout }ava. The
Balinese iemain pieuominantly Binuu anu theie aie many thousanus of
olu anu new temples in Bali.
Nuslim tiaueis aie iecoiueu in the Inuonesian aichipelago as
eaily as the sixth centuiy, but the Islamisation of Inuonesia began in the
1Sth centuiy with the conveision of the iulei of Aceh, at the noithein tip
of Sumatia. We know little about this eaily conveision but it is cleai that
the Islamisation piocess was veiy slow, with people absoibing Islamic
beliefs into existing ieligious anu philosophical systems as they auapteu
Islam to Inuonesian soil. When the Butch aiiiveu in Inuonesia at the
beginning of the 17th centuiy, the kinguoms they engageu with weie
almost all Islamic, with Binuuism iestiicteu to Bali. But the natuie of
Inuonesian Islam vaiieu gieatly, anu still uoes. Theie is a bioau
spectium of piactices anu intensities of belief, ianging fiom the
Acehnese, who aie geneially moie publicly Islamic anu moie stiict
auheients to the piincipies of the Koian than otheis in Inuonesia, to the
people of cential anu east }ava, who have a moie ielaxeu Islamic faith
sustaineu alongsiue pie-Islamic beliefs anu piactices.
The inlanu kinguoms weie piospeious agiaiian states geneiating
consiueiable agiicultuial suipluses. They weie stiongly hieiaichical
states, with taxation systems extiacting agiicultuial piouucts anu laboui
fiom the peasants. They uevelopeu legal systems anu buieauciatic
stiuctuies. The agiicultuial suipluses suppoiteu laige couits anu the
skilleu woikeis neeueu to builu the massive stone temples. The couits
piomoteu high cultuies of music, uance, philosophy anu liteiatuie. The
gieat Inuian epic poems, the Nahabhaiata anu the Ramayana weie
auapteu by couit musicians, uanceis anu mastei puppeteeis as vehicles
foi the tiansmission of }avanese oi Balinese ethics anu cultuial values.
Wiiting systems weie baseu on Sanskiit, with many Sanskiit woius
enteiing local languages.
INDONESIA 4S
When the Euiopeans aiiiveu in South-East Asia in the miuule of
the 16th centuiy, theie weie well-establisheu states acioss the whole of
South-East Asia. The eaily Euiopean visitois maivelleu at the piospeiity
of the iegion, the health of its peoples anu the sophistication of its high
cultuies. Theie weie long-stanuing tiauing netwoiks linking the South-
East Asian states anu a tiauition of shipbuiluing anu maiitime skills
which saw tiaueis fiom South-East Asia ply theii waies as fai afielu as
China anu Inuia. The majoi Inuonesian states weie at Aceh, on the
noithein tip of Sumatia; in Cential }ava; in Bali; ¡n the Nalukas anu
Sulawesi; anu on the noith coast of }ava. They competeu vigoiously,
sometimes waging wai on each othei. Theie was a constant flow of
goous anu people acioss the aichipelago, using Nalay as the meuium of
communication.

%&'&()*')-.
The Poituguese weie the fiist Euiopeans to acquiie outposts in Asia. In
the 16th centuiy they establisheu tiauing posts anu colonial outposts in
places as uispaiate as uoa in Inuia, Nelaka in Nalaysia, Ambon anu
Timoi in Inuonesia, anu Nacau in China. By the beginning of the 17th
centuiy the powei of Catholic Poitugal anu Spain was waning in the face
of the emeiging Piotestant nations of Englanu anu the Netheilanus. The
English East Inuia Company anu the Netheilanus 0niteu East Inuia
Company (v0C) weie establisheu in 16uu anu 16u2, iespectively. Foi
neaily 2uu yeais they weie fieice commeicial iivals in Asia. The v0C
moveu quickly to establish tiauing posts in Inuia, Ceylon, Taiwan anu
China, seeking the piouuce of "the 0iient". A majoi taiget was the Spice
Islanus, what is now Sulawesi anu Naluku in eastein Inuonesia. The v0C
fiist became involveu in the Inuonesian aichipelago thiough tiauing
with local kinguoms, but its uesiie to monopolise the spice tiaue to
Euiope quickly causeu it to expel the Poituguese fiom Ambon anu then
to uestioy the local kinguoms. In 1619, the v0C launcheu an attack on
}ayakaita, then a majoi foit anu tiauing town of the West }ava kinguom
of Bantan wheie the v0C hau been tiauing peacefully foi a numbei of
yeais. The Bantanese weie uiiven out anu on the ashes of the iazeu
town the v0C establisheu its heauquaiteis foi the aichipelago. }ayakaita
was ie-nameu Batavia, a name which was ietaineu foi the capital of the
Netheilanus East Inuies until the ueclaiation of inuepenuence in August
194S, when it was again ie-nameu, this time as }akaita.
The v0C slowly extenueu its physical piesence in the Inuonesian
aichipelago. Thioughout the 17th anu 18th centuiies it behaveu much
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 44
like a local kinguom, cieating anu bieaking alliances with iival kinguoms
to make wai on its enemies anu tiauing wiuely both within the
aichipelago anu with China, Inuia anu Euiope. But theie weie ciucial
uiffeiences which eventually enableu the Butch to conquei the
aichipelago. Fiist, the v0C hau a powei base outsiue the aichipelago, with
gunboats anu tioops stationeu thioughout Asia which it coulu use against
inuigenous iuleis. Seconu, the v0C hau a bioauei stiategic fiamewoik anu,
against tiauitional iuling élites with little expeiience of the woilu outsiue
the aichipelago, they weie able to take auvantage of the iivaliy between
local kinguoms. Thiiu, by the 18th centuiy they hau supeiioi weaponiy.
Neveitheless, it was not until 17S6 that the v0C contiolleu the whole
of }ava, when it uiviueu the Nataiam Couit of Cential }ava against itself. The
v0C went bankiupt in 1796, wiackeu by coiiuption. It then contiolleu }ava,
Ambone anu small neaiby islanus, anu small enclaves in cential anu
southein Sumatia. It was the biggest, most poweiful State in the
aichipelago, but most of what is now Inuonesia still lay outsiue its contiol.
The Netheilanus Ciown took ovei the assets of the v0C anu, aftei a biief
inteiluue of Biitish contiol of }ava uuiing the Napoleonic Wais, the East
Inuies ieveiteu to Butch iule. Thiough the 19th centuiy, the Netheilanus
East Inuies goveinment giauually extenueu its contiol ovei Sumatia anu
eastein Inuonesia. With the uestiuction of the Balinese kinguoms in 19uS
anu the uefeat of the poweiful kinguom of Aceh in 1911 the colony was
complete. The Butch often talkeu of theii Suu yeais in the Nethei-lanus
East Inuies but, foi most people in the aichipelago, incoipoiation into the
Netheilanus East Inuies occuiieu towaius the enu of the 19th centuiy oi in
the fiist uecaue of the 2uth centuiy. Local piiue, iegional political, cultuial
anu peisonal loyalties anu a sense of local histoiy iemaineu stiong when
the }apanese uestioyeu the Butch empiie in 1941.
By the beginning of the 2uth centuiy the Butch hau cieateu the
Netheilanus East Inuies as a centialiseu state, with powei concentiateu
in the capital, Batavia, an efficient buieauciacy anu a police anu militaiy
seivice able to maintain social contiol. Aftei the bittei expeiience of
fighting the fieicely Islamic kinguom of Aceh foi ovei 4u yeais, the
colonial goveinment maintaineu a caieful watch on Islamic ieligious
leaueis. Its policy uistinguisheu between Islam as a ieligion anu Islam as
a political foice. Religious obseivance was inteifeieu with as little as
possible, though mosques, Islamic schools anu ieligious teacheis weie
caiefully monitoieu to ensuie that they uiu nothing to ially people against
the colonial state. The involvement of Islamic leaueis in political activities
INDONESIA 4S
was caiefully monitoieu anu iuthlessly quasheu if they appeaieu to be
gatheiing local suppoit. The Butch niomoteu a Westein-euucateu, seculai
élite built aiounu the chiluien of the pie-colonial elites anu maue eveiy
effoit to pievent the uevelopment of a moueiniseu Islamic élite.
The Butch economic impact on the Inuonesian aichipelago was
enoimous. In theii successful effoits to contiol the quantity anu piices of
the piouucts of the aichipelago, they giauually uestioyeu iegional
tiauing netwoiks that hau existeu foi hunuieus of yeais, seiviceu in
laige pait by inuigenous tiaueis who plieu the aichipelago anu saileu as
fai as Inuia to the east anu China to the noith. Inuigenous tiaueis weie
hencefoith iestiicteu to local tiaue. Exteinal tiaue became the exclusive
pieseive of Euiopean companies, anu intei-iegional tiaue the pieseive
of Chinese who weie encouiageu to immigiate fiom southein China.
}avanese agiicultuie in paiticulai was tiansfoimeu by the Butch in
the 19th centuiy. They cieateu what they calleu a "Cultivation System",
by which }avanese faimeis weie compelleu to piouuce uesignateu ciops
foi sale to the State at fixeu piices. The ciops÷ mainly sugai, Inuigo,
coffee anu tea÷weie then piocesseu anu tians-poiteu foi sale to
Euiopean maikets. By the enu of the 19th centuiy, }ava was the woilu's
laigest sugai piouucei. Sugai milis weie built thioughout iuial }ava to
piocess the iaw cane anu iailways anu poits constiucteu to take the
expoit ciops to maiket. }ava, laigely a subsistence economy befoie 18Su,
was tiansfoimeu. The subsistence economy gave way to a much moie
uiveisifieu economy: the population steauily giew until, by the enu of
the 19th centuiy, theie was little uncultivateu lanu left, anu towns anu
cities expanueu gieatly to seivice the buigeoning expoit tiaue. By the
beginning of the 2uth centuiy, most }avanese no longei owneu lanu,
woiking as tenant faimeis, shaiecioppeis oi wage labouieis in the local
aiea anu neaiby towns.
The economic tiansfoimation of Sumatia in the fiist Su yeais of
the 2uth centuiy was equally uiamatic. Buge aieas of viigin foiest maue
way foi tobacco anu iubbei plantations. Sumatia became one of the
woilu's laigest anu finest supplieis of tobacco anu, togethei with
Nalaya, its laigest suppliei of iubbei. When oil was uiscoveieu in the
192us, it became the spiingboaiu foi what was to become the Royal
Butch Shell 0il Company.
Nuch of the laboui which openeu up Sumatia was Chinese. Chinese
hau long been iesiuent in the Inuonesian aichipelago, pieuominantly as
tiaueis anu meichants, anu theie hau been a steauy eiowth in theii
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 46
numbeis in the 17th anu 18th centuiies. The gieat expansion, howevei, was
pait of the wiuei piocess of Chinese migiation to South-East Asia, Austialia,
the Pacific anu the 0niteu States aftei the acquisition of Bong Kong by
Biitain in 1842 anu the foiceu opening of tieaty poits on the South China
coast. In the Netheilanus East Inuies, they became not only tiaueis,
shopkeepeis anu uiban woikeis but labouieis on plantations, in tin anu coal
mines anu on whaives anu ships. They weie nevei a laige piopoition of the
colony's population, less than S pei cent, but by the 2uth centuiy weie
uominant in local tiaue anu uiban commeice.
The economic tiansfoimation of Inuonesia leu to an acceleiating
piocess of uibanisation. By the miu-191us, the majoi cities in }ava weie
alieauy unable to cope with the migiation fiom iuial aieas. The incieasingly
uensely populateu pooiei paits of the towns anu cities hau low-quality
houses, with no sanitation systems oi pipeu watei. They flooueu bauly
uuiing the annual monsoon season, with theii people wiackeu by malaiia
anu watei-boine uiseases such as choleia anu typhoiu. The colonial
goveinment lackeu the political will to tackle these uiban pioblems which,
by the 192us, weie piobably beyonu its capacity to solve. Living conuitions
foi most uiban Inuonesians steauily woiseneu fiom the 192us thiough to
the 197us.
The Butch intiouuceu Westein euucation in oiuei to pioviue the
skilleu laboui neeueu by the expanuing colonial economy. Butch was useu
as the meuium of instiuction by the best schools, giauuation fiom which leu
to the bettei-paiu auministiative jobs oi the possibility of enteiing a
univeisity in the Netheilanus oi the meuical anu law schools in the colony.
But entiy to these schools weie veiy uifficult anu, those few on scholaiships
asiue, in piactice was iestiicteu to chiluien of the inuigenous élites oi
goveinment officials. It was easiei to get a mouicum of euucation in schools
wheie the meuium of instiuction was the veinaculai language. Even so, at
the enu of the Butch colonial eia, the liteiacy iate in Inuonesia was lowei
than in that of any othei Euiopean colony in Asia, with the exception of the
Poituguese colony of East Timoi.

(*/)&(*')-.
The fiist people to iegaiu themselves as Inuonesian, iathei than as }avanese,
Acehnese oi a membei of one of the othei ethnic gioups, weie young men
anu women who hau ieceiveu a Westein euucation at local high schools anu,
subsequently at univeisities in the Netheilanus. The teim "Inuonesia" was
fiist useu in the eaily 192us, but by }928 the iuea of being Inuonesian anu
the ueteimination to cieate a mouein Inuonesian nation fiee fiom Butch
INDONESIA 47
colonial iule was wiuely helu. In that yeai, a national Youth Congiess was
helu in Batavia, at which thousanus of emotionally aiouseu youths
witnesseu the ceiemonial iaising of the ieu anu white flag, ieciteu a National
Pleuge anu sang a newly composeu national song. This was a public
expiession of theii ueteimination to cieate an inuepenuent Inuonesia, with
a common flag, language (Bahasa Inuonesia, which was ueiiveu fiom Nalay)
anu national iuentity which tianscenueu iegional anu ethnic loyalties.
The fiist stiiiings of nationalism in the 191us weie seen by the Butch
colonial goveinment as potentially uangeious but not an immeuiate thieat.
As political paities eniolleu thousanus of membeis anu as newspapeis anu
piopaganua hanubills weie wiuely uistiibuteu, the colonial laws weie maue
moie iestiictive anu political activists iepeateuly jaileu oi exileu fiom the
colony. The Butch coulu nevei unueistanu the intensity of nationalist
feelings anu hau no plans foi the colony's political uevelopment beyonu
vague iefeiences to the possibility of self-goveinment eventually.
The Inuonesian Communist Paity (PKI) tiieu a ievolutionaiy path to
inuepenuence in bauly planneu upiisings in Novembei 1926 anu }anuaiy
1927. The only iesult was that thousanus of Inuonesians, many of whom hau
only a maiginal connection with the PKI, weie eithei jaileu oi exileu to a
political piison on the malaiia-infesteu uppei ieaches of the Bigul Rivei, in
what is now West Iiian. Theie they stayeu until taken to Austialian jails in
1942 in the wake of the }apanese occupation of Inuonesia. Iionically, they
uiu not iemain in jail long once Austialian tiaue unionists iealiseu that they
weie political piisoneis. Nany of them became leaueis of a campaign to
suppoit Inuonesian inuepenuence in 194S anu 1946. This iesulteu in
Austialian tiaue union blacklisting Butch shipping anu in the Austialian
goveinment giving uiplomatic suppoit of the Inuonesian Republic against
the Butch.
The most piominent Inuonesian nationalist fiom the miu 192us was a young
engineeiing giauuate nameu Sukaino. Befoie he was exileu in Febiuaiy
19S4, Sukaino laiu the basis foi his uominant political position aftei 194S as
Piesiuent of Inuonesia. Sukaino alteinatively chaimeu anu iiiitateu his
fellow nationalists, but even his stiongest opponents aumiieu the biilliance
of his oiatoiy. Wheievei he went, he uiew laige anu enthusiastic ciowus to
his political iallies in both laige cities anu small towns.
Noie than any othei peison, Sukaino succeeueu in spieauing the
simple message of fieeuom to a wiuei cioss-section of uiban anu iuial
Inuonesians than evei befoie. Be populaiiseu the nationalist iueology÷the
simple iuea that his people weie Inuonesians anu must set asiue theii
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 48
ieligious anu ethnic uiffeiences to unite in opposition to colonial iule.
Although he was exileu in 19S4, his memoiy lingeieu on in the minus of
oiuinaiy Inuonesians who hau heaiu him speak oi been chaimeu by his
chaiismatic peisonality oi hau simply heaiu of his heioic qualities fiom
otheis.
Two majoi issues weie not iesolveu by the colonial nationalist
movement but became majoi issues in Inuonesian politics in the 19Sus anu
196us. Fiist theie was the question of the iole of Islam in Inuonesia. The
mainstieam of the nationalist movement in the 1920s anu 19Sus was in
agieement that an inuepenuent Inuonesia shoulu be a seculai state. This
position was auopteu paitly because of the ieligious uiveisity of Inuonesia:
although Nuslims weie in an oveiwhelming majoiity, only a minoiity of
these weie stiict auheients to Islamic teachings anu piecepts. A seculai
state was seen as a way of avoiuing conflict. Some Islamic political paities
uisagieeu anu, aftei inuepenuence, stiengtheneu theii uemanus foi national
laws to be baseu on Islamic teaching. In Inuonesia touay this is still one of
the most sensitive issues.
A seconu majoi uniesolveu issue was whethei Inuonesia neeueu a
social anu economic ievolution, oi whethei political inuepenuence was a
sufficient goal. The auvocates of majoi social anu economic iefoims weie in
a minoiity in the 1920s anu 19Sus. The uominant view was that
Inuonesians shoulu concentiate on achieving inuepenuence anu concein
themselves with these potentially uivisive issues aftei this was achieveu.
Those who wanteu moie funuamental social anu economic iefoims ieviveu
theii activities in the 19Sus. Theii ciiticism was then uiiecteu at an
Inuonesian goveinment in the hanus of those who hau leu the nationalist
movement since the late 192us.

/0# 1*!*(#-# &%%2!*/)&(
The }apanese occupieu Inuonesia in Naich 1942, with little iesistance fiom
the Butch. Initially, they weie welcomeu by many Inuonesians, who weie
glau to be fieeu fiom Butch iule anu impiesseu by }apanese piopaganua
slogans such as "}apan the Light of Asia" anu the "East Asian Co-Piospeiity
Spheie". Bowevei, it uiu not take veiy long foi the }apanese to alienate
themselves fiom all levels of Inuonesian society. The !"#$%&', piogiamme
on }ava, wheieby all able-bouieu males weie iequiieu to pioviue fiee laboui
foi the wai effoit, affecteu almost eveiy family. Nost 3456789, laboui was
useu within the colony, on piojects such as builuing iailway lines anu
ships anu on infiastiuctuie constiuction. But hunuieus of thousanus weie
INDONESIA 49
sent oveiseas to woik on the constiuction of the Thai-Buima iailway anu
}apanese piojects elsewheie in South-East Asia. Rice piouuction on }ava fell,
thiough }apanese mismanagement as much as any othei cause, anu foou anu
clothing weie soon in uespeiately shoit supply. Inuonesians quickly leaint
that uespite }apanese piopaganua stiessing Asian soliuaiity against
Euiopeans, they weie tieateu as uistinctly infeiioi people by the }apanese.
Bowevei, }apanese occupation policies hau some long-teim benefits
foi Inuonesia. Fiist, in iemoving the Butch fiom auministiative functions the
}apanese elevateu Inuonesians to positions they woulu not have been able to
obtain unuei colonial iule. This auministiative expeiience pioveu useful
aftei 194S. Seconu, they piohibiteu the use of Butch anu, while piomoting
}apanese, weie piagmatic enough to iealize that few Inuonesians woulu be
able to mastei that language quickly. They theiefoie piomoteu the use of
Inuonesian in schools anu in goveinment auministiation. This pioveu to be
of help to the infant Republic of Inuonesia aftei 194S. Thiiu, they mobiliseu
young Inuonesians to suppoit the }apanese wai effoit. vaiious schemes
weie cieateu to pioviue militaiy tiaining foi young people. This militaiy
tiaining pioveu invaluable when Inuonesia hau to confiont the ie-occupying
Butch foices between 1946 anu 1949. Fouith, they fieeu nationalist leaueis
fiom jail, incluuing Sukaino, on the conuition that they suppoiteu the wai
effoit. Sukaino anu othei nationalists useu eveiy oppoitunity to nuituie a
sense of being Inuonesian, using all the piopaganua tools placeu at theii
uisposal by the }apanese.
By the enu of 1944 it was cleai to the }apanese that they weie losing the
Pacific Wai. As a consequence, they ueteimineu to make it as uifficult as
possible foi the Westein poweis to ie-occupy theii foimei colonies. In
Inuonesia, they began to piomote moves towaius inuepenuence,
encouiaging nationalists to woik out a uesiiable constitutional fiamewoik.
Some Inuonesians weie alaimeu at the piospect of obtaining inuepenuence
couitesy of the }apanese, believing that this woulu cause the Allieu poweis
to view an inuepenuent Inuonesia as a puppet iegime, theieby playing into
the hanus of the Butch whose Netheilanus Inuies Auministiation hau spent
the wai yeais in Biisbane planning to ieoccupy Inuonesia as soon as the wai
was ovei. When the atomic bombs biought the Pacific Wai to an enu, these
people pievaileu on Sukaino anu his fellow nationalist leaueis to ueclaie
inuepenuence unilateially. 0n 17 August 194S, at a simple flag iaising
ceiemony in }akaita, the Republic of Inuonesia was boin.


A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA Su
/0# "#:&'2/)&(
The Netheilanus iejecteu this ueclaiation of inuepenuence, asseiting that it
was the legitimate goveinment of Inuonesia. It began its ie-occupation of the
countiy in the miuule of 1946 anu quickly gaineu contiol of most of the
towns anu cities. The goveinment of the Republic of Inuonesia ietieateu to
the piincipality of Yogyakaita in Cential }ava. 0vei the next foui yeais, the
Inuonesians fought the Butch on two fionts: In a gueiiilla wai which quickly
boggeu uown thousanus of Butch tioops anu pieventeu the Butch fiom
holuing the countiysiue; anu with a uiplomatic offensive that focuseu on
piessuiing the 0niteu States to withuiaw Naishall Plan aiu fiom the
Netheilanus anu on uiging the newly cieateu 0niteu Nations to suppoit its
inuepenuence. In Becembei 1949, an agieement was finally ieacheu
between the Republic of Inuonesia anu the Netheilanus, biinging the wai to
an enu anu foimally iecognising the enu of Butch colonial iule.
Nany Westein obseiveis aigueu that Inuonesia woulu not suivive
veiy long, in the face of iegionalism anu cultuial anu ethnic uiveisity. In
ietiospect, they gieatly unueiestimateu the enoimous sense of being
Inuonesian which hau been cieateu among a bioau cioss-section of people
by what Inuonesians calleu theii "Revolution". Baving to fight foi theii
inuepenuence gave the Inuonesian élites a stiong sense of nationalism.
Above all, the Revolution saw the emeigence of a stiong Inuonesian aimy,
with a fiim iueological commitment to maintaining national unity anu to
taking a leauing iole in the uevelopment of theii society.
As a iesult of thiee yeais of }apanese occupation anu foui yeais of
waifaie with the Butch, the Inuonesian economy was uevastateu. The
economic infiastiuctuie was in tatteis, most of the little inuustiy that hau
existeu in 1941 was in iuins anu piouuctivity in the plantations anu on the
faims hau iegiesseu to well below pie-wai levels. 0nuei-employment in the
uiban aieas was a massive pioblem, essential seivices simply uiun't woik.
In the countiysiue, giowing population piessuie on the lanu leu to lowei
pei-capita outputs anu a steauy stieam of migiants to the alieauy
oveiciowueu towns anu cities. Auueu to this was the pioblem of what to uo
with the hunuieus of thousanus of people who hau given yeais of theii lives
as gueiiillas fighting the Butch. They feaieu uemobilisation when theie was
little piospect of gainful employment. In 19Su, ievolutionaiy élan was high
anu expectations of the fiuits of inuepenuence weie even highei. The
tiageuy was that no goveinment in the 19Sus coulu possibly have satisfieu
these expectations.

INDONESIA S1
)(,&(#-)* *;/#" )(,#!#(,#(%#
0n the eve of inuepenuence, Inuonesian political elites weie agieeu that
Inuonesia shoulu be a unitaiy state anu shoulu have Bahasa Inuonesia as its
national language. They weie uniteu on little else. The 2u yeais between
194S anu 196S was a peiiou of uecolonisation, wheie foui bioau gioups
stiuggleu foi contiol of the state. Fiist, theie weie those who wanteu a
multi-paity pailiamentaiy uemociacy. Seconu, theie weie those who
wanteu some kinu of consensus pailiamentaiy system, aiguing that Westein
libeial uemociacy was an impoiteu iuea not suiteu to Inuonesian cultuial
anu political values. Thiiu, theie weie those who wanteu some kinu of
Naixist state÷the communists weie the most visible anu stiongest but
theie weie othei gioups who wanteu a libeial Naixist state oi a uemociatic
socialist state. Fouith, those who wanteu a state baseu in some way on
Islam, ianging fiom those who wanteu an Islamic state to those who wanteu
the state meiely to ieflect Islamic values. These bioau uivisions can be
tiaceu back to uebates that hau been going on within nationalist ciicles
since the 191us.
The Inuonesian aimy geneially suppoiteu the seconu gioup among
the Inuonesian élite÷those who wanteu a consensus political system. The
aimy leaueiship consistently saw the aimy as the majoi foice behinu the
Inuonesian Republic's uefeat of the Butch anu, because of this, believeu it
hau a special iole in post-inuepenuence Inuonesia. Fiom the eaily 19Sus, its
leaueis spoke of the aimy's "uual function"÷to uefenu the nation fiom
exteinal thieats oi inteinal subveision, anu to be the engine of uevelopment
anu the piotectoi of the Revolution. The aimy hau always been suspicious of
politicians. Its involvement in politics was veiy uiffeient fiom that of aimies
else-wheie in Asia, Afiica anu Latin Ameiica which, on seizing powei,
invaiiably piomiseu to ietuin to civilian iule as soon as possible. The
Inuonesian aimy maue no such commitment. It veneiateu its oiigins as a
people's aimy, was piouu of its close ties with iuial people uuiing the
gueiiilla campaign against the Butch, anu believeu that it was moie able
than any othei gioup to geneiate anu manage the tians-foimation of
Inuonesian society.
While the aimy was an impoitant foice in Inuonesian politics in the
19Sus, it became the uominant foice only aftei the events of Su Septembei,
196S÷the so-calleu "coup". These events weie a majoi tuining-point in
post-inuepenuence Inuonesian histoiy. Theie has been a gieat ueal of
uebate as to what actually happeneu. The conflict between competing
political gioups in Inuonesia since 194S hau become moie intense by the
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA S2
196us. Nany obseiveis, both Inuonesian anu foieign, believeu that the
Inuonesian Communist Paity was becoming uangeiously stiong anu might
shoitly be in a position to take ovei the state. 0theis weie conceineu about
the giowing stiength of the aimeu foices, which hau become moie
centialiseu anu uniteu in puipose by the eaily 196us. The political
instability was heighteneu fuithei in 196S with iumouis of Sukaino being
teiminally ill anu of both the PKI anu the aimeu foices piepaiing foi a coup.
0n Su Septembei, a gioup of lowei-level aimy officeis ueclaieu the
oveithiow of the Inuonesian uoveinment. The next uay, the PKI's official
newspapei thiew its suppoit behinu them. Within 24 houis, the stiategic
aimy ieseive in }akaita, unuei the commanu of ueneial Suhaito, hau put
uown the coup anu aiiesteu its leaueis. 0vei the next six months the aimy
vigoiously iooteu out membeis of the Communist Paity, whom it blameu foi
the faileu coup anu foi the muiuei of six geneials. At least 4uu,uuu people
weie killeu in that six-month peiiou, mostly in iuial }ava anu Bali. In the
afteimath of the events of Su Septembei, the Communist Paity, one of the
piincipal political foices since 194S, was uestioyeu. Aftei 196S, the militaiy-
uominateu goveinment leu by Piesiuent Suhaito iestiuctuieu Inuonesian
politics. It calleu itself the "New 0iuei" goveinment, as opposeu to the "0iu
0iuei" of Sukaino's piesiuency.
Inuepenuent Inuonesia began as a libeial uemociacy÷with a multi-
paity pailiamentaiy system, a fiee anu uiveise piess anu with fieeuom of
oiganisation foi voluntaiy gioups, incluuing laboui unions. Bowevei, its
populist piesiuent, Sukaino, hau aigueu against Westein-style multi-paity
pailiamentaiy uemociacy (what he calleu "Su pei cent plus one
uemociacy") since the 192us. Be aigueu that it I was not in accoiuance with
Inuonesian cultuial values, which stiesseu haimony anu consensus. Sukaino
was a stiong auvocate of "uemociacy with leaueiship": so too was the aimy.
When pailiamentaiy uemociacy falteieu in the miu 19Sus÷with
wiuespieau uiscontent at the failuie of the ievolution to piouuce piospeiity
foi all÷Sukaino maishalleu like-minueu foices. "uuiueu Bemociacy"
between 19S9 anu 196S balanceu political paity iepiesentation in
pailiament with iepiesentatives fiom "functional gioups"÷uefineu as the
aimeu foices, woikeis, peasants, Nuslim scholais anu numeious minoiity
gioups. The aimeu foices functional gioup÷uolkai÷quickly be-came the
stiongest.
Suhaito's New 0iuei goveinment openly fosteieu uolkai. Elections
weie helu eveiy five yeais since 1971, but they weie caiefully manageu.
uolkai was pioviueu with goveinment funus anu the buieauciatic anu
INDONESIA SS
militaiy appaiatus swung behinu it. Canuiuates put foiwaiu by all political
paities weie vetteu by a goveinment committee anu tough electoial iules
applieu. Not suipiisingly, uolkai won two-thiius oi moie of the votes in
each of the elections thiough
to 1997.
Suhaito's goveinment insisteu that pancasila become the sole
iueological basis of all political anu social oiganisations. Pancasila was the
five piinciples fiist enunciateu by Sukaino in 194S as the basis foi
Inuonesian public life: belief in one uou; national unity; humanitaiianism;
uemociacy baseu on consensus anu iepiesentation; anu social justice. It was
a vague, syncietic philosophy, but its veiy obtuseness alloweu foi many
inteipietations. With the Communist Paity uestioyeu, the aimy, the
goveinment anu much of the vvestein-euucateu élite saw a ievitaliseu Islam
as the gieatest thieat to theii contiol of the State. Suhaito's goveinment was
ueteimineu to inculcate (')*'%+,' philosophy thioughout the countiy. The
consensus political system, foi example, was calleu "(')*'%+,' uemociacy".
All school anu univeisity stuuents hau to pass examinations in (')*'%+,', as
uiu civil seivants anu membeis of the aimeu foices. The intention was to
iemove fiom the Inuonesian political agenua what the goveinment saw as
the evils of libeial uemociacy, Naixism anu militant Islam.
The uebate ovei (')*'%+,' fiom the eaily 197us was not the fiist time
the issue hau been heateuly uiscusseu. In miu 194S the committee of
politicians piepaiing the way foi inuepenuence aftei the uefeat of }apan
weie most stiongly uiviueu on the iole of Islam in inuepenuent Inuonesia.
Nany Nuslim politicians uemanueu that Islam be the official ieligion while
otheis uemanueu an Islamic state. Bowevei, the majoiity of Westein-
euucateu Inuonesians, who uominateu the nationalist movement fiom the
192us, weie philosophically committeu to a seculai state, a commitment
stiengtheneu by theii unueistanuing of the ieligious uiveisity in Inuonesia.
Not only is theie a significant Chiistian minoiity anu a small numbei of
Buuuhists anu Binuus, but many of the 9u pei cent who aie Nuslims holu
eclectic beliefs anu even oithouox Nuslims aie uiviueu by uiffeient
theological positions anu political affiliations.
Bowevei, some Nuslims have nevei abanuoneu theii uesiie foi Islam
to be the basis of the Inuonesian State. 0theis, while not wanting an Islamic
state, have been incieasingly ciitical of what they have seen as the moial
pollution of Westeinisation. Theie was an Islamic ievival in the 197us anu
198us which, in pait, ieflecteu the impact of the Iianian ievolution anu the
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA S4
geneial iesuigence of ievivalist Islam in the Niuule East on Nuslims
thioughout the woilu.
Nany tens of thousanus of Inuonesians make the pilgiimage to Necca
each yeai anu, while theie, aie influenceu by these ievivalist iueas. It ¡s
impoitant to see the gieat uiveisity of thinking within those Inuonesians
who iuentify themselves as pait of an Islamic community. The vast majoiity
accept that because of its ieligious uiveisity Inuonesia can nevei be an
Islamic state anu, within this oveiall philosophical fiamewoik, stiive to
uevelop political, social anu economic policies which ieflect theii ieligious
values.
Suhaito's goveinment steauily uepoliticiseu Inuonesian society, The
piess was subject to foimal anu infoimal contiols anu the state-opeiateu
television netwoik was unuei fiim contiol, its blanu news anu infoimation
seivices ieflecting goveinment views. Nagazine publishing was licenseu anu
books coulu not be publisheu without a goveinment peimit. The iesult was
a system of self-censoiship wheieby euitois anu publisheis eiieu on the
siue of caution in oiuei to avoiu the iisk of being closeu uown oi having
theii books anu magazines seizeu. 0n many occasions, the goveinment
withuiew iight to publish foi lengthy peiious oi peimanently closeu uown
publications.
Bespite this authoiitaiianism, Suhaito was unable to close uown
uebate on majoi social, economic anu political issues entiiely. Wiiteis anu
euitois leaineu the ait of subtlety anu innuenuo anu of pushing ciiticism
just so fai. The caiefully woiueu euitoiial oi commentaiy in uaily
newspapeis was a majoi methou of aiiing sensitive topics. I Caitoonists
fiequently maue ciitical comments in pictuies that coulu not be maue in
woius÷inueeu, Inuonesian newspapeis anu magazines fosteieu talenteu
caitoonists able to make subtle but telling social comment. In the woilu of
liteiatuie, ciitics of Inuonesian society weie also by no means silent.
When the New 0iuei goveinment caine to powei in 196S, the
Inuonesian economy was in chaos, inflation was iampant anu the social anu
economic infiastiuctuie hau just about collapseu. Nuch was achieveu in
ovei thiee uecaues. 0ntil the financial ciisis of 1997, theie was continuous
economic giowth, inflation was biought unuei contiol, the economic
infiastiuctuie was enoimously impioveu anu sustaineu effoits weie maue
to tackle some of the long-stanuing funuamental pioblems of the economy.
Foi example, iice is the staple foou in the Inuonesian uiet, yet
Inuonesia was a net impoitei of iice fiom the late 19th centuiy until the
198us. Bespite the intiicate iice teiiaces, laige-scale iiiigation anu
INDONESIA SS
enoimous laboui inputs, the piouuctivity of Inuonesian iice faimeis steauily
ueclineu in the 19Sus anu 196us. With a ielentlessly incieasing population,
the iesult was a ieuuction in iice consumption pei peison anu the
substitution of less nutiitious foous such as cassava.
All this has changeu since 1979, with uiamatic impiovements in ciop
yielus anu pei-capita output. In 198S, Inuonesia piouuceu its fiist iice
suiplus foi peihaps 1uu yeais. The uiamatic tuinaiounu in iice piouuction
was a iesult of the Inuonesian goveinment's successful agiicultuial policies.
While many ueveloping countiies ignoieu agiicultuie in favoui of inuustiial
anu uiban uevelopment, the Inuonesian goveinment pouieu money anu
expeitise into impioving agiicultuial output. The iesult was consiueiably
incieaseu piouuctivity anu the uevelopment of agio-businesses foi the
expoit of piimaiy piouucts anu piocesseu foous.
Successful agiicultuial policies weie the base on which iesouice
uevelopment anu inuustiial policies weie constiucteu. With the giauual
opening of huge coal mines in eastein Kalimantan in the 199us, Inuonesia
became a majoi coal expoitei. In the 197us anu eaily l98us, economic
uevelopment uepenueu on ievenue ueiiveu fiom the expoit of oil, which
was boosteu by the piice hikes imposeu by 0PEC. As the piice of oil fell in
the 198us, Inuonesia was foiceu to ieview its economic policies. The iesult
was a steauy libeialisation anu inteinationalisation of the economy, with the
emphasis on secuiing inteinational investment anu ueveloping expoit-
oiienteu manufactuiing inuustiies. By the late 198us, Inuonesia became a
majoi textile, footweai anu clothing expoitei anu a giowing expoitei of
consumei piouucts.

/0# #(, &; -20*"/&<- "2'#
Authoiitaiianism, coiiuption anu nepotism weie incieasingly the hallmaiks
of the Suhaito eia. Bespite this, Suhaito's goveinment biought stability to
Inuonesia aftei the chaos of the late 19Sus anu eaily 196us anu foi Su yeais
ueliveieu steauy economic giowth. Nany of those who benefiteu most oweu
theii new wealth moie to political connections anu piivileges than to
entiepieneuiial skills oi sheei haiu woik. Anu the gap between the political,
militaiy anu economic élites anu the mass of uiban anu iuial people hau
become obscenely wiue by the miu 199us. Nonetheless, oiuinaiy
Inuonesians enjoyeu basic amenities they hau nevei hau befoie: enough to
eat anu a steauily impioving uiet; bettei clothing anu housing; subsiuizeu
neighboui-hoou clinics that pioviueu basic health caie; anu euucational
oppoitunities foi theii chiluien. Bevelopment funus weie spieau to the
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA S6
iuial aieas, iesulting in stiong giowth in agiicultuial piouuction. Theie was
a iapiu giowth in the uiban miuule class which uevelopeu mouein
consumei uemanus anu, thiough vastly impioveu Communications, was
linkeu into the global netwoik of iueas. As long as the national economic
cake was incieasing in size anu the fiuits of economic uevelopment tiickleu
uown fiom the favouieu few to the newly emeiging miuule classes anu to
oiuinaiy uiban anu iuial woikeis, the majoiity of the population, while
iesenting the giowing coiiuption anu nepotism of the goveinment, was not
piepaieu to challenge the stiong militaiy anu institutional contiol
emanating fiom }akaita.
In the 199us, speculation about a ieplacement foi the aging Suhaito
giew, paiticulaily among the uiban miuule classes. Suhaito might have
iesponueu to this uisquiet÷anu the incieasingly open ciitiques of his iule÷
by slowly loosening state contiols anu encouiaging the emeigence of a new
political consensus. Insteau, he tuineu even moie to his family anu cionies,
playeu one gioup off against anothei anu useu foice to punish uissiuents
anu uissuaue otheis fiom questioning the state. The closeu political system
pieventeu open uebate, let alone the emeigence of expeiienceu politicians
as potential piesiuential successois. It also obscuieu the uisastious
uiiection in which Suhaito's family anu associates÷using theii political
connections to amass peisonal foitunes÷weie taking the economy by the
eaily 199us.
The succession pioblem tuineu into a ciisis of legitimacy in late 1997,
when it became obvious that theie was a speculative bubble, anu capital
flight occuiieu. The cuiiency quickly ciasheu fiom aiounu 4,uuu iupiah to
moie than 12,uuu iupiah to the 0S uollai. Suhaito's claim to legitimacy
collapseu with it. In Nay 1998, just weeks aftei anothei caiefully contiolleu
election hau again appointeu him piesiuent, Suhaito was foiceu to iesign by
the piessuie of stieet uemonstiations leu by univeisity stuuents. The genie
of populai piotest was out of the bottle anu with it the ethnic, ieligious anu
class uivisions which foi Su yeais hau been papeieu ovei by authoiitaiian
means.
Since inuepenuence, successive Inuonesian goveinments have been
involveu in a piocess of nation builuing÷both liteially anu symbolically.
National iuentity coulu nevei be taken foi gianteu. Inuonesia is a veiy
uiveise countiy. It is also a fiagile countiy. 0ne of the tiageuies of iecent
Inuonesian histoiy is that the lack of open political uebate foi most of the
five uecaues since inuepenuence has pieventeu the emeigence of a
consensus on what Inuonesia shoulu be. Suhaito tiieu to impose his vision,
INDONESIA S7
but ieceiveu only giuuging anu foimal assent. This foimal assent collapseu
with the social anu economic catastiophe of Inuonesia's financial collapse in
late 1997.
With the uiamatic iesignation of Suhaito aftei months of stieet
piotests, uiban iiots anu aimy violence, the uemanu foi gieatei openness
anu a ietuin to a uemociatic society has uominateu Inuonesian public
uiscouise. Bowevei, few countiies that have hau long-stanuing
authoiitaiian iegimes have founu the tiansition to uemociacy easy anu
Inuonesia is no exception. Suhaito may have gone, but otheis who helu
powei unuei him weie ieluctant to give it up. Nuch of the iioting anu
violence that wiackeu Inuonesia thiough 1998 anu 1999 was allegeu to
have been oiganizeu by shauowy gioups aligneu to factions within the
militaiy anu to olu civilian elites who saw moie auvantage in instigating an
atmospheie of chaos than in assisting a tiansition to a moie open society.
The Inuonesian Constitution stipulates that in the event of ueath oi
iesignation of the piesiuent, the vice-piesiuent assumes the position foi the
iemainuei of the teim. The Sulawesi-boin vice-piesiuent, Bi B.}. Babibie,
uuly took ovei as piesiuent, though continueu populai piotest anu uiban
violence quickly foiceu him to conceue the neeu foi new elections as soon as
possible. Be hau, aftei all, been installeu as vice-piesiuent by Suhaito,
uespite wiuespieau opposition anu iumblings fiom Inuonesia's noimally
silent neighbouis that it was not a goou iuea.
In Becembei 1998, the Inuonesian pailiament, unuei piessuie fiom
stieet uemonstiations anu sensing the moou foi gieatei open-ness, passeu
new electoial laws that openeu the way foi elections in }une 1999. The }une
elections passeu iemaikably peacefully. Foi most Inuonesians, this was theii
fiist expeiience of a ieal election. As expecteu, no one political paity
obtaineu a majoiity of the votes. The Inuonesian Bemociatic Stiuggle Paity,
leu by Negawati Sukai-noputii÷the uaughtei of foimei Piesiuent
Sukaino÷gaineu the laigest block of seats in the pailiament, followeu by
the Paity of National Awakening, a moueinist Nuslim paity leu by
Abuuiiahman Wahiu, with uolkai a uistant thiiu. Negawati's populaiity
among oiuinaiy Inuonesians, paiticulaily in the cities anu towns of }ava,
was cleai. She was the symbol of opposition to Suhaito anu the coiiuption,
nepotism anu iepiession of the New 0iuei goveinment.
The election of }une 1999 cieateu a new Bouse of Repiesentatives
which, togethei with goveinment anu militaiy appointees anu
iepiesentatives of the iegional pailiaments, foimeu the People's
Consultative Assembly (NPR) which met in 0ctobei 1999 to heai a iepoit
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA S8
fiom the outgoing piesiuent, Bi Babibie, anu to elect a new piesiuent anu
vice-piesiuent. Leauing up to the votes, the contest was seen as between
Babibie (uolkai's nominee) anu Negawati (nominee of the Inuonesian
Bemociatic Stiuggle Paity). Bowevei, the NPR iejecteu Babibie's
Accountability Speech of his peiiou in office, effectively ueliveiing a vote of
no-confiuence, which causeu him to withuiaw fiom the piesiuential iace. To
the suipiise of most obseiveis, Abuuiiahman Wahiu was electeu as
piesiuent by a cleai majoiity, with Negawati latei electeu as vice-piesiuent.
Though Negawati lost the iace because of hei pooi political skills in the
jockeying foi powei between the geneial elections of }une anu the
piesiuential election of 0ctobei, hei uefeat was also paitly attiibutable to
the fact that she was not suppoiteu by the Nuslim-baseu paities. As the
long-time leauei of the laigest Islamic oiganisation, Nahulatul 0lama,
Abuuiiahman Wahiu's Islamic cieuentials weie the ueciuing factoi.
0ne of Piesiuent Babibie's most piofounu uecisions uuiing his shoit
teim was to announce that a 0N-supeiviseu iefeienuum on gieatei
autonomy foi East Timoi woulu be helu on Su August, 1999. Be also gave
assuiances that if the East Timoiese people iejecteu it, he woulu allow East
Timoi to cut itself loose fiom Inuonesia. 78 pei cent of voteis iejecteu
Babibie's pioposal, the way was cleai foi full inuepenuence.
Bowevei, in the months following the vote, a wave of violence in
which moie than 2,uuu people uieu was peipetuateu by pio-}akaita East
Timoiese militias with the coveit backing of the Inuonesian militaiy, whose
geneials hau been humiliateu by the suuuen volte-face shown by the
politicians. Buiing this chaotic peiiou, thousanus of iefugees fleu into West
Timoi anu much of East Timoi's infia-stiuctuie was iazeu by iampaging
militiamen. When it became cleai to Babibie that his aimy was unwilling to
ieign in the militias, he ieluctantly alloweu a 0N multinational peace-
keeping foice to iestoie oiuei in late 1999 anu piepaie the teiiitoiy foi full
inuepenuence, which was foimally gianteu at miunight on 2u Nay, 2uu2
(see Chaptei S).
Bopes weie gieat among Inuonesians that Wahiu woulu piove to be
the unifying foice capable of ieconciling the uispaiate inteiests anu the
guiuing hanu able to stabilise anu uevelop the moiibounu economy.
Refoimasi÷the slogan heaiu iepeateuly on the stieets, on public platfoims
anu in the piess uuiing this peiiou÷was a claiion call foi change iathei
than a uetaileu piogiamme. But cleaily, laige numbeis of stuuents anu the
uiban miuule class, as well as oiuinaiy Inuonesians thioughout the vast
aichipelago, wanteu gieatei social anu economic justice anu a ieal say in the
INDONESIA S9
uecisions affecting theii lives. People wanteu jobs, lowei inflation anu a
ietuin to the economic giowth that pievaileu befoie the financial collapse of
1997, but they Woulu no longei toleiate the coiiuption, the nepotism anu
the ostentatious uisplay of wealth by a small economic anu political élite
that weie so much in eviuence uuiing the New 0iuei.
The ioau to a peimanently moie open society was stiewn with
uifficulties. To continue the piocess of gieatei openness anu in oiuei to
uevelop a stiong civil society, the goveinment neeueu to achieve a numbei
of uelicate balances. It neeueu to ieuuce ethnic anu ieligious tensions while
encouiaging open uebate on Inuonesia's futuie. It neeueu to finu ways to
balance the economic inteiests of inuigenous Inuonesians anu Inuonesians
of Chinese ethnic backgiounus. It also neeueu to satisfy the uemanus of
people outsiue }ava foi gieatei local autonomy while holuing the uiveise
nation togethei anu continuing social, economic anu political iefoims.
0nfoitunately Wahiu pioveu to be a piesiuent incapable of auuiessing
these issues. While it is paitly tiue that such lofty expectations coulu nevei
have been satisfieu by any leauei given the extent of the pioblems at hanu, it
is also a fact that Wahiu was unueimineu by his own failuies of leaueiship.
Be antagoniseu the NPR anu vice Piesiuent Negawati, anu seemeu
unwilling to tackle a tioubleu economy, communal anu sepaiatist uniest anu
a political climate that hau moveu on since the twilight yeais of Suhaito.
Wahiu hau once been almost ieveieu by many Inuonesians, spanning
the entiie gamut of the ethnic, social anu ieligious uiviue as a man of pioven
wisuom, piagmatism anu moueiation. Yet aftei 2u months of his weak,
ineffectual anu sometimes eiiatic iule, many of his eistwhile suppoiteis
became uisillusioneu anu he seemeu oblivious to new political powei blocs
congealing aiounu him anu ueteimineu to see him ousteu.
Be was iemoveu fiom office by the People's Consultative Assembly
following a censuie motion stemming fiom allegations of his involvement in
giaft. Befiant to the last, he thieateneu to impose a militaiy-enfoiceu state of
emeigency anu uissolve pailiament, a move iejecteu as unconstitutional by
the chief of aimy. vice-Piesiuent Negawati Sukainoputii became piesiuent
on 2S }uly 2uu1.
Negawati set about tiying to uispel populai peiceptions of hei as
inuecisive anu blinkeieu by the stiiuent nationalism that hau so uominateu
hei fathei, Sukaino, but which hau less of a place in the Inuonesia of the 21st
centuiy. Peihaps the weight of populai expectations woulu have been too
gieat foi any one peison seeking to navigate a couise between stability anu
change, but by 2uuS she hau lost the confiuence of many of hei suppoiteis,
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 6u
both within the NPR anu out on the stieets. 0ne of hei key cabinet
appointments was a populai ietiieu geneial nameu Susilo Bambang
Yuuhoyono, who helu the position of Cooiuinating Ninistei foi Political
Affaiis, Secuiity anu Social Welfaie. In 2uu2, the NPR appioveu legislation
allowing foi the uiiect election of the piesiuent anu, in Naich 2uu4,
Yuuhoyono iesigneu his cabinet post, claiming Negawati hau faileu to
incluue him in hei uecision making. This paveu the way foi him to stanu as a
piesiuential canuiuate against hei.
In 0ctobei 2uu4, Yuuhoyono was ueclaieu the winnei of the countiy's
fiist uiiect piesiuential election, having uefeateu Negawati anu secuiing 61
pei cent of votes cast. Bis initial piomise to enact sweeping iefoim was
unueimineu by the massive social upheaval anu loss of life iesulting fiom
the 2uu4 Boxing Bay tsunami, which claimeu the lives of at least 164,uuu
Inuonesians, mainly in the noithein Sumatian piovince of Aceh. The
inteinational community iesponueu with piomises of multi-billion uollai
aiu packages but the tiauma anu economic consequences affecteu many
Inuonesians be-yonu the piovinces immeuiately hit. Nonetheless,
Yuuhoyono piojecteu an image of confiuence anu competence which
ieassuieu the investment community aftei the inuecisive leaueiship of
Wahiu anu Negawati.
Teiioiist bombings caiiieu out by al-Qaeua (AQ)-backeu opeiatives of
the }emaah Islamiah (}I) gioup in Kuta, Bali on 12 0ctobei, 2uu2 killeu 2u2
people÷incluuing 88 Austialian anu 26 Biitish touiists÷anu pioviueu a
majoi test of the goveinment's commitment to iesponu vigoiously by
coopeiating with the West in a sustaineu campaign against iegional
teiioiists while still puisuing a iefoimist agenua. The shoit-teim economic
consequences of the attacks weie eviuent in figuies which estimateu
financial losses as a iesult of foieign touiist cancellations on Bali alone to be
in excess of 0S$2 billion, with flow-on effects to all othei paits of the
national economy. Austialian goveinment tiavel wainings auvising against
non-essential tiavel to Inuonesia by its citizens iemain a souice of
contention between the two countiies, since they iestiict touiism anu
business investment. 0n the othei hanu, ongoing law enfoicement
coopeiation, capacity builuing anu intelligence shaiing between Inuonesian
anu foieign secuiity seivices (especially Austialia anu the 0niteu States) in
tiacking uown those iesponsible foi teiioiist acts inuicateu a ieneweu effoit
to auuiessing the issue of foieign-backeu haiuline Islamic gioups opeiating
within the countiy. Thiee of foui of those founu guilty of the attacks in Bali
weie sentenceu to ueath in 2uuS anu executeu in 2uu8, with a fouith
INDONESIA 61
ieceiving a life sentence. }I's spiiitual leauei, Abu Bakai Bashii, was not
chaigeu in ielation to the bombings uue to a lack of aumissible eviuence but
was founu guilty of subveision in 2uuS anu seiveu two yeais in piison.
Bashii's sentence was latei oveituineu following an appeal to the Supieme
Couit, but he hau alieauy seiveu his teim. }I anu loosely-aligneu splintei
gioups aie believeu to have been behinu a numbei of anti-Westein
bombings in Inuonesia between 2uuS anu 2uuS, incluuing attacks taigeting
}akaita's Naiiiott Botel (2uuS), the Austialian Embassy (2uu4), anu a
seconu attack in Bali (2uuS). Initially, many Inuonesians iemaineu
unconvinceu of the existence of Islamic teiioiist oiganisations in the
countiy but testimony fiom seveial convicteu teiioiists uuiing theii tiials
uispelleu most uoubts. Touay few Inuonesians suppoit the teiioiist gioups
oi theii methous anu a stiing of successes by Inuonesian police has left
teiioiist gioups such as }I splinteieu anu opeiationally incapable of
launching laige-scale attacks on the scale of the fiist Bali bombing. Links
between }I anu AQ have also been seveieu.
Nonetheless, Yuuhoyono neeueu to tieau caiefully to ensuie the
ciackuown on Islamic funuamentalism was not peiceiveu to be an attack on
Islam itself. Sometimes this meant panueiing to the wishes of Islamist
pailiamentaiians to ensuie theii continueu political suppoit. In 2uu8 he
enuoiseu a law pieventing membeis of the bieakaway Islamic sect
Ahmauiyah fiom pioselytising following a violent campaign by haiuline
Islamic gioups to have the sect completely banneu. Ahma-uiyah hau enjoyeu
a peaceful piesence in Inuonesia foi neaily a centuiy anu iestiictions on its
activities weie ciiticiseu by many commentatois at home anu abioau foi
being oppoitunistic anu contiaiy to the pluialist state iueology of (')*'%+,'.
In the same vein, his suppoit in the same yeai foi an anti-poinogiaphy bill
pioposeu by some Islamic political paities infuiiateu many libeials anu non-
Nuslims fiom places such as Bali anu the eastein piovinces, wheie
celebiation of the nakeu foim is seen as an intiinsic pait of local cultuie.
Some of the issues facing Inuonesia touay aie uistuibingly similai to
those faceu in the 19Sus, when the fiist attempt at uemociacy was ueiaileu
by Sukaino's ueclaiation of uuiueu Bemociacy in 19S9. Bowevei, Inuonesia
in the new millennium is veiy uiffeient fiom Inuonesia in 19S9. It has a
much stiongei institutional anu physical infiastiuctuie anu a laigei, bettei-
euucateu anu moie asseitive miuule class linkeu to the iueas anu
institutions of the outsiue woilu in ways unimaginable in the 19Sus.
Inuonesians aie fai moie inteinationally oiienteu÷the Communications
ievolution has hau a massive impact÷anu the economy is much moie
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 62
tightly enmesheu with the global economy. Theie aie consiueiable uomestic
anu inteinational piessuies foi this seconu attempt to cieate a moie
uemociatic anu open society to be successful.
Immeuiately following Suhaito's uepaituie fiom office, some
commentatois speculateu on the possible bieak-up of the Inuonesian state
as waves of ethnic anu ieligious uniest swept the aichipelago. In the uecaue
since then, commentatois have noteu with concein in paiticulai East
Timoi's succession anu inuepenuence (see Chaptei S), sepaiatism in Aceh
anu Papua (as Iiian }aya is now known) anu communal violence in cential
Sulawesi anu Naluku. The 2uu4 tsunami hit the Acehnese sepaiatist
movement (uAN) haiu, but succeeueu in focusing woilu attention on theii
plight anu pioveu to be a catalyst in a compiehensive agieement negotiateu
in Finlanu in 2uuS in which uAN agieeu to abanuon its aimeu inuepenuence
stiuggle, uisaim its fighteis anu accept the integiity of the Inuonesian state.
In ietuin, the piovince was gianteu "self iule" anu much gieatei contiol in
keeping anu uisbuising locally-iaiseu ievenues (incluuing oil anu gas
ioyalties). uAN was legaliseu anu coulu fieely opeiate as a political paity. Its
foimei fighteis weie gianteu an amnesty anu foieign obseiveis oveisaw the
phaseu withuiawal of the Inuonesian aimy fiom the piovince. Both siues
have laigely complieu with the teims of the agieement. In 2uu6, piovincial
anu uistiict elections÷pionounceu fiee anu faii by inteinational
obseiveis÷iesulteu in uAN-backeu canuiuates winning a convincing
majoiity of positions, incluuing goveinoi anu vice-goveinoi. Peace
agieements weie also ieacheu with waiiing communal gioups in cential
Sulawesi in 2uu1 anu with those in Naluku in 2uu2. At times spoiauic
outbieaks of violence still occui, but these aie usually quickly containeu by
local secuiity foices befoie they have a chance to spieau. Also too much
shoulu not be ieau into the case of East Timoi. Its inuepenuence is highly
unlikely to thieaten the futuie unity of the Inuonesian state as East Timoi
was, foi most Inuonesians, a special case, since the 0N anu most countiies
nevei foimally iecogniseu Inuonesia's annexation.
Elsewheie in Inuonesia the iuea of being Inuonesian is still stiong
among the élites, not only in }ava but thioughout the othei piovinces. Few
want to bieak up the nation. The hostility of non-}ava élites, until iecently
most obvious in Aceh, is uiiecteu not at the iuea of Inuonesia but at what
they see as the }avanisation of Inuonesia anu the unfaii uiainage of ievenue
to }ava unuei Suhaito's iule. A less centialiseu state, begun unuei Babibie
anu continueu by his successois, has uissipateu much of this tension.
Neveitheless, the stiuctuie of the Inuonesian state will continue to unueigo
INDONESIA 6S
change. In the uecaue aftei Suhaito's iesignation, the most pessimistic
scenaiio÷that Inuonesia woulu ieveit to an authoiitaiian state wheie the
funuamental uniesolveu issues iemain uniesolveu÷uiu lot eventuate. The
most optimistic scenaiio÷that a moie open anu uemociatic Inuonesia will
at last be able to uebate the funuamental questions of national iuentity anu
vision÷is now occuiiing. It will take time÷anu theie may well be many
uifficulties which will test the unity of the nation÷but if the moie optimistic
scenaiio is fully iealiseu, then Inuonesians may soon boast of possessing
aiguably most open anu uemociatic civil society in the whole of South-East
Asia.








































































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 66




















The Lao People's Bemociatic Republic oi Lao PBR (pieviously Laos) occupies
an aiea of some 2S7,uuu squaie kilometies but has a small population of S.9
million in 2uu9. It is a lanu-lockeu countiy, shaiing boiueis with Thailanu,
Buima, China, vietnam anu Cambouia. Nuch of it is mountainous, anu only
about five pei cent of the lanu is unuei continuous cultivation. Piimaiy oi
seconuaiy jungle (the lattei iesulting fiom tiansient slash-anu-buin faiming)
coveis 7S pei cent of lanu aiea.
As a nation, Laos is a semi-aitificial cieation of the colonial eia. The
Fiench ueviseu its boiueis, cutting thiough many uiveise ethno-linguistic
gioups. The pieponueiant Lao lowlanueis biought to the emeiging nation a
long histoiy of bittei uivision amongst themselves. Laos, as a neighboui of
vietnam, woulu also be wiackeu by iueological uivision anu wai foi Su yeais
aftei Woilu Wai II.
In 197S, the aiea of Laos was uniteu unuei one inuigenous goveinment
foi the fiist time in almost Suu yeais. The uoctiinaiie socialism of this
goveinment leu, howevei, to economic stagnation anu the flight of almost ten
pei cent of the countiy's population acioss the Nekong iivei into Thailanu.
Touay, the goveinment, at least ostensibly, puisues "maiket socialism",
welcoming uomestic anu foieign piivate enteipiise anu aiu fiom the
capitalist woilu. But the countiy's geogiaphy, ethnic complexity anu
tuibulent histoiy mean that Laos is staiting fiom fai behinu most South-East
Asian countiies in nation-builuing anu economic uevelopment. Even by
LAO PDR 67
official figuies, by 2uu2 a quaitei of the uiban anu a half of the iuial
population weie living below the poveity line, anu the 0N estimateu that
neaily half of all chiluien weie stunteu as a iesult of having an inauequate
uiet. The same piopoition of auults weie illiteiate.

TBE CREATI0N 0F LA0S ANB ITS EARLIER BIST0RY
The boiueis of the mouein state of Laos weie establisheu by the Fiench
colonial goveinment in the late 19th anu eaily 2uth centuiies. They weie
baseu piimaiily on Fiench stiategic anu auministiative consiueiations,
paying iegaiu to the iegion's human geogiaphy anu tiauitional political
ielationships wheie it suiteu the Fiench to uo so. They sliceu thiough ethnic
gioupings anu histoiic socio-political ties, aibitiaiily ueteimining the futuie
population of the countiy.
The population of the newly uefineu teiiitoiy was ielatively spaise -
about 819,uuu people weie counteu in 1921 - but nevei-the less ethnically
anu cultuially complex. A little ovei half the population weie of Tai ethno-
linguistic oiigin, one iesult of the gieat migiation which scholais believe
biought Tai peoples out of westein China into mainlanu South-East Asia
between the seventh anu 1Sth centuiies, anu ultimately locateu Tai stock not
only in mouein Thailanu, but also in eastein Buima, in Laos anu in noith-
west vietnam. People of Tai stock in Laos incluueu both the lowlanu-uwelling
Lao anu a numbei of uplanu-uwelling gioups of the noithein piovinces, such
as the Lu, Tai Neua anu Black, Reu anu White Tai (so nameu foi the piincipal
colouis in theii women's tiauitional costumes). Touay all these people aie
gioupeu as "lowlanuei Lao" (!"# !#%&).
The lowlanuei Lao became the uominant foice in the iegion, politically,
cultuially anu economically, but theii political stiuctuies weie not stiongly
integiateu. In the mountainous teiiain, iivaliies of family anu clan flouiisheu.
Foui seiies of iapius on the Nekong iivei, with lengthy stietches of watei
between them, tenueu to focus Lao society aiounu thiee uistinct centies;
fiom noith to south, Luang Piabang, vientiane (vieng Chan) anu Champassak.
The Tai people of the uplanus weie even less politically integiateu, although
the villages of each gioup weie oiganiseu into small piincipalities (&%#'()
piesiueu ovei by leaueis of uominant clans.
The seconu-most substantial ethno-linguistic giouping was uplanu-
uwelleis of Non-Khmei oiigin, piesumably uescenuants of the peoples who
hau settleu in the iegion befoie Tai immigiation.
The Tai-speakeis iefeiieu to them uispaiagingly as )*+") (slaves); touay they
aie gioupeu as "uplanu Lao" oi (Lao Theung). Both teiiiis encompass many
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 68
self-consciously uistinct communities with theii own names foi themselves.
Political oiganisation beyonu village level was iaie in these communities, but
occasionally they coulu unite, unuei paiticulaily chaiismatic chieftains, to
oppose lowlanuei exploitation.
Amongst the smallei ethno-linguistic gioupings, the most no-table by
the time of Fiench bounuaiy-uiawing weie people with languages of Tibeto-
Buiman oiigin, touay gioupeu as Lao Soung anu incluuing the Bmong anu
Yao, oi Nan. (The Bmong iesenteu the lowlanuei teim foi them, Neo, which
means "savage".) These people began to migiate into the aiea as iecently as
the late 18th oi eaily 19th centuiies anu settleu on uppei mountain slopes,
wheie amongst othei ciops, they giew the opium poppy. The Bmong shaieu a
myth of a futuie Bmong kinguom, but foi most piactical puiposes political
oiganisation was iaie beyonu the level of village chief.
Buman settlement in the iegion is known to uate back many centuiies
BC. The most famous eviuence of the iegion's pie-histoiy consists of the huge
stone moituaiy jais founu on the noith-cential Xieng Khouang plateau, which
have given the aiea the name "Plain of }ais". Little is known about the society
which cieateu the jais, which uate fiom the last centuiies BC into the eaily
Chiistian eia. The known histoiy of the iegion follows fiom the Tai
migiations mentioneu above. In the 1Sth centuiy, Tai people constiucteu
theii fiist states, uiawing togethei hitheito tiibal communities unuei iuleis
claiming quasi-uivine authoiity anu kingly status. Examples of such states
weie Chiang Nai anu Sukhotai (both locateu in what is now Thailanu) anu
Luang Piabang.
The exact oiigins of Luang Piabang aie shiouueu in myth but theie, in
1S16, a ioyal piince, Fa Ngum, was boin. Be was biought up in the ioyal couit
of the gieat kinguom of Angkoi, which then claimeu an empiie extenuing ovei
much of mouein Thailanu, cential anu southein Laos, Cambouia anu southein
vietnam. Fa Ngum maiiieu a Khmei piincess anu became a uevout Theiavaua
Buuuhist. With Khmei foices he biought unuei his contiol laige aieas to
Angkoi's noith anu in 1SSS establisheu the kinguom of Lan Xang ("a million
elephants"), with his capital at Luang Piabang.
Initially a tiibutaiy of Angkoi, Lan Xang, became an autonomous
kinguom as Angkoi ueclineu. Foi seveial centuiies its powei was aiguably as
significant as the giowing Thai state (baseu on the city of Ayuuhya) to its
west, anu the giowing vietnamese state to its east. At its height, Lan Xang
contiolleu, at least in loose, tiibutaiy fashion, teiiitoiies consiueiably moie
extensive than those of mouein Laos, incluuing much of mouein Thailanu's
LAO PDR 69
noith anu east anu ieaching ¡nto the south of mouein China anu the noith-
west of mouein vietnam.
Lan Xang was a Buuuhist kinguom anu, foi long peiious, a ienowneu
centie of Buuuhist scholaiship. Bowevei, its Buuuhist piactices took on a
uistinctively Lao iuentity as the ieligion assimilateu the tiauitional animist
beliefs anu iituals of the iegion. Buuuhism also acteu as a conuuit foi iueas,
Inuian in oiigin, of society as uivinely-oiuaineu hieiaichy. Lan Xang's polity
caine bioauly to iesemble those of its Theiavaua Buuuhist neighbouis, the
Buimese, Thai anu Cambouian states. The king anu aiistociacy ueseiveu
ieveience, taxes anu seivices fiom theii subjects because of theii supeiioi
"meiit" anu pious suppoit of Buuuhism. Such politico-ieligious social
integiation extenueu only to the lowlanuei Lao, howevei. The "Kha"
(uplanueis) mostly iesisteu Buuuhism, clinging to theii uiveise animist
beliefs anu local inuepenuence. Anu even among the lowlanueis, Lan Xang's
iuggeu geogiaphy anu necessaiily uecentialiseu auministiation by iegional
oveiloius militateu against a lastingly stiong state.
Neveitheless, Lan Xang weatheieu inteinal iivaliies, wais with the
Thais anu vietnamese, anu a geneiation of Buimese oveiloiuship in the late
16th centuiy. In the 17th centuiy, now with vientiane as its capital, Lan Xang
ieacheu its height unuei King Souligna vongsa, who caine to the thione in
16S7 aftei uefeating foui iival claimants anu ieigneu foi a iemaikable S7
yeais. Be negotiateu goou ielations with the neighbouiing states, anu within
the kinguom gaineu a ieputation foi fiim, just iule. The fiist Euiopean
visitois to vientiane iepoiteu on the city's piospeiity anu imposing ieligious
builuings.
But, in an act woithy of epic tiageuy, Souligna vongsa iefuseu to
inteivene when his only son seuuceu the wife of a senioi couit official anu,
unuei the pievailing law on such matteis, was sentenceu to ueath. Souligna
vongsa uieu in 1694 without a uiiect heii, anu the subsequent iivaliies foi
the thione, exploiteu by the vietnamese anu Thais, leu to the kinguom's
iiievocable bieak up.
In the eaily 18th centuiy the cities of Luang Piabang anu vientiane
became the capitals of antagonistic states, the lattei unuei vietnamese
pationage. In the south, Champassak fell unuei Thai pationage. In the miu
18th centuiy the Buimese became pieuatoiy again, ieuucing Luang Piabang
to subjection anu menacing vientiane. Rathei than suppoiting one anothei,
the mutually hostile Lao states encouiageu these outsiue poweis to subuue
theii Lao iivals. The unhappy centuiy closeu with vientiane unuei Thai
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 7u
oveiloiuship, although vientiane inuepenuently attackeu anu sackeu Luang
Piabang in 1791.
In 18uS, the Lao piince Chao Anou became iulei at vientiane, anu won
Thai anu vietnamese appioval to ieintégiate the cential anu southein
piovinces. In 1826, howevei, Chao Anou acteu on a iumoui (which pioveu
false) that the Biitish weie attacking Bangkok. Chao Anou anu his foices,
eagei to join in the humbling of the Thais, almost ieacheu Bangkok befoie
being iepelleu. Chao Anou fleu, ultimately taking sheltei fiom Thai vengeance
in vietnam.
These events openeu a uecaue of uevastation foi the vientiane state. In
1828, Thai foices sackeu vientiane anu uiove many thou-sanus of the
population westwaiu into teiiitoiy unuei Bangkok contiol. vientiane anu
Champassak became minoi Thai piovinces. Chao Anou was captuieu by the
Thais when he ietuineu to his teiiitoiy with ineffective vietnamese backing;
he uieu in Bangkok in 18SS, biinging the vientiane monaichy to an enu.
Neanwhile, vietnam was foicefully asseiting its claims in the eastein
piovinces, paiticulaily in Xieng Khouang. The vietnamese weie piobably
content to take the east while the Thais took the west anu south, but in 18SS,
simultaneously with a Thai-vietnamese clash in Cambouia, the Thais sent a
foicé against the vietnamese gaiiison in Xieng Khouang. The Thais weie
helpeu by foices fiom Luang Piabang, anu by a local upiising in Xieng
Khouang against the vietnamese. As with vientiane, the Thais auopteu a
"scoicheu-eaith" policy in Xieng Khouang, uepoiting westwaiu up to 8u pei
cent of the population (although some weie able to ietuin latei). Thai-
vietnamese waifaie continueu until 18SS, anu concluueu with the
vietnamese uominant in the east, as they hau wisheu, anu the Thais uominant
in the westein anu southein piovinces. The suiviving noitheily kinguom of
Luang Piabang piuuently acknowleugeu the oveiloiuship of both its
neighbouis, though foi piactical puiposes it, too, was within the Thai oibit.

!"#$%& %($)*#+, -$. "*/# ,( 0123
The Fiench takeovei of Cambouia anu vietnam between the 186us anu 188S
leu to keen Fiench inteiest in the Lao teiiitoiies foi seveial ieasons. They
saw (wiongly) the Nekong as a potentially majoi tiaue ioute with China.
They feaieu Thai inteiests in the teiiitoiies, which they believeu might be
championeu (also wiongly, as it tianspiieu) by theii impeiial iival, Biitain.
Fiom the 187us, noithein Laos anu vietnam weie uistuibeu by aimeu banus
of ienegaue Chinese (collectively iefeiieu to by the Thai teim "Bo") anu the
Fiench weie anxious to pacify these aieas. Finally, by 188S, the Fiench
LAO PDR 71
contiolleu the vietnamese empeioi's claims to oveiloiuship in the Lao
teiiitoiies.
The Thais hau been senuing aimeu foices to Luang Piabang anu othei aieas
in an attempt to subuue the Bo anu confiont possible piench inteivention.
But in 1887 they weie uiamatically outma-noeuvieu by the Fiench exploiei
Auguste Pavie, who iescueu the king of Luang Piabang when the Bo attackeu
anu sackeu his city. King 0n Kham giatefully accepteu Fiench piotection foi
his kinguom. Pavie went on to negotiate similai piotection foi othei iegional
oveiloius.
In 189S (with Fiench gunboats menacing Bangkok) Thailanu
ieluctantly signeu a Fianco-Siamese tieaty which tiansfeiieu to the Fiench
all Lao teiiitoiies east of the Nekong. Fuithei agieements in 19u4 anu 19u7
auueu to "Laos" the paits of Sayabouiy anu Champassak piovinces west of
the Nekong. Bowevei, foi most of its couise thiough histoiically Lao teiiitoiy
the Nekong hau now become an inteinational fiontiei. The agieements on
othei boiueis with Biitish Buima, China anu with Fiench-contiolleu vietnam
similaily conflicteu with the histoiic settlement patteins anu movements of
Lao anu othei people of the iegion.
The Fiench soon caine to iegaiu Laos as a quiet backwatei, when they
iealizeu that it coulu offei no iapiu economic ietuin of any significance. Nost
people of the iegion continueu as subsistence faimeis, the lowlanueis
giowing wet iice anu the uplanueis puisuing slash-anu-buin cultivation. The
colony's most impoitant piouucts became tin, mineu by vietnamese woikeis,
anu opium, giown by the Bmong anu othei mountain-uwelleis. The tin
contiibuteu only a tiny peicentage of the total expoits of Fiench Inuochina
(Laos, vietnam anu Cambouia). 0pium, on the othei hanu, became Laos'
single gieatest ievenue eainei when puiveyeu by a Fiench state monopoly
thioughout Inuochina. An illegal opium tiaue also flouiisheu with China,
uespite official Fiench effoits to contiol it.
The Fiench auministiation of Laos (technically now the piotecteu
kinguom of Luang Piabang plus nine Lao piovinces) was lightly staffeu. Nuch
auministiation was caiiieu out using tiauitional authoiity stiuctuies anu
vietnamese minoi officials. vietnamese public seivants, tiaueis anu
piofessionals caine to pieuominate in Laos' small uiban population. Chinese
also caine to play a significant iole in Laos' tiaue. ueneially the Lao
lowlanueis accepteu the Fiench anu othei outsiueis, but mountain-uwelling
gioups iose in ievolt on seveial occasions. They weie piotesting against

A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 72
taxation anu coivée uemanus possibly imposeu inequitably, even coiiuptly,
by officials fiom the tiauitionally iesenteu lowlanus.
Piioi to Woilu Wai II, moueinisation in Laos was extiemely limiteu.
The telegiaph anu aiounu S,uuu kilometies of ioaus (mostly unpaveu) easeu
Communications, but 9u pei cent of the population iemaineu in subsistence
agiicultuie. Bealth caie anu othei social seivices weie confineu to the towns,
anu no Westein-style euucation was available in Laos beyonu piimaiy level
(most piimaiy euucation was conuucteu in the Buuuhist temple schools). The
Lao élite went to vietnam oi Fiance to acquiie an euucation, ietuining to
foim a small ioyal anu aiistociatic uppei class, anu a fleugling Lao miuule
class composeu of public seivants, policemen anu soluieis, piimaiy teacheis
anu the like.

4("/. 4-" 55 -$. ,&# !5"+, 5$.(%&5$- 4-"6 012370182
In 194u the Thais, taking auvantage of }apanese piessuies on the Fiench anu
with }apanese suppoit, occupieu the Lao piovinces west of the Nekong.
(These woulu be ietuineu to the Fiench in 1947.) Bowevei, the Fiench
ietaineu auministiative contiol in most of Inuochina, unuei an agieement
with the }apanese which alloweu the fiee movement of }apanese foices. Thus,
most of Laos stayeu unuei Fiench supeivision until 9 Naich, 194S, when the
}apanese inteineu all Fiench peisonnel in Inuochina.
The wai yeais befoie Naich 194S neveitheless biought significant
change. The Fiench, seeking to buttiess Lao populai suppoit, began to
stimulate Lao nationalist piiue. A "national ienovation movement" stageu
iallies anu paiaues, built schools anu othei amenities, fosteieu Lao music,
uance anu liteiatuie, anu leu to the fiist Lao newspapei. The fiist explicitly
Lao infantiy battalion was foimeu, unuei Fiench contiol, in 194S. As
elsewheie in South-East Asia, theiefoie, nationalist politicisation was a
featuie of the wai yeais in Laos, although the Lao movement focuseu only on
the Lao lowlanueis.
Aftei Naich 194S the pace quickeneu. In Apiil, the king of Luang
Piabang was obligeu by the }apanese to iepuuiate the Fiench anu ueclaie
Laos "inuepenuent". In August, when the }apanese suiienueieu to the Allies,
politiciseu Lao people weie split between those who acquiesceu in a Fiench
ietuin anu those who saw the oppoitunity to set up a genuinely inuepenuent
state. The lattei foimeu the Lao Issaia (Fiee Laos) anu set up a piovisional
goveinment.

LAO PDR 7S
By now, howevei, an auuitional complication foi Lao nationalism was
taking shape. Between August anu Septembei 194S, Bo Chi Ninh's
communists seizeu contiol in noithein vietnam anu set up the pemociatic
Republic of vietnam (BRv). Some Lao Issaia, seeking allies, establisheu ties
with the BRv, which eageily backeu the anti-fiench movement in Laos. The
political contenueis in Laos - anu the entiie population - weie about to be
suckeu into the maelstiom cieateu by the auvent of communism in the iegion
anu by Fiench - anu latei Ameiican - effoits to eliminate oi contain it.
The Fiench iecaptuieu Laos by Nay 1946, anu leauing Lao Issaia
figuies fleu, some to Bangkok anu some to link up with the BRv gueiilla
foices (the vietminh) battling the Fiench in vietnam. In the late 194us, Lao
gueiilla gioups uevelopeu along the mountainous Laos-vietnam boiuei,
aiueu by vietminh know-how anu supplies. Significantly, these gioups won
the suppoit of some uplanuei com-munities hitheito alienateu fiom the Lao
nationalist movement. The uplanueis may have been ieciuiteu with some
cynicism by the Lao anu vietminh - who piimaiily vieweu the uplanueis as
impoitant foi theii stiategically valuable teiiitoiy anu local knowleuge - but
tians-communal nationalist coopeiation hau at last maue a stait.
Neanwhile, the Lao Issaia gioup in Bangkok was uisintegiating. The
Fiench, anxious to pacify Laos in oiuei to focus on the conflict in vietnam,
maue a seiies of concessions to Lao feelings which unueicut the hostility of
many Lao Issaia towaius the iestoieu Fiench piesence. In 1946, the Fiench
appointeu the Luang Piabang monaich as king of all Laos, anu also peimitteu
an electeu national assembly, leauing to a national goveinment. In 1949, they
ueclaieu Laos "inuepenuent", though they ietaineu ultimate contiol of the
kinguom's aimeu foices, foieign policy anu finances. The concessions weie
enough, neveitheless, to woo many Lao Issaia back to Laos unuei amnesty.
Notable amongst the ietuinees was the ioyal Piince Souvanna Phouma,
who became piime ministei following elections in 19S1. Bowevei, his half-
biothei, Piince Souphanouvong, in an echo of the countiy's histoiy of iuling-
class uissension, thiew in his lot with the vietminh-backeu gueiilla foices. In
August 19Su, Souphanouvong became piime ministei of the newly foimeu
Pathet Lao ("Lanu of the Lao"), a fiont oiganisation open to all Lao patiiots
though tightly contiolleu by committeu communists. Anothei key pioneei
Pathet Lao figuie, as uefence ministei, was the Lao-viet communist Kaysone
Phomvihan, who was uestineu to become Laos' fiist anu long-lasting
communist piime ministei.


A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 74
By eaily 19S4, Pathet Lao foices contiolleu laige aieas of the noith anu
noith-east of Laos, incluuing the Plain of }ais anu the piovincial town of Sam
Neua. They hau been significantly helpeu in theii auvance by majoi vietminh
incuisions into Laos in Apiil 19SS anu }anuaiy 19S4. The Pathet Lao was not
inviteu to the ueneva Confeience, conveneu by the gieat poweis in Nay 19S4
in the hope of settling the Inuochina conflicts, but the Confeience iecogniseu
Pathet Lao stiength anu acknowleugeu its iight to auministei the teiiitoiy it
helu. The confeience calleu, howevei, foi the integiation of the Pathet Lao
with the Royal Lao goveinment anu aimeu foices, anu foi the neutialisation
of Laos.

TBE FAIL0RE 0F "NE0TRALISATI0N", 19S4-1964
Following the ueneva Confeience, the Fiench speeuily withuiew fiom
Inuochina. In Laos the negotiations foi a new, integiateu national goveinment
woulu piove toituous anu long. The Pathet Lao was ueteimineu to entei a
coalition only on stiong teims, anu was waiy of giowing Ameiican influence
in Laos. In vientiane, the moueiate Souvanna Phouma was swept asiue by 0S-
suppoiteu iight-wingeis, who hau gaineu the uppei hanu in the national
assembly anu Royal Lao aimeu foices.
Elections in Becembei 19SS leu, howevei, to Souvanna's ietuin to the
piime ministeiship on a platfoim of national ieconciliation. In August 19S6,
Souvanna anu the Pathet Lao leaueiship agieeu on bioau pioposals foi a
"goveinment of national union". Elections foi 21 extia assembly seats weie
finally helu in Nay 19S8, with paities aligneu with the Pathet Lao acquiiing
1S of these. Souphanouvong enteieu the goveinment as a senioi economic
ministei. Anothei Pathet Lao leauei, Phoumi vongvichit, also acquiieu a
ministiy.
The aiiangements weie a uubious iecipe foi stability. In }une 19S8,
Souvanna was again foiceu fiom office by the iightists, anu the succeeuing
goveinment went on to iule by ueciee. Souphanouvong anu the othei leftist
ueputies weie aiiesteu, although they latei escapeu with the aiu of theii
guaius anu ietuineu to Pathet Lao teiiitoiy in the east. Pathet Lao tioops
who hau been awaiting integiation with the Royal Lao foices weie uisaimeu,
but many of them too escapeu back to Pathet Lao teiiitoiy. By }uly 19S9
gueiilla waifaie was again in full swing in the noith anu noith-east. 0niteu
States aiu to the Royal Lao foices shaiply incieaseu. Simultaneously, CÍA
peisonnel began to foim "special foices" in Laos, attiacting suppoit among
the Bmong in paiticulai. With CIA assistance Bmong opium output began to
finu vast new maikets in South vietnam, Thailanu anu beyonu.
LAO PDR 7S
The conflict incieaseu in complexity in August 196u, when foices leu by
a young paiatioop captain, Kong Le, seizeu vientiane anu uemanueu a
iestoiation of neutiality. Souvanna Phouma agieeu tu ietuin as piime
ministei, anu subsequently ieacheu an agieement with Souphanouvong on
behalf of the Pathet Lao. In Becembei 196u, howevei, Royal Lao tioops unuei
iightist commanu stoimeu vientiane. Kong Le, his tioops anu Souvanna fleu
to the Pathet Lao-contiolleu Plain of }ais. The communist woilu anu some
non-aligneu nations (such as Inuia) now uphelu Souvanna as Laos' iightful
piime ministei. The 0niteu States anu the West iecogniseu a new militaiy-
contiolleu vientiane goveinment, technically unuei anothei piince, Boun
0um, as piime ministei.
Bespite Ameiican intiigue in Laos up to this point, the incoming 0niteu
States piesiuent in }anuaiy 1961, }ohn Kenneuy, concluueu that a neutial
Laos was uesiiable. Neutiality, it was hopeu, woulu exeluue BRv foices fiom
using the "Bo Chi Ninh Tiail", much of which ian thiough Laos, to ieinfoice
anu supply NLF ("vietcong") foices now fighting the iegime in South vietnam.
In Nay 1961, anothei ueneva Confeience calleu once moie foi the
neutialisation of Laos. In }une, the thiee Lao piinces, Boun 0um, Souvanna
Phouma, anu Souphanouvong, agieeu to a seconu attempt at coalition
goveinment.
The new goveinment caine into existence in }uly 1962, with Souvanna
as piime ministei. The coalition leu a tenuous existence, beset by tension,
piovocation anu assassination, until miu 1964 when its Pathet Lao
component effectively abanuoneu it, latei uismissing it as a "0S puppet".
Souvanna helu on as piime ministei, but he anu othei neutialists weie now
ieuuceu to iiielevance. Laos was becoming one of the key theaties of wai in
the shaiply escalating conflict in vietnam.

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Seciet 0niteu States bombing of Pathet Lao aieas began in Nay 1964. By the
late 196us, anu into the eaily 197us, the bombing was massive, attempting
'satuiation' uestiuction of the manifolu bianches of the Bo Chi Ninh Tiail. It
cieateu an estimateu 7Su,uuu iefugees in Laos, anu nightmaiish conuitions
foi Pathet Lao foices, but it nevei closeu the Tiail, oi eliminateu Pathet Lao
heauquaiteis anu netwoiks. 0n the giounu, the Royal Lao anu "seciet" foices
(anu also substantial Thai foices) engageu each yeai in a "uiy season" wai
with the Pathet Lao. Foi many yeais the pattein of teiiitoiies helu by the
opposing foices uiu not altei significantly. By 1972, howevei, the Pathet Lao
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 76
was beginning to gain giounu, backeu by an incieasingly optimistic anu well-
aimeu BRv.
In Paiis, the BRv was engageu in seiious peace talks with the 0niteu
States, which woulu leau to the }anuaiy 197S agieements unuei which the
0niteu States withuiew its giounu tioops fiom vietnam. The Pathet Lao,
puisuing a policy paiallel to that of the BRv, offeieu in 1972 to talk with the
vientiane goveinment "with-out pieconuitions". In Febiuaiy 197S, the two
siues ieacheu an Agieement on the Restoiation of Peace anu Reconciliation in
Laos.
The agieement pioviueu foi cessation of hostilities, aftei which the two siues
woulu auministei theii iespective teiiitoiies, anu foi the withuiawal of
foieign tioops. The 0niteu States anu Thailanu with-uiew theii militaiy
peisonnel, though the BRv continueu to use the Bo Chi Ninh Tiail. Fuithei
uetaileu agieements leu to the foimation of two bouies on which both the
vientiane goveinment anu the Pathet Lao weie iepiesenteu. These weie the
Piovisional uoveinment of National 0nion, in which Souvanna Phouma
became piime ministei, anu a National Political Consultative Council (NPCC),
of which Souphanouvong became chaiiman.
The NPCC subsequently committeu itself to the ietention of the
monaichy anu to geneially libeial political anu economic piinciples. Pathet
Lao goveinment ministeis also acteu moueiately, ieassuiing many Lao
people. The Pathet Lao goal of taking ovei the goveinment iemaineu,
howevei, anu the ciicumstances seemeu to be favouiing the achievement of
that goal. Rightist moiale was sinking as the 0niteu States, step by step,
wounu back its commitments in Inuochina. Coiiuption anu self-seeking -
which hau long been uebilitating factois in the Royal Lao goveinment aiea -
intensifieu as feais giew that the 0S aiu bonanza was coming to an enu.
Even so, the Pathet Lao moveu cautiously when, in Apiil 197S, communist
foices toppleu the iegimes in Saigon anu Phnom Penh. Pathet Lao tioops
engageu the Bmong "seciet aimy", but in the lowlanus the Pathet Lao ielieu
on staging a "populai ievolution". In Apiil anu Nay, mass uemonstiations
against 0S piopeities anu Lao iightists leu to the winu-back of all Ameiican
activity othei than uiplomatic iepiesentation, anu piopelleu the flight fiom
Laos of people iuentifieu with the foimei vientiane goveinment. The flight
intensifieu when the Royal Lao foices weie taken ovei by a pio-Pathet Lao
commanuei in August. In Novembei, following fuithei uemonstiations, the
King abuicateu anu Souvanna Phouma steppeu uown as piime ministei.

LAO PDR 77
0n 1 anu 2 Becembei, 197S, a "National Congiess of People's
oepiesentatives" voteu unanimously to establish the Lao People's Bemociatic
Republic, to be goveineu by the Lao People's Revolutionaiy Paity. Piince
Souphanouvong became the new iepublic's fiist piesiuent, a position he helu
until his ietiiement in 1986. Kaysone phomvihan became piime ministei, a
position he ietaineu until 1991 when Khamtay Siphanuon succeeueu him anu
latei became piesiuent in 1998.

/-(+ +5$%# 01<8
Aftei 197S, the new goveinment imposeu uoctiinaiie socialist policies on
Laos. State tiauing oiganisations ieplaceu piivate tiaue, anu Laos' small
inuustiies weie nationaliseu. The piopeities of "tiaitois" weie expiopiiateu.
Political anu social uiscouise became iigiuly contiolleu, anu those peiceiveu
to be opponents of the iegime weie eliminateu oi consigneu to "ie-euucation"
centeis. In 1978, the ieoiganisation of agiicultuie into coopeiatives began.
These policies aggiavateu the conuitions cieateu by Su yeais of political
upheaval anu wai, the withuiawal of 0S aiu anu an economic blockaue
imposeu by Thailanu. The ueclining economic situation anu the political
oppiession leu to the exouus as iefugees of as much as ten pei cent of the
population. By 1979, Laos hau lost the majoiity of its euucateu anu skilleu
people.
The intiouuction of coopeiatives ÷ the policy which most uiiectly
affecteu the majoiity of the peasant population - met with passive but intense
opposition. Baivest yielus weie catastiophically less than hopeu foi, anu, in
miu-1979, the policy was abiuptly uioppeu. This about-tuin heialueu a seiies
of measuies which woulu giauually fiee up the countiy's economy. In
Novembei 1979, piivate piouuction was again encouiageu, anu state
enteipiises weie obligeu to incluue in theii goals efficiency, piouuctivity anu
piofit. In 1982, a ieoiganisation of goveinment left the olu guaiu in supieme
contiol but intiouuceu "technociats" at vice-ministeiial level, uecentialiseu
some uecision-making, anu libeialiseu foieign tiaue, piivate investment anu
joint state-piivate enteipiise.
These anu latei changes to the commanu economy piovokeu some
tensions within the iuling gioup. But in the late 198us anu eaily 199us, the
collapse of Soviet anu Euiopean communism, the iesulting loss of aiu, anu the
giowing economic libeialisation in vietnam anu China, piouuceu uecisive
moves towaius a maiket economy. Bowevei, Laos iemains a one-paity,
theoietically socialist, state. Paity uiktat can oveiiiue law anu
institutionalizeu pioceuuies. Coiiuption, anu the builuing of powei bases
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 78
thiough nepotism anu "peisonal favois", also complicate economic
uevelopment. This was a theme auuiesseu with unusual canuoui by vice-
Piesiuent Xaysomphone Phomvihane (son of the late Piesiuent Kaysone) in
2uu7. Be ueclaieu that coiiuption by paity anu state officials hau become the
countiy's piincipal social ill, followeu by ciime anu uiug abuse. Be aumitteu
that anti-coiiuption legislation enuoiseu in 2uuS hau uone little to auuiess
this. That legislation was uesigneu to augment a 1999 anti-coiiuption ueciee
anu the establishment of a countei-coiiuption committee unuei the 0ffice of
the Piime Ninistei. 0nlike vietnam anu China, wheie uishonest senioi
officials have been ioutinely maue an example of anu piosecuteu, this is still
seluom the case in Laos. In fact the 0S State Bepaitment has assesseu that
coiiuption is on the inciease.
With its small population, lack of infiastiuctuie anu lanu-lockeu
position, Laos is unlikely to shake off quickly its status as one of South-East
Asia's pooiest countiies, in spite of its libeial policies on foieign investment.
Subsistence faiming is likely to iemain the chief usei of laboui foi some time,
anu the chief means of suivival foi most Lao people. As mentioneu in the
intiouuction, the "uual economy", wheieby an economically unuevelopeu
iuial backwatei exists uneasily alongsiue the moie auvanceu capital city, has
leu to inteinal migiation anu some social upheaval as iuial people seek to
impiove theii piospects. By the goveinment's own figuies, in 2uu1 a quaitei
of vientiane's inhabitants anu ovei half the people living outsiue the capital
liveu below the poveity line. Bowevei, Laos uoes have the potential foi
sustaineu economic giowth. By the tuin of the centuiy, foieign enteipiises
weie heavily involveu in ueveloping a numbei of hyuio-electiic piojects,
piincipally to sell powei to Thailanu anu vietnam. 0thei aieas of potential
uevelopment aie mining, commeicial agiicultuie, touiism anu limiteu aieas
of manufactuiing.
Neanwhile Laos' infiastiuctuie is impioving with vaiious foims of
inteinational assistance. An Austialian-financeu biiuge acioss the Nekong,
which linkeu Laos anu Thailanu by ioau in 1994, anu the expansion anu
upgiauing of ioaus within Laos mean that it is be-coming possible to uiive
fiom Singapoie to Beijing, via Laos. In 2uu1, the Lao anu Thai goveinments
jointly announceu an auuitional 1.S-kilometie biiuge woulu be built to
piomote cioss-boiuei tiaue. Some Lao see theii countiy's futuie as a
tianspoit hub, linking noith-east Thailanu with the vietnamese poit of Ba
Nang on an east-west axis anu southein China with Thailanu, Nalaysia anu
Singapoie on the noith-south axis. Feais of social anu enviionmental - not to
mention political - consequences of Lao uevelopment have been at the
LAO PDR 79
foiefiont of national uebate in the last few yeais. In 199S, the goveinment
launcheu a ciackuown on "countei-ievolutionaiy activities": a cleai message
that economic libeialisation shoulu not be inteipieteu as leauing to an enu of
the iuling paity's monopoly on powei. Such themes weie unambiguously
iestateu in 1997 when the countiy was aumitteu to ASEAN anu was buffeteu
in the same yeai by the flow-on effects of the Asian economic ciisis which
oiiginateu in Thailanu. Although 2.S million iegisteieu voteis weie
encouiageu to vote in nationwiue elections helu in 2uu2, the iuling Lao
People's Revolutionaiy Paity was assuieu a sweeping victoiy as all but one of
the canuiuates peimitteu to stanu weie paity membeis. At the Seventh Paity
Congiess in 2uu1, foieign aiu uonois - whose contiibutions pioviue a thiiu of
national income - weie uisappointeu by a failuie to commit to iefoim of the
unwieluy state sectoi. Inueeu, the piivate sectoi was not even mentioneu. At
the Eighth Paity Congiess in 2uu6, Piesiuent Khamtay Siphanuon stoou asiue
in favoi of Lt-uen. Choummali Siagnason. Bouasone Bouphavanh was
enuoiseu as the new Piime Ninistei. Six out of 11 of the key politbuio
positions (incluuing five of the six most senioi ioles among these) continueu
to be occupieu by foimei militaiy officeis. The influence of the militaiy on
goveinment has theiefoie not lesseneu.
The goveinment has yet to match its somewhat limiteu economic
iefoim with much tangible political iefoim. It may have to, howevei, as Laos
is uiawn inexoiably into the economic anu social cuiients sweeping the iest
of the iegion.
































































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 82





















Noie than 6u ethnic oi cultuially uiffeientiateu gioups can be enumeiateu in
Nalaysia's population of 27 million, but the most ciucial population uivision
is that between Bumiputeia anu non-Bumiputeia people. The Bumiputeias
aie those with cultuial affinities inuigenous to peninsulai anu Boinean
Nalaysia anu the iegion. Nalays constitute the piincipal Bumiputeia gioup
anu account foi aiounu 64 pei cent of Nalaysia's population. Non-
Bumiputeias aie people whose cultuial affinities lie outsiue Nalaysia anu its
iegion - piincipally people of Chinese anu Inuian uescent. Chinese constitute
about 27 pei cent of Nalaysia's population, Inuians about eight pei cent.
The Nalays have a long histoiy anu, since the 1Sth centuiy, an Islamic
cultuie in which they take piiue. In the colonial eia, howevei, theii cultuial
woilu - extenuing acioss the Nalay Peninsula anu Inuonesian Aichipelago -
was uiviueu by Westein colonial poweis. In Biitish Nalaya anu noithein
Boineo, Nalays weie ielegateu to minoi social ioles anu viitually excluueu
fiom the foieign-financeu moueinising economy, which utiliseu immigiant
laboui. Nalaysia's histoiy since Woilu Wai II has been piimaiily the stoiy of
the ieasseition of Nalay piimacy without piecipitating seiious iacial uiscoiu.
Nalaysia's stability has enableu vast economic giowth since the 197us. The
stability has, howevei, been at the expense of some elements of the
uemociatic system with which Nalaysia began as an inuepenuent nation.
Nalay auvancement has also hau an iionic political consequence - nowauays
MALAYSIA 8S
iifts anu iivaliies within the Nalay coinniunity neeu as much auioit political
management as the uiffeiences between Nalaysia's ethnic gioups.

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The eaily histoiy of the teiiitoiies which now foim Nalaysia is shauowy, a
mattei of ciyptic aichaeological clues anu obscuie iefeiences in Chinese anu
othei wiitten souices. The limiteu eviuence suggests, howevei, that in the
fiist millennium AB both the Nalay Peninsula anu the noithein Boineo coast
weie impoitant lanufalls foi meichant vessels involveu in the gieat maiitime
tiauing netwoiks that linkeu South-East Asia with Afiica, the Niuule East,
Inuia anu China. Poit cities aiose on the Peninsula anu on Boineo as they uiu
elsewheie in South-East Asia, offeiing meichants safe haiboiage,
tiansshipment facilities anu collection points foi the iegion's piizeu
commouities: golu, tin anu othei mineials, iaie woous, iesins anu othei
jungle piouuce, toitoiseshell, cowiies anu othei maiine piouuce, anu -
supiemely - spices.
Nalay histoiy is often seen as beginning, howevei, in southein
Sumatia, scholais believe that between the seventh anu 14th centuiies the
Palembang iegion of southein Sumatia was the focus of a majoi maiitime
empiie. They have calleu the cential impeiial state Sii vijaya, though
eviuence about it is fiagmentaiy anu inconclusive. Neai Sii vijaya, anu at
times possibly its capital, was a place calleu Nelayu, peihaps the ciaule of
Nalay cultuie. The Sii vijayan empiie at its height piobably uominateu the
tiaue of most of Sumatia, the Nalay Peninsula, westein }ava anu westein
Boineo. It enjoyeu Chinese anu Inuian pationage, anu, like most of South-East
Asia in the fiist millennium AB, it boiioweu anu auapteu Inuian cultuie anu
ieligion. Its ieligion was piobably a vaiiant of Nahayana Buuuhism.

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In the 14th centuiy, Sii vijaya was suppiesseu by the }avanese kinguom of
Najapahit, a iival foi contiol of aichipelago tiaue. Refugees fiom Sii vijaya
moveu noith to the Riau-Lingga islanus, then on to Singapoie islanu anu
othei locations befoie eventually founuing the city of Nelaka (Nalacca). The
!"#$%$& (")$*+ (the "Nalay Annals") has it that theii leauei, Sultan Iskanuai,
was out hunting one uay when one of his uogs was kickeu by a mouseueei,
noimally the most timiu anu tiemulous of animals. Be took the mouseueei's
couiage as a fine omen foi the founuing of a new city.


A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 84
Founueu about 14uu, Nelaka woulu enjoy a centuiy of gieat-ness, both
as a majoi tiaue centie anu as a gieat cultuial centie. Nelakan Nalay cultuie
woulu be aumiieu anu auopteu in many paits of the peninsula anu
aichipelago, incluuing noithein Boineo. Tales of Nelaka's wealth anu
influence woulu ieach even Euiope, making it a piime taiget foi conquest
when Westeineis saileu into the Eastein seas.
Nelaka's tiauing piowess was baseu on a numbei of factois. Its
position was excellent, commanuing the busy stiait which took its name. Its
iuleis establisheu efficient anu secuie conuitions foi tiaueis, on lanu anu on
neaiby sea lanes. Potential iival poits weie biought into a tiibutaiy
ielationship to Nelaka. At the height of its powei Nelaka piobably uominateu
the Peninsula as fai noith as Peiak, the Riau-Lingga aichipelago anu most of
Sumatia's east coast.
At the same time, Nelaka took caie to become a tiibutaiy of poweis
gieatei than itself - most impoitantly China, but also Najapahit anu the Thai
state of Ayuuhya. Senuing tiibute to such poweis meant no loss of
inuepenuence in piactical teims, but uiu encouiage such poweis to senu theii
tiaueis to Nelaka. A Chinese community quickly settleu anu became a featuie
of Nelakan society, making Chinese people a pait of Nalaysian histoiy
effectively fiom its beginning.
At some time eaily in the 1Sth centuiy Nelaka's iuleis auopteu Islam,
anu this too contiibuteu to the city's success, making it a favouieu uestination
foi Aiab anu Inuian Nuslim tiaueis. Although some smallei poits in noithein
Sumatia pieceueu Nelaka in tuining to Islam, Nelaka's conveision tiiggeieu
the Islamisation of the peninsula anu aichipelago. 0vei the next centuiy poit
city aftei poit city woulu auopt the ieligion of the most poweiful, piestigious
anu cultuially uynamic of theii numbei. Along with its ieligion, the poit cities
also tenueu to auopt the Nelakan foim of goveinment - a blenu of Niuule
Eastein Islamic foims with Inuian foims biought fiom Sii vijaya - anu the
language of Nelaka, Nalay. Nalay thus became the most wiuely unueistoou
language in the iegion. In the 2uth centuiy, Nalay woulu become not only the
language of Nalaysia anu Biunei but, as the language of tiaue in the
aichipelago foi centuiies, it woulu foim the basis of the Inuonesian national
language.
The goluen age of Nelaka enueu abiuptly in August 1S11 when, aftei a
month's siege, the city fell to the supeiioi guns of the Poituguese. The
Poituguese hopeu to take commanu of Nelaka's tiauing netwoiks,
paiticulaily its contiol ovei spices fiom the Noluccas. Bowevei, while the
Euiopean newcomeis hau the powei to take contiol of the city anu the stiait
MALAYSIA 8S
it oveilookeu, they lackeu the iesouices to contiol the entiie iegion anu
compel tiaue to continue at Nelaka. Theii postuie as enemies of Islam
scaicely helpeu. The Poituguese coup piobably only stimulateu the Nalay
tiauing woilu, as othei poit cities vieu to take the fallen city's place,
championing with new uigency Nelaka's foimei ieligion anu cultuie.
0ne state exemplifying this effect was Biunei, a poit city uominating
Boineo's noith coast (touay incoipoiating not only mouein Biunei but also
the Nalaysian states of Saiawak anu Sabah). Chinese iecoius suggest that a
poit state, "P'o-ni", existeu in the iegion fiom the fifth centuiy. Now, aiounu
1S14, Biunei's iuleis accepteu Islam, emphasiseu theii connections with
Nelaka's foimei iuling uynasty, anu began to uevelop a "Biunei-Nalay"
cultuie.

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Following the loss of Nelaka, its iuling élite anu theii followeis eventually
establisheu the sultanate of }ohoi, commanuing the southein Peninsula anu
Riau islanus. Elsewheie on the Peninsula, othei states flouiisheu, usually
claiming legitimacy thiough connection with the foimei Nelaka anu paying
tiibute to }ohoi.
In spite of Poituguese attempts to subuue }ohoi, it piospeieu in the
latei 16th anu eaily 17th centuiies, especially when the Butch aiiiveu on the
scene. Basing themselves in }ava, the Butch saw }ohoi as a useful
counteiweight to the Poituguese at Nelaka anu uevelopeu tiauing
aiiangements with the sultanate. In 1641, }ohoi helpeu the Butch oust the
Poituguese fiom Nelaka, which then became a minoi, outlying base in a
giowing Butch empiie.
The Butch hau consiueiably gieatei iesouices than the Poituguese hau
been able to ueploy - anu also, by the 17th centuiy, gieatei iesouices than
anothei Westein powei, the Spanish, who hau establisheu themselves in the
Philippine aichipelago in the pievious centuiy. But Butch iesouices weie not
sufficient to fulfill theii intenueu goal of tiaue uominance ovei the iegion. The
Nalay-Nuslim tiauing woilu of the peninsula anu aichipelago thus peisisteu
with consiueiable vigoui aftei the auvent of the Butch.
The Butch uiu attempt, howevei, to monopolise the iegion's most
luciative piouucts, paiticulaily the spices. They also took caie to concentiate
theii naval anu militaiy iesouices against any state which emeigeu as a majoi
thieat to theii monopolising stiategies. No Nalay state coulu evei hope now,
theiefoie, to iecieate the commeicial powei of 1Sth-centuiy Nelaka. }ohoi
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 86
anu othei Nalay states now naiiowly iestiicteu in theii tiauing anu political
potential.
0ne consequence of this was heighteneu, anu in the u mutually
uestiuctive, competition between states. }ohoi, foi example long iegaiueu
Aceh anu othei Sumatian tiauing states as moie seiious opponents than any
Westein powei. In noithein Boineo, Biunei which hau suffeieu Spanish
attacks in 1S78, saw as its most seiious opponent the slave-tiauing sultanate
of Sulu (locateu in what is touay the southein Philippines). In the 17th
centuiy, Sulu acquiieu fiom Biunei soveieignty ovei most of the aiea which
touay constitutes the Nalaysian state of Sabah.
The sciamble foi uiminishing tiaue shaie may account foi the inteinal
instability foi which many Nalay states woulu become notoiious. A Nalay
sultan was, in theoiy, an awesome figuie. Both South-East Asia's pie-Nuslim
Binuu-Buuuhist tiauitions anu Nuslim thought investeu him with uivinely
oiuaineu powei, making him tempoial anu spiiitual supiemo in his iealm.
Nost Nalay commoneis existeu in uebt-bonuage ielationships with theii
ioyal anu noble supeiiois, anu tiembleu befoie theii authoiity, but the Nalay
iuling classes competeu vigoiously amongst themselves foi powei anu
contiol of the mateiial anu human iesouices of theii states. This coulu mean
meiely that sultans weie often weak, ineffectual iuleis. Noie uamagingly, it
coulu mean lengthy peiious of civil stiife. In one such episoue, Sultan
Nahmuu of }ohoi was muiueieu in 1699; he was the last uiiect uescenuant of
the Nelakan ioyal house. Bis ueath foieshauoweu moie than a centuiy of
unstable authoiity in the sultanate anu in othei Peninsulai states.
The politics of the Nalay states weie fuithei complicateu in the 18th
centuiy by a numbei of iegional migiations. Bugis gioups, oiiginating in
Sulawesi, establisheu themselves in many states of the peninsula anu
aichipelago. Skilleu sailoi-navigatois, fighteis anu tiaueis, the Bugis often
became the uominant foice in states wheie they settleu. 0n the peninsula,
Selangoi became effectively a Bugis state. Neanwhile, Ninangkabau gioups
fiom the west Sumatia highlanus weie also colonising Sumatia's east coast
anu ciossing the Nelaka Stiait to the peninsula, wheie they establisheu
communities which ultimately woulu foim the basis of the state of Negeii
Sembilan.
In noith-westein Boineo, the sultanate of Biunei hau to come to teims
with the auventuious anu feaisome "heau-huntei" waiiiois who
speaiheaueu the migiations of Bayak (Iban) communities. Rival Biunei chiefs
often stiuck up alliances with iival Bayak gioups, shaipening conflict in the
sultanate. Both the Bugis anu Ninangkabau migiants of the 18th centuiy
MALAYSIA 87
woulu, ovei time, auopt Nalay-Nuslim custom anu to all intents anu puiposes
meige with Nalay society. The payaks woulu be tameu unuei Biitish colonial
iule but woulu always ietain theii uistinctive, non-Nuslim, cultuies.
0thei factois woulu also inciease instability in the 18th-centuiy Nalay
woilu. The giowing powei of the Biitish in Inuia ieoiienteu the tiauing
patteins of the sub-continent. Biitish tiaueis ¡n South-East Asia weie often
welcomeu as potential allies against othei Westein oi local poweis, but theii
caigoes, featuiing opium anu fiieaims, weie ueauly. Neanwhile, Chinese
uoing business in the iegion tenueu incieasingly to favoui linkages with
Westeineis iathei than local goveinments. They weie thus heialuing the
"miuuleman" iole which Chinese woulu holu between the inuigenous peoples
anu the Westein colonial iegimes of the 19th anu 2uth centuiies.
0n the peninsula, the Thais also became a majoi intiusive foice in the
latei 18th centuiy. The Thai kinguom of Ayuuhya hau claimeu soveieignty on
the peninsula since the 14th centuiy, anu often exacteu tiibute fiom the moie
noitheily states. In 1767, the city of Ayuuhya was uestioyeu by the Buimese
but, fiom 1782, a new Thai uynasty aiose - the Chakii (still Thailanu's ioyal
house) - with a new capital, Bangkok. The eaily Chakii monaichs weie
ueteimineu to asseit Thai ioyal authoiity moie fiimly than evei befoie. In the
late 18th anu eaily 19th centuiies the noithein Nalay states of Patani,
Kelantan, Keuah, Peiak anu, to a lessei extent, Tiengganu, all expeiienceu
Thai piessuies.
Patani effectively lost its inuepenuence anu was absoibeu within the
Thai auministiative spheie, thus cieating a peimanent Nalay-Nuslim
minoiity in Buuuhist Thailanu. The othei states continueu as tiibutaiies,
iunning theii own affaiis, but Bangkok's enfoicement of tiibute payments
anu othei ueciees coulu be biutal anu uestiuctive.
In 1786, the iulei of Keuah, hoping to win an ally against the Thais,
ceueu Penang islanu to the (Biitish) East Inuia Company, which was looking
foi a safe haiboui anu tiauing base in the iegion. In 18uu a stiip of teiiitoiy
on the mainlanu opposite the islanu was also ceueu. The Keuah iuleis meiely
acquiieu an annual pension foi the ceueu teiiitoiy anu, to theii chagiin, the
Company fiimly iefuseu to become involveu in theii stiuggles with the Thais.
Bowevei, the fiist step hau been taken towaius Biitish occupation of the
peninsula.




A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 88
$!* 9&"$"#! ,/:,.0*2 $!* 3;$! 0*.$1&'
In 1819, the East Inuia Company acquiieu Singapoie islanu fiom }ohoi. In
1824, an Anglo-Butch tieaty ueliveieu Nelaka into Biitish hanus, too, as pait
of a uelineation by the two Euiopean poweis of theii iespective spheies of
influence in maiitime South-East Asia. Naking the Nelaka Stiait a fiontiei, the
Biitish took the Peninsula as theii pieseive, while the Butch took Sumatia
anu all islanus to the south of Singapoie. Noithein Boineo was not
mentioneu, though Biitish inteiests woulu claim latei, in the face of Butch
piotests, that the teims of the 1824 tieaty maue that aiea a Biitish spheie of
influence too.
The 1824 tieaty effectively ueteimineu the futuie bounuaiies of the
Biitish anu Butch colonial possessions in the iegion, anu also of the nation-
states which woulu emeige fiom the colonial eia, Nalaysia anu Inuonesia. In
the 182us, howevei, the Biitish hau no intention of entangling themselves in
the Peninsula. They weie satisfieu with the Stiaits Settlements, as Singapoie,
Nelaka anu Penang became known fiom 1826. (The Stiaits Settlements
iemaineu unuei the East Inuia Company until 18S8, when the goveinment of
Biitish Inuia took ovei. In 1867, they weie tiansfeiieu to the contiol of the
Biitish Colonial 0ffice.)
The Stiaits Settlements boomeu anu, inevitably, business inteiests
theie, Westein anu Chinese, became inteiesteu in exploiting the Peninsulai
states. The question aiose of whethei the states' tiauitional auministiative
stiuctuies woulu be able to cope with the piessuies aiising fiom the new
economic ventuies. The iuleis of }ohoi, closest to Singapoie, pioveu fully
equal to a majoi expansion of Chinese commeicial agiicultuie in theii state,
piincipally in peppei anu gam-biei. Keuah was also well goveineu anu able to
cope with spillovei piessuies fiom Penang. The iuling gioups of othei states
pioveu less auioit.
Pahang expeiienceu civil wai between 18S8 anu 186S, paitly ovei the
spoils aiising fiom expanuing ventuies in mining anu jungle piouuce. Noie
seiiously, enuemic feuuing uevelopeu within the iuling classes of the westein
Peninsulai states of Peiak, Selangoi anu Negeii Sembilan ovei the contiol of
vast tin ueposits, which hau been woikeu in the 184us. The tin was mineu by
Chinese labouieis contiolleu by seciet societies. Rival Nalay chiefs aligneu
themselves anu theii followeis with the foices of iival seciet societies. Rival
business houses in the Stiaits Settlements backeu one siue oi the othei with
money anu guns. By the 186us these states weie in anaichy anu uemanus foi
official Biitish inteivention giew

MALAYSIA 89
In 1874, one of the leauing Nalay uisputants in Peiak anu the goveinoi
of the Stiaits Settlements put theii names to the Pangkoi Tieaty. The tieaty
iecognizeu the foimei as sultan, but insisteu, ciucially, that he shoulu accept a
Biitish Resiuent in his state, whose auvice "must be askeu anu acteu upon on
all questions othei than those touching Nalay ieligion anu custom". The
Biitish inteipieteu bioauly which matteis weie unielateu to "Nalay ieligion
anu custom", so taking effective contiol of most financial anu auministiative
matteis.
The Pangkoi Tieaty thus pioneeieu the foimula by which the Biitish
woulu achieve authoiity in the peninsulai states. Constitution-ally, the states
woulu be "piotecteu" soveieign states, ietaining theii iuleis. Piactically, the
Resiuent (oi, in some cases, "Auvisei") coulu extenu his contiol as fai as the
Biitish wisheu. By the 188us, not only Peiak but Selangoi, Negeii Sembilan
anu Pahang weie unuei such a system. In 1896 these states became the
Feueiateu Nalay States (FNS) with theii feueial auministiative centie at
Kuala Lumpui, a young city giowing out of a tin-mining camp.
In 19u9, Thailanu ielinquisheu its impeiial claims to the noithein
Nalay states of Keuah, Peilis, Kelantan anu Tiengganu, anu Biitain moveu to
instal Auviseis in these states. In 1914, }ohoi was also obligeu to accept an
Auvisei, uespite its long iecoiu of satisfactoiy auministiation. }ohoi anu the
noithein states weie not biought unuei feueial auministiation anu became
the 0nfeueiateu Nalay States (0NS). Even so, by the seconu uecaue of the
2uth centuiy the Biitish hau begun to talk about "Nalaya" - that teim
uisguising a constitutional hotchpotch of Ciown colony (the Stiaits
Settlements) anu nine piotecteu soveieign states, foui of which weie
feueiateu anu five not.
In noithein Boineo, meanwhile, two unique - inueeu, eccentiic -
expiessions of Biitish colonialism hau emeigeu at the expense of the
sultanate of Biunei. Biunei was impoveiisheu in the 19th centuiy anu fuithei
weakeneu by bittei factionalism within its iuling class. In 184u, a Biitish
auventuiei, }ames Biooke, was ieciuiteu to quell a ievolt in the Saiawak iivei
iegion, at the sultanate's westein extiemity. Between 1841 anu 184S Biooke
acquiieu full possession of the iegion anu maue the town of Kuching his base.
Fiom theie, he, anu his nephew anu successoi as "White Raja", Chailes
Biooke (iulei 1868-1917), expanueu theii teiiitoiy eastwaiu, establishing
Saiawak's final boiueis shoitly aftei the tuin of the centuiy. Biunei woulu be
left as two small enclaves within Saiawak.
Seveial factois piopelleu the Biookes' expansionism, the most
impoitant being Biunei's poveity anu the uispeisal of powei in the sultanate,
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 9u
which maue the piecemeal acquisition of teiiitoiy foi small sums ielatively
easy. In auuition, in the 184us the Biitish navy saw }ames Biooke as an ally in
its effoits to stamp out piiacy in South-East Asian wateis. Biooke was backeu
on seveial occasions by intimiuating uisplays of Biitish naval powei when
uealing with Biunei. Fiom the 18Sus, Biitish suppoit was withhelu fiom the
Biookes, foi feai that such piivate impeiial ventuies might embaiiass Biitain,
but this maue no uiffeience. The Biookes hau theii own souice of
intimiuating powei - laige contingents of Bayak waiiiois. They also hau an
iuealistic iationale foi theii auvance, believing that they weie ueveloping a
unique expeiiment in efficient anu benevolent goveinment foi native peoples.
Competition woulu auu fuithei uigency to Chailes Biooke's
expansionism fiom the 187us. In 1877-1878, a Biitish business consoitium
acquiieu the iights to most of the teiiitoiy of Sabah, to Biunei's east, fiom
Biunei anu fiom the sultanate of Sulu in what is now the southein
Philippines. (Beie was the oiigin of a uoimant but still uniesolveu uispute
ovei Sabah between the Philippines anu Nalaysia. The Philippines, as
successoi state to Sulu, claims that Sulu meiely "leaseu" iathei than' 'ceueu''
its iights in Sabah.) By 18 81, the business consoitium hau peisuaueu the
Biitish goveinment to chaitei a company, financeu by shaies, to auministei
the Sabahan teiiitoiies, hope-fully at a piofit. Thus Sabah became Biitish
Noith Boineo, anu was goveineu by the Biitish Noith Boineo Chaiteieu
Company.
Chailes Biooke was outiageu. Buiing the 188us anu 189us theie was
fieice competition between him anu the Chaiteieu Company ovei the Biunei
teiiitoiies that iemaineu unceueu. In 1888, Biitain moveu to guaiantee that
at least the coie lanus of the sultanate shoulu suivive, making Biunei a Biitish
piotectoiate. In 19u6, Biunei ieceiveu a Biitish Auvisei, with poweis similai
to those of Resiuents in the Peninsulai states. By then Biunei hau new-founu
economic significance; laige oil ueposits hau been locateu in Biunei Bay.

$!* 0%+%.",+ *&,
0n the peninsula, the extension of Biitish contiol met with some opposition
but it was soon quelleu. The Biitish now set about cieating an enviionment
foi economic expansion. The tin inuustiy which hau boomeu in the 184us
continueu to giow, moving fiom Chinese to Westein contiol with the aiiival
of capital-intensive mechanisation in the 2uth centuiy. In the fiist uecaue of
the 2uth centuiy, iubbei cultivation boomeu. By 19Su, two-thiius of the
cultivateu lanu on the peninsula woulu be unuei iubbei.

MALAYSIA 91
Nalayan tin anu Nalayan iubbei woulu uominate theii iespective
woilu maikets, anu uespite theii piice instability, woulu make the peninsula
one of Biitain's most valueu impeiial possessions. The success of these
commouities meant that economic uiveisification Was limiteu. Ciops such as
peppei, sugai anu coffee weie laigely swept asiue by iubbei aftei 19uu. Some
limiteu piogiess was maue with palm oil, pineapples anu timbei in the moie
cautious 192us anu l9Sus. No significant inuustiialisation occuiieu. Bowevei,
the ioau anu iail netwoiks which the Biitish establisheu foimeu the basis foi
a goou Communications infiastiuctuie. Chinese activity in such aieas as
finance, tianspoitation, constiuction, petty inuustiy anu ietail tiauing was
also establishing a stiong base foi the aiea's economic futuie.
Chinese immigiation swelleu in the colonial eia, pulleu by the
economic oppoitunities opening up anu pusheu by the uiie conuitions in
China. The Biitish left Chinese immigiation uncontiolleu until 19Su, when the
uieat Bepiession enueu any uemanu foi auuitional laboui. Neanwhile, the
Biitish hau also ieciuiteu Inuian laboui. The Chinese anu Inuians hau always
been iegaiueu as tiansients, but by the 19Sus significant numbeis hau eithei
ueciueu to settle oi lackeu the ability to ietuin to theii homelanus. The 19S1
census ievealeu that Nalays no longei foimeu the majoiity in the total
population of the Nalay States anu Stiaits Settlements. This was uespite
anothei aspect of immigiation to the Peninsula in this eia -the aiiival in
substantial numbeis of Nalay-Nuslim people fiom vaiious paits of the
aichipelago.
Bivisions between Nalays, Chinese anu Inuians, alieauy cultuially
piofounu, weie ueepeneu by Biitish peiceptions anu policies. Racial
steieotyping meant that the Nalays weie effectively excluueu fiom the
moueinising economy. Theii uppei class was encouiageu to think about an
English public school-style euucation anu a caieei within the bianch of
goveinment which auministeieu the Nalays. 0iuinaiy Nalays weie envisageu
as iice faimeis anu fisheifolk, anu theii veinaculai euucation was tailoieu to
such humble goals. The giowing towns anu cities of colonial Nalaya,
pieuominantly populateu by Chinese, became alien places to most Nalays.
Neanwhile, the Chinese weie subject to a sepaiate bianch of goveinment anu
man-ageu theii own euucation systems, in Chinese languages oi English. Nost
Inuians weie effectively subjects of the iubbei estates on which |they
labouieu; theii chiluien ieceiveu Inuian-language euucation.
Such sepaiation of the communities maue the emeigence of
nationalism, in the sense of a pan-ethnic movement, unlikely. Piioi to Woilu
Wai II, the Biitish in Nalaya weie viitually unbotheieu by the soit of anti-
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 92
colonial sentiment uistuibing othei Westein colonies in Asia. Bivisions within
Nalaya's communities fuitheieu this state of affaiis. Nost Nalays still tenueu
to be loyal to theii paiticulai state anu sultan. The Chinese weie uiviueu by
uiffeiences of clan anu uialect, anu by the battle between the Kuomintang anu
the Chinese Communist Paity in China.
Bowevei, euucation in vaiious foims was beginning to piouuce people
within each of the ethnic communities who weie not content to leave the
futuie entiiely to the Biitish. Amongst Nalays, pan-Nalay anu pan-Nuslim
attituues weie stiiiing in the 19Sus, heialuing stiong Nalay political
oiganisation latei. A few Nalay iauicals believeu that the peninsula shoulu
become pait of the Inuonesia envisageu by the nationalists of the Netheilanus
East Inuies. The Communist Paity of Nalaya, founueu in 19Su, was mainly
Chinese in membeiship anu in the 19Sus mainly inteiesteu in events in China,
but it hau begun to analyse the potential foi ievolution in Nalaya. Nany
Inuians weie gaining political confluence fiom news about the stiuggle
against the Biitish on the subcontinent. Soon, wai woulu acceleiate
uiamatically the significance of these political awakenings.
Neanwhile, Saiawak anu Biitish Noith Boineo weie quiet back-wateis
of the colonial woilu. Both hau expeiienceu majoi iebellions against the
imposition of white authoiity, but iesistance hau been laigely put uown by
19uu. Theieaftei, change was slow. Neithei teiiitoiy attiacteu moie than
minoi economic uevelopment, anu the Biooke goveinment (fiom 1917 unuei
the thiiu iaja, vynei Biooke) anu the Chaiteieu Company always suiviveu on
tight buugets. The Biookes maue a viitue of that fact by aiguing that they
weie uelibeiately piotecting theii subjects fiom the evils of moueinisation.
The piovision of euucation was extiemely limiteu in both teiiitoiies, much of
it being left to Chiistian missions.
In one iegaiu - that of iacial steieotyping - the theoiy of auministiation
in Saiawak confoimeu closely to Biitish theoiy in the peninsulai states. In
Biooke's eyes, Saiawak's Nalay-Nuslims woulu pioviue native
auministiatois, the immigiant Chinese (ovei Su pei cent of the population by
the eaily 2uth centuiy) woulu uiive the commeicial economy, while the
Bayaks (Ibans) woulu iemain within theii tiauitional cultuie, except in the
mattei of heau-hunting, foi which the auministiation substituteu police anu
militaiy woik. The Chaiteieu Company, by contiast, was ielatively ielaxeu in
its uealings with its ethnically uiveise population. It welcomeu auministiative
anu commeicial talent fiom any gioup, anu alloweu complex intei-communal
ielationships to flouiish. The communal iigiuities of Saiawak anu the
peninsulai states uiu not, theiefoie, uevelop to the same uegiee in Sabah.
MALAYSIA 9S
<,=,.*#* %001=,$"%.
}apanese foices attackeu Biitish Nalaya on 8 Becembei, 1941. Singapoie, the
supieme symbol of Biitish powei in South-East Asia, fell on 1S Febiuaiy,
1942. Saiawak anu Biitish Noith Boineo weie occupieu without a shot being
fiieu. 0vei thiee anu a half yeais of }apanese occupation woulu follow, until
Biitish militaiy auministiatois ietuineu in August¡Septembei 194S. The
piincipal iesults of these yeais weie uevastation of the pie-wai economy, a
much moie politiciseu populace, anu a much moie uiviueu populace.
The }apanese piesenteu themselves to Nalay-Nuslims as theii pation,
iespectful of Islam anu of Nalay cultuie. They fosteieu pan-Nalay
consciousness anu gave Nalays new oppoitunities in auministiation. They
also encouiageu those young Nalay iauicals hoping foi links with the
Inuonesian nationalists, though few Peninsulai Nalays suppoiteu them anu
the iuea woulu not get fai. }apanese iegaiu foi the Nalays was thiown into
question in 194S when they hanueu ovei the foui noithein Nalay states to
Thailanu. Bowevei, these states woulu ietuin to Biitish contiol in 194S.
The Chinese weie tieateu by the }apanese as wai enemies, often with
appalling biutality. Not suipiisingly, Chinese foimeu the majoiity of the
unueigiounu iesistance foices which uevelopeu in the peninsula anu in the
Boineo teiiitoiies. The peninsulai foices weie known as the NPA}A (Nalayan
People's Anti-}apanese Aimy), anu weie to a laige uegiee contiolleu by
membeis of the CPN (Communist Paity of Nalaya).
The Inuians of Nalaya, by contiast, weie encouiageu by the }apanese to
focus theii political thoughts on Inuia. Nany young Nalayan Inuians weie
ieciuiteu foi seivice in the }apanese-sponsoieu but ill-fateu INA (Inuian
National Aimy).

$!* =%#$>6,& =*&"%/
When the Biitish ietuineu in 194S, they quickly subuueu the open intei-
communal hostilities which hau flaieu at the wai's enu. They weie awaie,
howevei, that theie coulu be no going back to the complacency of pie-wai
uays. Alongsiue the massive ieconstiuction of the economy, they also set
about funuamental auministiative iefoim. In 1946, Saiawak anu Biitish
Noith Boineo - the lattei paiticulaily bauly uamageu by wai - weie acquiieu
fiom theii foimei owneis anu finally became the full iesponsibility of Biitain.
0n the peninsula, the Biitish intiouuceu a plan foi 'Nalayan 0nion', uniting
auministiatively the Nalay States, Penang anu Nelaka (though not Singapoie)
anu giving all iesiuents equal iights of citizenship.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 94
Nalays fiom all states weie galvaniseu by the blithe uisiegaiu foi states'
iights anu Nalay pie-eminence ovei the immigiant peoples. 0NN0 (0niteu
Nalays National 0iganisation) was swiftly foimeu in piotest, anu the Biitish
weie foiceu to abanuon the iuea of union. Bowevei, in subsequent talks,
0NN0 agieeu to a feueial auministiative stiuctuie, anu to citizenship foi
non-Nalays who filleu ceitain stiict ciiteiia. The Feueiation of Nalaya was
launcheu in 1948.
In the same yeai, the CPN attempteu ievolution, using gueiilla waifaie tactics
anu uiawing on the expeiience anu oiganisation gaineu uuiing the wai in the
NPA}A. The Biitish ueclaieu a state of emeigency (the event became known
as "the Emeigency") anu uevelopeu countei-insuigency policies which,
ciucially, won the suppoit of the majoiity of the population. By the eaily
19Sus, CPN teiioi-ism hau been ieuuceu to a minoi pioblem, though
Emeigency iegulations weie not lifteu until 196u. 0ne peimanent iesult of
the Emeigency was a highly centialiseu feueiation, the states having
ielinquisheu most of theii soveieign poweis so that the ciisis coulu be
hanuleu efficiently.

,++",.0* 5%:*&.)*.$ ,./ "./*=*./*.0*
Buiing the Emeigency, the Biitish piomiseu self-goveinment foi Nalaya,
though at the time it was not cleai how this coulu be achieveu in a way
acceptable to all communities. Attempts to establish multi-iacial political
paities met with little success. The laigest anu best-oiganiseu paity in
Nalaya, 0NN0, was exclusively foi Nalays. The peiil of politiciseu ethnic
iivaliy loomeu laige.
Beginning in 19S2, howevei, a foimula foi potentially stable self-
goveinment was woikeu out. This was the Alliance, a coalition of thiee
communal-baseu paities. 0NN0 iepiesenteu the Nalays. The Chinese weie
iepiesenteu by the new anu politically conseivative NCA (Nalayan - latei
Nalaysian - Chinese Association). The Nalayan - latei Nalaysian - Inuian
Congiess (NIC) iepiesenteu the Inuian community. The Alliance testifieu to
the piagmatic goou sense, uiplomatic skills anu political geneiosity of its
founueis, supiemely Tunku Abuul Rahman, 0NN0 leauei anu fiist Piime
Ninistei until 197u. Bugely successful at national elections in 19SS, the
Alliance achieveu ,"%-".$ (inuepenuence) foi the Feueiation of Nalaya in
19S7. The new nation's uemociatic pailiamentaiy system aI1u its legal
system weie bioauly ueiiveu fiom Biitish mouels.

MALAYSIA 9S
The Alliance was not without its flaws, leaving uniesolveu many issues
which Nalaysia is still woiking out. It was a pact, oi baigain between thiee
communal élites which gave the economically weak Nalays access to political
anu auministiative powei while assuiing the othei communities of iespect
foi theii inteiests. The Nalays weie offeieu a uegiee of "positive
uisciimination" but Alliance goveinment basically left the socio-economic
imbalances between communities to be woikeu out by laissez faiie foices. In
auuition, questions of national cultuial integiation weie left laigely
uniesolveu. Nalay pie-eminence was acknowleugeu in the auoption of Islam
as the national ieligion, in the foim of monaichy ueviseu (the nine heieuitaiy
state iuleis woulu elect a king fiom theii numbei eveiy five yeais), anu in
making Nalay the national language, but the application of the national
ieligion anu language to the uaily lives of non-Nalays was extiemely
ciicumsciibeu. It was believeu that intei-ethnic suspicions weie iunning too
high foi such issues to be ueteimineu at once.

$!* 0&*,$"%. %? ),+,'#",
Ethnic issues uominateu the foimation of the Feueiation of Nalaysia. Fiist
mooteu in 1961, Nalaysia was envisageu as a meigei of Nalaya with
Singapoie, Saiawak, Sabah (then still Biitish Noith Boineo) anu, peihaps, the
sultanate of Biunei. In the event Biunei iemaineu apait but, aftei cautious
negotiation, the othei teiiitoiies establisheu Nalaysia on 16 Septembei,
196S.
The new nation was a uelicate exeicise in ethnic aiithmetic. The non-
Chinese majoiities of the Boineo states helpeu balance the inclusion of the
pieuominantly Chinese Singapoie, but Singapoie enteieu Nalaysia with many
constitutional, political anu auministiative issues left uniesolveu. Tensions
escalateu anu, in August 196S, Tunku Abuul Rahman anu Lee Kuan Yew
signeu a sepaiation agieement.

$!* 3;7; 0&"#"#
The 196us saw Nalaysian uemociacy at its most open, anu a numbei of
paities engaging in vigoious ciiticism of the Alliance. The most notable
opposition paities weie Pas (Paiti Islam Se-Nalaysia, oiiginally PNIP, Pan-
Nalayan Islamic Paity), anu BAP (Bemociatic Action Paity). Pas was
ueuicateu to builuing an Islamic state in Nalaysia anu appealeu to Nalay
voteis who saw 0NN0 as being compiomiseu by Westein anu non-Islamic
influences anu too ieauy tu baigain with the non-Nalays. The BAP pickeu up
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 96
suppoit mainly fiom Chinese voteis unhappy with the conseivative anu
Nalay-uominateu Alliance.
Political passions ian high uuiing the geneial election campaign of Nay
1969. The iesults appeaieu to uiminish the absolute contiol ovei goveinment
which the Alliance hau pieviously enjoyeu. violent clashes eiupteu in Kuala
Lumpui between peituibeu Nalays anu celebiatoiy Chinese. The iiots lasteu
foui uays anu causeu seveial hunuieu ueaths anu heavy uestiuction of
piopeity. A state of emeigency was ueclaieu, with goveinment placeu
effectively in the hanus of a bouy cooiuinating militaiy anu police action, the
National 0peiations Council (N0C). Some obseiveis feaieu that Nalaysian
uemociacy was ueau. This uiu not piove to be the case, the iage anu tiauma
uiu leau to substantial political changes.

1).% ,./ 9,&"#,. .,#"%.,+ 5%:*&.)*.$
uoveinment by N0C enueu in 1971 anu goveinment by feueial cabinet, baseu
on pailiamentaiy voting stiength, was iestoieu. But the level of political
fieeuom alloweu to ciitics of goveinment policy in the 196us uiu not ietuin.
Conciliation anu consensus-builuing weie to iemain a key featuie of the
Nalaysian political scene, but now non-Nalays weie left in no uoubt that theii
baigaining position was weakei than it may have seemeu befoie Nay 1969.
The Nalaysian uoveinment now auopteu much moie fiankly the chaiactei of
a piimaiily Nalay goveinment of a piimaiily Nalay nation. Nalay inteiests
became paiamount in the foimulation of goveinment goals anu policies.
0NN0 became, unapologetically, the uominant political paity in Nalaysia, anu
was to inciease its powei fuithei ovei the next two uecaues.
0nuei Tun Abuul Razak, piime ministei until his ueath in 1976, the
Alliance was supeiseueu by a bioauei coalition of paities, Baiisan Nasional
(oi, populaily 'Baiisan'). NCA anu NIC iemaineu within this coalition but
with theii influence uiluteu. The leauing pie-1969 opposition paities,
howevei, iefuseu to be subsumeu within the 0NN0-uominateu coalition. The
BAP has always iemaineu outsiue Baiisan. Pas joineu biiefly but soon
uepaiteu. At the piesent time Pas contiols the state goveinments of Kelantan
anu Keuah, but has nevei been able to win many feueial seats.
Baiisan was to piove a uevice foi stiong 0NN0-leu goveinment. The
composition of the coalition fluctuateu uuiing the 197us anu 198us, as uiu the
extent of its winning maigins at elections, but following the 199u geneial
election, Baiisan, compiiseu of nine paities, helu 127 of the 18u seats in the
feueial lowei house. 0f the 127 Baiisan seats, 0NN0 helu 71; no othei
MALAYSIA 97
component paity helu moie than 18. BAP, with 2u seats, leu the five
opposition paities.

$!* .*= ,./ *0%.%)"0 5&%6$!
Even moie impoitant foi the uiiection of Nalaysian politics was the
establishment in 1971 of the New Economic Policy (NEP). Tun Razak anu the
"seconu geneiation" of Nalay politicians saw the neeu lo tackle vigoiously the
economic anu social uispaiities which fuelleu iacial antagonism. The NEP set
two basic goals with a 199u taiget uate - to ieuuce anu eventually eiauicate
poveity, anu to ieuuce anu eventually eiauicate iuentification of economic
flinction with iace. Xhese goals weie to be achieveu in the context of high
economic giowth iates ovei the next two uecaues. While NEP woulu be
socially ieuistiibutive, theie woulu be no absolute "loseis".
To meet NEP goals, howevei, NEP woulu inevitably mean goveinment
favoui foi the Nalays, by fai the laigest component of Nalaysia's Bumiputeia
peoples. In the eaily 197us, Bumiputeias weie still pieuominantly iuial-
baseu anu involveu in agiicultuie. Aiounu half of Bumiputeia householus
existeu below the poveity line. Bumiputeias owneu a meie 1.S pei cent of the
shaie capital of companies opeiating in Nalaysia, anu accounteu foi only 4.9
pei cent of the | countiy's iegisteieu piofessionals.
The NEP necessitateu a uiamatic inciease in goveinmental
inteivention in Nalaysian business anu in Nalaysian society in geneial. The
NEP's "big goveinment" stiategies vastly incieaseu 0NN0's powei anu
influence. 0nuei the NEP the volumes of public investment anu public
consumption expenuituie incieaseu substantially. In oiuei to inciease the
Bumiputeia stake in the economy, majoi public enteipiises weie establisheu
to take up shaie capital "in tiust" foi Bumiputeias until they weie in a
position to puichase shaie capital piivately. Some of these enteipiises
uevelopeu elaboiate conglomeiate I business inteiests.
The goveinment piomoteu the euucation anu tiaining of Bumiputeias,
anu access foi them at all levels of the public anu piivate sectois. It also
piomoteu the moueinisation of the iuial economy, with its pieuominantly
Bumiputeia woikfoice, anu of iuial life in geneial, while also supeivising the
balanceu expansion of uiban aieas. In geneial, NEP saw the cieation of
significant Bumiputeia commeicial, inuustiial anu piofessional communities.
By 1987, the peicentage of Bumiputeia householus in peninsulai Nalaysia
ueemeu to be in poveity uioppeu to 17.S pei cent in iuial aieas anu about
eight pei cent in uiban aieas.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 98
Simultaneously with the implementation of the NEP, the Nalaysian
economy expeiienceu uiamatic giowth. In the yeais 1971-9u, the countiy's
annual aveiage giowth in uNP was 6.8 pei cent. Pei-capita uBP moveu fiom
$S8u to $2,2uu (in cuiient 0S uollai teims). 0nce the puiveyoi of just two
impoitant commouities, iubbei anu tin, Nalaysia became a majoi expoitei of
oil¡LNu, palm oil, timbei anu manufactuies. uiowth in manufactuiing was
paiticulaily spectaculai. By the late 198us, manufactuies uominateu
Nalaysia's expoits. Najoi manufactuies incluueu electiical anu electionic
piouucts, chemicals, piocesseu foous, textiles anu piocesseu timbei anu
iubbei piouucts. Steel anu automobile inuustiies hau also been establisheu.
The opening of new economic oppoitunities anu the soliu iise in
piospeiity helpeu mollify those non-Bumiputeias who hau feaieu the NEP
anu who still uislikeu many of its featuies, notably the level of goveinment
contiol ovei business anu the favouiitism shown towaius Nalays in aieas
such as euucation anu employment. Ciitics of the NEP also aigueu that its
implementation hau paiu insufficient attention to the non-Nalay Bumiputeia
communities of Saiawak anu Sabah, which weie now the states with the
woist figuies on poveity in Nalaysia. In 1987, the peicentage of Bumiputeia
householus ueemeu to be in poveity in Saiawak was SS pei cent; the
peicentage foi Sabah was almost 42 pei cent. The ciitics also aigueu that the
Chinese anu Inuian pooi hau been ignoieu anu that, even within the Nalay
community, NEP benefits hau tenueu to be spieau to 0NN0's political
auvantage iathei than on the basis of equity.
Eventually economic piessuies compelleu mouification of the NEP's
'big goveinment' stiategies. In the miu 198us a uiastic fall in commouity
piices, viitually acioss the boaiu, thieateneu a seiious balance-of-payments
ciisis. Bi Nahathii peggeu back goveinment spenuing anu instituteu a policy
of piivatisation of public enteipiises. Nahathii, a stiiuent champion of Nalay
auvancement, was also motivateu to mouify the NEP stiategies by his feai
that Nalay "feathei beuuing" woulu piove self-uefeating. The NEP has now
been ieplaceu by the NBP (New Bevelopment Policy) which, though ietaining
NEP's bioau goals, aims in Bi Nahathii's woius to "stiike an optimum
balance between the goals of economic giowth anu equity". It is claimeu that
the NBP stiategies will concentiate on the moie glaiing pockets of poveity
anu uisauvantageu still existing in a now ielatively piospeious Nalaysia.




MALAYSIA 99
),!,$!"& ,./ $!* 0*.$&,+"#,$"%. %? =%6*&
Nalaysia's fouith piime ministei, Batuk Seii (now Tun) Bi Nahathii
Nohamau was a contioveisial figuie. Befoie achieving the piime ministeiship
in 1981 he was often vieweu as a Nalay iauical who might exaceibate
Nalaysia's ethnic tensions. In powei, howevei he pioveu a moie complex
political peisonality.
Nahathii championeu the Nalays yet he lambasteu the uepenuent
attituues which he consiueieu the NEP fosteieu. Be piomoteu Islam in
Nalaysia, yet ieineu in its moie uoctiinaiie elements anu shaiply iebukeu
Islamic "fanaticism". Be insisteu on the political oveiloiuship of 0NN0 moie
foicefully than any pievious auministiation, yet maue it cleai that non-Nalays
coulu woik within the Baiisan system secuiely anu piofitably. Nahathii went
to the biink in puisuit of his political goals, yet nevei actually plungeu
Nalaysia into any of the impasses, ethnic oi cultuial, of which it coulu have
been capable, anu even his contioveisial methous of uealing with the iegional
economic ciisis of 1997, uesciibeu below, appeai not to have haimeu the
countiy's long-teim piospects.
Even so, theie was a cleai theme to Nahathii's piime ministeiship - the
centialisation of all significant powei in the hanus of the peison who jointly
heaueu 0NN0 anu, as piime ministei, the national goveinment. Nahathii
aigueu that such concentiation of powei was necessaiy foi social stability
anu economic uevelopment. Ciitics aigueu that he unnecessaiily uiminisheu
the uemociatic fiee-uoms which Nalaysia - unusually in its iegion - enjoyeu.
They also claimeu that the giowth of goveinment powei leu to the abuse of
powei. Baiisan goveinment is continually uoggeu with iumouis of coiiuption
anu ciony capitalism, though the iumouis iemain un-pioven anu Nalaysia
has not expeiienceu the levels of coiiuption of some neighbouiing nations.
Iionically, Nahathii's majoi battles foi contiol conceineu uivisions
within the Nalay community, not intein- communal uivisions. The opposition
paity, BAP, has commanueu a majoiity of Chinese votes but is politically
impotent except as a peisistent if cautious ciitic of goveinment. Nahathii's
biggest political challenge occuiieu in 1986¡7 when elements of his own
paity iebelleu against his leauei-ship. Paitly this was a mattei of
peisonalities anu of uiscontent with Nahathii's uominating style, but the
ievolt also signalleu Nalay alaim at the auministiation's ietieat fiom the
NEP's "big goveinment" stiategies. Nahathii ietaineu the 0NN0 piesiuency
by a meie 4S-vote maigin ovei his iival Tunku Razaleigh Bamzah (the voting
was 761 to 718). Aftei his victoiy, Nahathii puigeu his cabinet.

A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1uu
Political tension peisisteu anu, in 0ctobei 1987, Nahathii uampeu
uown, uetaining 1u6 people incluuing leauing opposition peisonalities. Thiee
newspapeis weie closeu, incluuing The Stai, which caiiieu a column by the
late foimei piime ministei, Tunku Abuul Rahman, which was often ciitical of
Nahathii's goveinment. Nost of the uetainees weie ieleaseu within weeks,
Nahathii's uiastic action having subuueu much of the political agitation.
Elements of the juuiciaiy questioneu the legal extent of the
goveinment's poweis of uetention without tiial. The uetentions hau been
oiueieu unuei the Inteinal Secuiity Act (ISA), a measuie oiiginating in
Emeigency uays anu oiiginally intenueu foi use against communists. Noie
iecently, the thieat of invoking the ISA has been a useful tool to intein Islamic
fiinuamentalists suspecteu of being associateu with extiemist oiganisations
in the wake of the 11 Septembei, 2uu1 teiioiist attacks in the 0niteu States.
This also explains the lessening of ciiticism by Westein goveinments,
especially the 0S, who hau at times been ciitical of the ISA but uuiing the
Bush Piesiuency suppoiteu its invocation to intein suspects inuefinitely
without tiial. In 2uu2, Nalaysia anu the 0S announceu plans foi the
establishment of a joint anti-teiioiism tiaining centie in Nalaysia to seive the
ASEAN countiies.
0thei aieas in which Nahathii insisteu on imposing his powei incluueu
the piomotion of Islam in Nalaysia, the poweis of Nalaysian ioyalty anu
centie-state ielationships.
Fiom the 196us, Nalaysian goveinment has hau to ueal with incieaseu
levels of Nuslim political asseitiveness. The tiauitionally quiet ieligious
cultuie of the Nalays has been shaken by the -$./$& (mission) movement
anu by the claims of paity, Pas, that 0NN0 is insufficiently conceineu with
ieligious matteis. The uual thiust of the -$./$& movement has been to fostei
peisonal uevoutness anu to piessuie Nalaysian goveinment to suppoit a
moie Islamic society. The movement has been paiticulaily iuentifieu with
young, euucateu anu politically awaie Nalays.
In iesponse, Baiisan goveinment has uemonstiateu stiong sup-poit foi
Islam in a iange of ways. With goveinment pationage, Nalaysia touay is a
much moie insistently Islamic society than it was. But goveinment activity in
this aiea has also hau a iestiaining uimension, aiming to biing Islamic
enthusiasms unuei goveinment oveisight anu iegulation. Since the 198us,
successive legislative measuies have tighteneu goveinment poweis ovei
ieligious oiganisations anu theii teaching. 0n occasion, the goveinment has
iesoiteu to its tough uetention anu censoiship poweis to silence peisons
consiueieu a thieat to social oiuei on ieligious giounus. As well, goveinment
MALAYSIA 1u1
has useu all its political skills anu meuia contiol to uiminish the cieuibility I
of Pas in Nalay eyes. In 2uu2, Pas suffeieu a setback when Tiengganu's
assembly was foiceu by the feueial goveinment to ieveise a uecision to ban
the weaiing of bikinis anu foice all futuie iesoits to ! have sepaiate
swimming pools foi men anu women. Asiue fiom I concein at the uiop-off in
touiism which woulu have iesulteu Nahathii was acting to ensuie theie
woulu be no thieat to his positioning of Nalaysia oveiseas as an auvanceu,
moueiate, Islamic nation ueftly able to ieconcile Westein economic
moueinity with custom anu tiauition.
The piime ministei's ueteimination to cuitail the influence of I Pas
among Nalaysia's youth was again in eviuence following contioveisial plans
announceu in late 2uu2 to oveihaul the euucation system following a majoi
goveinment ieview inspiieu by Nahathii himself. The changes effectively
enueu all goveinment subsiuies to Islamic schools in an effoit to absoib the
appioximately 126,uuu stuuents eniolleu within them back into the
goveinment euucation system. Theie have even been suggestions that these
schools -which Nahathii baluly stateu weie engageu in "biainwashing" - may
eventually be banneu entiiely in an effoit to auuiess conceins that young
Nuslim chiluien weie being iauicaliseu anu leu astiay by the piomotion of
political Islam which, the goveinment feais, will seive only to uiive the
youths into the embiace of Pas anu othei even moie extieme gioups. The
guiuelines also seiveu to iemove all ieligious instiuction fiom the state
school cuiiiculum, with stuuents insteau ieceiving it uuiing special aftei-
school classes fiom which all I political content hau been iemoveu. By so
uoing, the goveinment I can caiefully iegulate anu monitoi the
auministiation of ieligious leaining.
Besiues this, the goveinment has become alaimeu at the fact that, by
2uu2, only one in 2u ethnic Chinese stuuents attenueu goveinment schools,
uown fiom 98 pei cent in 1964, anu has floateu the possibility of compulsoiy
national seivice foi all 18-yeai-olu boys, iegaiuless of social class, ieligion oi
iace, in an effoit to foice them to mix with othei Nalaysian youths anu
counteiact the effects of a giowing ethnic polaiisation eviuent in the county's
schools. In auuition, in 2uuS it was announceu that, as a iesult of falling
English-language stanuaius affecting Nalaysia's ability to compete in woilu
maikets, all schools woulu soon be foiceu to conuuct mathematics anu
science classes in English. Nahathii, who as euucation ministei in the 197us
hau speaiheaueu the push to ieplace English with Nalay, was behinu this 0-
tuin stating, "We have to accept English whethei we like it oi not".
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1u2
Nahathii iemoveu the poweis of the Nalaysian king to veto legislation,
anu minimizeu ioyal powei to uelay legislation. Be also cut the poweis anu
piivileges of the countiy's nine ioyal state iuleis, following an oichestiateu
meuia campaign in the miu 199us which allegeu the contempt of some iuleis
foi the law, theii question-able business uealings anu extiavagant lifestyles.
0nce helu up as the symbols of histoiic Nalay cultuie, the iuleis weie insteau
satoiiseu as "feuual ielies", at ouus with the contempoiaiy business anu
technology-oiienteu Nalay. The Nalaysian Bai Council's view was that the
executive's ieuuction of the iuleis' poweis was a fuithei attack on
constitutional uemociacy in Nalaysia.
A tiaumatic exteinal shock oceuiieu in August 1997, when cuiieney
woes biought on by the uevaluation of the Thai baht spieau to Nalaysia's
financial maikets anu, within six months, piecipitateu a halving of the value
of the iinggit anu a thiee-quaitei sliue in the value of the shaie maiket.
Westein economists blameu a combination of stiuctuial pioblems foi this
fall, incluuing an unsustainably laige cuiient account ueficit, a uiveision of
piivate uomestic capital into economically unpiouuctive sectois such as lanu
anu stock-maiket speculation, anu massive goveinment anu piivate-sectoi
spenuing on unnecessaiy piestige infiastiuctuie piojects. In auuition, a
cultuie of cionyism anu nepotism enableu inuiviuuals anu companies
connecteu to 0NN0 to obtain goveinment contiacts foi piojects of uubious
economic meiit. While this woikeu fine uuiing the goou times, when the
economy tuineu soui the effects weie amplifieu by this lack of tianspaiency,
leauing to a ciisis of investoi confiuence.
Nahathii, chaiacteiistically hau his own explanation foi this. Nalaysia
was, he saiu, the victim of conspiiacy of inteinational financieis, whose aim
was to uestioy the piospeets of an inuustiialising countiy anu, moieovei, to
piofit fiom its misfoitune. Be paiticulaily taigeteu the cuiiency heuge funus
baseu in New Yoik anu Westein Euiope which sought to exploit instability in
emeiging maikets by "taking a position" in the cuiiency, piecipitating
instability anu then causing a ciisis of confiuence.
Nahathii's stiiuent calls foi iefoim of the inteinational financial sectoi,
especially as iegaius leveiaging, founu many sympathetic eais both at home
anu abioau. In a iauical expeiiment, in 1998 Kuala Lumpui imposeu stiict
contiols on the iinggit anu the uomestic equity maiket in oiuei to tiy to
insulate them fiom foieign manipulation anu theieby piop up theii value, at
least in the shoit to meuium teim. Bis unoithouox iesponse not only
stabiliseu the economy but positioneu Nalaysia foi a iesumption of sustaineu
giowth in the new centuiy. (It is also tiue that two countiies in the iegion
MALAYSIA 1uS
that also suffeieu seveie uowntuins, Thailanu anu South Koiea, have
iecoveieu anu giown as well, anu they both followeu oithouox policies laiu
uown by the Inteinational Nonetaiy Funu.)
A fuithei issue confionting Nalaysia in the new millennium is the
extent to which the entiencheu iights affoiueu Nalays will be lesseneu,
theieby pushing Nalaysia towaius a meiitociacy with gieatei inclusion foi
the ethnic Chinese anu Inuians. The momentum against affiimative action
was uiiven by Nahathii, who iepeateuly accuseu Nalays of becoming soft
anu squanueiing theii goveinment-piesciibeu piivileges. In 2uu2, an
euitoiial in a leauing newspapei thought to have been inspiieu by the piime
ministei cieateu a stoim when it stateu that affiimative action hau fosteieu a
subsiuy mentality that was countei-piouuctive to economic giowth. Shoitly
afteiwaius, ueputy piime ministei Bauawi (who ieplaceu Nahathii as piime
ministei in 2uuS) stateu, "the Nalays must think positively of theii I own
ability, foi it is one's own negative peiception that makes one I weak. The
time has come foi us to give up the ciutehes anu stait ■ walking
inuepenuently." In piactice, any such moves may see an enu to, oi ieuuction
in, minimum quotas foi Nalays enteiing the civil I seivice, highei euucation
anu biuuing foi goveinment contiacts. Such comments incieaseu 0NN0's
palatability among Nalaysia's i non-Nalays.
The question of succession, nevei fai fiom the suiface uuiing the close
of the 2uth centuiy, caine to the foie explosively in 1998 with the aiiest of
the ueputy piime ministei, finance ministei anu anointeu heii, Anwai
Ibiahim. Buiing a miu-yeai 0NN0 confeience, Anwai was the victim of a
whispeiing campaign, appaiently unueitaken with the appioval of the piime
ministei, in which his ability to continue in his ministeiial iole was
unueimineu with the ciiculation of a highly peisonal pamphlet attacking his
iight to succeeu Nahathii. This was the fiist tangible eviuence pointing to a
iumoieu falling out between the two men. In Septembei, Nahathii claimeu
Anwai hau acteu incompetently in the face of the financial ciisis anu
piomptly sackeu him. Soon afteiwaius, the police foimally chaigeu him with
peifoiming homosexual acts anu coiiuption. Taken into custouy, he was
subsequently assaulteu by the police commissionei, who was latei foiceu to
iesign aftei aumitting his iole. In 1999, he was sentenceu to a minimum of
five yeais in piison, with a fuithei nine yeais auueu foi auuitional offences
the following yeai. Be was fieeu in 2uu4 when the feueial couit oveituineu
his conviction foi souomy anu, since he hau alieauy seiveu his sentence foi
coiiuption, oiueieu his ielease fiom piison. Be ietuineu tiiumphantly to
pailiament aftei winning a lanusliue by-election victoiy in the seat of Penang
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1u4
in August 2uu8. This was in spite of 0NN0 vigoiously campaigning against
him anu attempting to uiscieuit his political paity, the People's }ustice Paity.
Anwai uesciibeu his victoiy as "an enuoisement of oui policies anu a
iejection of the obsolete anu coiiupt policies of the goveinment." Although
only a single seat was at stake, the event tiansfixeu Nalaysians. While the
iesult uiu not change the balance of powei, it will stiengthen Anwai's hanu in
his campaign to one uay become piime ministei.
Nahathii took Nalaysia÷anu inueeu, the woilu÷by suipiise when he
abiuptly announceu his iesignation in fiont of uelegates anu on live television
at an 0NN0 paity confeience on 22 }une, 2uu2. Although he withuiew it an
houi latei, he nonetheless saiu he woulu hanu ovei powei to his ueputy,
Abuullah Ahmau Bauawi, in a phaseu tiansition. Be iesigneu on S1 0ctobei,
2uuS anu Bauawi was swoin in the following uay. Piepaiations immeuiately
commenceu foi the Naich 2uu4 geneial election, in which Bauawi's iuling
Baiisan Nasional Paity alliance gaineu 9u pei cent of the seats in the Bouse of
Repiesentatives.
This iesult was vieweu as a iinging enuoisement of the new piime
ministei. Bis populai manuate was assisteu by his piomises to ieuuce
poveity anu combat coiiuption, anu via the suppoit of many miuule-class
voteis uisenchanteu with his pieuecessoi's tieatment of Anwai Ibiahim.
Bauawi was initially vieweu as a consensus builuei with impeccable Islamic
cieuentials. But within a couple of yeais he caine to be vieweu as weak anu
inuecisive by the electoiate, fiom within his own paity anu even fiom
Nahathii himself, who saiu publicly he iegietteu anointing Bauawi his heii.
Bauawi's many ciitics also accuseu him of squanueiing the stiong manuate
foi change hanueu to him in 2uu4; this seemeu to be boin out by the iesults
of the 2uu8 geneial election in which he leu 0NN0 to victoiy, but with a
much ieuuceu majoiity. Suppoit foi the opposition swelleu to unpieceuenteu
levels anu, as mentioneu above, Anwai Ibiahim ie-enteieu pailiament late in
2uu8 as a poweiful voice against the uoveinment. Bauawi accepteu
iesponsibility foi the iuling coalition's pooi peifoimance anu in miu-2uu8
agieeu to step asiue in Naich 2uu9 in favoui of his ueputy Najib Razak. Razak
is the son of Nalaysia's seconu piime ministei anu has been in pailiament
since his eaily 20s.
Nahathii left behinu a legacy in which multiiacial Nalaysia was
pioviueu with the stability anu guiuance necessaiy to uevelop iapiuly into a
sophisticateu mouein economy, with a laigely euucateu woik-foice who have
gieatly benefiteu fiom the changes Nahathii oveisaw. But his ciitics accuseu
him of maintaining an autociatic leaueiship style, muzzling the piess anu
MALAYSIA 1uS
compiomising the inuepenuence of the juuiciaiy. The extent to which populai
aspiiations foi gieatei political openness to match the incieasing mateiial
piospeiity will be accommouateu by his successois still iemains to be seen.









































































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1u8


















Nyanmai, foimeily known as Buima, is a unique countiy in South-East Asia.
Foi most of the six uecaues since achieving inuepenuence in the afteimath of
Woilu Wai II, Nyanmai has isolateu itself fiom the outsiue woilu. Fiom its
pie-wai position as a ielatively iich agiicultuial colony anu a majoi expoitei
of iice, it has slumpeu to being the pooiest nation in South-East Asia. Nineial
iich, in the new centuiy it is uepenuent on oil impoits to keep its shaky
economy iunning. Ruleu by a militaiy iegime since 1962, foi 4u yeais it
uelibeiately isolateu itself fiom the political, social anu economic foices that
have swept ovei the iest of South East Asia. Whilst in the eaily 199us theie
weie signs that economic impeiatives anu political piessuie fiom both insiue
anu outsiue the countiy weie at least leauing to moie outwaiu-looking
economic policies, by the fiist yeais of the new centuiy the Asian economic
ciisis, continuing un-iesolveu uomestic political uisputes anu inteinational
conuemnation by Westein goveinments, has leu to a stagnant economy.
Nyanmai is the most ethnically uiveise state in mainlanu South-East
Asia. The Buimese compiise aiounu 68 pei cent of the population of 49
million, but theie aie moie than 1uu ethnic gioups in the countiy. The
Buimese uominate the alluvial plains anu the majoi towns anu cities. The
hills boiueiing neighbouiing countiies of Inuia, Banglauesh, China, Laos anu
Thailanu aie populateu by ethnic minoiities. These peoples have long
iesisteu Buimese uomination The laigest of the ethnic minoiities aie the
Shans, the Kaiens anu the Aiakanese (on the Banglauesh boiuei). The multi-
ethnic natuie of Nyanmai anu the antipathy between Buimese anu ethnic
minoiities is one impoitant theme in Nyanmai's histoiy.
MYANMAR 1u9
Theie is a stiong coinciuence between ieligious auheience anu ethnic
uivisions. The Buimese aie pieuominantly Buuuhist, wheieas the Kaien anu
the Shan aie pieuominantly Chiistian anu the Aiakanese aie split between
Buuuhists anu Nuslims. Buuuhism enteieu Nyanmai fiom Inuia fiom the
seventh centuiy anu along with it caine Binuu-Buuuhist cosmological iueas.
The ethnic Buimese began theii migiation fiom southein China in the ninth
centuiy anu ovei the succeeuing thousanu yeais steauily spieau thiough the
lowlanu plains of piesent-uay Nyanmai. The Buimese embiaceu Buuuhism.
Chiistianity was intiouuceu uuiing Biitish iule. Biitish missionaiies
evangeliseu among the animistic hill peoples, conveiting the Shan, Kaien anu
othei ethnic minoiities to the Chiistian faith. The coinciuence of ethnicity anu
ieligion has ueepeneu the uivisions between ethnic gioups in Nyanmai.
A seconu majoi theme in Nyanmai's histoiy is a ueep concein about its
neighbouis. The Buimese anu the Thais have competeu foi teiiitoiy, powei
anu wealth ovei hunuieus of yeais, iesoiting to wai wheie necessaiy anu
thoioughly uistiusting each othei in peiious of peace. The Buimese have also
ingiaineu feais of theii huge noithein neighboi, China (iemembeiing the
Nongol conquest at the enu of the 1Sth centuiy), anu still fiesh memoiies of
the colonial peiiou, when Inuian migiants uominateu the mouein sectoi of
the economy. Ruleu by an inwaiu-looking élite, who aie waiy of theii
neighbouis, feaiful of foieign influences anu steepeu in uistiust of ethnic
minoiities, Nyanmai is veiy uiffeient fiom any othei countiy in South-East
Asia.

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The teiiitoiial bounuaiies of Nyanmai aie the cieation of Biitish colonialism.
Piioi to Biitish conquest no inuigenous kinguom con-tiolleu the teiiitoiy that
now compiises Nyanmai. The uivision between the alluvial plains (the
lowlanus) anu the mountainous iegions (the highlanus) is cential not just to
the histoiy of Nyanmai but to the histoiy of all mainlanu South- East Asian
states. Lowlanu Nyanmai is uominateu by the Iiiawauuy Rivei anu the iich
alluvial plain cieateu anu iecieateu by thousanus of yeais of annual
monsoonal floouing.
The fiist known kinguoms emeigeu in the lowei Iiiawauuy valley fiom
the fifth centuiy. They weie non-Buimese kinguoms but stiongly influenceu
by Binuu-Buuuhism iueas. The fiist majoi kinguom was founueu aiounu
1u44, on the banks of the Iiiawauuy Rivei at Pagan, noith of the piesent uay
capital of Yangon (foimeilv known as Rangoon). Foi ovei 2uu yeais, until the
enu of the 1Sth centuiy, the Pagan empiie flouiisheu, at its peak contiolling
much of the teiiitoiy of piesent-uay Nyanmai. It was a Buuuhist kinguom
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 11u
whose temple iemains at Pagan attest not only to its gieat agiicultuial wealth
but also to its people 's knowleuge of mathematics, geometiy anu
engineeiing. The temples of Pagan stietch along a 4u-squaie kilometie zone.
Some aie as laige as meuieval Euiopean catheuials though built a centuiy oi
moie eailiei. Pagan iemains a goluen eia in the Buimese minu, when a
stiong, piospeious Buimese kinguom cieateu beautiful temples anu
ieligiously inspiieu woiks of aits, anu was a ienowneu centei foi Buuuhist
scholaiship.
The fiist majoi Buimese kinguom was uestioyeu by a noithein
invauei. Pagan was attackeu by the Nongols fiom China at the enu of the 1Sth
centuiy. The city of Pagan itself was sackeu anu subsequently abanuoneu.
0nly the temples iemaineu, unuei the contiol of Buuuhist monasteiies. In its
place foi the next Suu yeais weie a seiies of small competing iuleis all of
whom faileu to iecieate the gloiies of Pagan. In the miuule of the 16th
centuiy, a new Buimese kinguom emeigeu at Pegu, neai Yangon, anu tiieu to
ieunite the Buimese. It quickly exeiteu contiol ovei much of lowei Nyanmai
anu noith to the Shan states. But it was a shoit-liveu state, collapsing aftei
only Su yeais. 0nce again the Buimese weie uiviueu by a numbei of small,
competing kinguoms.
In the miuule of the 18th centuiy, a new Buimese kinguom emeigeu at
Ava (neai Nanualay). It giauually extenueu its contiol ovei much of what is
now Nyanmai, incluuing conqueiing the hill states of the Shan people. It
became a majoi iegional powei, competing with the Thai kinguom of
Ayuuhya foi teiiitoiy anu people. The Thai¡ Buimese iivaliy was stiong anu
often bittei. In 1767, Ava was stiong enough to uispatch an aimy to Ayuuhya.
The capital was sackeu, tieasuies weie looteu (with many finuing a home
touay in Nyanmai's museums), anu tens of thousanus of Thais weie captuieu
anu tians-poiteu back to Nyanmai as slaves. The Thai kinguom collapseu, to
be ieplaceu a few yeais latei by a new kinguom, the Chakii uynasty, which
continues touay in Thailanu anu whose capital was built fuithei south at
Bangkok away fiom the thieat of Buimese attack.
At the enu of the 18th centuiy Nyanmai was the stiongest state in
mainlanu South-East Asia. The Chakii uynasty in Thailanu was in its infancy,
iecoveiing fiom the Buimese uestiuction of Ayuuhya, anu the vietnamese
kinguom was toin by iebellion. The balance changeu in the eaily 19th
centuiy: the Thai anu vietnamese kinguoms flouiisheu while the Buimese
kinguom ueclineu. The Buimese iuling élite was noticeably moie inwaiu-
looking than its Thai anu vietnamese counteipaits anu less involveu in
commeicial ielations with the outsiue woilu. As Biitain incieaseu its
piesence in South-East Asia in the 19th centuiy, the Buimese élite pioveu
MYANMAR 111
less able than the Thais to appieciate the thieat poseu to them anu theiefoie
less able to auopt stiategies to cope with them.

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The English East Inuia Company (EIC) steauily extenueu its teiiitoiy in Inuia
fiom eaily in the 17th centuiy. Bengal, on the east coast of Inuia aujacent to
the Buimese kinguom of Ava, was the Biitish stepping-stone into Inuia.
Calcutta was the capital fiom which emanateu EIC influence, teiiitoiial
expansion anu commeicial uealings. Nyanmai was piimaiily seen by the EIC
as a buffei zone. It hau potential commeicial impoitance but its gieatei
impoitance was stiategic. No othei Euiopean powei coulu be alloweu to gain
influence theie anu the Buimese iuleis weie expecteu to acknowleuge the
supeiioiity of Biitish Inuia anu cieate stable conuitions foi successful tiaue.
The Buimese king anu élite hau a veiy uiffeient view of the woilu anu the
Buimese place in it. Fiesh fiom the uefeat of Ayuuhya, in the 182us the
Buimese kinguom extenueu its contiol ovei Aiakan, boiueiing Bengal.
Refugees fleu acioss the boiuei, fiom wheie they oiganizeu iesistance to the
Buimese. The Buimese king finally uemanueu the Biitish ietuin them. Foi
theii pait, the Biitish became incieasingly conceineu about political
instability on theii colonial fiontiei.
The Buimese couit gieatly unueiestimateu the stiength of the EIC. In
1822, Buimese foices invaueu Bengal anu thieateneu to maich on Chittagong
in a uispute ovei the ietuin of political iefugees fiom Ava. The iesult was a
Biitish expeuition to Nyanmai. The Buimese weie no easy opponents. The
fiist Anglo-Buimese wai lasteu two yeais, fiom 1824 until 1826. Eventually,
supeiioi Biitish weaponiy anu tactics, backeu by a stiong ieai base in Bengal,
ensuieu a Biitish victoiy. The Buimese weie foiceu to ceue a laige amount of
teiiitoiy on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, enabling the EIC to contiol the Bay
fiom both siues. 0vei the next two uecaues, the EIC exploiteu the agiicultuial
potential of its new teiiitoiy, incieasing iice piouuction foui-folu anu
ueveloping a stiong expoit tiaue in iice, timbei anu shipbuiluing.
Bespite this uefeat anu loss of teiiitoiy, the Buimese élite continueu to
unueiestimate Biitish powei in Bengal, uemanuing iespect as equals anu
taking whatevei oppoitunities they coulu to ieminu Biitish envoys, tiaueis
anu visitois of theii equal status. In the 18Sus, a seconu Anglo-Buimese wai
bioke out, the immeuiate cause of which was a conflict between Biitish
tiaueis anu the Buimese goveinoi of Yangon. The iesult was that Bengal
acquiieu moie teiiitoiy in lowei Nyanmai The final act in the Biitish
acquisition of Nyanmai occuiieu in 188S when Nanualay was captuieu anu
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 112
the King anu his family exileu to Calcutta. Nyanmai was foimally annexeu by
Biitain on 1 }anuaiy, 1886
The Biitish impact on Nyanmai was piofounu. At the political level, the
monaichy was abolisheu anu the Buimese aiistociacy was stiippeu of theii
powei. Nyanmai was iuleu fiom Calcutta, as a minoi pait of the Biitish
Inuian empiie. Inuian mouels of auministiation weie imposeu by Englishmen,
who by anu laige, hau no unuei-stanuing of oi iespect foi local social
stiuctuies. Lowei Nyanmai that is the alluvial plains which weie ethnically
Buimese anu the heait of the Buimese empiies, was iuleu uiiectly by the
colonial goveinment, with the poweis of tiauitional iegional anu local élites
uestioyeu. It was heie that the full foice of Biitish political anu economic
policies weie felt. In 0planu Nyanmai, in aieas populateu by ethnic gioups
such as the Shan anu Kaien, a policy of inuiiect iule was intiouuceu. Social
stiuctuies anu local élites weie moie oi less left intact, with auministiations
sepaiate fiom that of the Buimese heait-lanu. A majoi consequence of this
was a stiengthening of the uivision between the Buimese anu ethnic
minoiities, with the lattei ueveloping a stiongei sense of iuentity unuei
Biitish iule.
It has been aigueu that one of the most impoitant consequences of
Biitish conquest was that the two most vital institutions of Buimese society,
which togethei uefineu what it meant to be Buimese, weie uestioyeu oi
seiiously weakeneu. The exile of the King anu his family meant that the iitual
anu symbolism of the couit was abiuptly enueu. The Buimese state no longei
hau a centie; inueeu, the thione itself was tianspoiteu to a museum in
Calcutta. The king was also the pation anu, in many senses, the heau of the
Buuuhist hieiaichy. Bis uemise ieuuceu the authoiity of the ieligious
hieiaichy, leaving Buuuhist ieligious institutions with a much weakeneu
cential leaueiship. As a consequence, Buima became fiagmenteu. These two
binuing foices in Buimese society weie eliminateu, with no inuigenous
ieplacements.
Biitish colonial iule intiouuceu a stiong buieauciacy suppoiteu in its
maintenance of social contiol by an efficient police anu aimy. The Biitish
uistiusteu the Buimese. The police anu the aimy weie laigely composeu of
ethnic minoiities who woulu have few qualms about quashing Buimese
uissent. The buieauciacy was supeiviseu by the Biitish but staffeu laigely by
Anglo-Buimese anu Inuians. The new buieauciatic élite cieateu by Biitain
was uominateu by Anglo-Buimese, whose cultuial mouels weie influenceu
moie by Biitain than by Nyanmai. This was to pose consiueiable pioblems
aftei inuepenuence.
MYANMAR 11S
Biitish iule incieaseu the ethnic uiveisity of Nyanmai. The
auministiative link with Inuia meant that Inuians weie fiee to migiate. By
19S1, about seven pei cent of the population of Nyanmai was Inuian,
pieuominantly fiom Bengal anu Nauias. Yangon was an immigiant city. Two-
thiius of its population in 19S1 weie immigiants, incluuing SS pei cent
Inuians. Nuch of the capital foi the agiicultuial expansion in the Nyanmai
Belta caine fiom Inuian moneylenueis. Chinese immigiants weie ieciuiteu
fiom Biitish Nalaya anu Singapoie. In 19S1, they compiiseu about two pei
cent of the total population of Nyanmai. They woikeu in the mines in the
Shan states, pioviueu much of the uiban laboui foice, opeiateu small
businesses anu built iice mills in cential Nyanmai. 0n the eve of Biitish
conquest, the Nyanmai lowlanus weie populateu pieuominantly by ethnic
Buimese. By 1941, this ethnic homogeneity hau given way to a multi-ethnic
anu multi-ieligious society.
The Biitish tiansfoimeu Nyanmai's economy. They encouiageu the
settlement of the Nyanmai Belta, which, in the 18Sus, was laigely malaiial
infesteu jungle anu swamps in the 18S0s. Roaus anu biiuges weie built, lanu
was openeu up at cheap piices with significant tax concessions anu the
infiastiuctuie of poits anu Communications was gieatly impioveu to enable
ciops to be expoiteu to woilu maikets. The iesult was a uiamatic southwaiu
migiation of Buimese fiom the uiy noithein zone to the feitile uelta. The
Nyanmai Belta became a majoi piouucei of iice anu little else,
commeicializeu anu uepenuent on the vagaiies of inteinational maikets. The
extent of the tiansfoimation can be gaugeu by the iaw economic statistics. In
18SS, lowei Nyanmai expoiteu 162,uuu tons of iice: in 19uS-6, it expoiteu
two million tons, with the piice of iice incieasing thieefolu in that time. The
aiea unuei iice cultivation expanueu fiom aiounu 8uu,uuu acies to aiounu
six million acies anu the population giew fiom one million in 18S2 to foui
million in 19u1.
Lanu was plentiful until the 192us, when the limits of cultivation weie
ieacheu. 0ntil then, the Nyanmai Belta was geneially piospeious, foi those
who tilleu the lanu as well as foi those who financeu the uevelopment anu
tiaueu iice anu teak on woilu maikets. Fiom the 192us population piessuie
on the lanu became a majoi pioblem, as uiu faimeis' inuebteuness. Tensions
between Buimese anu immigiant Chinese anu Inuians then became moie
open anu, at times, moie violent.
Biitain tiansfoimeu the economy but was content foi Nyanmai to be a
iice, teak anu mineial expoitei. Theie was no attempt to inuustiialise the
countiy. In 1941, Nyanmai was still a ielatively piospeious agiaiian society,
though seiious inuebteuness anu population piessuie hau expiesseu
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 114
themselves in peasant piotests anu violence in the 19Sus. What capitalism
existeu was in foieign hanus-Euiopean companies contiolleu the expoit
tiaue; the petty tiaueis anu small-scale capitalists weie Chinese; anu the
financieis anu iuial moneylenueis weie Inuians. Nyanmai was a pluialistic
society In which economic position was coteiminous with ethnicity.
Economic uevelopment unuei colonial iule was accompanieu by the
spieau of Westein euucation. A new Westein-euucateu, uiban élite emeigeu
in the 2uth centuiy, out of which a nationalist movement was to emeige. As
pait of the Inuian empiie, until its sepaiation into an inuepenuent colony in
19S7, Nyanmai's political uevelopment closely paiallelleu that of Inuia. The
political iefoims intiouuceu in Inuia fiom the beginning of the 2uth centuiy
weie extenueu to Nyanmai. In 19SS a new Constitution was intiouuceu into
Nyanmai unuei which limiteu self-goveinment was peimitteu. The fiist
elections foi a Buimese Pailiament weie helu in 19S6 anu a Westminstei-
style pailiamentaiy goveinment opeiateu until the }apanese occupation in
1942.
The nationalist movement in Nyanmai hau a numbei of uistinctive
chaiacteiistics. Fiist, it was uominateu by the ethnic Buimese. Theii
piomotion of Buimese language, liteiatuie anu cultuial symbols as "national",
leu to an ambiguous ielationship with the ethnic minoiities. Ethnic minoiities
weie suspicious of the nationalist movement. They feaieu Buimese
uomination of an inuepenuent Nyanmai anu theii assimilation into Buimese
majoiity cultuie. Seconu, the nationalist movement was stiongly anti-Chinese
anu anti-Inuian, in ieaction to the uomination of the Nyanmai economy by
these gioups. Thiiu, the uomination of the Nyanmai economy by foieign
capital stimulateu the uevelopment of socialist iueology among all stianus of
Buimese nationalism. Fouith, the stiess on Buuuhism as being at the coie of
cultuial, ieligious anu peisonal iuentity fuithei alienateu the non-Buimese
minoiities, especially those who weie Chiistians.
0n the eve of Woilu Wai II, theie was a stiong uiban-baseu, Westein-
euucateu, nationalist élite which hau uevelopeu no single oi wiuely accepteu
view of what inuepenuent Nyanmai woulu look like, apait fiom an emphasis
on the unity of Nyanmai, the "Buimeseness" of Nyanmai anu the neeu to
take contiol of the economy out of the hanus of foieigneis. Two of the most
piominent nationalists in the 19Sus weie 0 (meaning "Ni") Aung San anu 0
Nu, the lattei of whom was to be the fiist piime ministei. Anothei was 0 Ne
Win who, in 1962 leu the coup that placeu the militaiy in powei, wheie they
iemain touay. }apan became a magnet foi many nationalists in the 19Sus.
They weie impiesseu by its piopaganua suppoit of anticolonial movements
in South-East Asia. When Woilu Wai II bioke out, Aung San was one of a
MYANMAR 11S
gioup known as the Thiity Comiaues who accepteu }apanese-sponsoieu
militaiy tiaining in Bainan. The Thiity Comiaues ietuineu to Nyanmai in
1942 along with the invauing }apanese aimy as leaueis of the Nyanmai
Inuepenuence Aimy. Fiom the Thiity Comiaues caine many of the political
anu militaiy leaueis of post-inuepenuence Nyanmai.

1*!*(#-# &%%2!*.)&(
The }apanese occupation was welcomeu by many Buimese, incluuing, of
couise, the Thiity Comiaues. The attiaction of }apan in the 19Sus was shaieu
by most South-East Asian nationalists. Not only uiu the }apanese uecisively
enu Euiopean colonialism but theii slogans of "Asia foi the Asians" anu
builuing a "Co-Piospeiity Spheie" weie seuuctive. The uestiuction of white
iule was itself a majoi fillip to South-East Asian nationalists. The intiouuction
of militaiy tiaining, the piomotion of locals to auministiative positions fai
highei than they coulu achieve unuei colonial iule anu the piomotion of
inuigenous languages all contiibuteu to a giowing self- confiuence among
nationalists thioughout the iegion.
The iealities of the }apanese exeicise of powei weie fai uiffeient fiom
the piomises helu out by the piopaganua, howevei. South-East Asians quickly
founu }apanese iule to be no less exploitative anu fai moie biutal than that of
theii foimei Euiopean colonial masteis. In 1944, Aung San anu fellow
membeis of the Thiity Comiaues gioup establisheu the Anti-Fascist People's
Fieeuom League, which opposeu the }apanese anu woikeu to uevelop a vision
of an inuepenuent Nyanmai.

)(0#!#(0#(%#
The activities of the Anti-Fascist People's Fieeuom League against the
}apanese maue its leauei, Aung San, a Buimese heio anu ensuieu that at the
enu of the wai Biitain woulu have to negotiate with the League. In Nay 194S,
just two weeks aftei Yangon hau been iecaptuieu, Biitain announceu its
plans foi post-wai Nyanmai. Its stateu intention was to move Nyanmai
towaius full self-goveinment within the Biitish Commonwealth but, in the
meantime, to suspenu the political iefoims of the 19Sus anu iule uiiectly in
oiuei to ieconstiuct the economy. The plan hau no timetable foi
inuepenuence.
Biitain's position was uniealistic. It took no account of the political anu
psychological impact of the }apanese occupation of South-East Asia, whose
people weie no longei piepaieu to acquiesce in colonial iule. In Nyanmai,
the Anti-Fascist People's Fieeuom League, the Buimese Communist Paity anu
paities baseu on ethnic minoiities campaigneu foi inuepenuence anu
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 116
stiuggleu with each othei foi uominance. In }anuaiy 1947 Aung San leu an
Anti-Fascist People's Fieeuom League uelegation to Lonuon anu negotiateu
the election of a constituent assembly to piepaie a constitution foi an
inuepenuent Nyanmai. In Apiil 1947, the Anti-Fascist People's Fieeuom
League won the election hanusomely but, in }uly, Aung San anu six of his
Cabinet weie assassinateu by political iivals. The assassinations cieateu a
national maityi but maue it even moie uifficult foi Nyanmai to cieate a
consensus on the stiuctuie of the inuepenuent state.
Aung San was ieplaceu by his ueputy, 0 Nu, anu the League leu
Nyanmai into inuepenuence on 4 }anuaiy, 1948. The 0nion of Buima was
constituteu as a feueial state composeu of the laige Buimese aiea anu foui
uplanu states, home to the ethnic minoiities. Though these states weie
piomiseu a gieat ueal of autonomy, powei was quickly concentiateu in the
cential goveinment. The failuie of the feueial system anu the concentiation
of powei in Yangon have been a majoi cause of the instability Nyanmai has
suffeieu since 1948. Shoitly aftei inuepenuence was ueclaieu, the Buimese
Communist Paity anu the Kaien nationalist movement launcheu
insuiiections which continue thiough touay÷though in iecent yeais theie
have been some conciliatoiy moves by Yangon to accommouate the iebels
anu the scale of the fighting has, tempoiaiily at least, been ieuuceu. The cause
of the insuiiections iemains. Nany of the minoiities see inuepenuent
Nyanmai as a Buimese state. The aimy, the police anu the appaiatus of
goveinment aie contiolleu by Buimese. The substantial ethnic minoiities feai
absoiption anu the consequent uisappeaiance of theii sepaiate anu uistinct
cultuial iuentities.
Nyanmai was a uemociatic state between 1948 anu 1962.
uoveinments weie electeu, accepteu the neeu to opeiate within the limits of
the Constitution, helu national elections anu abiueu by the iesults anu
accepteu uecisions of the Supieme Couit when it iuleu against the
goveinment. Powei was in the hanus of the Anti-Fascist People's Fieeuom
League, which uiew on the name of Aung San to bolstei its suppoit. Theie
was a 16-month peiiou of militaiy iule between 19S8 anu 196u, but ueneial
Ne Win abiueu by the Constitution anu fulfilleu an unueitaking to holu
elections in 196u. Though the political paity favouieu by the militaiy uiu not
win the elections, the militaiy accepteu the uecision anu ietuineu to baiiacks.
The failings of the uemociatic peiiou weie ciitical. The ueclining
economy anu the emphasis on the "Buimeseness" of Nyanmai weie the
piime causes of iegional insuiiections anu social uniest in both uiban anu
iuial aieas. All effoits to cieate a social consensus on the king of society that
shoulu be cieateu faileu. Coiiuption became iampant as inflation ate away
MYANMAR 117
iemoiselessly at civil seivants' salaiies, foicing them to iesoit to illegal
impositions in oiuei to suivive.
In Naich 1962, a militaiy coup leu by ueneial Ne Win ovei-thiew the
electeu goveinment of 0 Nu, usheiing in a peiiou of militaiy iule that has
lasteu moie than 4u yeais. The ostensible ieason foi the coup was the
militaiy's feai that 0 Nu's goveinment woulu allow the Shan anu othei ethnic
minoiities to seceue fiom Nyanmai. Nany Buimese cautiously welcomeu the
coup because it piomiseu to put an enu to the coiiuption, instability, inflation
anu social uniest of the pievious uecaue anu a half.
The coup leaueis aiiesteu political anu ethnic minoiity leaueis, uoseu
uown the pailiament anu uemolisheu the feueial stiuctuie. 0pposition fiom
Yangon stuuents anu fiom Buimese monks was iuthlessly suppiesseu. The
countiy was iuleu by a Revolutionaiy Council composeu entiiely of militaiy
officials loyal to ueneial Ne Win. The militaiy cieateu its own political paity,
the Buima Socialist Piogiam Paity, as the only legal paity in the countiy anu
uesciibeu its iueology as the "Buimese Way to Socialism". In 1974, a new
Constitution was put into effect, cieating the Socialist Republic of the 0nion of
Buima. An electeu pailiament was foimeu, but only one canuiuate was
alloweu to stanu foi each constituency anu that canuiuate hau to be appioveu
by the Buima Socialist Piogiam Paity.
The leaueis of the coup aigueu that the aimy was the only cohesive anu
uisciplineu oiganisation capable of pioviuing the stiong leaueiship neeueu to
oveicome the social chaos that pievaileu. They weie fieicely anti-foieign anu
ueteimineu to iiu Nyanmai of all vestiges of colonial-ism by iefocussing on
Buimese cultuie, language, tiauition anu ieligion. Like the ioyal élite that hau
iuleu Nyanmai in the 18uus, they weie, anu to a ceitain extent iemain, an
inwaiu-looking élite, suspicious of its immeuiate neighbouis anu ueteimineu
to keep outsiue political, cultuial anu economic influences to a minimum. The
new iegime moveu quickly to eliminate the pieuominantly Inuian anu
Chinese business class, seeing state socialism as the only way to uelivei
economic inuepenuence to the countiy. The Westeiniseu, often Anglo-
Buimese, élite that hau iun the countiy unuei colonial iule anu thiough the
19S0s fleu the countiy, along with the Inuian anu Chinese communities. In
the 199us, they weie followeu by the Nuslim minoiity on the westein boiuei
with Banglauesh who, too, became a taiget foi a goveinment intent on
iemoving all non-Buimese elements fiom society.
Ne Win's militaiy goveinment was even less successful in ueveloping
the economy than the uemociatically electeu goveinments befoie it. Inueeu,
the economy woiseneu acutely unuei militaiy iule with the expulsion of
Inuians anu Pakistanis, the piohibition on foieign investment anu the effoits
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 118
of the one-paity State to impose a commanu economy. In 1987, the 0niteu
Nations gave Nyanmai "Least Bevelopeu Nation" status, iecognizing it as one
of the woilu's ten pooiest countiies. Estimates of pei-capita income vaiy anu
even official statistic aie uifficult to obtain, as the goveinment has ieleaseu
few figuies peitaining to the countiy's financial anu social conuitions since
I999 Theie aie, howevei, two economies: the legal, laigely state-contiolleu
economy anu the black-maiket economy. It is estimateu that illegal tiaue in
Nyanmai is thiee times the official tiaue, anu that the total, non-uiug, illegal
tiaue makes up about 4u pei cent of uNP.
The illegal tiaue filteis thiough Nyanmai's poious boiueis with China,
Thailanu, Banglauesh anu Inuia. The illegal uiug tiaue woulu auu
consiueiably to the black maiket figuies as the uoluen Tiiangle, centeieu on
Nyanmai, is the woilu's majoi opium piouucei. The militaiy élite, which on
assuming powei in 1962 spoke much of the neeu to combat coiiuption, is one
of the main beneficiaiies of the black maiket. It is uiiectly involveu as biokei
anu ientiei, iaking off a peicentage of the money maue fiom the tiaue. In
2uu6 the global oiganisation which monitois coiiuption, Tianspaiency
Inteinational, listeu Nyanmai as the woilu's seconu most coiiupt countiy
aftei Baiti. The black maiket is ciucial to Nyanmai's economic suivival.
Without it the countiy woulu fall even fuithei into abject poveity anu the
people's lot woulu be tiuly appalling. The militaiy iegime's continueu holu on
powei is to a laige extent uepenuent on the ability of the black maiket to
keep consumei goous anu essential supplies tiickling into Nyanmai.
Theie weie spoiauic stuuent piotests anu iiots in the 197us, but these
weie iuthlessly quelleu by the militaiy. A new seiies of piotests began eaily
in 1988, leu by stuuents anu Buuuhist monks. The usual violent ieaction fiom
the militaiy this time faileu to stop the iiots giowing in intensity. In August
anu Septembei 1988, they culminateu in wiuespieau stiikes anu massive
uemonstiations in the uiban aieas, coalescing into a uemanu foi an enu to
militaiy iule. The aimy ieacteu, killing thousanus of piotesteis. The hoiiois
of these acts weie ielayeu uaily to the television scieens of the Westein
woilu, eliciting wiuespieau piotests fiom Westein goveinments. A new
oiganization, the State Law anu 0iuei Restoiation Council (SL0RC), took ovei
goveinment unuei the contiol of the aimy chief of staff, ueneial Saw Naung.
Bowevei, Ne Win, who hau iesigneu as chaiiman of the Buimese Socialist
Piogiam Paity in August 1988, ietaineu an impoitant behinu-the-scene iole
uuiing the l99us. By the tuin of the centuiy, though, his stai has waneu. In
uiamatic move in Naich 2uu2, Ne Win's son-in-law anu thiee gianusons
weie chaigeu with plotting a coup to iestoie him to powei anu sentenceu to
ueath in August, though this was latei commuteu to life impiisonment. Ne
MYANMAR 119
Win himself uieu unuei house aiiest in Becembei 2uu2 anu was buiieu in a
piivate ceiemony ignoieu by the countiy's militaiy iuleis.
SL0RC ueciueu to holu elections in 199u, piesumably because it was
conceineu at the stiong inteinational ieaction to the iepiession of August
anu Septembei 1988. It also thought that it coulu contiol the iesults of the
election thiough its poweiful intelligence seivice. The election campaign uiu
not go as planneu. Baw (meaning "Nis") Aung San Suu Kyi, uaughtei of
Nyanmai's fiist piime ministei anu ieveieu national maityi Aung San,
ietuineu fiom Lonuon anu quickly became the majoi spokesman foi the
National League foi Bemociacy (NLB). The NLB campaigneu vigoiously in
1989, uiawing laige ciowus to its meetings uespite the iestiictions placeu by
the militaiy anu the feai campaign wageu by the intelligence seivice. Aung
San Suu Kyi was a poweiful oiatoi anu magnetic public figuie, anu was able
to uiaw on the auia suiiounuing hei fathei's name. In }uly 1989, she was
placeu unuei house aiiest anu thousanus of NLB suppoiteis, stuuents anu
othei political activists weie aiiesteu.
Bespite the tough militaiy line, the NLB won ovei thiee-quaiteis of the
seats when the elections weie eventually helu in Nay 199u. The ienameu
Nyanmai Socialist Piogiam Paity÷now the National 0nion Paity÷won only
ten seats. SL0RC iesponueu by aiiesting NLB leaueis anu ueclaiing the
election null anu voiu. The militaiy subsequently stateu that they woulu
ietain powei. Although Aung San Suu Kyi was ieleaseu fiom house aiiest in
199S, between Septembei 2uuu anu Nay 2uu2 she was again subject to house
aiiest anu impiisoneu in Nay 2uuS. She is cuiiently unuei house aiiest once
again. The militaiy goveinment (which changeu its name fiom SL0RC to the
State Peace anu Bevelopment Council, oi SPBC, in 1997) has shown no sign
that it is piepaieu to ielinquish political powei oi lessen its iepiession of the
NLB anu populai uissent geneially. In 1999, Suu Kyi's Biitish husbanu,
Nichael Aiis, uieu of cancei in Lonuon. The Nyanmai authoiities iefuseu him
peimission foi a last visit to see his wife in Yangon. She in tuin iefuseu to
leave the countiy, feaiing the Nyanmai goveinment woulu ueny hei a ie-
entiy peimit when it caine time to ietuin home.
Inteinational piessuie foi iefoim has come mostly fiom the Euiopean
0nion anu the 0S, both of which have imposeu economic sanctions anu
placeu tiavel iestiictions on goveinment officials. In contiast, neighbouiing
countiies have mostly iefuseu to conuemn the SPBC, stating that this woulu
amount to an unacceptable inteifeience in the countiy´s inteinal affaiis. In
1997, Nyanmai enteieu ASEAN anu the othei membeis have ielieu on a
policy of "constiuctive engagement" in an effoit to quietly peisuaue the SPBC
to be moie accommouating of the aspiiations of its citizens anu to seek a
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 12u
political compiomise with Aung San Suu Kyi. But following the 1997 Asian
financial ciisis ASEAN has hau othei issues to ueal with anu inteinational
contioveisy iegaiuing its suppoit foi the SPBC have become a liability. Thus,
uuiing a visit in }anuaiy 2uu1, one of ASEAN's most influential leaueis,
Nalaysia's piime ministei Nahathii, stateu quite baluly that his hosts hau
become an "embaiiassment to ASEAN" because of theii failuie to enact
iefoims to auuiess the paiiah status accoiueu theii countiy by Westein
nations. This, he saiu, was tainishing not only Nyanmai's ieputation, but
those of othei ASEAN membei-states too. In 2uuS a gioup of South-East Asian
pailiamentaiians uemanueu that Nyanmai be expelleu fiom ASEAN unless
the iegime impioveu its human iights iecoiu. While theii calls went
unheeueu, ASEAN membeis uiu become conceineu that the Association's
image woulu suffei iiieueemably if Nyanmai insisteu on taking its tuin as
ASEAN's iotating chaii in 2uu6. Subtle piessuie was applieu behinu the
scenes anu in }uly 2uuS, the goveinment announceu it woulu foiego its iight
to chaii ASEAN, citing the neeu to concentiate on uomestic consiueiations.
Aung San Suu Kyi, meanwhile, continues to call foi a continuation of
foieign boycotts on tiaue, aiu anu touiism. Inueeu, foieign uonoi countiies
have laigely cut off uevelopment aiu since 1998. To auu to Nyanmai's woes,
in 2uu2 the 0niteu Nations announceu that the countiy was facing an AIBS
epiuemic, with one in Su auults estimateu to be BIv positive, one of the
highest iates in the woilu. In the same yeai, the 0S State Bepaitment
iepoiteu that "poveity is wiuespieau anu the economy has continueu to show
the effects of a giowing goveinment ueficit, iising inflation, shoitfalls in
eneigy supplies anu continuing foieign exchange shoitages". In Septembei
2uu7 majoi iiots, tiiggeieu by fuel piice iises, bioke out in the capital.
Thousanus of Buuuhist monks anu nuns joineu the piotests, which weie
iuthlessly suppiesseu by the authoiities, spaiking shaip inteinational
conuemnation.
Also attiacting inteinational ciiticism was the goveinment's iesponse
to Cyclone Naigis, which wiought havoc in the Iiiawauuy uelta (the souice of
6S pei cent of the iice giown in Nyanmai) on 2-S Nay 2uu8. The cyclone is
saiu to have killeu an estimateu 1S4,uuu people, affecteu 2.4 million faimeis
anu swampeu 2uu,uuu hectaies of uelta iice pauuies (16 pei cent of the total)
with seawatei, ienueiing it unusable foi seveial haivests. The tiageuy was
compounueu by the goveinment's iefusal to avail itself of offeis of assistance
which flooueu in fiom the 0niteu Nations, foieign aiu gioups anu othei
goveinments. These offeis weie eithei uelayeu oi iejecteu outiight, which
neeulessly leu to the ueaths of many thousanus of cyclone victims. This was
fuithei eviuence of the extent to which the iegime iemains insulai anu
MYANMAR 121
suspicious of outsiue inteifeience, even uuiing a humanitaiian catastiophe
such as Naigis.
In }anuaiy 2uu4, the goveinment anu the Kaien National 0nion (the
most significant ethnic gioup fighting the goveinment) agieeu to a ceasefiie.
Since then, howevei, spoiauic clashes between Nyanmai's aimy anu the
insuigents have occuiieu. In 0ctobei 2uu4, Khin Nyunt was uismisseu as
piime ministei ostensibly foi coiiuption, but moie likely the victim of a
powei stiuggle. In }uly 2uuS he ieceiveu a suspenueu sentence of 44 yeais
fiom a special tiibunal anu iemains unuei house aiiest, along with his two
sons who weie founu guilty of similai chaiges. Khin Nyunt was ieplaceu by
ueneial Soe Win, the foimei fiist secietaiy of the SPBC, who hau a ieputation
as a haiulinei in uealings with the NLB. Soe Win steppeu asiue uue to ill-
health in Nay 2uu7 (anu uieu in 0ctobei that yeai), anu was, in tuin, ieplaceu
as Piime Ninistei by SPBC fiist secietaiy Lt-uen Thein Sein. Bowevei, the
ieal powei in Nyanmai still lies with Senioi ueneial Than Shwe, who is
chaiiman of the SPBC, commanuei-in-chief of the uefense foice, ministei of
uefense anu also taken on the functions of state piesiuent. In an
announcement that took most Yangon-baseu uiplomats by suipiise
(incluuing, it was iepoiteu, those iepiesenting othei ASEAN countiies), the
Ninistiy of Foieign Affaiis announceu in Novembei2uuS that goveinment
ministiies anu militaiy heauquaiteis weie to be tiansfeiieu to Nay Pyi Taw,
appioximately 4uu kilometies noith of Yangon. The goveinment also
piomiseu a ten-folu inciease in salaiies paiu to civil seivants iequiieu to
ielocate to the new site. The official ieason given foi the cieation of a new
auministiative capital was that Nay Pyi Taw is centially locateu anu theiefoie
moie accessible fiom all paits of the countiy. Bowevei obseiveis have
speculateu that an enhanceu capacity to quaiantine key goveinment anu
secuiity installations fiom potentially uebilitating uniest in Yangon (such as
that which swept the capital in 1988), to be a moie plausible explanation. In
Naich 2uu6 Aimeu Foices Bay festivities weie helu at the new site to
inauguiate it officially.
Nyanmai's histoiy continues to haunt it anu a stable anu piospeious
futuie will, to a laige extent, uepenu upon establishing a political system
which skilfully hanules the aspiiations of the vaiious ethnic gioups.























































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 124























In 1967, the Philippines joineu Inuonesia, Nalaysia, Thailanu anu
Singapoie to foim ASEAN. The countiy was seen by many as a mouel of
what its paitneis might become. It hau a stiong economy, a well-euucateu
English-speaking woikfoice, stiong technical anu manageiial classes anu
an appaiently thiiving inuustiial sectoi. Within the South-East Asian
iegion it was favouieu by foieign investois. Noie-ovei, it was a
pailiamentaiy uemociacy with a vigoious piess anu a stiong civil society,
again pointing to what the iest of ASEAN might become. In 2uu2, aftei
moie than a uecaue of iegiession, the Philip-pines economy hau only
slowly iestaiteu. Although stability has now ietuineu foi many yeais
following the uownfall of Piesiuent Naicos, the Philippines expeiienceu
enoimous social anu political instability, incluuing a civil wai in the south
anu piivate aimies in many othei aieas. If one chaiacteiistic of many
contempoiaiy ASEAN countiies is the piesence of a stiong state anu a
weak civil society then the Philippines has been the majoi exception. It hau
a weak state anu a fiagmenteu society. That seems to be changing thiough
the successive leaueiship of piesiuents Aquino, Ramos, Estiaua anu
Aiioyo, anu theii compliance with the Constitution.
The Philippines is uiffeient fiom the iest of South-East Asia in a
numbei of ways. It shaies with Inuonesia anu Nalaysia, a Nalay ethnic
base (its unueilying animistic beliefs have much in common with othei
PHILIPPINES 12S
countiies in the iegion) anu it has, foi many centuiies, been pait of
iegional tiauing netwoiks, albeit in a minoi way. Yet unique among South-
East Asian countiies, it was unaffecteu by Binuuism oi Buuuhism. The
gieat majoiity of the Philippines' 88 million people aie Roman Catholic.
The Spanish coloniseis piobably pieventeu the conveision of the islanus
to Islam anu only the southein islanus of Ninuanao anu the Sulu
aichipelago aie Islamic. It is also unique in anothei way. The absence of
Binuu¡Buuuhist influences meant that sophisticateu concepts of the state
anu cosmologies which linkeu the tempoial anu the spiiitual iealms weie
lacking in the pie-colonial Philippines. Theie weie no pie-colonial state
stiuctuies, socially integiating iueologies oi "gieat tiauitions".
0ne impoitant consequence is that contempoiaiy Filipinos lack a
conciete pie-colonial histoiy fiom which they can uiaw inspiiation anu
cieate national myths. Theie is nothing in the Philippines' past iemotely
compaiable to the "goluen eias" of Angkoi in Cambouia, Pagan in Buima oi
Najapahit in Inuonesia. Theie is only a pattein of iegionalism unuei the
contiol of local tiauing families anu kinship netwoiks.

!"#$% '()*+#%
We know little about the political, social oi economic stiuctuies of the
islanus now known as the Philippines befoie the aiiival of the Spanish in
the miu 16th centuiy. The islanus weie spaisely populateu with laigely
kinship- anu village-baseu political oiganisation. Theie weie well-
establisheu tiauing netwoiks between the islanus anu links into wiuei
iegional tiauing netwoiks in South-East Asia anu beyonu to China anu
Inuia. Theie weie also some ielatively laige entiepots exchanging local
piouucts, ianging fiom exotic foous to golu, foi Chinese potteiy, silk anu
othei waies.
Islam was the fiist of the woilu ieligions to have an impact upon the
folk-ieligious base of the peoples of the Philippines. It is impossible to uate
piecisely the aiiival of Islam in the southein islanus of the Philippines, but
we uo know that Aceh on the noithein tip of Sumatia conveiteu to Islam in
the miuule of the 14th centuiy anu that when Nelaka was closeu to Nuslim
tiaueis as a consequence of the Poituguese conquest in 1S11 the piocess
of Islamisation in the Inuonesian aichipelago quickeneu. The iulei of the
noithein Boineo state of Biunei conveiteu to Islam soon aftei the fall of
Nelaka. Biunei then became the base foi the spieau of Islam into the
southein islanus of the Philippines. By the miuule of the 16th centuiy, the
iulei of Sulu hau conveiteu to Islam, as hau the couit in Ninuanao islanu.
The influence of Islam slowly moveu noith to the islanu of Luzon. By the
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 126
miuule of the 16th centuiy, the Nanila iegion was unuei the contiol of an
Islamic iulei.

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In 1494, the Pope enueavouieu to settle the commeicial anu political
iivaliies of Euiope's majoi poweis, Poitugal anu Spain, by ueteimining
that Spanish expeuitions shoulu sail westwaius anu Poituguese
expeuitions eastwaius of an imaginaiy noith¡south line in the miuule of
the Atlantic ocean. Bence, Poitugal establisheu colonies in Afiica, Inuia,
Nalaya, the Inuonesian aichipelago anu on the China coast, while Spain
moveu into the New Woilu, establishing a base in New Spain (piesent-uay
Néxico) anu fiom theie moving to conquei much of Cential anu South
Ameiica. In the 16th anu 17th centuiies, Néxico was a valuable souice of
silvei anu golu, caiiieu acioss the Atlantic to Spain in gieat galleon fleets.
The Poituguese-boin exploiei Feiuinanu Nagellan leu an expeuition
that became the fiist to ciicumnavigate the globe in 1S22. Nagellan uiu not
suivive the tiip. Be was killeu in a skiimish with natives in the Philippines.
A few yeais latei, anothei expeuition aiiiveu in the Philippines in seaich of
the fableu spice islanus, which weie known as the Nalukas in the
Inuonesian aichipelago. They hau long been the souice of expensive spices
tiaueu in Euiope. Spanish, Poituguese anu latei Butch meichants uieameu
of acquiiing contiol of the islanus in oiuei to monopolise the supply of
spices to Euiope. The uieams of the Spanish expeuition weie shatteieu
when they uiscoveieu that Poitugal hau beaten them to it in 1S12. The
woilu pioveu to be spheiical iathei than flat, as believeu at the time.
Sailing east, the Poituguese aiiiveu in the Inuonesian aichipelago, a
uecaue befoie the Spanish.
0thei expeuitions weie sent to the westein Pacific by the Spanish
goveinois of New Néxico, but it was not until 1S64 that the New Nexican
goveinoi ueciueu to occupy the islanus of the Philippines. Two motives
uiove the Spanish to the Philippines: fiist, a ueteimination to spieau the
Faith; seconu, the possibility of opening new tiauing posts anu expanuing
tiaue to Asia. The fiist Spanish settlement was establisheu on the islanu of
Cebu, in the southein Philippines, inlS6S.InlS71, Spanish heauquaiteis
weie moveu to Nanila, then a thiiving entiepot uominateu by Chinese
meichants. Thus began moie than Suu yeais of Spanish influence on the
Philippines. The islanus weie nameu aftei the Spanish Ciown Piince
Felipe, quickly becoming known as the Philippines.
In the 17th centuiy, Spain tiieu to cieate an Asian tiauing empiie,
baseu on Nanila as both an entiepot anu a naval base fiom which it coulu
challenge the Butch in the Nalukas. The attempt faileu. Spanish economic
PHILIPPINES 127
anu political powei steauily ueclineu anu Spain was no match foi the
iesuigent noithein Euiopean Piotestant nations of Biitain anu the
Netheilanus, both of which aggiessively sought Asian empiies. The
economic base of Spanish occupation of the Philippines in the 17th anu
18th centuiies was the galleon tiaue between the Poituguese poit of
Nacau on the south China coast, Nanila anu Acapulco in New Néxico. It
unueipinneu the Philippines until the Nexican Revolution in 182u biought
it to an enu. The fiist Spanish goveinoi of the Philippines, Niguel Legaspi,
aumiieu the fine Chinese silks tiaueu at Nanila by Chinese meichants anu
iecogniseu a commeicial oppoitunity foi Spanish meichants to supply silk
uiiect to the Euiopean maiket by exchanging silk foi Nexican silvei anu
golu. uieat galleons left Acapulco foi Nanila, lauen with silvei. At Nanila,
the silvei was exchangeu foi Chinese silk biought acioss fiom Nacao. The
silk was then tianspoiteu to Acapulco anu on to Euiope, wheie it giaceu
the lives of the Euiopean élite, in the piocess pioviueu veiy piofitable
ietuins to the tiaueis.
Nanila was quickly tiansfoimeu fiom a small but busy poit town
linkeu to iegional tiauing netwoiks into one of the majoi colonial poit
cities in South-East Asia. Its iival in the 17th anu 18th centuiies was
Batavia (}akaita). In the 19th centuiy, Singapoie outstiippeu both. Chinese
meichants contiolleu Nanila's tiauing lifebloou, although theii numbeis
weie only small. At the beginning of the 19th centuiy, theie weie piobably
no moie than 4,uuu Chinese in the Philippines, mostly baseu in Nanila.
Nany of the Chinese maiiieu locally anu ovei time became a mestizo
community. In many ways, 17th anu 18th centuiy Nanila was a Chinese
city oi, at least, a city of Chinese anu mestizos. They oiganiseu the entiepot
tiaue anu pioviueu the inteinal tiauing anu cieuit netwoiks essential to
that tiaue. Theie was nevei a laige Spanish population in the Philippines
anu most who liveu theie iesiueu in Nanila. Nost caine via New Néxico
anu many weie themselves cieoles who maiiieu locally in the Philippines.
The mestizo communities, one Spanish-ueiiveu anu the othei Chinese-
ueiiveu, became the most poweiful political anu economic foices in the
Philippines.
While Spanish iule in the l6th, 17th anu 18th centuiies hau little
economic impact on the peoples of the Philippines, its political anu
ieligious impact was consiueiable. In contiast to Euiopean invaueis
elsewheie in South-East Asia, the Spanish weie not confionteu by
inuigenous states suppoiteu by buieauciacies, aiistociacies oi ieligious
oiganisations. Spanish iule uefineu the mouein state of the Philippines anu
its social, ieligious anu iueological unueipinnings. Spanish powei was
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 128
centieu in Nanila, on the islanu of Luzon in the noithein pait of the islanu
chain. Bowevei, Spanish contiol was only ieally assuieu in the lowlanus of
the noithein anu cential islanus Bespite constant effoits thioughout the
18th anu 19th centuiies to conquei the southein islanus, Spain was
iepeateuly iebuffeu by the Islamic sultanate of Sulu. The Sulu aichipelago
anu the islanu of Ninuanao weie not incoipoiateu into the Philippines
until the Ameiicans took ovei the colony fiom Spain at the enu of the I9th
centuiy. Even then it was only a paitial incoipoiation. Inuepenuent
Philippine goveinments fiom the 194us to the 199us have stiuggleu to
asseit contiol ovei the Nuslim south, tying up much of the Philippine
aimeu foices in the effoit to uo so.
The key to Spanish contiol of the Philippines was the close
ielationship between state anu chuich. Spain wanteu to conveit the
peoples of the Philippines foi the gloiy of uou. Piiests fiom Spanish oiueis,
pieuominantly }esuits, Bominicans anu Columbians, weie sent by the state
to the countiysiue wheie they pioselytizeu the faith, anu at the same time,
establisheu the piesence of the colonial state. Inueeu, the fiiais weie the
state outsiue Nanila, contiolling laige tiacts of lanu, which they uevelopeu
into plantations, anu exeicising consiueiable tempoial poweis alongsiue
theii spiiitual poweis. The people in the noithein anu cential islanus of
the Philippines weie giauually conveiteu to Catholicism, albeit a
Catholicism incoipoiating pie-Catholic animistic beliefs, symbols anu
iitual.
Fiom the late 18th centuiy anu thiough to the eaily 2uth centuiy,
social anu economic stiuctuies in the Philippines weie tians-foimeu. The
Philippines, along with the iest of South-East Asia, was uiawn into the
woilu tiauing system. The catalyst was Biitain's occupation of Nanila in
1762. Spain hau allieu itself with Fiance in the lattei's wai with Biitain.
Biitain then occupieu Nanila in oiuei to pievent a Fiench thieat to its
China tiaue. Nanila was sackeu, galleons weie captuieu anu bullion
confiscateu. The Biitish naval foices quickly uepaiteu, leaving behinu a
consiueiably pooiei Spanish colony. In the context of a geneial uecline in
Spain's economic powei in the 17th centuiy, successive Spanish goveinois
weie foiceu to seek new souices of wealth anu ievenue.
0ne initiative was to cieate a state-contiolleu tobacco monopoly in
noithein Luzon. Local people weie foiceu to pioviue laboui on tobacco
plantations, piouucing cheap tobacco foi expoit to Euiopean maikets anu
geneiating consiueiable piofits foi the tieasuiies of both the Philippines
colony anu the Spanish motheilanu. Anothei was the enuing of the galleon
meichants' tiauing monopoly. The Philippines was openeu to piivate
PHILIPPINES 129
tiaueis anu investois. In auuition to encouiaging of piivate tiaueis, in
178S the Spanish Ciown establisheu The Royal Philippine Company, which
became an investoi in expoit ciops in the Philippines, piimaiily sugai,
coffee, inuigo anu peppei. In all of these ciops, the Philippines was
competing on woilu maikets with the Netheilanus East Inuies.
The speeu of social anu economic change quickeneu aftei the enu of
the Napoleonic Wai. Aftei the colony was openeu to foieign tiaueis anu
investois, the Philippines coulu be uesciibeu as an Anglo-Ameiican colony
flying the Spanish flag. In the 19th centuiy, Anglo-Ameiican meichant
houses uominateu the buigeoning expoit economy. The Philippines
became a majoi piouucei of cash ciops foi inteinational maikets. Between
182S anu 187S, the volume of inteinational tiaue incieaseu 1S times.
Najoi expoits weie sugai, tobacco, coffee anu abaca.
The incoipoiation of the Philippines into the woilu economy hau
two impoitant consequences. Fiist, it saw the emeigence of Filipino
nationalism anu with it the emeigence of a mouein nation-state. Seconu, it
cieateu iegional economic, social anu political foices that seiveu in the
long teim to weaken the nation-state. The giowth of an expoit economy
leu to the cieation of poweiful iegional élites who became the majoi
political foices in the 2uth centuiy.

/($(,(-+ -"*(+-"$()0
The Philippines nationalist movement was the eailiest nationalist
movement in South-East Asia. Nany of its leaueis saw theii movement as a
beacon foi othei South-East Asian colonies. In ieality, it hau little impact.
Nationalism took a ueciueuly uiffeient couise in the Philippines fiom
elsewheie in South-East Asia. Philippine intellectual anu political élites
iuentifieu themselves moie with Spain anu, latei, the 0niteu States than
they uiu with anti-colonialists elsewheie in South-East Asia.
Philippine expoit ciops weie giown pieuominantly on lanu owneu
by the Chinese mestizo community. The hacienuas uevelopeu by poweiful
iegional families weie woikeu by tenants. The lanuowneis became iich
anu poweiful while the tenants became incieasingly impoveiisheu,
tiappeu in a giossly unequal ielationship with the lanuowneis. Beie lie the
oiigins of the majoi Philippine families who continue to contiol the iuial
Philippines touay anu who fiom this economic base continue to exeit
enoimous political powei. Theii wealth continues to be baseu on laige
estates, even though many have uiveisifieu theii investments in iecent
uecaues.
The lanueu élite which emeigeu in the 19th centuiy, unique in
South-East Asia foi its social, economic anu political powei, euucateu theii
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1Su
chiluien in Spanish schools, seminaiies anu univeisities. Theii Spanish-
euucateu chiluien, known as !"#$%&'()$, weie influenceu by the libeial
iefoims in Spain aftei 1868. Fiom the 187us, they began to uemanu the
same iights as Spaniaius, incluuing iepiesentation in the Spanish
pailiament. Avoweuly anti-cleiical, they uemanueu the sepaiation of state
anu chuich, the expulsion of the Spanish fiiais who uominateu iuial aieas
anu the intiouuction of native cleigy. Theii uemanus weie uisiegaiueu by
both the colonial goveinment anu the Catholic Chuich. Bisillusioneu by
Spain's iefusal to tieat them as equals anu its uismissal of theii pioposals
foi social anu economic iefoim, by the 189us the !"#$%&'()$ began to call
themselves Filipinos. They weie leu by }osé Rizal, a wealthy fifth-
geneiation Chinese mestizo. Bitheito, the Spanish hau appiopiiateu the
teim "Filipino" foi Spaniaius boin in the Philippines, iefeiiing to natives
as "Inuios". The teim "Filipino" now became a symbol of nationalism.
In contiast to theii moueiate nationalism of the !"#$%&'()$, a
iebellion oiganiseu by a fai moie iauical gioup known as the Katipunan
anu leu by Anuiés Bonifacio, a ielatively pooily euucateu Nanila cleik
bioke out in Nanila in 1896. The Spanish iesponueu by aiiesting not only
Katipunan leaueis but also many !"#$%&'()$ as well. Rizal was aiiesteu,
chaigeu with tieason anu publicly executeu. Philippine nationalism now
hau a maityi.
As well as being confionteu by open iebellion in the Philippines,
Spain was also fighting a majoi iebellion in its cential Ameiican colony of
Cuba. The uiain on its limiteu iesouices was immense. 0niteu States
inteivention in Cuba iesulteu in the Ameiican-Spanish wai. As a
consequence, the 0S Pacific fleet saileu into Nanila bay, uestioyeu the
Spanish fleet anu laiu siege to Nanila. Philippine nationalists took
auvantage of a weakeneu Spain by ueclaiing inuepenuence on 12 }une
1898 unuei the ilu$tiauo leauei, Apolinaiio Nabini. The Filipinos weie the
fiist people in Asia to uefeat theii colonial powei anu cieate a mouein
nation-state.
0nfoitunately foi the nascent Philippine Republic, the 0niteu States
ueciueu that occupation of the Philippines woulu pioviue it with a base in
the westein Pacific fiom which it coulu piomote its political anu economic
inteiests in East Asia. Eaily in 1899, open hostilities bioke out between the
Philippine Republic anu the 0niteu States, eventually involving moie than
1u,uuu 0niteu States tioops. Nost hostilities enueu in 19u1 when the
0niteu States effectively bought off the !"#$%&'() élite, piomising to
maintain theii wealth anu powei in ietuin foi collaboiation with Ameiican
colonial iule. Bow-evei, the Nuslim south iemaineu unuei Ameiican
PHILIPPINES 1S1
militaiy juiisuiction until 191S. Even then spoiauic violence continueu
against Ameiican authoiities foi some yeais.
The agieement of 19u1 Consoliuateu the powei of the lanueu
Chinese mestizo élite enabling them to uominate the political anu
economic stiuctuies of the Philippines in the 2uth centuiy. It also cieateu a
Filipino élite that lookeu to the 0niteu States not only foi economic anu
political pationage but also as its intellectual anu cultuial mouel. The
lanueu !"#$%&'() élite in the Philippines hau no paiallel elsewheie in South-
East Asia, theii social anu political powei stemming fiom an economic base
inuepenuent of the colonial state.

.-(*!1 )*"*!) 2+$+-("$()0
It has been aigueu that if Spain occupieu the Philippines foi "the gloiy of
uou" then the 0niteu States occupieu the Philippines foi "the uemociatic
mission". Ceitainly, Ameiicans weie uneasy about theii status as an
impeiial nation. It ian countei to theii peiception of themselves as a
people who hau thiown off the colonial yoke to become the beacon foi
fiee, uemociatic anu egalitaiian values in the woilu. The Ameiicans' own
histoiy of anti-colonialism ensuieu that theie weie significant uiffeiences
in 0S iule in the Philippines fiom colonial iule elsewheie in South-East
Asia. Fiom the outset, the 0niteu States maue cleai that its goal was to leau
the Philippines to inuepenuence. Nationalism was a legitimate foicé (to be
moulueu in its own image of couise), not one to be uistiusteu anu
iepiesseu. It followeu fiom this that the iole of the colonial state was to
tutoi Filipinos in the auministiation of a mouein nation-state in oiuei that
they leain the skills necessaiy foi inuepenuence as quickly as possible.
uiven that the Ameiicans saw themselves as being in the Philippines
foi the best of ieasons÷"the uemociatic mission"÷it is not suipiising that
0S colonial auministiations emphasizeu the impoitance of ueveloping
euucation, health anu uemociatic piocesses. Electoial systems weie
intiouuceu at all levels of society anu the national pailiament was
encouiageu to monitoi officials anu influence colonial policies. By 19S4,
the 0niteu States Congiess manuateu Philippine inuepenuence within 12
yeais. As a fiist step towaius this goal, in 19SS a Philippines
Commonwealth was establisheu anu was given autonomy in uomestic
affaiis. Nanuel Quezon was its fiist piesiuent. Though political
uevelopments in the Philippines weie unique in South-East Asia, in the
long iun the effect was to inciease the wealth anu powei of the lanueu
élite.
The 0niteu States goveinment expenueu money on the Philippines
iathei than extiacteu money fiom it÷anothei unique occuiience in
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1S2
colonial South-East Asia. Nuch of this money as spent on ueveloping
euucation anu health systems fai supeiioi to anywheie else in the iegion.
At home, the 0niteu States was committeu to mass euucation at all levels,
in contiast to Biitain Fiance anu Bollanu which iestiicteu access to high
schools anu believeu that a univeisity euucation was only foi a small élite
Euucation policies in the Philippines ieflecteu Ameiican uomestic
euucational philosophies, in the same way as euucation policies in Biitish,
Fiench anu Butch colonies ieflecteu theii uomestic policies The contiast
between the Philippines anu Inuonesia on the eve of Woilu Wai II
illustiates these uiffeiences. In 19S8-S9, theie weie 7,Suu stuuents at the
0niveisity of the Philippines in Nanila. Foi the same yeai in Inuonesia
theie weie a meie 128 stuuents at Colleges of Law, Neuicine anu
Engineeiing. In 1941, the liteiacy iate in the Philippines was five times that
in Inuonesia.
Nationalist movements in most of colonial South-East Asia flouiisheu
fiom the 191us, uemanuing inuepenuence, by anu laige iejecting colonial
cultuial moies anu vigoiously uebating the neeu foi iauical social anu
economic iefoim. They weie geneially leu at the "national" level by the
Westein-euucateu sons of eithei the tiauitional aiistociacy oi the
buieauciatic élite anu at the local level by upwaiuly mobile cleiks,
schoolteacheis anu goveinment officials. Theie was a wiue spectium of
paities, ianging fiom conseivative ones, who wanteu inuepenuence anu
little social oi economic change, to the communist paities which wanteu
thoioughgoing ievolution. The Philippines was once again an exception. Its
nationalist movement was uominateu by the Nationalist Paity unuei the
leaueiship of Nanuel Quezon. Leaueis weie fiom the lanueu élite, who
weie even moie wealthy anu poweiful unuei Ameiican iule than they hau
been unuei Spain. While publicly uemanuing immeuiate inuepenuence, in
fact theii peisonal economic inteiests weie well seiveu by continueu 0S
iule. Enjoying self-goveinment aftei 19SS, anu unuei a ielatively benign
colonialism, the Filipino nationalist élite iemaineu pio-Ameiican. In many
ways they weie bi-cultuial. The shape of Filipino nationalism÷in iueology,
myths anu symbols÷was veiy uiffeient fiom elsewheie in South-East
Asia. With no neeu to fostei a stiong "national" consciousness anu few
"national" symbols, iegionalism anu iegional loyalties baseu on iegional
lanueu élites iemaineu stiong. This hau significant consequences aftei
194S. Filipino nationalists weie baiely conscious of the events going on
elsewheie in South-East Asia anu this left a legacy of sepaiateness fiom the
iest of the iegion which hau only paitially changeu by the 199us.

PHILIPPINES 1SS
3","-!)! +22.,"*(+-
When ueneial NacAithui was foiceu to flee the Philippines in 1942 he
utteieu the famous woius "I shall ietuin". When in 1944, he uiu ietuin at
the heau of Ameiican tioops chaigeu with uiiving the }apanese back to
}apan he was gieeteu as a heio. Fighting in the Philippines uuiing the
Pacific Wai was moie intense than elsewheie in South-East Asia. It took six
months of bloouy waifaie foi the }apanese to oust the Ameiicans in 1941-2
anu anothei ten months foi the Ameiicans to expel the }apanese in 1944-S.
Theie was a gieat cost in Filipino lives.
}apanese slogans such as "Asia foi the Asians", "}apan the light of
Asia" anu "The Co-Piospeiity Spheie" maue much less sense to Filipinos
than to othei South-East Asians. The natuie of Ameiican colonialism, the
bicultuialism of the Filipino élite, the expeiience of self-goveinment anu
the iealisation that they weie uue to get inuepenuence in 1946 anyway,
placeu Filipino nationalists in a uiffeient ielationship to the Ameiicans
than nationalists elsewheie in South-East Asia to theii colonial iuleis.
Though opinion was uiviueu about the appiopiiate iesponse to
occupation, iesistance to the }apanese in the Philippines was stiong. The
collaboiationist goveinment establisheu by the }apanese lackeu legitimacy
in the eyes of many Filipinos.
Compaiisons with othei South-East Asian countiies aie stiiking.
Elsewheie, the invauing }apanese weie seen as libeiatois. The iion giip of
colonial iule was bioken. Ceitainly, as time went by the moou changeu to
iesentment anu then hatieu of }apanese biutality but }apanese occupation
often openeu the way foi nationalists to seize powei in August¡Septembei
194S anu to oiganise iesistance to the ie-invauing Euiopeans. Filipino
nationalists, by contiast, welcomeu the ietuining Ameiican foices as
libeiatois, iestoiing the countiy on the path to inuepenuence piomiseu by
1946.
Bowevei, theie weie impoitant long-teim effects fiom the }apanese
occupation of the Philippines. Its incoipoiation into }apan's South-East
Asia empiie bioke the isolation of the Philippines fiom the iest of the
iegion that hau begun with the aiiival of the Spanish anu continueu
thiough 0niteu States iule. Filipinos became moie awaie than evei befoie
of theii place in Asia. The wai also shaipeneu social, economic anu political
tensions in the Philippines. Thioughout }apanese-occupieu Asia people
suffeieu bauly. Filipinos weie no exception. Coiiuption incieaseu, the gap
between the iich anu the pooi wiueneu anu social stiuctuies bioke uown.
In 1946, the Communist Paity of the Philippines took auvantage of the
ueteiioiating conuitions in the countiysiue to aiouse suppoit foi iebellion.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1S4
The wai also spawneu an aimeu society. Filipinos put up stiong iesistance
to the invauing }apanese anu the fighting between 0niteu States-Filipino
anu }apanese foices in 1944-4S was extensive. The violence of the wai
yeais leu to a gieatei piepaieuness to use foice to achieve political enus in
the post-inuepenuence Philippines.

(-1!,!-1!-2! "-1 *'! 1!0+2#"*(2 %!"#)
Bistoiians of the Philippines have stiesseu the impoitance of the family to
an unueistanuing of the political cultuie anu the stiuctuies of the
Philippines. They see inuepenuence in 1946 as having changeu veiy little.
A small numbei of wealthy families, geneially baseu on extensive
iegionally lanu holuings, has contiolleu Philippines politics since the fiist
elections in 19u7. In the late 196us, a piominent Philippines businessman
summeu up the failuie of the Philippines political system with the
statement: "We have no institutional loyalty, only peisonal loyalty." The
political piocess in the 2uth-centuiy Philippines÷both pie- anu post-
inuepenuence÷has been baseu on extensive pation-client ielations,
linking at the base of the society exploiteu peasants anu poweiful
lanuloius. Paity politics has been fiee of iueology÷with the exception of
the Buks anu the Communist Paity of the Philippines. Paity loyalty has
been fickle anu baseu on a complicateu anu extensive iewaiu system
linking paity notables to politicians anu local leaueis.
Between the achievement of inuepenuence in 1946 anu the Naicos
coup in 1972, the Philippines was a constitutional uemociacy with all the
tiappings of an Ameiican-style political system. In piactice, it was a system
of intia-elite stiuggle baseu on poweiful pation-client ielations, at the
apex of which weie the lanueu families. The most seiious opposition caine
fiom the Buk movement, baseu on suppoit fiom impoveiisheu tenant
faimeis anu lanuless labouieis in cential Luzon. The Buks weie in open
iebellion against the Philippines state between 1946 anu 19SS. They weie
ciusheu by a combination of cooiuinateu militaiy activity anu iuial
iefoims intiouuceu by Piesiuent Nagsaysay. Bowevei, iuial uiscontent
anu uniest has iemaineu a seiious pioblem in the Philippines uown to the
piesent uay. Local militaiy anu police foices aie useu by the local élites to
contain iuial iesistance anu, wheie they fail, extensive piivate aimies
owneu by the lanuloius aie biought into play.
In the 19Sus anu 196us, the unueilying iuial pioblems weie maskeu
by the appaient success of the inuustiialization policies of the Philippines
goveinment. The state piomoteu impoit-substitution manufactuiing by
imposing high taiiffs anu impoit contiols anu by managing the exchange
iate. A new inuustiialist class emeigeu. Some weie fiom the wealthy
PHILIPPINES 1SS
lanueu élite, uiveisifying theii capital away fiom its iuial oiigins. 0theis
emeigeu fiom piofessionals anu tiaueis, who cieateu joint ventuies with
foieign, pieuominantly Ameiican, companies oi with wealthy local
Chinese. By the 196us, the Philippines was the most successful
manufactuiing countiy in South-East Asia anu appeaieu to be the most
piospeious. 0ibanisation occuiieu apace. Fiom the manufactuiing
companies built up behinu taiiff walls anu state subsiuies emeigeu a
numbei of conglomeiates with inteiests in agiibusiness, ieal estate anu
banks as well as manufactuiing. Some became multinationals.

*'! 0"#2+) !#"
Feiuinanu Naicos was electeu piesiuent in 196S anu ie-electeu in 1969.
Be was a caieei politician. Neithei he noi his wife, Imelua, caine fiom the
poweiful lanueu oligaichy anu thus he was uepenuent on poweiful anu
wealthy pations foi financing his electoial machine. Naicos was openly
unimpiesseu with the uemociatic system, aiguing that it shoulu be
ieplaceu by what he calleu "constitutional authoiitaiianism", a system he
saw as being moie in keeping with Filipino political cultuie.
In 1972, Naicos pioclaimeu maitial law. Nany explanations have
been auvanceu foi this uecisive bieak with Philippines political histoiy.
Fiist, Naicos was constitutionally baiieu fiom stanuing foi a thiiu teim as
piesiuent. In his ueteimination to holu on to powei, he was piepaieu to
uestioy the Constitution. Seconu, the halcyon uays of the 19Sus anu 196us
hau tuineu soui. The Philippines economy was stagnant, pei-capita income
was falling, foieign uebt hau giown to seiious levels anu theie was
giowing miuule-class uiscontent about political coiiuption anu the
inability of the political system to solve the countiy's social anu economic
pioblems. Thiiu, the militaiy leaueiship was willing to become moie
uiiectly involveu in iunning the countiy. Nilitaiy leaueis welcomeu the
suspension of uemociatic piocesses anu the incieaseu powei that floweu
to them as a consequence.
Nany Filipinos initially welcomeu Naicos' move. The New Society
piomoteu by Naicos was attiactive to many of the uiban miuule class anu
intellectuals. It piomiseu law anu oiuei in a hitheito insecuie society; it
piomiseu to pioviue the infiastiuctuie anu stability neeueu to attiact the
foieign investment essential if the economy was to ievive; anu it piomiseu
lanu iefoim anu an enu to the coiiuption that hau beuevilleu the
Philippines since inuepenuence. Naitial law was also welcomeu by
outsiueis, incluuing foieign investois, the 0niteu States goveinment anu
othei South-East Asian goveinments, most of which weie themselves, in
vaiious uegiees, militaiy-uominateu iegimes.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1S6
Initially, the Naicos uictatoiship uiu stimulate incieaseu foieign
investment anu a ietuin to economic giowth. Bowevei, by the eaily 198us
new economic anu political weaknesses hau become obvious. 0nuei the
guise of cieating a New Society, Naicos systematically unueicut the
political powei of the lanueu élite at both national anu local levels.
Businesses belonging to his political opponents weie confiscateu, licenses
weie withuiawn anu state enteipiises became pait of the piesiuent's
peisonal fiefuom. Be was able to uo all of this because he hau the suppoit
of the militaiy leaueiship. The beneficiaiies, apait fiom the Naicoses
themselves anu favouieu militaiy leaueis, weie a small gioup of fiienus
anu ielatives who weie pioviueu with luciative monopolies, goveinment
contiacts anu cheap finance. "Ciony capital-ism" was taken to spectaculai
heights by the late 197us. Thiough all of this, Naicos anu his family
acquiieu enoimous peisonal wealth, with the iemoval of the bounuaiy
between state finances anu peisonal income. Coiiuption anu nepotism
weie piacticeu on an unpieceuenteu scale. While the lanueu oligaichy lost
theii political powei, Naicos ensuieu that theii economic inteiests weie
piotecteu. Any notion of lanu iefoim anu an enu to iuial poveity iemaineu
meie ihetoiic.
Naicos centialiseu state powei but uiu not cieate an institutionally
stiong state. The powei of the state uepenueu on peisonal loyalties,
piimaiily fiom aimy commanueis to Naicos. By the 198us the Philippines
was a society in uangei of falling apait. The Noio Nationalist Libeiation
Fiont (NNLF) in the south hau Su-6u,uuu gueiiillas fighting foi an
inuepenuent Nuslim state. Noie than half of the Philippines aimy was
engageu in fighting it. The iemainuei was engageu against the New
People's Aimy (NPA), the communist-contiolleu fiont oiganization, which
by the miu-198us, hau about 1S,uuu gueiiillas anu was able to launch
commanuo-style iaius in towns anu cities, incluuing Nanila. 0pposition to
Naicos became moie public anu moie stiiuent. In August 198S, Benigno
Aquino, Naicos' most piominent anu populai political opponent, ietuineu
to the Philippines fiom his exile in the 0niteu States, but faileu to set foot
on Philippines soil. As he uescenueu the aiiciaft steps at Nanila aiipoit, he
was assassinateu by one of the accompanying soluieis. The militaiy
leaueiship uenieu involvement, as uiu Naicos. The ueath of Aquino began
a piocess of open iesistance to Naicos, a iesistance leu by the Nanila
miuule class.
0nuei piessuie fiom the 0niteu States, anu still supiemely confiuent
of his ability to fix elections, Naicos calleu a snap piesiuential election foi
eaily 1986. Bespite the vote iigging he lost. In a few chaotic months in
PHILIPPINES 1S7
Nanila, Coiy Aquino, the wiuow of Benigno Aquino, claimeu victoiy anu
piepaieu foi an inauguiation oiganizeu by hei suppoiteis. Bespite all the
eviuence to the contiaiy, Naicos continueu to claim victoiy anu moveu
towaius his own inauguiation. The imminent uangei of seiious bloousheu,
if not outiight civil wai was aveiteu when a numbei of significant aimy
leaueis ueseiteu Naicos anu moveu ovei to suppoit Aquino. Naicos fleu
the Philippines. Coiy Aquino became piesiuent. "People powei" hau won.

*'! #!)*+#"*(+- +/ 1!0+2#"2%
With the enu of maitial law, the exile of Naicos anu the inauguiation of
Coiy Aquino, Philippines politics ietuineu to its pie-1972 constitutional
foim. The lanueu gentiy ietaineu theii wealth anu iestoieu theii political
powei. Nany of those who lost out unuei Naicos hau theii foitunes
iestoieu. The gieat families still uominate the Philippines. Bespite all the
piomises of the post-Naicos eia, lanu iefoim has been negligible anu the
inteiests of the lanueu élite have pievaileu. Political loyalties iemain
peisonal iathei than institutional. The state iemains . weak, especially
compaieu to the counteipaits in neighbouiing ASEAN countiies such as
Singapoie, Nalaysia anu Inuonesia.
Theie have been majoi achievements since 1986. Not least of these
weie the peaceful anu constitutionally coiiect elections in 1992 which
biought Fiuel Ramos to powei as piesiuent. 0n the economic fiont, the
fiist foui oi five yeais of the Aquino goveinment saw an impiessive
economic tuin-aiounu fiom the negative giowth of the last yeais of Naicos
to a positive giowth which peakeu at 6.7 pei cent in 1988. The giowth fell
away aftei 199u, in pait because of the ueteiioiating woilu economy anu
the economic uislocation causeu by the uulf Wai of 1991, but also because
of the failuie of basic infiastiuctuie, such as powei, to keep up with
uemanu. By the miu 199us, the Philippines hau been iestoieu to economic
giowth levels appioaching those achieveu elsewheie in ASEAN.
Piesiuent Ramos pioveu to be a populai leauei, even though he took
a numbei of tough economic uecisions which won the piaise of the finance
sectoi anu ensuieu the continuation of foieign investment, but
unueistanuably, alienateu some sections of the community which suffeieu
as a iesult of ieuuctions in state subsiuies of key commouities. Bowevei,
these iefoims uiu to a laige extent cushion the economy fiom the full
impact of the Asian economic ciisis which swept the iegion in 1997 anu
1998. Ramos also moveu to foice the police to act against a spate of
kiunappings that taigeteu the wealthiei business class. It emeigeu that the
kiunapping gangs weie aiueu by coiiupt police anu bank woikeis who
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1S8
passeu on uetails of potential victims' woith. But law anu oiuei still
iemains a key concein foi most Filipinos.
Since the Constitution expiessly foibius an incumbent piesiuent
fiom stanuing twice in 1998, Ramos stoou asiue÷somewhat ieluctantly it
seems÷anu a foimei film stai, }oseph Estiaua, was electeu on a populist
platfoim in a lanusliue iesult. Initial feais by the finance sectoi that
Estiaua's playboy image, insuppoitable populist election piomises anu
lack of expeiience in uealing with economic funuamentals÷all in the miust
of a iegional financial ciisis÷woulu spell an enu to the iefoim piocess
initially pioveu unfounueu. The new piesiuent pioveu willing to follow the
auvice of his expeits anu not engage in fiee-spenuing policies which might
have unsettleu investois anu leu to a flight of foieign capital. Bowevei, by
the tum of the centuiy, iumois weie ciiculating that Estiaua hau taken
biibes fiom illegal gambling synuicates. In late 2uuu, the Bouse of
Repiesentatives began moves to impeach him amiu claims of massive
coiiuption. Estiaua attempteu to block the subsequent investigation,
tiiggeiing laige-scale piotests that foiceu him to stanu asiue in }anuaiy
2uu1. vice-Piesiuent uloiia Nacapagal-Aiioyo became piesiuent with
stiong suppoit fiom the militaiy, the business community anu the Roman
Catholic Chuich, although many pooiei Filipinos iefuseu to believe÷anu
piobably continue to uo so÷that theii eistwhile heio was guilty of the
coiiuption anu mismanagement chaiges leveleu against him.
Aiioyo, a foimei economist, immeuiately set out to ieassuie foieign
investois by focusing on the economy. In paiticulai, she acceleiateu plans
to ueiegulate the powei inuustiy, state mis-management of which hau leu
to the countiy being subject to iepeateu biown-outs in the 199us. She also
committeu hei goveinment to enacting othei libeialisation measuies, such
as simplifying the tax coue, anu pleugeu to ie-invigoiate stalleu effoits on
lanu iefoim anu poveity-ieuuction piogiammes (though these piomises
have been maue by Filipino leaueis many times in the past). In }une 2uu4,
she was electeu piesiuent, with 4u pei cent of the vote. Bei neaiest iival
ieceiveu S7 pei cent. Bespite the naiiow iesult, it was an impoitant boost
to hei authoiity as she hau been appointeu, not electeu, as leauei in 2uu1
following Estiaua's impeachment anu coulu thus not hitheito claim a
populai manuate. The next piesiuential context is scheuuleu foi 2u1u
though in its piesent foim, the constitution foibius Aiioyo fiom seeking a
seconu teim.
While piogiess has been maue by the goveinment in accommouating
the uemanus of vaiious insuigent gioups in the iestive southein piovinces,
spoiauic inciuents still flaie up. The NNLF have mostly abiueu by a peace
PHILIPPINES 1S9
agieement stiuck in 1996 unuei which they enjoy limiteu auministiative
autonomy on the islanu of Ninuanao. The NPA's suppoit ueclineu shaiply
in the 199us as a iesult of the iestoiation of uemociacy, moie effective
aimy opeiations anu inteinal uivision. It ie-emeigeu as a foice in }une
2uuS, when 2uu insuigents iaiueu an aimy camp, killing 17 soluieis.
Aiioyo initially oiueieu a militaiy ciackuown but agieeu to peace talks in
Noiway in 2uuS, though these weie cut shoit by the NPA aftei a few
months because they claimeu that theii capacity to negotiate hau been
hamstiung by the NPA's listing on 0S anu Euiopean piesciibeu teiioiist
lists. A low level insuigency continues.
The Noio Islamic Libeiation Fiont (NILF), an Islamic sepaiatist
gioup which oiiginally split fiom the NNLF, began negotiations with the
goveinment to enu neaily foui uecaues of fighting in 2uu1. In spite of a
tiuce in 2uuS, inteimittent fighting continueu. Bopes weie high that a
compiehensive peace agieement biokeieu by Nalaysia in 2uu8 woulu at
last see an enu to the fighting. The ueal was uesigneu to pioviue an
expanueu autonomous homelanu foi about foui million Nuslims in the
southein Philippines. Inueeu it uiu appeai both siues woulu abiue by the
teims of the tieaty, but at the 11th houi talks collapseu amiu aciimony anu
countei-claim on both siues. The NILF hau pieviously aumitteu allowing
the Inuonesia-baseu }emaah Islamiah (}I) teiioiist oiganisation to
maintain tiaining camps on teiiitoiy it contiols, though it vehemently
uenies uoing so now÷such uenial being accepteu by most obseiveis. At
piesent, NILF has little to gain by coopeiating with inteinational teiioiist
gioups such as }I, though infoimal links may continue. Such links aie
unlikely to incluue }I opeiatives paiticipating in NILF tiaining camps (as in
the past), though it is possible that }I membeis being puisueu by Inuonesia
anu Nalaysia may be ieceiving sanctuaiy in the southein Philippines.
Anothei Islamic insuigency oiganisation, the Abu Sayyaf uioup
(ASu), has violently piesseu its claims foi the establishment of an Islamic
state in the south by using kiunappings to extiact laige iansoms. In
Febiuaiy 2uu4, the gioup masteiminueu the bombing of a new supei-feiiy
iesulting in 116 ueaths. The NILF anu ASu officially ueny any links but
infoimal contact is believeu to occui.
Futuie piogiess in enuing these insuigencies will uepenu on
whethei Nuslims in the south can be peisuaueu to feel pait of the
Philippines, which in tuin uepenus on cential concessions to iegional,
cultuial anu ieligious uiffeiences as much as continueu economic giowth.




















































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 142






















Singapoie is an immigiant society. When acquiieu by Biitain in 1819 it was
populateu by only a few hunuieu Nalays living simple lives in fishing
villages. It is now a thiiving city-state, with a population of 4.6 million, anu
by fai the highest pei-capita income in Asia outsiue of }apan.
ueogiaphy is cential to Singapoie's histoiy. Locateu at the foot of the
Nalay peninsula, sepaiateu fiom the mainlanu by a naiiow stietch of
shallow watei, it is the pivotal islanu in the Stiaits of Nelaka. Singapoie's
histoiy has ievolveu aiounu tuining its stiategic location to its commeicial
benefit while iemaining on goou teims with its laigei neighbouis.
Singapoie is a Chinese city-state. Theie aie minoiity Inuian anu
Nalay communities, but political, commeicial anu cultuial powei is in the
hanus of the ethnic Chinese. A majoi theme in Singapoie's histoiy since the
enu of Woilu Wai II has been the continuous effoit to cieate a national
iuentity. What uoes it mean to be a Singapoiean. Bow can the
pieuominantly Chinese cultuial heiitage be tiansfoimeu into a uistinctly
Singapoiean cultuie. Bow best can a small, ethnically Chinese, islanu ielate
to its oveiwhelmingly moie populous Nalay-Nuslim neighbouis in Nalaysia
anu Inuonesia.


SINGAPORE 14S
!"#"$%&#%'(
Stamfoiu Raffles hoisteu the Biitish flag on the islanu of Singapoie on 29
}anuaiy, 1819. It was the seconu islanu in the iegion to be occupieu by the
English East Inuia Company (EIC), following the acquisition of Penang in
1786. The EIC hau a monopoly on the English tiaue between Inuia anu
China, hau acquiieu consiueiable teiiitoiy in Inuia anu was eagei to ensuie
contiol of the Stiaits of Nelaka, the ciucial passage of watei thiough which
most of its tiauing ships to China saileu. Penang gave it the ability to contiol
the noithein entiance of the Stiaits; Singapoie gave it the ability to contiol
the southein exit.
Foi neaily 2uu yeais, the Netheilanus 0niteu East Inuia Company
(v0C) hau been the EIC's aichiival in the iegion. When Napoleon annexeu
the Netheilanus in 181u, Biitain occupieu the majoi Butch possessions in
the Inuonesian aichipelago in oiuei to pievent them fiom falling into the
hanus of the Fiench. Nelaka, Bencoolen on the west coast of Sumatia, anu
the islanu of }ava weie taken ovei by Biitain. Stamfoiu Raffles was
appointeu heau of a civil goveinment to iun }ava anu Sumatia. The colony
was auueu to the EIC Inuian empiie, iepoiting uiiectly to Calcutta.
When the Napoleonic wai enueu in 181S, Biitain wanteu to bolstei
the Low Countiies (the Netheilanus anu Belgium) as a bulwaik against any
futuie Fiench ievival. Butch piessuie, then, foi the ietuin of its colonies in
the Inuonesian aichipelago fell on iesponsive eais. In 1818, }ava was
ietuineu to Netheilanus iule.
Raffles was extiemely uisappointeu that wiuei Euiopean stiategic
consiueiations hau foiceu him to ietuin }ava to the Butch. Be was an
expansionist at heait, believing that Biitain shoulu acquiie teiiitoiy
thioughout the Inuonesian aichipelago anu the Nalay peninsula, shoulu
cieate Euiopean settlei societies anu shoulu ieap the benefits of what he
saw as enoimous commeicial oppoitunities. 0n being foiceu to leave }ava,
he tuineu to a small islanu off the southein tip of the Nalay peninsula,
known locally fiist as Temasek (Sea Town) anu latei as Singapuia (Lion
City), peisuauing the Sultan of }ohoi to ceue it to Biitain. Spaisely occupieu
by Nalay fishing communities anu by local Nalay piiates, in 1819, the islanu
hau no moie than 1,uuu inhabitants. In 1826, the East Inuia Company
amalgamateu Singapoie, Penang anu Nelaka into the Stiaits Settlements,
auministeieu fiom Singapoie. The Stiaits Settlements iemaineu in EIC
contiol until 1867 when they became a Ciown Colony unuei the contiol of a
goveinoi appointeu by the Colonial 0ffice.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 144
The Biitish commeicial community gave stiong suppoit to the
acquisition of Singapoie, seeing it as a boost to tiaue in South-East Asia. In
1824, the Anglo-Butch Tieaty settleu teiiitoiial uisputes between the two
countiies, with the Netheilanus iecognizing Biitain's possession of Nelaka
anu Singapoie, anu Biitain hanuing Bencoolen back to the Netheilanus. By
the 18Sus, Singapoie hau become the majoi tiauing poit. It was challengeu
by Nanila anu Batavia but hau thiee ciucial auvantages ovei the othei
colonial poit cities anu ovei the majoi inuigenous poits. Fiist, its
geogiaphic location: most ships tiauing between China, Inuia anu Euiope
hau to pass Singapoie Seconu, its status as a fiee poit: the Butch in Batavia
anu the Spanish in Nanila levieu a iange of taiiffs anu chaiges on impoits,
as uiu local iuleis in the smallei poits. Thiiu, its linkages into the Biitish
commeicial anu inuustiial empiie: Biitain was then the uominant colonial
powei.
Singapoie was an integial pait of Biitain's empiie in Asia, which hau
its centie in Inuia. Singapoie's piospeiity stemmeu fiom its geogiaphic
auvantages anu fiom its place in the colonial netwoik. Biitish tiaueis weie
attiacteu in evei-incieasing numbeis anu majoi tiauing houses, shipping
lines anu seivice companies quickly emeigeu. Equally impoitantly, Chinese
tiaueis long iesiuent in South-East Asia weie attiacteu to Singapoie
because of its fiee-poit status, the ceitainty of the Biitish legal system anu
the stiategic position. Nany caine fiom Nelaka anu the Riau aichipelago in
the 182us, ielocating theii tiaue to Singapoie anu theieby immeuiately
linking Singapoie into inuigenous iegional tiauing netwoiks. Nalay, Inuian
anu Aiab tiaueis weie also uiawn to Singapoie fiom othei poits in the
vicinity. Singapoie quickly gaineu a uominant shaie of the intei-islanu
iegional tiaue as well as becoming the majoi victualling stop en-ioute to
China. Chinese tiaueis hau woikeu in the iegion anu hau establisheu a
Chinese quaitei in all of the majoi poit cities well befoie the aiiival of the
Euiopeans. Theii numbeis incieaseu gieatly fiom the 17th centuiy as, fiist,
the Butch anu the Spanish anu, latei, the Biitish anu the Fiench coloniseu
the iegion. But it was not only coloniseu South-East Asia that attiacteu
Chinese tiaueis, entiepieneuis anu labouieis.
Thailanu's kings encouiageu the migiation of Chinese in the 19th
centuiy, as uiu the sultans of the Nalay states. Inueeu, the tin-mining
inuustiy which uevelopeu in the Nalay States fiom the 18Sus was cieateu
by Chinese who woikeu unuei concessions gianteu to them by Nalay iuleis.
The tin mineis impoiteu theii neeus thiough Singapoie anu useu Singapoie
to expoit tin oie to the woilu. Tin mining in the Nalay states anu in
SINGAPORE 14S
southein Thailanu was the souice of wealth foi a numbei of Chinese
families who latei went on to become tiaueis anu financieis in the iegion.
The Chinese weie the laboui foice on which Biitish Singapoie W built
anu Singapoie was the conuuit foi the hunuieus of thou-sanus ieciuiteu to
colonial Nalaya anu the Netheilanus East Inuies. Nost Chinese caine to
Singapoie as impoveiisheu inuentuieu labouieis. The foiceu opening of the
Tieaty Poits in southein China anu Biitain's annexation of Bong Kong in
1842 acceleiateu the migiation of Chinese fiom southein China to South-
East Asia, Austialia anu the Pacific anu the 0niteu States. The migiation
flow was oiganiseu anu exploitative, with male Chinese signeu on as
inuentuieu labouieis. In the 19th centuiy, the Chinese population of
Singapoie was pieuominantly male. Nost caine to Singapoie hoping to
make a foitune, senu money back to families in theii home villages in China
anu, one uay, ietuin home to maiiy, buy lanu anu live as piospeious
faimeis. Some succeeueu. Nost liveu anu uieu in Singapoie as coolie
labouieis, ieliant on piostitution foi female company anu uepenuent on
seciet societies, opium uens anu gambling pailouis.
Singapoie's economic histoiy is inteiwoven with the economic
histoiy of the Nalay states. The Singapoie meichant community staiteu to
auvocate Biitish acquisition of the westein Nalay states fiom the 184us.
Chinese anu Euiopeans in Singapoie weie significant investois in the
tinmining inuustiy in the westein Nalay states anu weie incieasingly
fiustiateu at what they saw as the political instability theie anu the
consequent lost commeicial oppoitunities. Biitain finally began to acquiie
contiol of the westein Nalay states in 1874, when the ambitions of the
Singapoie meichant anu financial community weie bolsteieu by impeiial
feais of Fiench anu ueiman intentions in South-East Asia. Singapoie was a
majoi beneficiaiy of the auuition of Nalaya to the Biitish empiie. 0n the eve
of Woilu Wai II, ovei two-thiius of Nalaya's impoits anu expoits went
thiough the poit of Singapoie.
By the late 19th centuiy, Singapoie was an impoitant financial anu
commeicial centie. It was a majoi tiansshipment poit, wheie the piouucts
of South-East Asia weie collecteu, packageu anu ie-expoiteu anu fiom
wheie the piouucts of inuustiial Biitain anu Euiope weie uistiibuteu. It hau
also become a majoi financial anu commeicial base foi Biitish companies in
the iegion. Investment in tin mines in the Nalay states was matcheu fiom
the 189us by investment in iubbei plantations anu on the tianspoit
infiastiuctuie neeueu to get iubbei to the poits foi expoit. Investment
finance caine thiough Singapoie, tin anu iubbei weie expoiteu thiough
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 146
Singapoie anu Singapoie was the waiehousing anu uistiibution centie foi
the impoiteu goou neeueu by the giowing Euiopean population.
The laigest commeicial fiims weie Biitish-owneu anu manageu But
theie also emeigeu a giowing numbei of Chinese-owneu enteipiises. Some
weie tiauing companies, some weie financieis; anu otheis weie small-scale
foou piocessois anu uistiibutois. By 1942, when the }apanese invaueu
Singapoie, theie weie a numbei of stiong family companies in Singapoie
owneu by seconu- oi thiiu-geneiation Chinese. While most Chinese
immigiants who began life as iick-shaw coolies oi whaif labouieis enueu
theii lives much as they staiteu, a few iealiseu the immigiant's uieam of
making goou. These Chinese enteipiises weie family companies linkeu into
the commeicial anu financial netwoik of the Chinese uiaspoia in Bong Kong
anu South-East Asia.
Theie was little manufactuiing in Singapoie befoie 196u. Theie was
some foou piocessing, piimaiy piocessing of tin anu iubbei oiiginating in
Nalaya anu simple manufactuiing, such as shoes anu clothing. Bowevei, as
late as 196u between 7u anu 7S pei cent of Singapoie's woikfoice was
engageu in the seivice sectoi. In the eaily 19Sus, a goveinment-appointeu
commission investigateu the possibility of Singapoie ueveloping an
inuustiial base but concluueu that it woulu only be feasible with high levels
of piotection anu if the Singapoie anu Nalayan economies weie uniteu. It
concluueu that the losses to Singapoie fiom abanuoning fiee-tiaue status
woulu outweigh the gains fiom a piotectionist inuustiial policy.
Singapoie was an immigiant colony. Bowevei, the 19S1 census
ievealeu that S6 pei cent of its iesiuents hau been boin in the Stiaits
Settlements. As a iesult of immigiation iestiictions intiouuceu in the 19Sus
in iesponse to the Bepiession, by 1947,6u pei cent of Singapoie iesiuents
hau been boin in the Stiaits Settlements. Bowevei, with the exception of the
élite, the mothei tongue anu language of uay-to-uay communication foi the
Chinese iemaineu southein Chinese uialects.
By the eaily 2uth centuiy, theie weie nationalist movements
uemanuing inuepenuence in most South-East Asian colonies, fiom Buima
thiough to the Philippines. Singapoie was an exception. Theie was no sense
of being Singapoiean: people iuentifieu themselves as Chinese oi Nanyang
Chinese. Theie was, theiefoie, no cleaily aiticulateu movement seeking the
cieation of an inuepenuent nation-state. Although the Nalayan Communist
Paity (NCP) opeiateu in Singapoie in the 192us anu 19Sus, as well as in
Biitish Nalaya, anu was involveu in oiganising among Chinese anu Inuian
SINGAPORE 147
woikeis, it maue no attempt to uevelop a specifically Singapoie iuentity oi
nationalism.
Political activity in Singapoie in the 1920s anu 19Sus was focuseu on
the stiuggle between the Chinese Communist Paity (CCP) anu the
Kuomintang (KNT) foi contiol of China. Both the CCP anu the }QvIT gaineu
iueological anu financial suppoit fiom the oveiseas Chinese. Singapoie was
a paiticulai focus of piopaganua anu ieciuitment. Politically awaie Chinese
in Singapoie weie fai moie conceineu about the gieat events convulsing
China in the 192us, 19Sus anu 194us than events in Singapoie. Whatevei
theii iueology, they weie uniteu in opposition to }apan's invasion of China in
the 19Sus.
Chinese communities thioughout South-East Asia weie caught up in
the events of theii homelanu anu the battle foi the heaits, minus anu
pockets was wageu thioughout the iegion. 0ne impoitant uiffeience in
Singapoie was that because the uominant cultuie was Chinese, anu to all
intents anu puiposes theie was no inuigenous society, Chinese nationalism
coulu focus on the iueological stiuggle in China unencumbeieu by an
inuigenous nationalist movement. Chinese com-munities elsewheie in
South-East Asia weie equally conceineu about events in China but weie
foiceu by the existence of stiong nationalist movements to ask funuamental
questions about theii inuiviuual anu communal iuentities anu theii place in
an inuepenuent nation.
Colonial Singapoie was a Euiopean city. Its iuling élite, its
commeicial coie anu its official ethos was Biitish. But beyonu the Euiopean
homes, clubs anu offices, the islanu was cultuially pieuominantly Chinese.
Theie was, howevei, a significant Inuian minoiity, vaiying fiom 6 to 12 pei
cent of the population. This minoiity was laige enough to cieate its own
communities, wheie the visitoi woulu be cleaily awaie of moving out of the
uominant Chinese society into a "little Inuia".
The Inuian community was fai fiom uniteu with the majoi uivisions
between Binuus anu Nuslims anu between southeineis anu noitheineis.
These weie cioss-cut by fuithei uivisions of caste anu iegion. Some of the
eaily Inuian settleis caine fiom Penang, wheie theie was a thiiving Inuian
commeicial community. 0theis migiateu fiom Inuia oi weie ieciuiteu as
inuentuieu labouieis. Nany thousanus weie foicibly tianspoiteu fiom
Inuia as convict labouieis. 0ntil 187S, Singapoie was useu by Biitish Inuia
as a penal colony. Inuian convicts built the eaily goveinment builuings,
ioaus, biiuges anu uiainage systems. In the 19th centuiy, fiee Inuians weie
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 148
piimaiily in public employment as cleiks, teacheis anu policemen, oi weie
meichants anu moneylenueis.
As with the Chinese majoiity, the political attention of Inuian
iesiuents in Singapoie was focuseu on the motheilanu, wheie Inuian
nationalists weie lockeu in stiuggle with the Biitish Raj. The political
uivisions which openeu up in Inuia in the 192us anu 19Sus weie ieflecteu
in the Inuian community in Singapoie. Nuslim anu Binuu Sikh anu Bengali,
to name but a few, each hau theii own, often conflicting, view of Inuian
politics. While theie was consiueiably moie ciossing of caste anu ethnic
uiviues in the Singapoie Inuian community than in Inuia itself, neveitheless,
these uivisions iemaineu impoitant baiiieis. Inuian communities in
Singapoie weie linkeu by iegion language, caste anu family to the much
laigei Inuian community in Biitish Nalaya, auuing yet one moie stianu to
the inteiconnection between Singapoie anu Nalaya.
0n the eve of the Pacific Wai, Singapoie was a multiiacial, multi-
lingual anu multi-ieligious society goveineu by a Biitish élite. Social contiol
was maintaineu not meiely by the police anu couit systems but also by the
pio-Biitish Chinese business anu clan heaus anu by the wealthy leaueis of
the Inuian community. It was a key pait of the Biitish empiie: aiguably the
most impoitant commeicial possession east of Inuia anu, fiom the 192us, a
majoi naval base guaiuing Biitish inteiests in South-East Asia anu
pioviuing a uefense shielu foi Austialia anu New Zealanu.

*+, -&.&$,', "!!/.&*%"$
Singapoie fell to the }apanese Impeiial Aimy on 1S Febiuaiy, 1942. The loss
of this stiategically impoitant islanu quickly leu to the capitulation of the
Netheilanus East Inuies. Thousanus of Euiopeans, civilians as well as
soluieis, weie tiappeu in Singapoie. Nany weie uispatcheu to builu the
infamous Buima iailway. The ueath iate was high. Noie than 4S,uuu
soluieis in the Inuian anu Nalay iegiments weie uigeu by the }apanese to
tiansfei theii loyalties. Nost iefuseu anu many paiu with theii lives. About
2u,uuu Inuian soluieis joineu the Inuian National Aimy in the belief that it
woulu be piepaieu by the }apanese to uiive the Biitish out of Inuia anu
establish Inuian inuepenuence.
While the Inuian anu Nalay communities in Singapoie suffeieu
gieatly at the hanus of the }apanese, none suffeieu moie than the Chinese.
The }apanese militaiy uistiusteu all Chinese anu, in paiticulai, sought to
ioot out all who weie Kuomintang suppoiteis. Aibitiaiy aiiests, toituie
anu executions weie commonplace. Special taxes weie imposeu on Chinese
SINGAPORE 149
incomes anu assets. Foi the iesiuents of Singapoie, the }apanese occupation
was a time of stiuggle foi suivival. Biitish iule was benign by compaiison.
The }apanese occupation of South-East Asia gieatly ieuuceu
Euiopean piestige. Inueeu, while histoiians uiffei as to the long-teim
impait of the occupation in inuiviuual societies, theie is geneial agieement
that it usheieu in the beginning of the enu of Euiopean colonialism in the
iegion. }apanese policies anu actions cleaily hau an impact on inuiviuuals in
Singapoie. Apait fiom the Chinese, Inuians anu Nalays who uieu in piisons,
in laboui camps oi as a iesult of inuisciiminate }apanese biutality, almost
all who liveu theie suffeieu seveie uay-to-uay haiuships uuiing the thiee-
anu-a-half yeais of }apanese occupation. The ueepei, long-teim impact is
haiuei to assess. A legacy of uistiust of }apan in Singapoie anu thioughout
South-East Asia may well be the most significant consequence.

*"0&12' %$2,.,$2,$!,
Biitain ieoccupieu Singapoie in between August anu Septembei 194S. It
was contiolleu by the Biitish Nilitaiy Auministiation until miu 1946 anu
then hanueu back to the Colonial 0ffice. Post-wai Biitish policy towaius
Singapoie uiffeieu fiom that towaius Nalaya. It envisageu Nalaya moving
towaius inuepenuence but was ueteimineu that political iefoim in
Singapoie shoulu be caiefully contiolleu, with a iestiicteu goal of limiteu
self-goveinment. Theie weie thiee main ieasons foi this policy uiffeience.
Fiist, continueu uiiect contiol of Singapoie was seen as vital to Biitish
commeicial inteiests in South-East Asia. Seconu, Singapoie was a stiategic
naval base in the iegion. Thiiu, Singapoie's ethnic Chinese majoiity iaiseu
feais foi Biitish inteiests, not just in Singapoie but also in Nalaya. The
outbieak of the Colu Wai in 1947 anu Nao's uefeat of the Chiang Kai-Shek
goveinment in China in 1949 stiengtheneu Biitain's view of Singapoie as
potentially a communist fifth column in South-East Asia. It was believeu that
an inuepenuent Singapoie woulu quickly come unuei communist contiol
anu that Singapoie woulu then be useu as a spiingboaiu to subveit Westein
inteiests in Nalaya, Inuonesia anu elsewheie in South-East Asia.
The success of the Nalayan Communist Paity's (NCP) among
Singapoie woikeis in the immeuiate post-wai yeais confiimeu the Biitish
view of Singapoie as inevitably a hotbeu of Chinese communism unless
stiong colonial iule was maintaineu. The pio-Biitish Chinese anu Inuian
élites weie equally alaimeu: communism thieateneu theii inteiests as much
as it uiu the inteiests of the Biitish. The NCP launcheu its insuiiection in
Singapoie anu Nalaya in 1948, iesulting in a ueclaiation of a State of
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1Su
Emeigency which was to last until 196u. The stiength of communist-
contiolleu laboui unions in the late 194us anu eaily 19Sus anu the NCP's
insuiiection weie vieweu in the context of giowing piiue among oveiseas
Chinese in the achievements of the communist goveinment in China. The
victoiious communists anu the vanquisheu nationalists, who hau
withuiawn to Taiwan, competeu vigoiously in the 19Sus foi moial suppoit
fiom the oveiseas Chinese. Singapoie was again a vital hub in the South-
East Asia campaign.
Limiteu self-goveinment was intiouuceu into Singapoie in 19SS. In
19S9, the People's Action Paity (PAP) gaineu a majoiity of seats in the
Legislative Assembly, beginning a uominance of Singapoie politics
continuing to the piesent uay. Leu by Lee Kuan Yew, a young Cambiiuge-
euucateu lawyei, the PAP was a paity of a new English-euucateu élite
emeiging in Singapoie in the 19Sus. Stiongly influenceu by Euiopean social
uemociatic iueas, the PAP piouuceu a bluepiint foi Singapoie's
uevelopment baseu on a stiong state anu state inteivention in the economy
to cieate a new, inuustiializeu, Singapoie. Lee anu his fellow PAP leaueis
knew that theii stiongest opponents weie the communists, who weie
opeiating thiough vaiious legal anu illegal stiuctuies anu, in the eaily
196us, most piominently thiough the Baiisan Socialis paity. The
oiganisational stiuctuie of the PAP miiioieu that of communist paities. Its
uemociatic centialism placeu effective contiol in the hanus of a self-
selecting élite.
By the eaily 196us, Biitain was seaiching foi a way to enu its uiiect
iule of Singapoie while still safeguaiuing its stiategic anu commeicial
inteiests, which weie seen as inextiicably connecteu with pieventing
Singapoie fiom "going communist". The piessuie foi Singapoie's
inuepenuence was stiong. In auuition, Biitain was faceu with the pioblem of
the Boineo states of Sabah anu Saiawak. In an eia of uecolonisation, Biitain
hau to finu a solution to its colonial pioblems in Singapoie anu Boineo.
The cieation of Nalaysia seemeu to solve all pioblems. Singapoie,
Sabah anu Saiawak woulu be amalgamateu with Nalaya to foim a new state
of Nalaysia. The Chinese majoiity in Singapoie woulu be balanceu by Nalay
anu othei inuigenous majoiities in Nalaya anu the Boineo states. It was a
neat political solution. It was also seen by both the Biitish anu the
Singapoie élite as a consummation of the stiong economic inteiuepenuence
that hau uevelopeu between Nalaya anu Singapoie ovei moie than a
centuiy. Singapoie woulu ietain contiol ovei a numbei of ciucial aieas,
incluuing euucation anu Communications, in ietuin foi a lowei piopoition
SINGAPORE 1S1
of seats in the new feueial pailiament of Nalaysia than it was entitleu by
weight of population. Nalay sensibilities about uominance by ethnic
Chinese appeaieu to be assuageu anu, at the same time, the PAP ensuieu a
status foi Singapoie fai gieatei than that of a meie state goveinment.
Nalaysia was foimeu on 16 Septembei, 196S. Singapoie sepaiateu
fiom Nalaysia in August 196S, becoming the inuepenuent Republic of
Singapoie. Foimally, this paiting of the ways was a mutual uecision
between the Nalaysian feueial goveinment anu the Singapoie state
goveinment. In ieality, Singapoie was foiceu to leave. The two-yeai of
maiiiage was an unhappy one. Nalays incieasingly feaieu that Singapoie
wanteu to uominate Nalaysia, anu that the PAP was tiying to join foices
with the majoi ethnic-Chinese opposition paity in peninsulai Nalaya in
oiuei to gain a majoiity of the seats in the feueial pailiament. They feaieu
changes to the constitution, which entiencheu majoi piivileges foi the
Nalays. It was a highly emotional peiiou, with intei-ethnic typecasting
abounuing anu with Nalays feaiing that "theii" countiy was about to be
taken ovei by "foieigneis".
Lee Kuan Yew was shatteieu by this paiting. The accepteu wisuom in
Singapoie was that its economy was so closely linkeu to that of peninsulai
Nalaya that economic piospeiity uepenueu on these links to continue.
Singapoie feaieu that its economy was too small anu too vulneiable to anti-
Chinese feelings among neighbouiing Inuonesians anu Nalays to stanu
alone. Now, Singapoie is a majoi economic success stoiy. Between
inuepenuence in 196S anu the Asian economic ciisis of 1997, its economy
giew at an aveiage of 9 pei cent pei annum. Although giowth iates have
since sloweu, anu in 2uu8-u9 actually tuineu negative as a iesult of the
global financial ciisis anu the countiy's high ieliance on global tiaue, sounu
economic management is the ieason foi the geneially high stanuing of the
PAP goveinment among Singapoieans, uespite complaints about its style
anu fiequent uisiegaiu foi "Westein style" civil libeities.
Even befoie inuepenuence, Lee Kuan Yew's goveinment uetei-mineu
that the economy hau to unueigo massive stiuctuial change veiy quickly if
Singapoie was to piospei. In unuei five uecaues, Singapoie has moveu fiom
an essentially entiepot economy to a pieuominantly inuustiial anu seivices-
baseu economy. The next uecaue will see Singapoie consoliuate its move
into a post-inuustiial phase, with most of its wealth geneiateu by seivice
inuustiies, ianging fiom pioviuing iegional financial anu high-technology
seivices to othei South-East Asian nations to manufactuiing high-
technology piouucts foi a woilu maiket, utilising woilu's best piactice.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1S2
Bence, in 2uu1 Lee Kuan Yew, in his capacity as Senioi Ninistei, uigeu
Singapoie to "iemake itself' ovei the next two uecaues, to embiace fuithei
such inuustiies as touiism, euucation anu healthcaie.
The iemaikable anu sustaineu economic giowth in post-
inuepenuence Singapoie is paitially explaineu by Singapoie's stiategic
location at the ciossioaus of the ASEAN iegion. 0ntil the Asian economic
ciisis of 1997, ASEAN countiies hau also expeiienceu sustaineu high giowth
iates, to Singapoie's auvantage. As laboui intensive inuustiies have moveu
fiom Singapoie to othei ASEAN countiies, they have been ieplaceu by a
iegional ieliance on Singapoie foi moie technologically sophisticateu
piouucts anu seivices Theie aie othei impoitant factois behinu Singapoie's
success. Fiist the PAP has biought stiong, stable anu coiiuption-fiee
goveinment to Singapoie. Above all, Singapoie has been a mouel of planneu
uevelopment in eveiy spheie. Seconu, thiough policies such as the cieation
of a Cential Pioviuent Funu, with Singapoiean employeis anu employees
compelleu jointly to contiibute a high peicentage (compaieu with
compaiable schemes in westein countiies) of salaiies to a pension funu, it
has cieateu a veiy high iate of national savings. Thiiu, it has auopteu social
policies which have ensuieu that all Singapoieans have benefiteu fiom the
economic giowth. Foi example, when the PAP caine to powei in 19S9 most
Singapoieans liveu in squaliu housing. By the tuin of the centuiy Singapoie
hau the highest home-owneiship iate in the woilu, thanks to the activities
of the Bousing Tiust anu the ability of people to funu moitgages by
boiiowing fiom theii contiibutions to the Cential Pioviuent Funu. Fouith, it
has uevelopeu an excellent compiehensive euucation system which has
piouuceu the skilleu woikeis neeueu to sustain high iates of economic
giowth, anu which places emphasis on vocational anu applieu skills without
the bias towaius iote leaining eviuent in some othei Asian countiies with
auvanceu economies.
uoveinment in Singapoie is fai moie intiusive than that expeiienceu
in Westein societies. The PAP has manipulateu the political system to make
it extiemely uifficult foi an opposition paity to challenge its powei. It has
useu the Inteinal Secuiity Act to aiiest anu impiison not only those who
might be a thieat to the state but many otheis who have challengeu the
powei of the goveinment. It hau biought punitive uefamation actions
against uissenting opposition pailiamentaiians, which bankiupteu them in
the piocess anu thus, accoiuing to the law, excluuing them fiom the political
piocess. It is a pateinalistic anu, at times, authoiitaiian goveinment but,
uespite this, it uoes have populai legitimacy because of its ueliveiy of clean
SINGAPORE 1SS
goveinment anu its impiessive social anu economic achievements ovei
neaily foui uecaues. Its continueu populai manuate is eviuent in the fact
that the PAP easily won a lanusliue victoiy in the most iecent geneial
election in 2uu6.
Since inuepenuence, Singapoie's goveinment has been conceineu to
uevelop a Singapoiean iuentity. In the fiist instance, this meant weaning
Singapoieans away fiom too close an attachment to communist China.
Language policy was a key pait of this seaich foi iuentity. In the 196us, the
emphasis was on the neeu foi people to leain Nalay anu English, with
goveinment-sponsoieu campaigns to leain a new Nalay woiu each uay. As
Singapoie's piospeiity giew, as the economy became moie
inteinationaliseu anu less uepenuent on Nalaysia, anu as China became not
a thieat but a souice of piiue uue to its impiessive economic uevelopment
anu giowing influence on global secuiity issues, policy shifteu towaius the
piomotion of Nanuaiin insteau of iegional uialects (although in 2uu8 the
goveinment aumitteu the piomotion of Nanuaiin has not been the success
it hau hopeu foi). Noie iecently the emphasis has moveu back to ensuiing
the suivival of iegional uialects alongsiue Nanuaiin anu English. If
Singapoie's élite was unceitain about its iuentity in the 196us anu 197us÷
weie they simply Chinese oveiseas oi a genuine pait of the iegion.÷by the
198us they weie fai moie confiuent about Singapoie's futuie in the ASEAN
iegion anu, by the tuin of the centuiy, they weie supiemely confiuent of
theii ability to continue to piospei in an incieasingly global economy anu
within the stiongly ueveloping South-East Asia iegion. Some commentatois
have talkeu of a "ie-sinofication", not just of the Singapoieans but of ethnic
Chinese communities thioughout South-East Asia, as they netwoik with
each othei anu continue to have a uominant iole in national anu iegional
economies.
In the new millennium, Singapoie is by fai the most piospeious
nation in South-East Asia (asiue fiom the abeiiation of the tiny oil-iich state
of Biunei). It is a society full of contiauictions. In many ways it is a mouein
Confucian state÷always intiusive, mostly pateinalistic, sometimes
authoiitaiian, with a stiong iueology of the people's uuties towaius the
state. It is iuleu by a close-knit, meiitociatic élite focuseu on the PAP. The
state claims the iight to be involveu in all aspects of its people's lives:
asseiting the iight to uefine family size anu the natuie of peisonal
ielationships, as well as to ueteimine the stiuctuie of the economy. Thus,
woiiieu by a uecline in the feitility iate of the most euucateu, mainly
Chinese élite (biought about by the ieluctance of ambitious young women
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1S4
to inteiiupt theii caieeis), the goveinment offeis geneious tax bieaks anu
othei incentives foi women to have chiluien. The state uiiectly owns oi
contiols laige sections of the economy anu, thiough h investment boaiu, has
shaies in othei Singapoiean companies as well as oveiseas. Yet it is also the
champion of fiee enteipiise, welcoinine foieign multinationals anu
nuituiing its own multinational coipoiations in a competitive enviionment
almost totally fiee of the coiiuption which beuevils othei countiies in
the iegion. By 2uuS, bilateial fiee-tiaue agieements hau been signeu with
the 0niteu States, }apan, Austialia anu New Zealanu. It has an enviable
iecoiu in pioviuing low-cost housing, high-quality euucation anu extensive
health caie foi all Singapoieans. Yet its social secuiity net is highly
conuitional, insisting that inuiviuuals must woik haiu anu stanu on theii
own feet. It is a state which encouiages aggiessive economic activity, anu
iewaius inuiviuual ability anu achievement. Yet it is a puiitan state, with a
state-contiolleu local meuia, censoi-ship of foieign meuia anu a veiy public
concein about moial pollution of the young fiom Westein cultuial
influences. In matteis of national secuiity, iestiictions have been fuithei
tighteneu since late 2uu1 when a plot to launch suiciue attacks by militants
belonging to the iegional Islamist teiioiist oiganization }emaah Islamiah
(}I) against a numbei of Singapoie's ciitical infiastiuctuie installations anu
embassies of foieign countiies was uncoveieu. The goveinment was highly
embaiiasseu by the escape fiom custouy in Febiuaiy 2uu8 of the leauei of
the }I netwoik in Singapoie, Nas Selamat Kastaii. Kastaii, an Inuonesian-
boin Singapoie national, hau been uepoiteu fiom Inuonesia in 2uuS anu his
escape slightly tainisheu Singapoie's ieputation as being at the foiefiont of
iegional effoits to combat the thieat fiom teiioiism.
Singapoie's piospeiity gives it a highei pei-capita income than many
Westein countiies anu although its geogiaphic location may be less
impoitant in the global economy with the auvent of the techno-logical
ievolution, in iegional teims it is still as impoitant as evei. Singapoie's
enthusiastic paiticipation in a giowth tiiangle with Nalaysia anu Inuonesia
ieflects its view of itself as the economic engine of the iegion.
The global financial ciisis of 2uu8-u9 anu the subsequent uecline in
woilu giowth iates aie unlikely to cause seiious pioblems foi Singapoie's
long-teim uevelopment, uue mainly to sounu unueilying economic
funuamentals anu a willingness by the goveinment to auuiess economic
pioblems as they emeige iathei than ignoie oi conceal them. Even so, in
2uu8 the economy slippeu into iecession as a iesult of the islanu's
uepenuence upon inteinational tiaue movements, in paiticulai a shaip
SINGAPORE 1SS
uecline in expoits to the 0niteu States anu Euiope. Although painful
stiuctuial anu fiscal aujustments have been necessaiy, Singapoie's
economic planneis anu the foieign investment community aie not oveily
conceineu by slowing giowth iates compaieu with uecaues past as the
islanu has achieveu a level of economic matuiity compaiable to the West
anu thus it woulu be uniealistic to expect that the heauy giowth iates coulu
be maintaineu in peipetuity.
uoh Chok Tong was appointeu leauei in 199u following Lee's uecision
to stanu asiue to effect a smooth leaueiship tiansition. This, Lee saiu, woulu
ieassuie the business community anu inteinational investois, anu ensuie
that long-teim political stability woulu leau to continueu economic
piospeiity. But no one uoubteu that uuiing the fiist few yeais of this
tiansition the ieal powei still lay with Lee, who became a senioi ministei
without poitfolio. In 1992, uoh was elevateu to geneial secietaiy of the
PAP, anu by the late 199us he was peiceiveu as a confiuent, ueuicateu
leauei with a slightly moie libeial outlook than his pieuecessoi. In 2uu1,
uoh nominateu his ueputy, 1 Lee Bsien Loong, as his successoi. Lee, the son
of Lee Kuan Yew, became piime ministei in August 2uu4, with uoh taking
up Lee Kuan Yew's position as senioi ministei. Lee Kuan Yew himself
became "Ninistei Nentoi" anu is believeu to ietain significant behinu-the-
scenes influence.
The Singapoie goveinment still woiiies about foiging a national
iuentity, with iepeateu campaigns focusing on one oi othei aspect of the
iueal Singapoiean. The extent to which iising mateiial piospeiity will seive
to uilute populai calls foi political iefoim anu a lessening of state
pateinalism will be closely watcheu by those who have witnesseu the city-
state emeige fiom the ciisis of 196S to become a highly-iegaiueu iegional
economic poweihouse in unuei five uecaues.





























1S8



















Thailanu stanus at the heait of mainlanu South - East Asia, yet its mouein
histoiy uiffeis stiikingly fiom the tuibulent histoiy of the iest of the iegion.
With the exception of the thiee southein-most piovinces, Thailanu's
population of 64 million is ielatively homogeneous; no majoi iegional, ethnic,
linguistic oi ieligious iifts have thieateneu national coheience. Thailanu uoes
have minoiities, but it is well on the way to assimilating its most significant
minoiity, the Chinese. 0niquely in South-East Asia, Thailanu avoiueu the
uisiuptions of Westein colonial iule anu, theiefoie, the upheavals of
uecolonisation. Woilu Wai II piouuceu no seiious conflict on Thai soil. Aftei
the wai, anu unlike in neighbouiing Inuochina, communism nevei attiacteu
wiue suppoit in Thailanu. While ievolution was teaiing vietnam, Laos anu
Cambouia apait, anu militaiy-imposeu "Buimese socialism" was stifling
Buima, the countiy embaikeu upon a couise of capitalist uevelopment which,
in spite of the 1997 Asian economic ciisis which staiteu in Thailanu, maue it
one of South-East Asia's stiongest economies.
Bistoiically, howevei, the Thais hau to face seiious pioblems. In the
18th centuiy, Thai society hau to iebuilu itself aftei the tiauma of almost
total-uestiuction by Buimese aimies of the foui-centuiies-olu Thai kinguom
of Ayuuhya. In the 19th anu eaily 2uth centuiies, Westein piessuies foiceu
majoi, though necessaiily uelicate, aujustments to tiauitional Thai
goveinment, economy anu social oiganization. In Woilu Wai II, Thailanu hau
to aujust to }apanese militaiy piessuies anu the countiy suffeieu acute
1S9
economic uisiuption. Afteiwaius, Thailanu became a fiontline state in the
Colu Wai, its foitunes tieu closely to 0S' inteiests.
0ntil 19S2 Thailanu was an absolute monaichy. Subsequently, it
expeiienceu a succession of uniepiesentative, militaiy-uominateu,
goveinments. A violent collision between the militaiy anu pio-uemociacy
uemonstiatois on the stieets of Bangkok in 1992 seemingly usheieu in an eia
of iepiesentative uemociacy, but as anothei (peaceful) militaiy coup in 2uu6
uemonstiateu, this is not yet assuieu. Resolution of conflict about the foim of
Thai goveinment is uigently neeueu, foi the countiy is again facing majoi
pioblems. The countiy's economic successes have been impiessive, but they
have foiceu heaulong change on Thai society. Piessing pioblems incluue in-
auequate infiastiuctuie, an oveibuiueneu metiopolis in Bangkok, seiious
pollution anu ecological uegiauation, ueploiable conuitions foi many
woikeis, anu wiuening gaps between uiban anu iuial conuitions, anu
between iich anu pooi.
Thais sum up theii social coheience in the nationalist piesciipt
"Nation, Religion (Buuuhism) anu King". They aie piouu of the histoiy fiom
which these nationalist symbols have emeigeu. This histoiy is woith stuuying
foi clues about the ability of the Thais to hanule theii piesent uifficulties.

!"#$% '()*+#%
In the 1Sth centuiy, seveial small kinguoms emeigeu acioss the iegions
known touay as noitheast Buima, cential anu noithein Thailanu, anu Laos.
These weie piobably the fiist attempts at state-builuing by Tai communities.
The Tais weie the piincipal ancestois not only of touay's Thais but also of the
Lao peoples, the Shans of Buima, a iange of uplanu communities in mainlanu
South-East Asia such as the Black, Reu anu White Tais of Laos anu noithein
vietnam, anu the Lü of Yunnan, China.
It useu to be thought that befoie the 1Sth centuiy, Tais hau uominateu
a kinguom calleu Nanchao in Yunnan, but hau been uispeiseu southwaius by
a Nongol attack in 12SS. Scholais no longei holu this theoiy. Insteau, the
eviuence suggests long, slow Tai migiation ovei many centuiies, beginning in
westein China, oi even fuithei noith, anu spieauing southwaius fiom the
seventh centuiy.
The Tais weie wet-iice faimeis clusteieu in !"#$%÷one oi moie
villages unuei a chieftain. 0vei time some !"#$% uevelopeu intei-
ielationships cementeu by tiauing netwoiks, inteimaiiiage, secuiity neeus
anu talenteu militaiy leaueis. But the 1Sth centuiy leap fiom linkeu !"#$% to
kinguoms was piopelleu by Tai auaptations of beliefs, iueas anu techniques
16u
ueiiveu fiom the states anu empiies they weie encounteiing in theii
southwaiu movement. The Tai piobably auopteu Theiavaua Buuuhism fiom
Non states in what ' now cential Thailanu anu fiom the Buimese kinguom of
Pagan. Thi ieligion accommouateu itself to Tai folk tiauitions anu animist
beliefs but it was also an institutionaliseu ieligion with a univeisalist woilu
view, anu a tiansmittei of Non, Buimese anu Sinhalese civilization
The piincipal bluepiint foi Tai state-builueis was, howevei Angkoi, the
gieat Cambouian kinguom which at its height fiom the 11th to 1Sth centuiies
uominateu an empiie stietching fiom the Nekong uelta to the noithein Nalay
peninsula anu as fai noith as the vientiane plain. Fiom Angkoi caine iueas
auapteu oiiginally fiom Inuian Biahmanical thought, paiticulaily concepts of
society as uivinely oiuaineu hieiaichy anu of uevaiaj÷the iulei as
immensely potent incaination of a Binuu ueity anu¡oi Buuuhist bouhisattva.
Angkoi also pioviueu lessons in auministeiing laige, scatteieu populations
anu in a iange of aits anu technologies.
Tai attacks upon Angkoi's impeiial outposts, anu eventually upon
Angkoi itself in the 14th anu 1Sth centuiies, woulu leau to a uiiect tiansfei of
human anu mateiial iesouices. Neanwhile, in the 1Sth centuiy the most
celebiateu of eaily Tai states was the kinguom of Sukhothai. Nouein Thais
iegaiu Sukhothai as the biithplace of the Thai nation, paiticulaily unuei
Ramkhamhaeng, (ieigneu c.1279-98), whose iule is celebiateu by the
Sukhothai stone÷an insciibeu obelisk ieputeuly uiscoveieu in 18SS by the
Thai piince, Nongkut, then a monk anu scholai anu latei Thailanu's fiist
moueinising monaich. The insciiption poitiays Sukhothai as an iuyllic place,
goveineu by a just, fatheily anu uevoutly Buuuhist monaich. Possibly this is
Ramkhamhaeng's self-justifying counteiblast to the aiiogance anu
avaiiciousness of impeiial Angkoi. In iecent yeais, the stone's authenticity
has been questioneu, some sceptics aiguing that Nongkut himself ueviseu the
insciiption to give his people an appealing eaily histoiy. Scholaily consensus
continues to view the insciiption as genuine, howevei.

*'! ,(-./+0 +1 "%2/'%"3 456474898
Aftei Ramkhamhaeng's ueath Sukhothai uwinuleu in significance. In 1SS1,
the establishment fuithei south of the kinguom of Ayuuhya÷ oi Siam, as it
caine to be known÷woulu pioviue a moie lasting basis foi Thai statehoou.
As Siam's capital, Ayuuhya woulu suivive foi ovei foui centuiies, until 1767.
It was founueu by 0 Thong, who is thought to have been a Chinese meichant
who acquiieu wealth anu piestige fiom his tiauing connections with the
Chinese impeiial couit. Be was ielateu by maiiiage to a piominent Thai
161
family, anu he emphasiseu his uevotion to the Thai foim of Buuuhism. In him
may be seen an eaily example of a iecuiiing theme in Thai histoiy÷the
ieauiness of Thai society to absoib talenteu Chinese anu othei foieigneis. The
people ovei whom 0 Thong claimeu kingship in 1SS1 weie peihaps
pieuominant Tai, but "Thai-ness" was also being constiucteu out of Non,
Khmei, Chinese anu othei peoples.
Ayuuhya piospeieu, paitly because of its stiategic position. It stoou
only 7u kilometies up the bioau Chaophiaya iivei fiom the sea, enabling it to
become one of South-East Asia's gieat tiauing poits. Simultaneously, it
commanueu the vast, feitile Chaophiaya plain, pioviuing iice foi a giowing
population anu foi expoit. The city's powei was also baseu on its iuleis' keen
attention to goveinment anu social contiol. Fiom the beginning, they insisteu
that male subjects pay many months of seivice each yeai to the state, as
soluieis oi labouieis. King Tiailok, who ieigneu fiom 1448 to 1488,
elaboiateu to an extiaoiuinaiy uegiee the place anu uuties of subjects in a
iigiuly hieiaichical society. Couifying the stiuctuie of goveinment anu the
civil law, Tiailok uevelopeu the system of &#'()$#, which caiefully scaleu the
positions of eveiyone in the kinguom. The pyiamiu social stiuctuie which
iesulteu was intenueu to enfoice social uiscipline anu enable the easy
mobilisation of manpowei. The stiuctuie was legitimateu by a paiallel
hieiaichical oiganisation of the &#$%*#, (Buuuhist monks) unuei ioyal
pationage anu oveisight.
Elements of the &#'()$# conception of society peisist in Thai thinking,
anu inueeu, aie embeuueu in the Thai language. Bowevei, automatic social
obeuience was piobably nevei absolute in Ayuuhya. The elaboiate
uelineation of social stanuing bieu a self-conscious concein foi uignity in
even the humble inuiviuual, iesulting in at least passive iesistance to unjust
supeiiois. 0thei question maiks against the cohesion of Ayuuhyan society
concein the iegional uispeisal of auministiative anu militaiy powei, anu the
uifficulties suiiounuing monaichical succession. Ayuuhyan histoiy woulu be
maikeu by iivaliies between poweiful families, each with bases in the
piovinces, anu by clashes ovei a vacant thione.
Even so, Ayuuhya's social stiuctuies pioveu iemaikably stiong anu
enuuiing. Nanpowei consciiption enableu militaiy-minueu kings to uefeat
Angkoi uecisively, wage wai on othei iegional iivals, anu to claim an empiie
sometimes encompassing much of mouein Laos, the Tai kinguom of Lan Na,
baseu at Chiang Nai, anu the states of the Nalay peninsula. In the 1Sth anu
16th centuiies, Cambouia iemaineu a significant antagonist, but Ayuuhya's
main challenges woulu come fiom the Buimese. 0nly the stiong institutions
162
of Ayuuhyan society woulu enable it to suivive the blows uealt it by the
Buimese.
In 1S68, the Buimese king Bayinnaung laiu siege to Ayuuhya having
extenueu his militaiy powei ovei the noith as fai as Laos. The city fell in 1S69
anu was uestioyeu. Yet ovei the next uecaues Naiasuan, heii to the thione,
manageu to ieconstitute the kinguom anu, as king, uecisively iepulseu a
ieneweu Buimese attack in 1S9S. In succeeuing yeais he claweu back much
of Ayuuhya's tiibutaiy empiie, anu by the eaily 17th centuiy, Ayuuhya was
again a majoi powei.
Euiopean iepoits pioviue a stiiking pictuie of 17th-centuiy Ayuuhya
as a fameu anu wealthy tiaue centie. By then, Poituguese, Spanish, Butch,
Fiench anu English tiaueis jostleu theie with Chinese, }apanese, Peisian,
Inuian, Nalay anu othei Asian tiaueis. Ayuuhya's openness to tiaue÷anu to
the infoimation anu iueas that tiaueis biought÷may have been one of the
souices of its stiength. In 1688, howevei, the nobility split ovei the uegiee of
foieign influence at couit, paiticulaily that of an extiaoiuinaiy uieek
auventuiei, Constantine Phaulkon, who hau become a poweiful ministei, anu
of the Fiench, incluuing Fiench }esuit missionaiies. 0n the ueath of King
Naiai, a ielatively minoi official, Phetiacha, oiganiseu a coup, excluueu the
Fiench anu hau Phaulkon executeu. Phetiacha assumeu the thione himself.
Agitation ovei these events anu the legitimacy of Phetiacha's subsequent
uynasty woulu uog Ayuuhya foi the next 8u yeais.
It was possibly iuling-class uivisiveness which accounteu foi
Ayuuhya's pooi iesponse to its gieatest challenge÷anothei, anu massive,
Buimese siege in 1766. In Apiil 1767, the city fell to an enemy set on
uestioying Thai state powei foievei. Ayuuhya's iuling class was uecimateu.
Tens of thousanus of people anu all poitable wealth weie caiiieu off. The city
was buineu anu vast tiacts of teiiitoiy weie left as scoicheu eaith by the
Buimese foices.

*'! #()! +1 *'! :"-.,+, !0;(#!
This time of ciisis saw two iemaikable Thai militaiy leaueis emeige: Taksin
anu his leauing geneial, Chaophiaya Chakii. Taksin hau a Thai mothei anu
Chinese fathei. Be hau been iaiseu at couit anu in 1767 was a piovincial
goveinoi. In the leaueiship ciisis following the uestiuction of the oiu iegime
Taksin iallieu an aimy, imposeu his authoiity on a uistiacteu people, ueclaieu
himself king anu founueu a new capital at Thonbuii. Buiing the 177us, he anu
his aimies iebuilt an empiie which incluueu Chiang Nai in the noith. In 1778,
aimies unuei Chaophiaya Chakii subuueu Luang Piabang anu captuieu
16S
vientiane. Fiom the lattei city they biought back the Emeialu Buuuha,
subsequently Thailanu's most sacieu anu, it is believeu most potent Buuuha-
image.
In his latei yeais, Taksin unueimineu iespect foi his imposing
achievements with viciously tyiannical behavioui. Be may have succumbeu
to ieligious uementia, foi he alienateu the sanaba. In 1782, a tax ievolt
evolveu into a coup, anu Taksin was ueposeu anu executeu. The coup leaueis
offeieu Chaophiaya Chakii the thione, thus inauguiating the uynasty of Thai
monaichs which continúes to the piesent.
Rama I (ieigneu 1782-18u9) hau been boin of a Thai fathei÷a
ielatively minoi Ayuuhyan official, though of aiistociatic lineage÷anu a
Chinese mothei. Be woulu piove to have both militaiy skills anu gieat
auministiative anu intellectual abilities. Nilitaiily, his ieign woulu see the
tiiumphant, anu final, iepulsion of the Buimese in 178S anu 1786, anu the
consoliuation of a Thai empiie laigei than any Ayuuhya hau contiolleu.
Effectively, it coveieu all of mainlanu South-East Asia excluuing Buimese anu
vietnamese teiiitoiy, anu also incluueu the noithein Nalay states. Local
uignitaiies iuleu at the empiie's peiimeteis÷in Cambouia, Laos anu the
Nalay states÷but they uiu so at the Thai king's behest.
At home, Rama I supeiviseu the constiuction of his new capital,
Bangkok, founueu in 1782, which soon became a majoi cosmopolitan poit.
Fiom Bangkok the king iebuilt auministiative stiuctuies ieminiscent of
Ayuuhya's but aiguably even stiongei. Laboui contiol now involveu mass
iegistiations anu the tattooing of subjects to inuicate place of iesiuence anu
auministiative supeiioi. Rama I gatheieu about him talenteu officials, juiists,
scholais anu aitists. With them he ievitaliseu Thai cultuie. Theii
achievements incluueu the ieconstiuction anu iefoim of the sangha
hieiaichy, the piouuction of a new, uefinitive text of the Buuuhist sciiptuies,
the complete ievision of the kinguom's laws, anu the tianslation of numeious
liteiaiy anu histoiical woiks incluuing the Inuian epic Ramayana-(in
tianslation, Ramakian). The king anu his followeis self-consciously
ienovateu, iathei than meiely iestoieu, olu institutions. The Bangkok couit
thus moveu into the 19th centuiy uemonstiating an intellectual anu cultuial
acuity that woulu be of incalculable value in the yeais aheau.

:"-.,+, "-/ *'! <!)*
0nlike islanu South-East Asia, wheie the Butch hau been extenuing theii
empiie since the 17th centuiy, mainlanu South-East Asia uiu not encountei
intense Westein piessuies until the 19th centuiy. Even Rama I's successois,
164
Rama II (ieigneu 18u9-24) anu Rama III (ieigneu 1824-S1), weie laigely able
to ignoie oi tuin asiue the pioblems piesenteu by the incieasing Westein
piesence in the iegion Rama III uiu ieach vague agieement with a Biitish
emissaiy in 182S (at a time when the Biitish weie conqueiing south-east
Buima) about ieuucing anu stanuaiuising the taxes on tiaue. Be was
unwilling howevei, to giapple with the majoi legal anu auministiative
changes which Westein businessmen, peiplexeu by Thai customs anu Asian
ways in geneial, weie calling foi.
In key iespects, theiefoie, Bangkok iemaineu "tiauitional" ¡n the fiist
half of the 19th centuiy. This was most obvious in its vigoious piosecution of
its authoiity ovei its empiie. By militaiy inteivention in the Nalay peninsula,
it iiskeu tensions with the Biitish, who fiom the 182us, weie fiimly
ensconceu in the Stiaits Settlements anu lowei Buima. In the 18Sus anu
184us, Bangkok saw vietnam as its chief foieign thieat iathei than any
Westein powei. Between 1841 anu 184S, it fought an exhausting stiuggle
with the vietnamese ovei contiol of Cambouia, a stiuggle that enueu in a
stanu-off.
viitually at the centie of Bangkok society, howevei, a gioup of ioyal
anu noble young men weie stuuying the West keenly, leu by the example of
Piince Nongkut, biothei of Rama III. Then a monk, Nongkut was uevoting
much of his eneigies to the ongoing iefoim of Thai Buuuhism. Be founueu the
Thammayutika sect, whose goal was intellectually iigoious ieligious
scholaiship that woulu cleai away obscuiantist accietions to oiiginal
Buuuhist teachings. Nongkut anu his ciicle weie also stuuying Westein
languages, Westein science anu mathematics, anu such matteis as Westein
militaiy oiganisation anu technology. When Nongkut succeeueu to the
thione, he was theiefoie in a position to ieoiientate Bangkok positively
towaius the West.
King Nongkut (also known as Rama Iv, 18S1-68) signeu the Bowiing
Tieaty with Biitain in 18SS. 0nuei this tieaty, impoit anu expoit uuties weie
shaiply ieuuceu anu fixeu, iuling-class tiauing anu commouity monopolies
weie abolisheu, anu Biitish subjects weie gianteu extiateiiitoiial legal iights.
In subsequent yeais, Nongkut signeu similai tieaties with many othei
Westein poweis. The signing away of legal powei ovei foieign subjects in the
kinguom was a bittei blow anu these iights woulu not be fully iecoveieu until
the 19Sus. Noie ciucially, the othei piovisions of the tieaties uepiiveu the
thione anu many poweiful subjects of much income. The shoitfall woulu be
ieveiseu in time by the expansion of tiaue anu by heavy taxes on opium,
alcohol anu gambling, but it is testimony to Nongkut's uomestic uiplomatic
16S
skills, anu to the cohesion of his couit, that the majoi fiscal ieaiiangements
passeu without ievolt.
Nongkut avoiueu othei funuamental iefoims. The "moueinisation" of
the kinguom woulu ieally only begin with his son Chulalongkoin (Rama v,
1868-191u). Even then, it woulu be cautiously unueitaken anu limiteu in
scope. Chulalongkoin leaineu caution eaily in his ieign. In 187S, at the age of
21, he announceu some financial anu legal iefoim measuies which alaimeu
conseivatives anu piovokeu an attempteu coup in 1874. The young king
suiviveu, but hau to iein in his iefoiming enthusiasm. A stiategy foi the
giauual abolition of slaveiy, also announceu in 187S, continueu, howevei.
Slaveiy (al-though not always the bonus of pationage anu obligation in Thai
society which slaveiy hau foimaliseu) uisappeaieu ovei the next uecaues,.
Latei, Chulalongkoin was also able to phase out coivée (foiceu laboui foi the
state), ieplacing it with a capitation tax.
Chulalongkoin's position giew stiongei as the oluei geneiation passeu
on anu he matuieu into a shiewu politician, nuituiing a coips of biight,
Westein-euucateu ioyal ielatives. With them, he set about majoi iefoim of
goveinment in the miu 1880s. Specialiseu ministiies anu uepaitments began
to appeai. Cabinet goveinment was intiouuceu between 1888 anu 1892.
Subsequently, the king's half-biothei, Piince Bamiong, unueitook the uelicate
task of iefoiming piovincial auministiation, placating the gieat iegional
families while centialising buieauciatic contiol in Bangkok.
The mouein look to goveinment caine none too soon, foi Westein
impeiial iivaliies in South-East Asia weie ieaching theii peak. Chula-
longkoin's skilleu foieign ministei, Piince Bevawongse, coulu now put the
case that the kinguom hau no neeu of Westein inteivention - unlike its
neighbouis, it was stable, bent on moueinisation anu able to accommouate
inteinational business. Even so, Westein empiies stiippeu the foimei Thai
empiie. Alieauy Nongkut hau been obligeu by the Fiench in 1867 to abanuon
claims to Cambouia (except its westein piovinces). Now in 189S (when
Fiench waiships menaceu Bangkok) anu in 19u2 anu 19u4 Chulalongkoin
hau to tiansfei to the Fiench soveieignty ovei the aieas which woulu
constitute mouein Laos. In 19u7, he was obligeu to ielinquish the westein
Cambouian piovinces. In 19u9, he gave contiol of foui noithein Nalay states
foimeily unuei his suzeiainty to the Biitish (leaving, neveitheless, a Nalay-
Nuslim minoiity within his kinguom). Neanwhile, an 1896 tieaty between
Fiance anu Biitain hau maikeu a ciucial tuining-point in the uisposition of
Thai teiiitoiy. This tieaty, uesigneu piimaiily to heau off Anglo-Fiench
confiontation in South-East Asia, guaianteeu the inuepenuence of most of the
166
teiiitoiy which touay foims Thailanu. Chulalongkoin' coie kinguom hau been
secuieu.
Be pioceeueu with moueinisation until his ueath in 191u, laying the
founuations of a mouein militaiy, impioving Communications paiticulaily
with an extensive iailway system÷anu continuing law iefoim. Westein-style
euucation became common foi ioyal anu up-pei-class chiluien, anu an
elementaiy Westein-style syllabus was intiouuceu to the temple schools.
Chulalongkoin iesisteu full-tilt moueinization, howevei. Be iejecteu any
thought of intiouucing uemociacy. Economically, he piesiueu ovei the
uevelopment of a quasi-colonial state. 0iuinaiy Thais became commouity
piouuceis foi the woilu maiket, iice accounting foi ovei 7u pei cent of
expoits in the eaily 2uth centuiy. 0thei items incluueu tin, teak anu iubbei.
Theie was no significant inuustiialisation. Westein anu Chinese inteiests
uominateu the countiy's financial anu commeicial life. Chinese numbeis
swelleu to about ten pei cent of the population. Inueeu the size anu powei of
the Chinese community began to uistuib many Thais.

*'! !=$(;)! +1 *'! 0+-"#='%3 4>4?74>5@
Buiing the ieigns of Chulalongkoin's successois, vajiiavuuh (Rama vI, 191u-
2S) anu Piaujahipok (Rama vII, 192S-SS), uisgiuntlement with Thailanu's
equivocal moueinisation anu economic subjection woulu giow amongst the
expanuing, though still small, Westein-euucateu élite. vajiiavuuh's uilettante
appioach to kingship also piovokeu ciiticism. Bis innei ciicle at couit
consisteu of male favouiites. Bis extiavagance contiibuteu to goveinment
ueficits anu a balance-of-payments ciisis in the 192us. 0n the othei hanu, his
contiibutions to the emeigence of Thai nationalism piobably stiengtheneu
his ieign. It was he who intiouuceu the tiinity of "Nation, Religion
(Buuuhism) anu King" as the focus of populai loyalty, anu piomoteu
oiganizations anu public spectacles uesigneu to inculcate nationalist piiue. In
the 192us, he also sponsoieu successful uiplo-matic effoits to enu the
extiateiiitoiiality piovisions of Nongkut's tieaties anu iecovei national
contiol of taiiffs.
Piajauhipok (Chulalongkoin's 76th chilu÷vajiiavuuh uieu heiiless)
took an eainest appioach to his uuties, but was hamstiung by the financial
pioblems bequeatheu to him anu even moie by the uieat Bepiession. In the
eaily 19Sus, national income slumpeu anu cuts to goveinment expenuituies
heighteneu uiscontent. Foi him the piomotion of nationalist thinking pioveu
to be a uouble-eugeu swoiu. The concept of "Nation" alongsiue that of "King"
soon encouiageu mouein-minueu Thais to uistinguish between the two.
167
0n 24 }une 19S2, plotteis in the militaiy anu buieauciacy stageu a
coup anu, in the name of the nation, obligeu Piajauhipok to suiienuei the
monaichy's absolute poweis anu accept constitutional status. In 19SS,
Piajauhipok abuicateu in favoui of his nephew Ananua (Rama vIB, 19SS^16)
who was then at school oveiseas anu woulu iemain -abioau until 194S.

*'! #()! +1 0($(*"#% .+A!#-0!-*3 4>5@74>BC
The piomoteis of the 19S2 ievolution consisteu of both civilians anu militaiy
men. Theii piofesseu goal was the stageu intiouuction of pailiamentaiy
uemociacy, anu they set up a National Assembly of appointeu anu electeu
membeis. By the late 19Sus, howevei, the pailiament appeaieu uoomeu to
viitual iiielevancy. Foi 6u yeais aftei 19S2, in fact, the militaiy woulu
uominate Thai goveinment.
Foi seveial ieasons, militaiy uominance woulu not piove stifling noi
piouuce wholly negative effects. Fiistly, Thai militaiy leaueis faceu no seiious
pioblems of national integiation; histoiy hau bequeatheu to them a countiy
of ielatively minoi cultuial, ieligious, iueological oi ethnic tensions, anu they
coulu usually enfoice theii will with a ielatively light hanu. Seconuly, they
woulu geneially be willing to accommouate othei élites in the powei piocess,
anu those élites÷ business, buieauciacy anu civilian politicians÷woulu
geneially acquiesce in militaiy pie-eminence. Thiiuly, ossification of the
powei stiuctuie woulu be avoiueu, ciuuely but not ineffectively, by iivaliies
within the militaiy anu changes of goveinment by intia-militaiy coup. Finally,
successive militaiy-uominateu goveinments woulu puisue moueinisation,
economic giowth anu the expansion of euucation anu othei seivices. Foi
seveial uecaues this woulu seem to justify militaiy iule÷though it woulu
eventually unueimine it. Economic uevelopment anu a bettei-euucateu
society woulu finally piouuce bioau-baseu piessuies foi moie iepiesentative
goveinment.
In the 19Sus, Thailanu was still oveiwhelmingly a countiy of peasant
faimeis. The militaiy was its best-oiganiseu, most cohesive mouein
institution. The militaiy's ciucial iole in the 19S2 ievolution was unueiscoieu
in 0ctobei 19SS, when pio-ioyalist piotesteis maicheu on Bangkok. They
weie iepulseu by tioops commanueu by a Lt-Colonel Phibun Songkhiam. The
following yeai, Phibun became uefence ministei, anu woulu holu vaiious
posts until he became piime ministei in 19S8, when he heaueu a cabinet of
pie-uominantly militaiy men Phibun anu his suppoiteis, unimpiesseu by the
flounueiing Westein uemociacies of the peiiou, weie attiacteu to othei
political mouels÷fascist Italy, ueimany anu, above all, }apan, the one Asian
168
countiy which seemeu to offei Thailanu a pattein foi moueinisation. Phibun
iapiuly auopteu some featuies of uictatoishin aiiesting opponents,
piomoting himself as Thailanu's gieat leauei anu exciting nationalist
emotions. A seiies of "cultuial manuates" at_ tempteu instant economic anu
social change. Bomestically, his most uiamatic move was legislation taigeting
the Chinese in Thailanu. State coipoiations took ovei commouities such as
iice, tobacco anu petioleum, anu Chinese businesses founu themselves
subject to a iange of new taxes anu contiols. Chinese economic know-how
was, in fact, too valuable foi anti-Chinese measuies to be pusheu fai, but
Phibun's policies woulu have lasting effects. They stimulateu Chinese
assimilation into Thai society, thiough Sino-Thai business paitneiships
inteimaiiiage, anu Chinese acceptance of Thai language, euucation anu
cultuie. They also set in tiain heavy state involvement in the economy, which
woulu blui the lines between business anu those who helu political anu
buieauciatic powei.
Puisuing his nationalist goals, Phibun changeu his countiy's name fiom
Siam to Thailanu in 19S9 (the name Siam woulu be biiefly iesumeu between
194S anu 1949). Phibun pointeu out that "Siam" was oiiginally a teim foi the
aiea useu by Chinese anu othei foieigneis, but the change also hau iiieuentist
implications÷shoulu "the lanu of the Thais" incluue "Tai" people who liveu
beyonu its boiueis, many as a iesult of Westein piuning of the olu Bangkok
empiie. Phibun answeieu this question in Novembei 194u, when Thai foices
invaueu Laos anu westein Cambouia. The }apanese, who now helu base anu
tiansit iights in Fiench Inuochina, steppeu in to meuiate, awaiuing
Cambouia's westein piovinces anu poitions of Laos to Thailanu.
This victoiy was populai in Thailanu. Phibun's subsequent ielations
with the }apanese woulu become moie contioveisial, howevei. In Becembei
1941, the }apanese moveu tioops into Thailanu, uemanuing tiansit iights foi
theii attacks on Biitish Buima anu Nalaya. Thai tioops iesisteu but, within
houis, the Phibun goveinment calleu foi a ceasefiie. Subsequently, it enteieu
a militaiy alliance with }apan anu, in }anuaiy 1942, ueclaieu wai on the
0niteu States anu Biitain. Bivision about these events within Thai iuling
ciicles was inuicateu most obviously by the iefusal of the Thai ministei in
Washington, the aiistociatic Seni Piamoj, to auvise the 0S goveinment of the
ueclaiation of wai. A Fiee Thai movement began to giow amongst oveiseas
Thais anu, eventually, unueigiounu within Thailanu itself.
At fiist, howevei, Phibun's actions weie wiuely suppoiteu, anu
Thailanu was iewaiueu by }apan with the Shan states of Buima in 1942 anu
the foui noithein Nalay states in 194S. Bisillusionment began to set in as the
169
tiue of wai tuineu against }apan, anu Thailanu expeiienceu acute economic
uisiuption because of the wai. In }uly 1944, Phibun quietly iesigneu the
piime ministeiship, leaving the National Assembly with the pioblem of
piepaiing Thailanu foi an Allieu victoiy.
The politicians weie iestiaineu by the }apanese piesence until August
194S, but then all agieements with }apan weie iepuuiateu (incluuing those
which hau tiansfeiieu teiiitoiy to Thailanu). Though the goal of uemociatic
goveinment was ieasseiteu, a iange of factois woulu combine to fiustiate its
achievement. The Biitish anu Fiench weie at fiist bitteily hostile to Thailanu.
The economic uifficulties of the wai yeais peisisteu anu political infighting
pieventeu effective, oi even stable, goveinment.
In the miust of the tuimoil, King Ananua, who hau ietuineu to Thailanu
in Becembei 194S, uieu of a gunshot one moining in }une 1946. Bis ueath has
iemaineu shiouueu in mysteiy. The young king enjoyeu collecting guns anu
most likely the shot was acciuentally self-inflicteu but the political scene was
inflameu by muiuei theoiies. The piime ministei, Piiui Phanomyong, fameu
as the chief civilian piomotei of the 19S2 ievolution but vieweu by
conseivatives as a iauical leftist, iesigneu amiust mounting hysteiia against
"communists". The goveinment continueu to flounuei until the militaiy
steppeu in with a coup in Novembei 1947. Initially, they ietaineu a civilian
piime ministei but foiceu him to iesign in Apiil 1948. Be was ieplaceu by
Phibun.

*'! D)*#+-. 0"-D !#"3 4>BC74>85
The iesumption of militaiy uominance ovei goveinment instigateu a
succession of authoiitaiian leaueis who weie unchallengeu by foices outsiue
the militaiy until 197S. Theii powei was enhanceu by 0S pationage anu aiu.
Washington wanteu stiong, anti-Communist, leaueis who woulu both iepiess
uomestic communism (nevei moie than a fiinge phenomenon in Thailanu, in
fact) anu join in Ameiican-leu stiategies foi the containment of Asian
communism. Fiom the 19Sus, 0S aiu to Thailanu was substantial. It enableu a
gieat ueal of social anu economic uevelopment, notably in Communications,
infiastiuctuie anu social-welfaie piojects, but it also bolsteieu militaiy anu
police powei.
Even so the goal of stable goveinment was not necessaiily secuieu.
Ameiican aiu cieateu new oppoitunities foi coiiuption in Thai goveinment
anu auministiation, anu stimulateu competition foi the piizes of powei
between iival political netwoiks anchoieu in the militaiy but ieaching into
business anu the buieauciacy. Ameiican appeals foi some eviuence of
17u
uemociacy in Thailanu piouuceu in the shoit teim only cynical political
manipulation, iiggeu elections anu iubbei-stamp pailiaments fiom time to
time.
Aftei 1948, Phibun iesumeu many of his foimei iepiessive policies. Be
mounteu anothei anti-Chinese campaign, anu also at-tempteu to impose
cultuial unifoimity foicefully on the Nalav-Nuslims of the fai south. The
lattei iesisteu the aiiival of Thai officials, the intiouuction of Thai-language
euucation anu the substitution of Thai law foi customaiy law. A sepaiatist
movement giew which, uespite conciliation by latei Thai goveinments,
peisists to this uay.
Bespite the tough image which Phibun once moie piojecteu, his powei
was not in fact secuie. Be faceu seveial attempteu coups fiom within the
militaiy between 1948 anu 19S1. All weie uefeateu, but at the piice of the
emeigence of two fuithei "stiongmen"÷aimy commanuei, subsequently
Fielu Naishal, Saiit Thanaiat (whose latei spectaculai wealth woulu be
giounueu in his contiol of the goveinment lotteiy), anu police chief, Phao
Siyanon (who woulu make his foitune fiom opium tiafficking). In 19SS
Phibun easeu the contiols on political activity anu piomiseu elections. Be
may have been unuei Ameiican piessuie to uo so, oi he may have hopeu to
out-manoeuvie his iivals by winning populai enuoisement. Bowevei, his
paity was accuseu of massive fiauu uuiing the 19S7 election anu Saiit won
populaiity by iesigning, supposeuly in uisgust, fiom Phibun's goveinment. In
Septembei 19S7, Saiit stageu a coup, uiiving Phibun anu Phao into exile.
In 0ctobei 19S8, Saiit ueclaieu maitial law, silencing the expeiiments
in open politics. Be justifieu his authoiitaiianism in two ways: he aigueu foi a
ietuin to Thai tiauitions of social oiuei, anu he acceleiateu economic
uevelopment anu social moueinisation. 0nuei the foimei bannei, the
monaichy was given ieneweu piominence. King Bhumibol Auulyauej (Rama
IX, 1946-piesent) attenueu public ceiemonies, touieu the piovinces anu
pationizeu uevelopment piojects, becoming a ieveieu figuie in the piocess.
0nuei the bannei of uevelopment, Saiit intiouuceu to goveinment a new
geneiation of economically libeial technociats, encouiageu piivate anu
foieign investment, launcheu majoi iuial uevelopment piogiammes anu
iapiuly expanueu euucational facilities.
When Saiit uieu in Becembei 196S powei tiansfeiieu peace-fully to his
close associates, ueneials Thanom Kittikachoin (who became piime
ministei) anu Piaphas Chaiusathian (ueputy piime ministei). Thanom anu
Piaphas basically maintaineu Saiit's style of goveiniiient anu economic
policies, which piouuceu uNP giowth iates of ovei eight pei cent pei yeai
171
uuiing the 196us. At the same time, the militaiy's place in the Thai political
lanuscape seemeu to loom laigei than evei. 0S aiu incieaseu shaiply because
of the Inuochina conflicts. Fiom 1964, Thailanu pioviueu bases foi the 0S
aiifoice anu committeu its own tioops to action in vietnam anu Laos. 0S aiu
was also foithcoming to combat a communist insuigency which hau taken
ioot amongst alienateu tiibal gioups in the countiy's noith anu noitheast.
The eia of unquestioneu "stiong man" iule was uiawing to a close,
howevei. Economic uevelopment, wiuei euucation anu bettei
Communications weie iapiuly incieasing the numbeis of the politically
awaie. In 1968, Thanom pioclaimeu a new Constitution, anu an election the
following yeai establisheu a new pailiament. The political public was shockeu
when he ieveiseu uiiection in 1971, uissolving the pailiament anu banning
political paities once moie. By the eaily 197us, seveial othei issues weie
iaising concein. The leaueis' piesumeu successoi, Naiong Kittikachoin
(Thanom's son anu Piaphas' son-in-law), was not iegaiueu highly insiue oi
outsiue the militaiy. Thailanu's close involvement with the 0S obviously
iequiieu iethinking as the 0S moveu to uisengage fiom vietnam anu the
iegion. The 0PEC "oil shock" anu iising piices sent tiemois thiough the
economy.
It was the euucateu young who piecipitateu the uownfall of the
Thanom-Piaphas iegime. In 0ctobei 197S, stuuent piotests against political
iepiession (inspiieu to some extent by the westein stuuent iauicalism of the
eia) escalateu into massive confiontation with the police on the stieets of
Bangkok. Populai sympathy foi the stuuents incieaseu when seveial of theii
numbei weie killeu oi wounueu by the police. In the fiist subtle inuication of
ioyal political opinion in many yeais, the King peimitteu stuuent fiist-aiu
stations on ioyal giounu. The uemonstiatois tiiumpheu when the aimy
withhelu its suppoit fiom Thanom, Piaphas anu Naiong, who fleu into exile.

:!*<!!- "2*+=#"=% "-/ /!0+=#"=%3 4>8574>>@
The "Stuuents' Revolution" unleasheu an extiaoiuinaiy buist of political
activism. Political paities mushioomeu, hitheito banneu iueas ciiculateu
fieely, tiaue unionism flouiisheu, anu numeious oiganisations of all shaues of
opinion set out to politicise the people. Even the Buuuhist &#$%*#, long a
compliant suppoitei of goveinment, ievealeu iauical uissent within its ianks.
An inteiim civilian goveinment aiiangeu foi a fully electeu pailiament
to be cieateu by elections in }anuaiy 197S. The iesult was an unstable
coalition goveinment which collapseu within 12 months. Anothei ineffective
coalition emeigeu fiom elections in Apiil 1976. Neanwhile, the pioblems of a
172
uestabiliseu economy weie not being auuiesseu anu neithei weie the
appaient thieats to Thailanu fiom the communist victoiies in Cambouia,
vietnam anu Laos in 197S. Conseivative opinion, outiageu by the political
uis-oiuei fiom the beginning, incieasingly became populai opinion. In
0ctobei 1976, the militaiy iesumeu powei, unopposeu, peimit-ting iight-
wing oiganisations to toituie anu kill stuuent iauicals gatheieu at
Thammasat 0niveisity in Bangkok. Nany leftist anu moueiate leaueis fleu the
city, some to join the communist insuigents in the noith-east. Foi the
moment it appeaieu that Thailanu faceu moie authoiitaiian goveinment than
evei befoie. The policies of the fiist post-coup piime ministei, a civilian but a
iigiu iight-wingei ueepeneu iathei than healeu the uivisions in the countiy.
Even civil wai seemeu possible, if the newly expanueu insuigent foices coulu
attiact populai sympathy.
Within the militaiy, howevei, opinions vaiieu about the futuie of Thai
politics anu the militaiy's ielationship to goveinment. At one enu of the
spectium stoou those keen to ietain the autociatic uiscipline of the
"stiongman" yeais. At the othei stoou, those who saw the uevelopment of
uemociacy as uesiiable, even inevitable; cleaily Thai society was now
unwilling to be politically passive. In the miuule of the spectium, key militaiy
figuies concluueu that "manageu uemociacy" was possible÷an option which
has iemaineu attiactive to militaiy politicians evei since. Nanagement coulu
incluue a iange of stiategies: the maintenance of a Constitution which
alloweu foi an appointeu piime ministei; appointments to othei senioi posts
anu a pait-appointeu pailiament; the nuituie of political paities sympathetic
to militaiy inteiests; the piomotion of the militaiy to the public as an efficient
national institution moie likely to uelivei goveinment in the common goou
than self-inteiesteu (civilian) politicians. The stiategy of manageu uemociacy
also seemeu to iequiie, howevei, that the militaiy shoulu ietain the iight to
the ultimate weapon of political management, the coup.
In 0ctobei 1977, ueneial Kiiangsak Chomananu assumeu the piime
ministeiship, piomising a new constitution anu elections in 1979. Be also
offeieu amnesty to iepentant insuigents, which hasteneu the collapse of an
insuigency movement incieasingly uisillusioneu by the falling out between
Cambouia, vietnam anu China, anu by the ievelations of the hoiiois of Khmei
Rouge iule in Cambouia. (Iionically it woulu be the Thai militaiy, iathei than
the insuigents, woulu uevelop a liaison with the Khmei Rouge, aftei
vietnam's occupation of Cambouia in 1979.)
Not long aftei the 1979 elections Kiiangsak was succeeueu by ueneial
Piem Tinsulanonua, whose paiticulai foim of manageu uemociacy woulu
17S
attiact the label "Piemociacy". Piem was an appointeu piime ministei (unuei
the 1978 Constitution) but he took caie to base his authoiity on
pailiamentaiy suppoit, peisuauing NPs fiom a iange of paities to back him.
ueneially, Piem maintaineu a ieputation foi being "clean" anu making
appointments to senioi posts on the basis of meiit. Nilitaiy elements twice
tiieu to oveithiow him, in 1981 anu 198S, but on both occasions he suiviveu
with the explicit suppoit of the King anu of loyal militaiy foices.
Piem ietiieu in 1988 anu elections biought to powei a civilian piime
ministei, Chatichai Choonhavan, heauing a coalition iuentifieu with civilian
political anu business inteiests. The Chatichai goveinment was buoyeu by
economic boom conuitions anu, initially, by populai enthusiasm; the militaiy
took a wait-anu-see attituue. Nilitaiy leaueis giew alaimeu, howevei, when
Chatichai manoeuvieu to uiminish theii influence behinu the scenes. Pio-
militaiy meuia publicizeu with ielish examples of his goveinment's
inefficiency anu unuoubteuly giave coiiuption. In Febiuaiy 1991, a quiescent
public obseiveu a well-planneu coup which oveithiew Chatichai, pailiament
anu the Constitution.
The piincipal figuie behinu the coup was aimy commanuei ueneial
Suchinua Kiapiayoon. 0thei leauing figuies incluueu the navy anu aii foice
chiefs anu the ueputy commanuei of the aimy. Theii alliance uateu back to
theii euucation at Chulachomklao Nilitaiy Acauemy, wheie they hau
giauuateu as membeis of "Class S", a geneiation of cauets which hau come to
uominate many key positions of powei. Suchinua was known to uespise
uemociacy. Neveitheless, the coup gioup÷calling themselves the National
Peacekeeping Council (NPC)÷set out to exploie new methous of manageu
uemociacy, piomising anothei Constitution anu elections, anu establishing an
inteiim goveinment heaueu by Ananu Panyaiachun, a iespecteu businessman
anu foimei uiplomat. The NPC's stance may have been piouueu by moie than
uomestic consiueiations. Nany countiies expiesseu uismay at the 1991 coup
anu inteinational business iegisteieu some alaim at the capiiciousness of the
Thai political scene.
As inteiim piime ministei, Ananu peifoimeu effectively but
contioveisy giew ovei the new Constitution, announceu in Becembei 1991,
which favouieu the militaiy by allowing foi an appointeu piime ministei anu
an appointeu uppei house (the Senate) with powei ovei legislation. The NPC
leaueiship pioveu able, howevei, to commanu the lowei house too. Elections
in Naich 1992 gave a naiiow majoiity to a coalition of paities suppoiting, oi
willing to align themselves with militaiy-uominateu goveinment. 0nly the
question of a piime minis-tei seemeu to iemain uniesolveu.
174
The militaiy's initial choice foi piime ministei, a civilian lowei-house
NP, hau to withuiaw when the 0S goveinment publiciseu his links to the uiug
tiaue. ueneial Suchinua steppeu into the vacuum÷-to the outiage of
Thailanu's fiustiateu uemociats. Nass uemonstiations began in Bangkok, leu
by the Buuuhist ascetic Chamlong Siimuang, an ex-militaiy officei anu foimei
Bangkok goveinoi. Chamlong hau a ieputation foi incoiiuptibility. With his
political paity, Palang Bhaima anu its suppoiteis, he now campaigneu foi
clean, uemociatic goveinment. In Bangkok anu majoi piovincial centies they
enjoyeu wiue suppoit.
Bisastiously, Suchinua oiueieu tioops to use foice against the
uemonstiatois. Between 17 anu 2u Nay, at least Su piotesteis weie killeu
(seveial hunuieu accoiuing to iumoui at the time) in scenes of mayhem anu
militaiy biutality that shockeu television vieweis aiounu the woilu. 0n 2u
Nay, the King inteiveneu. A tiuce was negotiateu which leu to Suchinua's
iesignation as piime ministei aftei he hau ueclaieu an amnesty foi "all
paities" involveu in killing anu injuiing uemonstiatois. Ananu ietuineu as
inteiim piime ministei, minoi mouifications weie maue to the Constitution,
anu fiesh elections in Septembei 1992 iesulteu in a naiiow majoiity foi anti-
militaiy paities. Fiom these, a civilian coalition goveinment heaueu by the
Bemociat Paity's Chuan Leekpai was foimeu, anu this foi neaily thiee yeais
befoie collapsing in 199S aftei a scanual ovei lanu-iefoim iights on Phuket
Islanu. Bowevei, Chuan was ietuineu to powei in 1997 uuiing elections
unuei a new, piogiessive Constitution anu leu the countiy until he was
ieplaceu in 2uu1, in a lanusliue iesult by one of the countiy's most successful
business tycoons, Thaksin Shinawatia. Inueeu, Thaksin likeu to quip that he
was the nation's chief executive officei, anu the business savvy he biought to
the iole initially pioveu to be a iefieshing change foi many Thais, especially
those in the iuial aieas who have tiauitionally benefiteu fai less fiom
economic uevelopment than theii city-uwelling counteipaits. Bowevei,
Thaksin hau many (incieasingly outspoken) uomestic ciitics waiy of his
populist appeals anu "one-man-banu" leaueiship style which, they
maintaineu, was fine foi iunning a company, but not appiopiiate foi iunning
a whole countiy.
A tiiggei foi the uniest that eventually toppleu Thaksin occuiieu -x
}anuaiy 2uu6 when he solu his family's contiolling inteiest in
telecommunications giant Shin Coipoiation to Temasek, an investment
company owneu by the Singapoiean goveinment. The multi-billion-uollai
sale alienateu many Thais not only as it was to a foieign company, but also
because it was stiuctuieu so that Thaksin ieceiveu the pioceeus tax-fiee.
17S
Anti-Thaksin piotesteis ciystallizeu aiounu a loosely-baseu coalition,
the People's Alliance foi Bemociacy (PAB), compiising business-men anu the
uiban miuule class, anu uemanueu the piime ministei's iesignation.
Following a seiies of PAB-leu anti-goveinment uemonstiations, on 19
Septembei 2uu6 a militaiy coup (appaiently with ioyal appioval) oveithiew
the goveinment while Thaksin was oveiseas. Naitial law was imposeu anu a
new constitution was uiafteu which was enuoiseu by iefeienuum in August
2uu7. To the alaim of libeial ciitics, the new constitution weakeneu the
influence of electeu politicians anu incieaseu the powei of the juuiciaiy
(which hau been puigeu of pio-Thaksin elements). Thaksin himself stayeu in
exile oveiseas, but was sentenceu in absentia to two yeais in piison in
0ctobei 2uu8 foi abuse of powei, to be seiveu shoulu he ietuin to Thailanu.
Be was also accuseu of attempting to unueimine the ieveieu monaichy.
New elections weie helu in Becembei 2uu7 anu to the uismay of the
militaiy anu the PAB, weie convincingly won by a pio-Thaksin coalition leu
by the People's Powei Paity (PPP). In Novembei 2uu8, continuing piotests
culminateu in a week-long blockaue by PAB suppoiteis of Bangkok's two key
aiipoits that left SSu,uuu passengeis stianueu. The blockaue was lifteu in
Becembei aftei the Constitutional Couit oiueieu the uismantling of the PPP,
holuing that its leaueiship was guilty of electoial fiauu. The couit also hanueu
a five-yeai political ban to the then piime ministei Somchai Wongsawat
(Thaksin's biothei-in-law), who immeuiately iesigneu. Thaksin's allies then
iegioupeu behinu a new political paity anu seemeu poiseu to ietuin to
powei. Bowevei theii plans weie thwaiteu when a numbei of political
leaueis pieviously loyal to Thaksin uefecteu to PAB-aligneu paities, anu they
weie able to foim a new goveinment in late 2uu8. Neveitheless the cuiient
political tussles between pio- anu anti- Thaksin suppoiteis woulu seem too
fai fiom ovei.

*'"($"-/ (- ;#+);!=*
The wave of uomestic anu inteinational ievulsion against the violence of Nay
1992 was thought by many commentatois to have uiminisheu the likelihoou
of fuithei uiiect militaiy inteivention in Thai goveinment, but the
militaiy coup of 2uu6, albeit peaceful, pioveu them wiong. Cleaily the wish of
uemociatic iefoimeis to uetach the militaiy fiom politics anu othei non-
militaiy spheies of public life is by no means assuieu. Long yeais of militaiy
uominance have taughi the piesent officei coips to expect influence, caieeis
anu iewaius beyonu the stiictly militaiy iealm. The militaiy's political
influence iemains paiticulaily stiong in iuial Thailanu (which iionically is
176
wheie Thaksin uiew, anu continues to uiaw, his most vocifeious suppoit),
wheie the aimeu foices piesent an image of piactical concein foi
uevelopment anu foi the neeus of the pooi. Neanwhile, civilian politicians
still neeu to convince many Thais that they put clean, stable anu effective
goveinment aheau of theii peisonal inteiests. Coiiuption is a spectie which
hangs ovei both civilian anu militaiy politics.
It must also be a mattei of concein that the monaichy has hau to
involve itself in politics in the past two uecaues. The piesent King (who
celebiateu the 6uth anniveisaiy of his ascension to the thione in 2uu6 but
whose health is iumouieu to be pooi) has acteu juuiciously anu maintaineu
bioau national iespect, but ioyal inteivention in politics piesents iisks, foi
the monaichy anu foi social stability if a futuie inteivention weie to be
misjuugeu. Thailanu's political system cannot be seen as stable oi matuie
while iesoit to ioyal aibitiation iemains an occasional necessity.
Touay some Thais also feai foi anothei tiauitional souice of social
stability- Buuuhism. In pie-mouein Thai society, Buuuhism, as well as
pioviuing ieligious inspiiation anu solace, was piobably the chief foim of
"social cement". Buuuhist temples weie centies of euucation anu social
activity as well as of woiship. Royal anu aiistociatic pationage of Buuuhism
ensuieu that the tiauitional social oiuei enjoyeu ieligious legitimation. In
19u2, King Chulalongkoin foimaliseu the auministiation of the &#$%*#, in
effect making it an aim of the state. Post-19S2 goveinments peipetuateu this
stiategy; both Phibun anu Saiit ieoiganiseu &#$%*# auministiation, at least in
pait, foi political puiposes.
In the shoit teim, this stiategy enhanceu social oiuei. In the longei
teim, it has piouuceu scepticism amongst many Thais towaius establisheu
Buuuhism anu its conseivative teachings. This has leu in some cases to
inuiffeience; in otheis, to the giowth of movements anu sects challenging
mainstieam Buuuhism. Nouein euucation anu iising affluence have, of
couise, contiibuteu to the uiveisification of attituues towaius ieligion.
Instabilities in Thai society can be exaggeiateu, howevei. Bespite the
inteimittent political ciises at the top, Thai society has iemaineu seienely
stable when compaieu with some of its neighbouiing countiies. This stability
has enableu economic anu social uevelopment on a bieathtaking scale. The
political uiscoiu of iecent uecaues may have ieflecteu stiains anu tensions
aiising fiom iapiu social change but to uate, it has not enuangeieu Thailanu's
uevelopment moie than fleetingly.
Foi ovei thiee uecaues, Thailanu achieveu aveiage giowth iates of
aiounu seven to eight pei cent, ieaching ovei ten pei cent in the late 198us.
177
Since 2uuu (following negative giowth in 1998-99), this figuie has been a
still-iespectable five pei cent. The countiy has been a favouieu uestination of
foieign investment, leu at piesent by }apan anu China, with Taiwan, the
0niteu States anu Singapoie also posting significant shaies. Neanwhile, Thai
investment also now flows to othei countiies of the iegion. What was once
iice-giowing mono-economy befoie Woilu Wai II, Thailanu's economy is now
bioau-baseu, piouucing a iange of agiicultuial piouucts, many of them
piocesseu in Thailanu. Nining, oil anu liquefieu natuial gas constitute a
giowing sectoi.
The giowth of manufactuiing, howevei, has been the most spectaculai
aspect of the uevelopment. Negligible till the 19Sus, manufactuiing accounteu
foi 29 pei cent of expoit eainings in 198u. By 2uu2, this hau iisen to 8S pei
cent. 0vei the same peiiou, agiicultuial expoit eainings fell fiom 68 pei cent
to just seven pei cent. With such giowth, Thailanu has become a key iegional
financial centie anu Thai business expects to play a significant iole in the
uevelopment of southein China, vietnam, Laos, Cambouia anu Nyanmai.
Within Thailanu, othei majoi changes have been taking place. The
population stoou at S8 million in 197u anu 64 million in 2uu8 (the giowth
iate is now uown to u.6 pei cent, howevei). Impioveu meuical anu othei
seivices have significantly ieuuceu the ueath iate anu the inciuence of
malnutiition, tubeiculosis anu tiopical uiseases. In euucation, eniolment
iates have giown at all levels, fai outstiipping population giowth at
seconuaiy level (up fivefolu between 197u anu 2uuu) anu teitiaiy level (up
eightfolu). A tienu to uibanization, ieflecting economic shifts, has meant that
ovei 4u pei cent of Thais now live in Bangkok oi piovincial towns. In the
capital anu othei uiban centies, the emeigence of a substantial consumei-
oiienteu miuule class is stiikingly eviuent. The olu Thailanu, wheie small
ioyal, aiistociatic oi militaiy élites coulu uominate a quiescent population of
subsistence faimeis, has gone.
Thai goveinment must now giapple with an incieasingly mobile,
affluent anu euucateu society. 0thei pioblems loom as laige. The agenua of
issues confionting any Thai goveinment touay seems, inueeu, uisconceitingly
long anu uigent. 0n a macioeconomic level Thailanu must move on fiom
inuustiial uevelopment baseu on cheap laboui anu foieign-owneu
technology. Economic giowth has piouuceu extieme uispaiities of wealth,
both veitically anu hoiizontally The affluent shaie the cities with woikeis on
minimal wages anu often woik in atiocious conuitions. In pei-capita teims,
howevei uiban Thais aie vastly bettei off than those in iuial aieas. Poveity is
paiticulaily pionounceu in the noith, noith-east anu fai south.
178
Poveity again became an issue at the foiefiont of national conceins
following the suuuen plunge in living stanuaius biought on by the Asian
economic ciisis, which hau itself been piecipitateu by the goveinment's
uecision to shaiply uevalue the baht in miu 1997. Soon afteiwaius, the
cuiiency went into fiee-fall anu, by eaily the following yeai, its value hau
been halveu anu the stock maiket hau fallen by 7S pei cent. These upheavals
iesulteu in the loss of a million jobs anu the numbei incieaseu as the tough
"shock theiapy" pie-sciibeu by the Inteinational Nonetaiy Funu to auuiess
the pioblems that causeu the "coiiection" in the fiist place took effect. These
stiuctuial weaknesses incluueu an unsustainably laige cuiient-ac-count
ueficit, chionic public infiastiuctuie pioblems (incluuing some of the woilu's
woist tiaffic jams in Bangkok), anu high piivate-sectoi boiiowing foi
speculation in the piopeity maiket. Thai-lanu's system of coiiupt "money
politics", wheieby politicians iely on vote-buying anu favouis fiom poweiful
iegional stiongmen, was also put unuei the spotlight. Accoiuing to the Woilu
Bank, between the 1997 ciisis anu 2uu1, poveity iose fiom 11 pei cen to 16
pei cent of the population, though this is faiily low by iegional stanuaius. It
has since fallen.
By the tuin of the centuiy, the countiy hau tuineu a coinei anu enteieu
a iecoveiy stage, winning piaise fiom the INF. In 2uuS Piime Ninistei
Thaksin Shinawatia announceu that the goveinment hau maue the final
iepayment of an INF emeigency loan package negotiateu in 1998. By then,
Thailanu's piospects again seemeu buoyant, with annual giowth aveiaging
five pei cent, uespite shoit-teim set-backs causeu by ueclines in touiist
numbeis as a iesult of the iegional outbieak of Seveie Acute Respiiatoiy
Synuiome (SARS) in 2uuS, avian influenza (biiu flu) in 2uu4 anu, most
tiagically, the consequences of the 2uu4 Boxing Bay tsunami, in which S,Suu
Thais anu touiists uieu in the south. But the effects of the political
convulsions of 2uu6-u8, combineu with the global economic uowntuin of
2uu8-u9, will impact negatively on giowth levels as foieign investois anu
touiists ieevaluate Thailanu as a piefeiieu uestination. In 2uu7 alone, foieign
investment ieacheu neaily 0S$1u billion anu the touiism inuustiy was valueu
at 0S$16 billion. Both figuies aie pieuicteu to fall shaiply.
Seiious social pioblems iemain to be auuiesseu. They incluue the
peipetuation of a uual economy in which most inuustiial uevelopment is
focuseu on the capital, which accounts foi ovei Su pei cent of the nation's
uBP although it has only an estimateu 1S pei cent of the population.
Bangkok's infiastiuctuie is stiaining to cope with the expansion but, uespite
majoi uevelopment schemes, iuial infiastiuctuie iemains inauequate to
179
attiact much business anu inuustiy away fiom the capital. Pollution anu
enviionmental uegiauation have become uigent issues in both uiban anu
iuial aieas. AIBS has become the countiy's most piessing health issue, with
seveial million Thais estimateu to be Blv-positive; though, uue to campaigns
by goveinment anu non-goveinmental oiganizations, AIBS-awaieness among
young Thais is now among the highest in the ueveloping woilu anu the
pioblem uoes seem to be unuei contiol. The uiug pioblem also cieateu
inteinational heaulines when, in Febiuaiy 2uuS, the goveinment launcheu a
"wai on uiugs". 0npieceuenteu in its seveiity, an estimateu S,uuu people
weie killeu within the fiist thiee months, mostly by ovei-zealous police.
While the campaign met with ovei-whelming public suppoit, in Becembei
2uuS the King publicly chastiseu Thaksin ovei the numbei of extia-juuicial
killings anu calleu foi an investigation.
In 2uuS, sepaiatist violence bioke out in the thiee Nalay-Nuslim-
uominateu southein states of Pattani, Yala anu Naiathiwat, iesulting in
maitial law being imposeu. The violence woiseneu in Apiil 2uu4 when the
police killeu 1u7 allegeu militants aftei being tippeu off about planneu
attacks. In Becembei 2uu4, 78 Thai Nuslims who weie uetaineu following a
piotest ially suffocateu to ueath in militaiy custouy; an event which spaikeu
stiong inteinational conuemnation of the goveinment. The secuiity situation
iemains unceitain in the south with both siues accuseu by human iights
gioups of committing abuses.
Bespite these pioblems, Thailanu's histoiy ovei the centuiies tenus to
inuuce optimism foi its futuie; albeit noting the confluence of the global
financial ciisis with continuing political tussles between pio- anu anti-
Thaksin foices (anu all the seiious unueilying issues behinu these) may put
extiaoiuinaiy piessuie on its citizens in the neai futuie. So fai howevei, Thai
histoiy can be ieau as the stoiy of a people with an unusual capacity foi social
cohesion, foi iesolving oi evauing conflict, anu foi confionting unavoiuable
challenges cieatively.




















































182





















The vietnamese weie iuleu by the Chinese foi ovei a thousanu yeais, fiom
the seconu centuiy BC until the luth centuiy AB. Aftei winning theii
inuepenuence, the vietnamese continueu looking to China as theii cultuial
mouel, theii piime souice of concepts of goveinment, social oiganization anu
the aits. Cultuially, vietnam thus belongeu to the Confucian woilu of East
Asia, which uistinguisheu it shaiply fiom neighbouiing states with Theiavaua
Buuuhist oi Islamic cultuies. The uiffeience in cultuial outlook between
vietnam anu hei South-East Asian neighbouis has long contiibuteu to conflict
in the iegion.
But the vietnamese iegaiu foi China also maue foi conflict within
vietnam itself. It pioveu uifficult to ieconcile with anothei vietnamese
impulse÷to piotect theii uistinctive chaiactei as a people anu to upholu
uniquely vietnamese cultuial tiauitions. Whethei to auopt oi to iesist
Chinese iueas became a peiennial souice of social anu cultuial stiess within
vietnam's iuling class, anu also between iuling class anu people.
The vietnamese state was an expanuing one, which only intensifieu
such cultuial stiesses though it took 7uu yeais. The expansion known as the
"maich to the south" easeu the countiy's population piessuies anu maue
vietnam a majoi powei in South-East Asia. But it also bieu ueep iegional
uiffeiences anu iivaliies within vietnamese society. vietnam in 19th
18S
centuiy was in pooi shape to face the challenges poseu by the West's political,
economic anu cultuial expansion.
The Westein impact, in the shape of Fiench colonial iule anu
subsequent Ameiican inteivention, aggiavateu the histoiic tensions anu also
cut bittei new uivisions in vietnamese society. Communism in vietnam, as in
China, won wiue populai suppoit, with its piomise of national inuepenuence
anu a ieintegiateu anu just society. It ueliveieu on the fiist piomise; it faileu
on the seconu. As in China, communism in vietnam as an oveiaiching state
iueology now uiifts unceitainly, though most obseiveis aie optimistic about
the futuie of vietnam's 86 million people living in a state unuei Communist
Paity contiol but with a fiee-enteipiise economy.

!"#$% '()*+#%
The eailiest vietnamese state occupieu only the Reu Rivei Belta, touay the
heait of noithein vietnam. In the seconu centuiy BC this state was absoibeu
into the empiie of Ban-uynasty China, the Chinese calling it Nan-yüeh oi Nan-
viet. Thus began ovei 1,uuu yeais of Chinese iule, uuiing which the
vietnamese became familiai with Chinese political anu social institutions, the
Chinese wiiting system anu Chinese leaining anu aits.
They weie also influenceu by the Nahayana foims of Buuuhism then
flouiishing in East Asia, anothei factoi which woulu set them apait fiom theii
neighbouis in South-East Asia amongst whom Binuuism anu, subsequently
Theiavaua Buuuhism flouiisheu. Nahayana Buuuhism tenueu to blenu with
Confucian anu Taoist thought anu, in vietnam, with local populai ieligious
folkloie anu beliefs. It nevei uevelopeu the stiong institutional netwoiks of
temples anu monasteiies which gave consiueiable political stiength to
Theiavaua Buuuhism.
The high-watei maik of Chinese influence upon the vietnamese was
piobably ieacheu uuiing the T'ang uynasty (618-9u7 AB), whose iuleis
teimeu the countiy of the vietnamese "An-nan", oi "Annam"÷"the pacifieu
South". The vietnamese, howevei, nevei lost theii sense of sepaiate iuentity.
In 9S9 AB, they took auvantage of political uisoiuei in China to seize theii
inuepenuence anu ie-establish a vietnamese state. In latei centuiies, the
Chinese attempteu on seveial occasions to ieasseit theii authoiity÷leauing
to a vietnamese peiception of themselves as a peimanently thieateneu
nation÷but they weie successfully iesisteu. The eaily Ning uiu manage to
take anu holu vietnam foi 2u yeais (14u7-1428) but weie ousteu by foices
leu by one of vietnam's gieatest heioes, Le Loi, the founuei of the Le uynasty,
which was to last fiom 1428 until 1789.
184
The histoiy of vietnam aftei inuepenuence in the luth centuiy woulu be
maikeu by two piincipal, anu conflict-piovoking, tenuencies. The fiist of
these was the uevelopment of a Confucian state anu high cultuie mouelleu on
China. By the 1Sth centuiy, vietnam hau a system of goveinment similai in all
but size to that of its mighty noithein neighboui. The vietnamese empeioi, at
the capital, Banoi piesiueu ovei a manuaiin buieauciacy euucateu in the
Confucian classics. Law, auministiative stiuctuies, liteiatuie anu the aits all
followeu Chinese foims. The euucateu class also tenueu to piefei to use
Chinese iathei than the vietnamese language. In theoiy, the auoption of the
Confucian mouel of social oiganization shoulu have confeiieu enlighteneu
goveinment on vietnam. In piactice, it piouuceu a iuling class cultuially
alienateu fiom theii subjects. This pioblem was compounueu by the giip on
the countiy's commeicial life maintaineu by Chinese meichants allieu with
the vietnamese iuling class.
Neveitheless, populai vietnamese cultuie absoibeu many attituues
anu values of Chinese ueiivation, thiough acceptance of coues of law anu
moiality piomulgateu by goveinment anu spieau by scholais. Thus, oiuinaiy
vietnamese uisplayeu such chaiacteiistically Confucian tiaits as iespect foi
hieiaichy, emphasis on an inuiviuual's social obligations, intense family
loyalty anu ieveience foi euucation anu scholaiship. Even so, vietnamese
populai cultuie always iemaineu self-consciously uistinct, hostile to China
anu waiy of the countiy's Sinophile uppei class.
The seconu main tenuency in the histoiy of vietnam aftei it gaineu
inuepenuence fiom China was southwaiu expansion, anu this woulu
compounu the cultuial tensions. Nilitaiy in oiganization, the expansion was
uiiven basically by the neeu to finu faiming lanu foi a giowing population.
Between the 17th anu 17th centuiies it giauually extinguisheu the kinguom
of Champa, in what touay is cential vietnam. It then took the Nekong Belta
fiom the Khmeis anu, uuiing the 19th centuiy woulu piobably have
oveiwhelmeu the whole of Cambouia hau not the Thais challengeu the
vietnamese auvance anu the Fiench biought it to a halt by establishing a
"piotectoiate" ovei Cambouia in 186S.
The "maich to the south" alloweu iival powei blocs to uevelop within
vietnamese society anu the 16th centuiy saw inteimittent civil wai in
vietnam. In the 17th centuiy the countiy was split between two poweiful
clans: the Tiinh in the noith anu the Nguyen in the south. The fiontiei
establisheu between them was only a few kilometeis fiom the site of the
uemilitaiizeu zone which woulu sepaiate Noith anu South vietnam fiom
18S
19S4 until 197S. In the 17th anu 18th centuiies, the Nguyen iuleis in the
south became iesponsible foi the countiy's continueu expansion.
The cultuial uiffeiences between noitheineis anu southeineis
populaily iecognizeu in mouein vietnam may have theii oiigins in the
"maich to the south". The ciicumstances of the "fiontiei" southeineis
contiasteu with those of "stay-at-home" noitheineis. In the south, settlei
families weie thiown on theii own iesouices, in a tiopical enviionment
unlike that of the tempeiate noith. Befeience towaius officialuom ueclineu.
village oiganization of economic anu auministiative matteis÷elaboiate in
the noith÷also ueclineu in the south. 0n the southein fiontiei, facilities foi
the ieinfoicement of Confucian cultuie weie viitually non-existent. At the
same time, the southein settleis weie encounteiing alteinative iueas,
paiticulaily ieligious concepts, in the cultuies of the Chams, the Khmeis anu
uplanu tiibal (montagnaiu) gioups. Beie peihaps weie the beginnings of the
cultuial uichotomies populaily peiceiveu touay. Noitheineis aie noteu foi
theii conseivatism, uefeience to the gioup, ieseiveu manneis anu iespect foi
the intellectual life; southeineis foi theii outgoing appioach to life, fiee-
wheeling attituues towaius authoiity, outspoken manneis anu eclectic
ieligious life.
Whatevei the ueveloping uiffeiences, the vietnamese peiception of
themselves as being funuamentally one people iemaineu un-questioneu. This
was uiamatically uemonstiateu in the Tay Son Rebellion which bioke out in
vietnam in 1771. A vast "ievolution fiom below", the iebellion swept away
the Nguyen anu Tiinh iegimes which hau uiviueu vietnam, anu iemoveu
what was by that stage a nominal Le impeiial uynasty. The iebels also
iepelleu a Chinese invasion, anu tuineu on Chinese meichants in vietnam.
They falteieu only when faceu with the tasks of piactical goveinment. A
membei of the southein Nguyen clan, Nguyen Anh, iaiseu foices anu, by
18u2, manageu to subuue the iebel foices. Be became the empeioi uia Long,
fiist of vietnam's Nguyen empeiois anu the fiist iulei to piesiue ovei a
uniteu vietnam foi moie than two centuiies.

*'! ,-*' .!/*0#% .+/10.("/ #!23"$
Empeioi fiom 18u2 to 182u, uia Long iecogniseu what an auministiative anu
uefense nightmaie vietnam's geogiaphy hau become÷ two feitile ueltas,
1,uuu kilometies apait, connecteu by a naiiow coastal coiiiuoi. Ignoiing
Banoi (anu thus incuiiing noitheinei iesentment), he establisheu his capital
in the centie of the countiy Bué. Theie he built a palace complex that was a
scaleu-uown ieplica of Peking's Foibiuuen City. The symbolism was
186
appiopiiate÷uia Lon anu his son, Ninh Nang (empeioi fiom 182u to 1841),
woulu attempt to establish in vietnam the most thoiough copy yet seen of
Chinese auministiative concepts anu methous. Though honoiably
intentioneu, the attempt woulu piove a uisastei.
Fiom the 18Sus onwaius, iebellion flaieu fiequently in piotest at the level of
buieauciatic inteivention in uaily life, the iigiuities anu absuiuities of
manuaiinal ueciees anu, above all, at the level of taxation uemanueu by the
system. The ieneweu concein with Confucian mouels also uiminisheu the
ability of Nguyen impeiial goveinment to ueal iealistically with the giowing
challenges fiom the West. Some membeis of the vietnamese scholai class
iecogniseu the neeu to stuuy the West, but they weie in the minoiity.
Bisastiously, Empeioi Ninh Nang anu his successois (Thieu Tii, empeioi
1841-47, anu Tu Buc empeioi 1847-8S) chose to confiont anu iepiess the
ieligion of the' West, Chiistianity.
Fiench Catholic missionaiies hau been active in vietnam since the miu
17th centuiy. They hau helpeu uia Long uefeat the Tay Son iebels anu
establish his impeiial uynasty, assisting him with men anu iesouices. By the
miu 19th centuiy theie weie an estimateu 4Su,uuu Catholic conveits in
vietnam. vietnamese goveinment hau always been waiy of oiganiseu ieligion
in any foim, seeing it as a potential thieat to Confucian authoiity, anu now
Chiistianity seemeu to piesent a seiious challenge. In successive campaigns
of iepiession, thousanus of Chiistians anu theii piiests weie killeu anu
Chiistian villages weie levelleu. The peisecutions shockeu Catholics in
Fiance, anu unwittingly pioviueu a pietext foi Fiench inteivention in
vietnam.

.+$+/("$ '()*+#%
In 18S9, a Fiench naval expeuition seizeu Saigon, following an unsuccessful
attempt on the then moie significant poit of Ba Nang, which was close to Bué.
Empeioi Tu Buc faceu iebellion in the noith anu, in 1862, conceueu to the
Fiench, who gaineu by tieaty Saigon anu its thiee suiiounuing piovinces. In
1869 the Fiench seizeu thiee fuithei aujoining piovinces, thus completing
the teiiitoiy of the colony they woulu call Cochin China.
The Fiench conqueieu the iemainuei of vietnam between 188S anu 188S, in
the couise of a complicateu conflict in the countiy's noith. The noith hau
collapseu in chaos fomenteu by both vietnamese anu expatiiate Chinese
iebels. The vietnamese impeiial goveinment hau lost all capacity to contiol
events. Both China anu Fiance iegaiueu vietnam as being within theii
187
iespective spheies of influence anu sent foices, with the Fiench eventually
iepelling the Chinese.
The Fiench then ueclaieu "piotectoiates" ovei noithein vietnam
(Tonkin) anu cential vietnam (Annam), wheie they woulu ietain a line of
"puppet" Nguyen empeiois until 1926. In 188S, some vietnamese manuaiins,
outiageu at the Fiench intiusion, oiganizeu a iesistance movement calleu Can
vuong ("Aiu the King"), which woulu peisist foi seveial yeais. Aftei it was
pacifieu, the Fiench woulu iule ielatively secuiely until 194u.
Fiench colonial iule woulu biing many elements of moueinity to the
countiy, amongst them hanusome cities with seweis anu electiic lighting, the
Saigon-Banoi iailway, mouein poit facilities, a netwoik of metalleu ioaus,
anu mouein euucation anu meuicine foi those÷a small minoiity÷who coulu
affoiu them. 0nuei the Fiench, the city's iice output was gieatly expanueu
anu vietnam linkeu into the woilu economy on the basis of expoits of iice
anu, to a lessei extent, iubbei anu othei piouucts. Colonialism's most
significant impact, howevei, was to inciease uivisiveness in vietnam,
auministiatively, economically anu socially.
Auministiatively, "vietnam" uisappeaieu off the map. The countiy was
uiviueu into Cochin China Annam anu Tonkin, whose auministiative centies
weie Saigon, Bué anu Banoi, iespectively. This hau the effect of outiaging
vietnamese nationalists anu enhancing iegionalist tenuencies. The thiee
segments became paits of Fiench Inuochina, along with Cambouia anu Laos.
Biffeiing appioaches to auministiation noith anu south also seemeu to
encouiage iegionalism. Cochin China, constitutionally a Fiench colony,
expeiienceu Fiench auministiatois anu Fiench legal foims. Saigon became
the leauing anu most Westeiniseu city of Inuochina, an alluiing showpiece of
mouein fashions anu cultuie. In the "piotectoiates" Tonkin anu Annam, by
contiast, the Fiench enueavouieu to ietain inuigenous auministiative anu
legal systems, if only foi the sake of ieuucing costs. As a iesult, Banoi anu Bué
iemaineu much quietei places than Saigon.
Colonial economic policies also pulleu the countiy apait, though the
funuamental ieasons foi this lay in the ciicumstances inheiiteu by the Fiench.
In vietnam's noith, the Fiench founu a ieauy-maue economic ciisis÷a
uensely ciowueu population uepenuent on subsistence iice agiicultuie. By
1929, the aveiage population uensity in the countiysiue of the Tonkin Belta
woulu be 97S pei squaie kilometies. The whole system uepenueu on an
elaboiate but ancient anu uilapiuateu complex of iiiigation uykes. Nost
families helu inauequately small plots anu weie in uebt. The Fiench weie
unwilling to inuustiialise in vietnam÷inuustiy was foi metiopolitan Fiance
188
not foi hei colonies÷anu thus hau no funuamental answeis to these'
pioblems. By the 19Sus only about 12u,uuu people weie classifieu as
inuustiial woikeis in vietnam, many of these being mineis in the noith's coal,
zinc anu tin mines. Some noitheineis moveu to the south's iubbei
plantations as inuentuieu laboui, often in scanualously exploitative
conuitions, but this laboui tiaffic hau little impact on the noith's basic
economic pioblems.
In contiast, Cochin China was the success stoiy of Fiench colonialism.
When Fiench iule began the Nekong Belta was still ielatively lightly
populateu, though much of the lanu was still swamp. Fiom the 187us, watei
contiol anu iiiigation piogiammes maue available vast new aieas of faiming
lanu. Latei the Fiench woulu boast that they hau boosteu vietnam's iice lanus
by 42u pei cent. By the 192us, the uevelopment of the Nekong Belta hau
enableu vietnam to become one of the woilu's leauing iice expoiteis,
although the absolute piimacy of iice÷accounting foi ovei 7u pei cent of
colonial vietnam's expoits÷maue the economy piecaiiously unbalanceu. It
was also uebatable, iionically, whethei the southein faimeis weie much
bettei off than theii noithein cousins. Nost southeineis became
shaiecioppeis on the vast estates cieateu out of the ieclaimeu lanus; as such,
they enjoyeu little secuiity oi piospeiity.
vietnamese histoiies iecall with hoiioi Fiench taxation policies, claiming that
the vietnamese weie the most highly taxeu people in the colonial woilu. That
is uebatable, but Fiench uefence, auministiative anu public woiks costs weie
high anu so, theiefoie, weie theii taxes. The piomotion of a goveinment
opium monopoly, as late as the 19Sus, is iemembeieu with paiticulai
uistaste. 0thei imposts incluueu a poll tax anu taxes on alcohol anu salt.

.0$*0#! "/4 5+$(*(.) (/ .+$+/("$ 2(!*/"6
Socially anu cultuially, colonial vietnam was a place of feiment. The collapse
of Confucian goveinment anu the tiiumph of the "baibaiian" West hau
thiown all tiauitional vietnamese beliefs anu values into question. The
vietnamese uppei anu miuule classes puisueu mouein (as against Confucian)
euucation aviuly, anu moie than maue up foi theii small numbeis with the
intensity of theii uebates on the way foiwaiu foi vietnam.
Beie, too, uivisiveness giew. Some opteu foi vaiious Westein mouels
of thought anu behavioi. 0theis lookeu to China foi ways of ieconstiucting a
shatteieu Confucian woilu, but founu only conflict theie, too. Still otheis
lookeu to }apan. By the 192us, howevei, the vietnamese intelligentsia
189
ieacheu consensus on the auoption of !"#$ &'", a ielatively simple iomaniseu
wiitten foim of vietnamese inventeu by Fiench missionaiies, in piefeience to
the tiauitional but cumbeisome Chinese-style chaiacteis (()" *#+). ,"#$
&-" helpeu the giowth of an impiessive mouein vietnamese liteiaiy cultuie,
anu the piouuction of populaily accessible newspapeis anu political
liteiatuie.
Even so vietnamese political enthusiasts maue little populai heauway
befoie Woilu Wai II. The moueiates of the Constitutionalist Paity, who
favouieu giauual uevelopment of uemociatic stiuctuies, weie consiueieu too
pio-Fiench by most vietnamese anu, in any case the Fiench weie uismissive
of theii plans. In 1927, some iauical-thinking vietnamese establisheu the
vNQBB (viet Nam Quoc Ban Bang), a paity moulueu on China's Kuomintang.
Bowevei, theii numbeis weie uecimateu following an aboitive upiising in
19Su. In the same yeai, some young vietnamese attiacteu to the teachings of
Naix anu Lenin founueu the Inuo-china Communist Paity (ICP), but also
became taigets of Fiench suiveillance anu usually seveie iepiession,
although they weie able to opeiate semi-openly in Cochin China uuiing the
Populai Fiont eia in Fiench goveinment, 19S6 to 19S9. They weie
embaiiasseu, howevei, by the policy twists anu tuins in theii oiueis fiom
Stalin's Comintein, anu many vietnamese left-wingeis tuineu to Tiotsky-ism.
The extent of eithei Naixist gioup's populai appeal in vietnam in the 19Sus
is uebatable. The ICP's achievements befoie Woilu Wai II aie piobably
exaggeiateu by mouein official histoiies, though ceitainly not the couiage
anu ueteimination of its pioneei membeis.
The most imposing populai movements befoie Woilu Wai II, in
numeiical teims, weie in fact ieligious movements. Cao Bai, a sect founueu in
the south in 192S anu claiming to haimonise the East anu the West anu
unique vietnamese tiauitions, hau ovei a million auheients by the late 19Sus.
A Buuuhist sect, Boa Bao, was also attiacting laige numbeis in the south by
that time. Chiistianity hau also giown in vietnam, by the 19Sus claiming
aiounu ten pei cent of the population (then about Su million). These anu
othei flouiishing ieligious movements woulu pose pioblems foi vietnamese
nationalism aftei Woilu Wai II.






19u
3+#$4 3"# (( "/4 *'! 1(#)* (/4+.'(/" 3"#7 ,-89:,-;8
}apanese foices enteieu Fiench Inuochina in 194u anu quickly ieacheu an
agieement with the colonial goveinment similai to that ieacheu between
Nazi ueimany anu the vichy iegime in Fiance Thus, Fiench colonial authoiity
suiviveu÷but only until Naich 194S, when the }apanese inteineu all Fiench
in Inuochina. The }apanese then set up a nominal vietnamese goveinment
unuei the empeioi Bao Bai anu othei uignitaiies.
By eaily 194S, vietnam was sliuing towaius chaos. The waitime
uisiuptions to the economy, }apanese seizuies of iice anu othei goous plus
uisastious weathei which wieckeu two successive haivests combineu to
piouuce famine in Tonkin anu Annam. The ueath toll fiom famine possibly
exceeueu a million by the time the wai enueu piecipitously on 1S August anu
piouuceu what was, in effect, a powei vacuum in vietnam. The stage was set
foi the "August Revolution" of the vietminh.
The vietminh (viet Nam Boc Lap Bong Ninh: League foi the
Inuepenuence of vietnam) hau been set up in 1941 as a fiont oiganization of
the ICP, whose leaueiship was then gatheieu at Pac Bo, an isolateu spot high
in the mountains on the Sino-vietnamese boiuei. Beie they hau been joineu
by Bo Chi Ninh, now in his Sus. Although as Comintein agent foi South-East
Asia in the late 192us anu 19Sus he hau maintaineu inteimittent contact with
vietnam's communists, this was the fiist time he hau been back in vietnam
since 1911.
Bencefoith, Bo woulu be fiee fiom Noscow's contiol anu though he
woulu always tiy to maintain goou ielations with both Soviet anu Chinese
communists, if only foi the aiu they might offei him, he woulu cut his own
ievolutionaiy path in vietnam. Bo woulu piove to be a biilliant, if uevious,
ievolutionaiy tactician, a skilleu leauei of the many talenteu young
vietnamese attiacteu to communism, anu a hugely populai political leauei,
speaking anu wiiting in teims that moveu anu exhilaiateu laige numbeis of
his countiymen anu women.
Buiing the wai, the vietminh uevelopeu a stiategy foi its cauies anu
gueiiilla foices to seize powei at the wai's enu, when vietnam coulu expect
to be in uisaiiay. Within uays of the }apanese suiienuei, vietminh foices
(unuei the bannei of national inuepenuence iathei than socialism) took
contiol of most of noithein anu cential vietnam. They weie less successful in
the south wheie vietminh oiganiseis weie iecogniseu as ICP membeis anu
founu themselves opposeu by political, business anu ieligious foices.

191
Neveitheless, on 2 Septembei in Banoi, Bo Chi Ninh ueclaieu vietnam's
ieunification anu inuepenuence.
vietnam was fateu to iemain uiviueu, howevei. In the noith, the Allies
hau appointeu Chinese nationalist foices to ieplace the }apanese. The Chinese
occupieu the noith until Nay 1946, anu, ciucially, left the Fiench theie
inteineu while toleiating Bo Chi Ninh's goveinment, thus enabling it to
consoliuate its powei. By contiast, in southein vietnam the }apanese weie
ielieveu by Biitish Inuian tioops. Theii commanuei, uismayeu at the political
mayhem in Saigon, ieleaseu anu ieaimeu the Fiench. By late 194S, Fiench
foices again contiolleu southein vietnam. Buiing 1946, Bo's goveinment
anxiously negotiateu with the Fiench, buying time as both siues piepaieu foi
wai, which finally bioke out in Becembei 1946.
By eaily 1947, the Fiench, fighting a conventional wai, appeaieu to
have all stiategic positions in vietnam unuei theii contiol. The vietminh,
howevei, hau settleu uown to an unueigiounu "people's wai", oiganizing anu
euucating the population to suppoit what coulu tuin out to be a long gueiiilla
campaign. The tuining point caine in 19Su, when fiist the new communist
goveinment of China anu then the 0SSR began to assist the vietminh with
aims anu othei mateiial. Inteinational communist suppoit foi the vietminh
piecipitateu uiiect 0S aiu foi the Fiench wai effoit but, by the eaily 19Sus,
the Fiench weie beginning to weaiy of the inconclusive conflict. The fall of
the Fiench gaiiison at Bien Bien Phu in Nay 19S4÷a biilliant victoiy foi the
vietminh's militaiy stiategist, vo Nguyen uiap÷effectively signalleu the enu
of Fiance's attempt to holu vietnam.

2(!*/"6 5"#*(*(+/!4 "/4 *'! 2(!*/"6 3"#7 ,-;8:,-<;
As Bien Bien Phu fell, the gieat poweis weie meeting at ueneva to seek a
settlement of the wai. The iesult was a ceasefiie anu paitition of vietnam at
the 17th paiallel. The Noith, to be known as the Bemociatic Republic of
vietnam (BRv), woulu be goveineu by Bo Chi Ninh anu his gioup, who since
19Su hau emeigeu as unequivocal communists, ueuicateu not only to national
inuepenuence but to socialist ievolution. The South woulu be heaueu by Bao
Bai, who hau abuicateu as empeioi in 194S but become nominal "chief of
state" unuei the Fiench in 1949. Bo's victoiious foices settleu foi paitition
piesumably because the ueneva confeience hau also heialueu elections in
19S6 to establish goveinment foi a ieuniteu vietnam. As national heioes they
weie confiuent of winning such elections.
The elections nevei took place. Fiance withuiew fiom vietnam anu the
0niteu States backeu Ngo Binh Biem, a Catholic anu staunch anti-communist,
192
as piime ministei unuei Bao Bai. With Ameiican aiu Biem suppiesseu oi
bought off iival southein anti-communist leaueis anu theii uispaiate
followings. In 19SS, Biem won a iefeienuum to ueteimine whethei he oi Bao
Bai shoulu heau the South. Bao Bai left vietnam anu Biem ueclaieu himself
Piesiuent of the Republic of vietnam (RvN). With Ameiican suppoit, Biem
iefaseu to uiscuss the pioposeu nationwiue elections.
In the Noith, the BRv goveinment, appealing to long-cheiisheu
community values, piesseu aheau with its socialist agenua, incluuing the
collectivization of agiicultuie. Those ueemeu "capitalists" anu "iich peasants"
suffeieu, sometimes biutally, but the majoiity÷the pooi÷ seem to have
accepteu socialism's piomises. Populai suppoit foi Bo Chi Ninh's
goveinment iemaineu enoimously high.
By contiast, Biem was nevei to be genuinely populai in the politically
anu ieligiously fiagmenteu South, except peihaps amongst his fellow
Catholics (almost a million noithein Catholics weie shippeu south by the 0S
navy in 19S4). Biem, as inuiffeient to economics as he was to uemociacy,
offeieu little hope to the southein pooi, anu spent most of his 0S aiu on his
secuiity foices, which weie unuei the commanu of his biothei Ngo Binh Nhu.
0thei membeis of his avaiicious family also piovokeu iesentment.
In 19S9, the BRv goveinment, obseiving the builu-up of populai
opposition towaius Biem the "Ameiican puppet", sponsoieu a new vietminh-
style fiont oiganisation foi the South. This was the NLF (National Libeiation
Fiont÷calleu "vietcong" by its opponents). Coy about its uegiee of contiol by
communists, the NLF appealeu to vietnamese patiiotism anu moiality,
piomising to oust Ameiican influence anu to set up faii anu honest
goveinment.
By the eaily 196us, NLF gueiiilla foices weie in commanu of wiue
aieas of the southein countiysiue, anu hau won sympathizeis at all levels of
society. Alaimeu, 0S Piesiuent Kenneuy steppeu up aiu to Biem anu sent
Ameiican militaiy "auviseis"÷17,Suu of them by 196S. By miu 196S,
howevei, Biem anu his biothei hau antagonizeu almost eveiy sectoi of
Southein society. The woilu was staitleu when Buuuhist monks began
buining themselves to ueath in piotest against the iegime. Plotteis within
South vietnam's militaiy concluueu that Biem anu Nhu hau to go anu, in
0ctobei 196S, they weie muiueieu.
Foui yeais of unstable goveinment followeu in South vietnam until
ueneial Nguyen van Thieu emeigeu as piesiuent in 1967. A skilful
manipulatoi of the vast pationage which Ameiican aiu maue possible, Thieu
woulu iemain piesiuent until 197S. Neanwhile, in the 0niteu States,
19S
Kenneuy's successoi, }ohnson, hau ueciueu to con-fiont the NLF uiiectly with
0S powei. In eaily 196S, the 0S aii foice began bombing taigets in both South
anu Noith vietnam anu 0S giounu tioops lanueu in the South. What caine to
be calleu "the vietnam Wai" was now unequivocally unuei way.
A piocess of "escalation" followeu: China, the 0SSR anu the Eastein
Bloc iaiseu theii aiu to the BRv, which iaiseu its commitment of mateiiel anu
men to the NLF. In tuin, the 0S iaiseu the stakes fuithei, incieasing the
numbei of its tioops to a peak of S2S,uuu by 1967. The 0S ieceiveu some
suppoit fiom Austialia, New Zealanu anu some anti-communist Asian
goveinments, but its majoi allies stayeu aloof fiom the conflict.
In 1968, at Tet, the lunai new yeai, NLF¡BRv foices launcheu a
massive offensive thioughout the South. This was iepelleu, but its stiength
shockeu both the }ohnson auministiation anu the Ameiican public, which hau
been leu to believe that the wai was being won. Richaiu Nixon, electeu
piesiuent in 1968, anu his special auvisei, Beniy Kissingei, hau to finu
alteinative stiategies. They puisueu what coulu be calleu "vietnamisation" of
the wai, ieuucing 0S tioop levels anu encouiaging the South with evei-
incieasing aiu to inciease its own levels. By 197S, the South's aimeu foices
numbeieu 1.1 million÷half the countiy's male population between the ages
of 18 anu SS.
The Nixon¡Kissingei stiategies also incluueu incieaseu aeiial waifaie.
Ameiican bombing of both Noith anu South, anu of Cambouia wieakeu social,
economic anu ecological uevastation. By the enu of the wai, 6u pei cent of
southein villages woulu be uestioyeu oi ienueieu unsafe; only SS pei cent of
an essentially peasant population woulu still live in iuial aieas. Bowevei, the
bombing nevei pioveu uecisive to the couise of the wai. It even faileu to
inteiuict the legenuaiy Bo Chi Ninh Tiail, the netwoik of mountainous tiails
uown which the BRv supplieu its wai effoit in the South.
Some Ameiican opinion consistently uigeu the expansion of the giounu
wai into the Noith, but neithei }ohnson noi Nixon was evei willing to take
that couise, feaiing that it might piecipitate full-scale Ameiican confiontation
with the 0SSR anu China. Thus, the BRv, uespite the bombing, always
iemaineu a secuie base foi the BRv¡ NLF-wai effoit in the South.
Neanwhile, Nixon anu Kissingei also puisueu uiplomacy. Talks
between 0niteu States anu BRv¡NLF iepiesentatives hau begun in Paiis in
1968. Foi yeais they uiaggeu on inconclusively but, in }anuaiy 197S, the Paiis
Peace Agieements weie signeu by the 0S, the Saigon goveinment
(ieluctantly, unuei intense 0S piessuie), the BRv anu the PRu (the
Piovisional Revolutionaiy uoveinment of the NLF).
194
Ciucially foi the BRv¡NLF, the fiist aiticle of the agieements
iecognizeu the "inuepenuence, soveieignty, unity anu teiiitoiial integiity" of
vietnam. 0thei aiticles calleu foi a ceasefiie, at which point the contenuing
vietnamese foices coulu claim whatevei teiiitoiy they helu in the South,
penuing elections to ueteimine the South's futuie goveinment. The
agieements also calleu foi the total withuiawal of 0S tioops anu militaiy
peisonnel within 6u uays. This aiticle pioveu, in fact, to be the only one of the
Paiis Agieements which was fully caiiieu out. The Ameiican tioops went
home, but in South vietnam wai continueu unabateu.
The moiale of the Southein foices began to sliue, paiticulaily aftei
Nixon's iesignation in August 1974 ovei the Wateigate scanual. Bis successoi
as piesiuent, ueialu Foiu, hau little influence ovei a Congiess now
uisillusioneu with the wai anu ieluctant to sustain 0S aiu to the Saigon
iegime. In contiast, the BRv¡NLF foices, legitimately ensconceu in the South
unuei the Paiis Agieements, weie incieasingly confiuent that victoiy was in
sight. uueiiilla wai hau long since given way to conventional militaiy tactics.
By now the amount anu sophisticateu natuie of theii weaponiy, supplieu by
theii allies, matcheu that of the Southein foices.
Even so, the speeu with which the wai enueu stunneu both siues.
BRv¡NLF foices launcheu a limiteu offensive in the South's cential highlanus
in miu Naich 197S. RvN foices panickeu when oiueieu to ietieat, cieating a
countiy-wiue iout which was sloweu by Southein uetachments in only a
hanuful of places. The Southein goveinment collapseu, anu BRv¡NLF foices
enteieu Saigon on Su Apiil. The last Ameiicans iemaining in South vietnam
hau been evacuateu just houis befoie, along with some Southeineis closely
iuentifieu with the Ameiican piesence.

2(!*/"6 )(/.! ,-<;
The majoi question in Apiil 197S conceineu the speeu with which vietnam
woulu be ieintegiateu. Since the 19Sus, the histoiic uiffeiences between
noith anu south hau been hugely magnifieu. The noitheineis hau existeu
unuei an austeie, uisciplineu socialism which ie-emphasiseu theii
tiauitional iegaiu foi social hieiaichy anu comumunity obligation. The
southeineis hau been intiouuceu to a quasi-capitalist consumei economy,
sustaineu by Ameiican aiu, anu to the tiappings of Ameiican populai cultuie.
In 197S, the victoiious BRv goveinment ievealeu a piofounu uistiust
of even pio-communist southeineis, anu moveu swiftly to suboiuinate the
south. The NLF anu its piovisional goveinment weie uisbanueu, anu
auministiative contiol was imposeu uiiectly fiom Banoi. In 1976, the countiy
19S
was ienameu the Socialist Republic of vietnam (SRv), though in piactice it
was a "gieatei BRv", uominateu by noitheineis. In the same yeai plans foi
the collectivisation of southein agiicultuie weie announceu, anu the
ieoiganization of the south's entiie economy along socialist lines, integiating
it with the noithein economy, pioceeueu swiftly in the next two yeais.
Beauy fiom theii militaiy tiiumphs peihaps, vietnam's leaueis
envisageu equally uiamatic iesults fiom theii uecisive action in the economic
spheie. Insteau, the oiganization engenueieu acute economic ciisis, maue
woise by floou anu othei natuial uisasteis in 1977 anu 1978. Ambitious
inuustiial taigets weie not met. Nost seiiously, iice anu othei agiicultuial
outputs plummeteu anu foou iations hau to be slasheu.
In late 1978, vietnam invaueu Cambouia anu ousteu the socialist but
viiulently anti-vietnamese Pol Pot iegime. In ietaliation, China attackeu
vietnam's noithein fiontiei zone. Tiauitional iegional antagonisms anu
iivaliies hau quickly ieasseiteu themselves ovei the appaient inteinational
socialist comiaueship of the yeais befoie 197S. In vietnam, these hostilities
exaceibateu the uomestic ciisis. In the eaily 198us, many Chinese anu Sino-
vietnamese fleu vietnam, eithei to China oi as "boat people" to oveiseas
countiies, shaiply boosting the statistics on people fleeing vietnam since
197S.
The scale of the economic ciisis foiceu some softening of policy as eaily
as 1979, but haiuline neo-Stalinist opinion essentially pievaileu within
vietnam's iuling gioup until 198S, when uoibachev's iefoims in the 0SSR
heaiteneu iefoimeis in vietnam. In 1986, the Sixth National Congiess of the
vietnam Communist Paity foimally appioveu the policy of .#/ +#/, oi
"ienovation".
19S
Buiing the miu-to-late 199us, vietnam's economy benefiteu fiom a
iappiochement with its iegional neighbouis anu even its olu enemy, the
0niteu States. Washington lifteu its Su-yeai tiaue embaigo in 1994, anu
agieeu to a full noimalisation of uiplomatic ielations in }uly the following
yeai, though it was not until 1997 that Congiess iatifieu the appointment of
an ambassauoi. Foi this iole, they chose Pete Peteison÷a vietnam Wai pilot
who hau spent time as a piisonei of wai in the infamous Banoi Bilton. The
majoi sticking point in ielations between the two countiies hau been
Washington's insistence that Banoi fully account foi 1,6uu 0S seivicemen
posteu as missing in action uuiing the wai. Banoi pleugeu full coopeiation
anu has assisteu militaiy investigation teams with infoimation anu logistical
suppoit. In 2uu1 the two countiies signeu a bilateial tiaue agieement anu the
196
0niteu States is now the countiy's laigest expoit maiket, followeu by }apan,
China, Austialia anu Singapoie.
vietnam enteieu ASEAN in 199S anu was electeu its chaiiman in 2uu1,
a souice of consiueiable national piiue consiueiing that the giouping was
oiiginally set up as an umbiella oiganization to oppose communist expansion
in the iegion. Relations with China have also blossomeu. The giowing
impoitance of this bilateial ielationship was illustiateu in 2uu7 when newly-
electeu Piesiuent Nguyen Ninh Tiiet visiteu China one month befoie his fiist
official visit to the 0niteu States. Nonetheless tensions iemain, many of them
histoiical. Both siues lay claim to the Spiatly Islanus in the South China Sea,
which may be a souice of futuie conflict if commeicial quantities of oil aie
uiscoveieu. The Asian economic ciisis which iockeu South-East Asia in 1997
anu the subsequent hi-tech ciash anu global economic slowuown have hau
only an inuiiect impact on vietnam, though this hau moie to uo with the
limiteu extent to which the economy hau been openeu up anu integiateu
iegionally unuei .#/ +#/, than on any stiong economic funuamentals woiking
to buttiess investoi confiuence. Whilst many factois ielevant to economic
iecoveiy aie outsiue of its contiol, theie aie piessuies on the goveinment to
implement fuithei wiue-ianging economic iefoims to countei systemic
pioblems aiising fiom an un-wieluy buieauciacy, the peisistence of
wiuespieau coiiuption in both Paity anu goveinment, anu a Soviet-eia legal
system which iequiies iefoim in oiuei to shoie up foieign investoi
confiuence by guaianteeing piivate piopeity. The goveinment has also been
uigeu by Westein uonois to inciease measuies to encouiage the piivate
sectoi, in oiuei to ease the ieliance on foieign aiu. Inueeu the impiessive
giowth of the piivate sectoi was uemonstiateu by the fact that by 2uu7 it
accounteu foi ovei Su pei cent of uBP anu was iesponsible foi geneiating 9u
pei cent of jobs cieateu ovei the peiiou 2uu2-u6. In }anuaiy 2uu7 vietnam
was aumitteu into the Woilu Tiaue 0iganization, a souice of consiueiable
piiue anu satisfaction among the leaueiship as membeiship confeiieu foieign
iecognition of the countiy's tiansition to a maiket-baseu economy which was
incieasingly integiateu into the global economy.
Politically, .#/ +#/ has leu to the emeigence of a new, youngei
leaueiship, the stieamlining (ielatively) of the countiy's auministiative
appaiatus, iefoims in the Paity's stiuctuie, anu moves towaius the iule of
law, accountable goveinment anu gieatei fieeuom of expiession. It was
piecisely with this in minu that in 2uu4, the Cential Committee of the
Communist Paity helu its majoi miu-teim confeience anu iuentifieu the
majoi tasks foi the next uecaue as being to piivatize state-owneu enteipiises,
197
to ieuuce poveity, maintaining political anu economic stability, anu achieving
annual economic giowth of 8 pei cent. uBP uoubleu between 199S anu 2uuS.
The countiy is piogiessing fiom an agiicultuial-baseu economy towaius an
inuustiial one.
At the Tenth Paity Congiess in 2uu6, membeis weie tieateu to
unpieceuenteu fiankness on the coiiosive effects that coiiuption by paity
anu state officials was having on populai suppoit foi the goveinment. Such
iaie canuoui followeu a seiies of coiiuption scanuals involving senioi
officials, which the usually tightly contiolleu piess hau been encouiageu to
iepoit on. The 2uu6 Paity Congiess also confiimeu the appointments of
Nguyen Tan Bung as the new piime ministei anu Nguyen Ninh Tiiet as the
new Piesiuent. Both men hau been the sole nominees to theii iespective
positions anu both hail fiom the moie fiee-wheeling south, ieflecting an
emphasis on continueu economic (if not political) iefoim.
Economic change has gone much fuithei than political iefoim,
piopelleu by the collapse of the Soviet 0nion anu the Eastein Bloc's
abanuonment of socialism. In piactical teims, this has meant the loss to
vietnam of aiu which accounteu foi up to Su pei cent of the state buuget.
China's example has also been a majoi, if unacknowleugeu, factoi in
ueteimining vietnamese policy. Like China, vietnam is now a hybiiu: a state
unuei one-paity contiol÷in theoiy, socialist÷but with a fiee-enteipiise
economy opeiating alongsiue state enteipiises.
As with China, some analysts question the long-teim stability of such a
system. Fiee-enteipiise economic activity is peihaps intiinsically pluialist. In
vietnam, the histoiically moie pluialist south has shot aheau of the noith
economically since .#/ +#/. Some aie woiiieu the countiy's pull-apait
tenuencies coulu ie-emeige. 0n the othei hanu, vietnam's cuiient iuleis aie
fiimly in commanu as the iightful heiis of the socialist patiiots who oveicame
Fiance anu the 0niteu States anu ieuniteu the fatheilanu. The challenge they
face is not at piesent to theii powei, but to theii capacity to peisist with
iefoims begun unuei .#/ +#/ anu now yieluing impiessive iesults, to see
thiough the myiiau social anu cultuial, as well as economic anu political,
changes uemanueu by .#/ +#/ anu, in the piocess, to maintain stability in a
countiy wheie until iecently stability has iaiely been expeiienceu.





198
































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MAPS 205














































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 206














































MAPS 207














































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 208














































MAPS 209














































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 210














































MAPS 211














































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 212














































MAPS 213














































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 214














































MAPS 215






































A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 217


ABOUT AFG VENTURE GROUP




AFG Venture Group is an Australian and Asian corporate advisory
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(www.afgventuregroup.com). AFG Venture Group has a number of
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advisory in Australia.
AFG Venture Group's principal offices are in Sydney but it has
representative and joint venture offices throughout Asia including
Bangkok, Chennai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Hyderabad,
Jakarta, Manila, Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, Vientiane (Lao
PDR), and Yangon (Myanmar).














ABOUT THE EDITOR 218






ABOUT BLAKE DAWSON



Blake Dawson

Blake Dawson (www.blakedawson.com) is one of Australia's largest
law firms with over 1,500 people, including more than 180 partners
and 625 lawyers offering expertise to private and public sector clients
in over 30 areas of law. It maintains a network of offices across
Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and
Adelaide and has extensive experience in acting for clients across the
Asia Pacific region. The 2009 opening of a Singapore office further
expands on its existing regional capability and on the ground client
services from its own or affiliated offices in Jakarta, Indonesia,
Shanghai, China and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The firm
also has significant experience in other Asian and the Middle East
markets.

It is the provider of legal services to Australia's top Stock
Exchange listed companies, global corporations and government and
in 2007 was named "Best Financial Law Firm 2007" (Finance Asia
Achievement Awards) and in 2008 "Law Firm Of The Year: Australia
& Oceania -PLC Which lawyer? Law Firm Awards". It has 89 Best
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areas of commercial practice, the equal most listings in Australia.
Blake Dawson was also nominated as Employer of Choice 2008 (for
the 8th consecutive year) by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the
Workplace Agency.

INDEX 219

INDEX



Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, 104 Barisan
Nasional, 96, 104
Abdurrahman Wahid, 57, 58
Abu Sayyaf, 139
Aceh,42-44,60,62,86, 125
Acehnese, 40, 42, 46, 62
Agriculture
Brunei, 4
Cambodia, 14, 18, 19, 23
Indonesia, 45, 49, 56, 57
Lao PDR, 71, 72, 77, 78
Malaysia, 88
Thailand, 118, 166, 167, 176
Vietnam, 187, 188, 192, 195
al Qaeda, 60
Ambon,43,44
Anand Panyarachun, 173
Ananda (Rama VIII), 167, 169
Ang Chan, 17
Ang Duang, 17
Ang Mei, 17
Angkor, 10, 11, 12-15, 19, 25, 68, 125,
160, 161
Anglo-Burmese War, 111, 112, 117
Anglo-Dutch Treaty, 5, 88, 144
Annam, 183, 187, 190
Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League,
115, 116
Anwar Ibrahim, 103, 104
Apolinario Mabini, 130
Aquino, Benigno, 136Aquino, Cory, 136,
137
Arakanese, 109
Aris, Michael, 119
ASEAN, ix, xii- xvii, 1, 7, 8, 11, 27, 30, 37,
65,79,100,107,120,124,137,152,
153,181,196,213
Aung San Suu Kyi, 119, 120
Aung San, 114--116, 119
Australia, ix, xii, xiv, 5, 28, 30, 34, 36, 46,
145,148,154,193,199,200-202,
213,214
Ava, 110, 111
Ayudhya,10, 15,16,68,84,87,110,156,
158, 161-163


Balinese, 40, 42, 44
Bangladesh, 108, 109, 117, 118
Bantan, 43
Bao Dai, 190, 191, 192
Batavia, 4, 43, 44, 47, 127, 144 see also
Jakarta
Battambang, 16, 19
Bayinnaung, 162
Belo, Bishop Carlos, 35
Bencoolen, 143, 144
Bengal, 111-113
Bhurnibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), King,
170
Borneo,2, 5-7,80,82-86,88-90,92,93,
95, 125, 150 see also Brunei
Boun Ourn, 75
Bowring Treaty, 164
Britain, 70, 106, 132, 140
Bowring Treaty and, 164
and Brunei, 5-7
acquires Hong Kong, 46
in Malaysia, 88-96
in Myanmar, 111-116
in Singapore, 143-150
and Thailand-World War II, 169
British North Borneo Company, 6
British East India Company (EIC), 111,
143
Brooke, Charles, 89, 90
Brooke, James, 5, 89, 90
Brooke, Vyner, 92
Brunei, xvi, 2-9, 205
early history, 2-5
Britain and, 5-8
Independence, 7
future of, 8-9
Buddhism, 2, 14, 15, 28, 41, 42, 69, 83,
109, 114, 125, 159, 160, 161, 164,
166, 176, 183 see also Mahayana
Buddhism; Theravada Buddhism
Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party
(BLDP), 29
Bugis, 86, 87
Bumiputera, 82, 97, 98
Burma Socialist Program Party, 117

Burma, 13,15,49,66,67, 71,106,107,
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 220

108, 116, 117, 125, 146, 148, 158,
159, 164, 168, 201 see also Myanmar
Burmese Communist Party, 115, 116

Calcutta, 111, 112, 143
Cambodia, 66, 125, 158, 165, 168, 172,
177,206,213
15th-18th centuries, 15-17
1945-1953,20,21
1993 elections, 28, 29
21st century, in, 29-31
colonial era, 17-19, 70-71
early history, 13-15, 163-165
Khmer Rouge government and, 24-26
revolution and, 24
Sihanouk, under, 21-24
early wars with Thailand, 163, 164, 168
as Vietnamese Protectorate, 26-28 180
181, 184, 187, 194 , ,
World War II, 19, 20
Cambodian People's Party (CPP), 29
CCP see Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
Central Provident Fund, 152
Chakri dynasty, 110
Chamlong Srimuang, 174
Champa, 14, 16, 184
Chao Anou, 70
Chaophraya Chakri, 162, 163
Chaophraya river, 161
Chatichai Choonhavan, 173
Chiang Kai-Shek, 149
Chiang Mai, 68, 161, 162
China,xiv, 13,23,43,84,125
and Cambodia, 25-28, 30
and Laos, 64, 71, 72, 78
and Myanmar, 106, 109, llO
and Singapore, 143-151, 153, 154
and Thailand, 159, 173, 177
and Vietnam, 180-197
Chinese Communist Party (CCP), 147
Chittagong, 111
Chuan Leekpai, 174
Chulachomklao Military Academy, 173
Chulalongkorn (Rama V), King, 165-166,
176
Cold War, xiii, 12, 28, 30, 149
Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), 92-93
Confucian, 153, 182-186, 188-189
CPP see Cambodian People's Party (CPP)
Crony capitalism, 99, 136

Da Nang, 78, 186
Dayak,4,86, 87,90,92
Democratic Action Party (DAP), 95, 96,
97,99
Democratic Kampuchea, 24, 25
Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV)
73,75,76,191-195
Devawongse, Prince, 165
Dien Bien Phu, 191
Dili, 35, 36
"Doi moi" (renovation), 195-197
Dutch, 5, 162 see also Netherlands
and East Timor, 32, 34
and Indonesia, 38, 43-51
and Malaysia, 80, 85, 88
and Philippines, 126, 127, 132
and Singapore, 143, 144
Dutch East Indies, 34

East India Company (EIC) see British East
India Company (EIC)
East Timor, riv, xvi, 34-37,46,58,62,207
EIC see British East India Company (EIC)
Emerald Buddha, 163
Emperor Gia Long, 185
English East India Company (EIC) see
British East India Company
Estrada, Joseph, 138
Fa Ngurn, 68
Federated Malay States (FMS), 89
Felipe, Crown Prince, 126
Filipinos, 125, 130, 131, 133-135, 138 see
also Philippines
First Indochina War, 72, 190
Ford, President Gerald, 194
Foreign aid,
Cambodia, 16,22,23,27-30
East Timor, 36
Lao PDR, 66, 74-79
Myanmar, 120
Thailand, 170-172
Vietnam, 181, 191-197
France/french, 6
and Cambodia, 10, ll, 17-21, 25
and Lao PDR, 64-68, 70-73
and Philippines, 128, 132
and Singapore, 144, 145
and Thailand, 166-169
and Vietnam, 169, 180, 183-191, 197
Free Thai Movement, 168
Fretilin, 35, 36, 37
"Funan", 13
FUNCINPEC (French acronym for
National United Front for an
Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and
Co-operative Cambodia), 27-30

Gas, 2, 6-8, 37, 62, 177
Geneva Conference, 22, 74-75, 191
INDEX 221

Goa, 43
Goh Chok Tong, 155
Golkar, 52, 53, 57
Great Depression, 91, 166
Guided Democracy, 52, 61
Gusmao, Xanana, 35, 36, 37

Habibie, President (Doctor) B.] ., 35, 57,
58,62
Hamzah Haz, 99
Han dynasty, 183
Hanoi, 184, 185, 187, 191, 195, 196
Hanoi Hilton, 195
Hassanal Bolkiah, Sir, 2
Heng Samrin, 26
Hindu/flindillsm,2, 13, 15,41,42,86,
109,125,148,160,183
Hmong, 68, 71, 74, 75, 76
Ho Chi Minh, 73, 75, 76, 190-191, 193
Ho Chi Minh Trail, 75, 76, 193
Hoa Hao, 189
Hong Kong, 6, 46, 145, 146
Horta, Jose Ramos, 35
Huk, 134
Hun Sen, 26, 29, 30, 31

Iban, 4, 86
Ilustrados, 130
Immigrants, 51, 82, 86, 87, 94 see also
migrants
Chinese, 113, 146
Indian, 109, 114
Singapore and, 142, 146
Yangon and, 113
India,2, 5, 13,27,38,41,43-45, 75,83,
87,88,93, 106,108,109,111,113,
114, 118, 125, 126, 140, 143, 144,
147, 148, 202, 213
Indians, 82, 91-93, 103, 112, 113, 114,
118, 147, 149
Indochina, 20, 22, 24
Geneva Conference 1954, 22, 64
First Indochina War, 72-74, 190-191
French control of, 71-72, 180, 187
Indochina Communist Party, 189
Indonesia, 20, 88, 125, 154, 208
afterSuharto, 55-63
and ASEAN, 124
colonialism, 43-46
and East Timor, 32-37
independence, 51-55
Japanese occupation, 48-49
nationalism, 46-48
pre-colonial, 41-43
Suharto era, 52-55
Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), 47, 52
Indonesian Democratic Struggle Party 57
58
Internal Security Act (ISA), 100, 152
Irian Jaya, 62
Irrawaddy, 109, 120
Islam, ix, xiii, 3, 9, 42, 44 48 51 53 61
84,85,93,95,99,100,101,125,126

Jakarta,33,35,41,43,49,52,56,58,61,
127, 214 see also Batavia
Japan, 6, 115, 189
and Cambodia, 19, 30
occupation of Indonesia, 49, 50
and Laos PDR, 64
occupation of Singapore, 148, 149
and Thailand, 168, 169, 176
and Vietnam, 190, 191
Japanese, xv, xvi, 16, 20, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50,
72,93,114-115,133,134,146,148,
149, 159, 162, 168, 169, 190-191,
202
Java,40-46,48,49,50,52,57,59,62,83,
85,143,201
Javanese, 3, 40-42, 45, 46, 83
Jayakarta, 43 see also Batavia
Jayavarman II, 13, 14
Jayavarman VII, 14, 15
Jefri, Prince, 8
Jemaah Islamiah, 60, 139, 154
Johnson, President L., xv, 193
Johor,85,86, 88, 89,143

Kadazan-Dusun, 4
Kalimantan, xvi, 2-5,40, 55 see also Borneo
Karens, 109
Kaysone Phomvihan, 73, 77, 78
Kedah,87,88,89,96
Kelantan, 87, 89, 96
Kennedy, President John F., 75, 192
Kha, 68, 69
Khamtay Siphandon, 77, 79
Khmer Issarak, 21
Khmer People's National Liberation Front
(KPNLF), 27
Khmer Republic, 24
Khmer Rouge, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 172, 173
Khmer, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18-19, 21, 24-30,
67,68, 161,172,173
Kissinger, Henry, 193
Kong Le, 75
Kriangsak Chomanand, General, 172
Kuomintang (KMT), 92, 147, 148, 189

LanNa, 161
Lan Xang, 68, 69
Lao Issara, ("Free Laos") 72, 73
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 222

Lao Loum, 67
Lao PDR, 64-79, 209 see also Laos
early history, 67-70
French conquest of, 70-72
Indochina War, 72-74
"Neutralisation" in, 74, 75
since 1975, 77-79
Vietnam War and, 75- 77
World War II and, 72-74
Lao People's Democratic Republic see
LaoPDR
Lao People's Revolutionary Party, 77, 79
Lao Theung, 68
Laos, 13-14,16,66,65,66-68,70-79,
108, 158, 159, 161, 162, 163,
165, 166, 168, 171, 172, 177,
187, 200, 213 see also
LaoPDR
Lee Hsien Loong, 155
Lee Kuan Yew, ix, 95, 150-151, 155, 202
Legaspi, Governor Miguel, 127
Lon Nol, 24
Lowlander Lao, 67, 69
Luzon, 3,126-128,134,201

Macapagai-Arroyo, Gloria, 138
MacArthur, General, 133
Macau, 4, 43, 127
Madras, 113
Magellan, Ferdinand, 126
Mahabharata, 42
Mahathir Mohamad, Doctor, Prime
Minister, 99
Mahayana Buddhism, 14, 83, 183
Malay Annals, 83
Malay States, 86, 87, 89, 91, 93, 94, 144,
145, 163, 165, 168
Malay/s, 2-5, 9, 16, 43, 47, 82-89,
91-103, 124, 142-145, 148, 150,
151, 153, 160, 161-165, 166, 168,
170, 179, 201
Malaya,45,80, 82,89,91-95,113,126,
141, 145, 146, 148-151, 168
Malayan Communist Party see Communist
Party of Malaya (MCP)
Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army
(MPAJA), 93
MP AJA see Malayan People's Anti-Japanese
Army (MPAJA)
Malaysia, 7, 80-105, 124-125, 137, 150,
153-154,210
15th century, 83-85
16th-18th centuries, 85-87
alliance and independence, 94, 95
British advance into, 88-90
Colonial era, 90-93
creation of, 95
Dr Mahathir and, 99-105
early history, 8 3
Japanese occupation of, 93
New Economic Policy and, 97-98
Post-War Period, 93-94
UMNO and Barisan government, 96-97
Malaysian-Chinese Association (MCA),
94,96
Malaysian-lndian Congress (MIC), 94, 96
Malukas, 43, 126, 127
Mandalay, 110, 112
Manila,4, 16,126-128,130,132,136,
144,202,203
Marcos, President Ferdinand, 135
Mari Alkatiri, Prime Minister, 36
MCP see Communist Party of Malaya
(MCP)
Megawati Sukarnoputri, 57, 59
Mekong,13,14,17,19,66,67,70-72,78,
160, 184, 188
Melaka (Malacca), 3, 4, 5, 41, 43, 83-86,
88,94, 125,142-144
Melayu Islam Beraja, 9
Melayu, 9, 83
Mestizo, 127, 129, 130, 131
Mexico, 126, 127
Migrants, 50, 87, 109 see also Immigrants
Minangkabau,40,86,87
Mindanao, 125, 128, 139
Minh Mang, 17, 186
Mining, 78,88,89, 144,145,177
Missionaries, 16, 109, 162, 186, 189
Mongkut (Rama IV), King, 17, 18, 156,
160, 164-166
Mongkut, Prince, 17, 156, 160, 164-166
Mongol, 109, 159
Moro Nationalist Liberation Front
(MNLF), 136, 138, 139
Murut, 4
Muslim, 3, 4, 9, 42, 52, 53, 57, 58, 61,
84-87, 91, 92, 100, 101, 117, 125,
128, 130, 136, 142, 148, 165, 179
Myanmar, 64, 106--121, 177, 211
colonial period, lll-115
independence, 115-121
Japanese Occupation of, 115
pre-colonial, 109-111

Nahdlatul Ulama, 58
Nanchao, 159
Nan-viet, 183
Nanyang Chinese (overseas Chinese), 146
Nan-yiieh, 183
INDEX 223

Napoleonic Wars, 44, 129, 143
Narai, King, 162
Narasuen, King, 16
Narong Kittikachorn, 171
National League for Democracy (NLD),
119
National Liberation Front (NLF), 27, 192
Nationalism
Cambodia, 19-21
Indonesia, 47, 48, 50, 51
Lao PDR, 72
Malaysia, 93
Myanmar, 114
Philippines, 129-131, 148
Thailand, 166, 167
Ne Win, General, 116-119
Negeri Sembilan, 86, 88, 89
Netherlands East Indies government, 44
Netherlands United East India Company
(VOC), 43, 143
Netherlands, 5, 43, 44, 46, 49, 50, 92, 127,
129, 143-145, 148 see also Dutch
New Economic Policy (NEP), 97-99
New Order, xvii, 52, 54, 57, 59
New People's Army (NPA), 136, 139
Ngo Dinh Diem, 192
Ngo Dinh Nhu, 192
Nguyen Van Thieu, General, 193
Nguyen, 184-187, 191, 193, 196, 197
Nixon, President Richard, 193
NLD see National League for Democracy
NLF see National Liberation Front
Norodom Ranariddh, Prince, 27, 29
Norodom Sihanouk, King see Sihanouk,
King Norodom

Oil, 1, 2, 6--9, 37, 39, 45, 55, 90, 91, 98,
108,153,171,177,196,200
Opium, 68, 71, 75, 87, 118, 145, 164, 170,
188
"P'o-ni", 85
Pagan, 106, 110, 125, 160, 201
Pancasila, 53, 61
Pangkor Treaty, 80, 89
Papua, 62
Paris, 25, 28, 76, 181, 194
Partai Rakyat Brunei, 7
Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), 96, 100, 101
Party of National Awakening, 57
Patani, 87
Pathet Lao, 65, 73-76
Pavie, Auguste, 71
Pegu, 106, 110
Penang, 80,87, 88,94, 140,143,147
"People power", 137
People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK), 26
Perak, 80, 84, 87-89
Peterson, Pete, 195
Phao Siyanon, 170
Phaulkon, Constantine, 162
Phetracha, 162
Phibun Songkhram, Lt Colonel, 167
Philippines, xii, 3, 86, 90, 122-141, 146,
212, 213
early history, 125-126
Filipino nationalism, 129-131
Independence, 134, 135
Japanese occupation, 133-134
Marcos era, the, 135-137
Restoration of democracy, 137-139
Spanish rule, 126-129
U.S. colonisation, 131-132
Phnom Penh, 15,17-20,24,76
PKI see Indonesian Communist Party
"Plain of Jars", 68, 74, 75
Pol Pot (Saloth Sar), 25, 26, 30, 195, 200
Portugal/Portuguese, 3, 4, 80, 85,
125-127, 162
and East Timor, 32-36
and Indonesia, 38, 43, 46
Pradjahipok (Rama VII), King, 166
Prambanan, 38, 42
Praphas Charusathian, 170
Prem Tinsulanonda, General, 173
Pridi Phanomyong, 169
PRK see People's Republic of Kampuchea
Puni, 2

Quezon, President Manuel, 131, 132
Quoc ngu, 189

Raffles, Stamford, 140, 143
Rainsy, Sam, 29, 30
Rama I, 16, 163, 164
Rama II, 164
Rama III, 164
Rama IV see Mongkut (Rama IV), King
Rama V see Chulalonghorn (Rama V), King
Rama VI see Vajiravudh (Rama VI), King
Rama VII see Pradjahipok (Rama VII)
Rama VIII see Ananda (Rama VIII)
Rama IX, 170
Ramayana, 42, 163
Ramkhamhaeng, 160
Ramos, Fidel, 137
Rangoon see Yangon
Republic of Vietnam (RVN), 73, 181, 191,
192, 195
Revenue, 6, 7, 31, 55, 62, 71, 128
Riau Islands, 8 5
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 224

Rizal, Jose, 130
Roman Catholic, 138
Royal Dutch Shell, 45
Royal Lao, 74-76
Royal Philippine Company, 129

Sabah,3,4,7,85,86,90,93,95,98, 150
Smgon,16,17,19,23,76,186,187, 191,
194
Sakdina, 161
Saloth Sar see Pol Pot
Sangha, 15,20,25, 161,163,171,
176
Sarawak, 3, 5-7, 85, 89, 92, 93, 95, 98,150
Sarit Thanarat, 170
Saw Maung, General, 107, 118
Seni Pramoj, 168
Shans, 109, 159
Siam, 160, 168 see also Thailand
Siem Reap, 14, 16
Sihanouk, King Norodom, 10, 13, 18,
20-24,27-30,200
Singapore, 4--6, 17, 78, 83, 93, 95, 113,
124,127,137,140-155,177,213,
214
colonialism, 143-148
Japanese occupation, 148-149
towards Independence, 149-155
Singapura, 143
Sisowath Sirik Matak, 24
Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV), 195
Son Ngoc Thanh, 20, 21
Son Sann, 27, 29
Souligna Vongsa, King, 69
Souphanouvong,Prince, 73-77
Souvanna Phouma, Prince, 73-76
Spain/Spanish,3,4, 16,43,85,86, 122,
126-132, 144, 162
Spice Islands, 43, 126
Sri Vijaya, 80, 83, 84
State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC), 107, 118
State Peace and Development Council
(SPDC), 107, 119-121
Strmts of Melaka, 41, 142, 143
Strmts Settlements, 80, 88, 89, 91, 140,
143, 146, 164
Suchinda Kraprayoon, General, 173
Suharto, President, xii, 34, 35, 39, 52-57,
59,62,200
Sukarno, President, 38,47-50, 52, 53, 57,
59,61,200
Sukhotm, 68, 156
Sulawesi, 43, 57, 62, 86
Sultan Iskandar, 83
Sultan Mahrnud, 86
Sulu,3,4,86,90, 125,128
Sumatra, a, 5,40-45,80,83,84,86, 88,
125, 143
Suryavarman II, 14
Sutarto, General, 62

T'ang dynasty, 180, 183
Ta Mok, 30
Tai, 64, 67, 68, 156, 159-161,
168
Taksin, General, 16, 162
Taxation/taxes see also Tributes
Brunei, 4, 6
Cambodia, 18, 19
Indonesia, 42
Lao PDR, 69, 71
Myanmar, 113
Philippines, 139
Singapore, 149, 154
Thailand, 163-165, 168
Vietnam, 186, 188
Temasek, 143
Tet, 193
Thailand, 124,144,156-179,213
1973-1992, 171-175
Bangkok and the West, 163-166
Bangkok empire, 162-163
and Cambodia, 13, 15, 19, 27, 30
early history, 159-160
kingdom of Ayudhya, 160-162
and Laos PDR, 66-69, 71,
75-79
and Malayasia, 87, 89, 93, 102
military government 1932-1948,
167-169
monarchy, eclipse of, 166-167
and Myanmar, 109-111, 118
in prospect, 175-180
"Strong Man" era, 169- 171
Thaksin Shinawatra, 157, 174,
178, 179
Than Shwe, General, 121
Thanom Kittikachorn, General, 170
"The Emergency", 94
Theravada Buddhism, 15, 68, 69, 160, 182,
183
Thieu Tri, 186
Thirry Comrades, 115
Thonburi, 156, 162
Timor see East Timor; West Timor
Tonkin, 16, 187, 190
Tonie Sap, 14, 18
Trmlok, King, 161
Trengganu, 87, 89, 101
INDEX 225

Tributes, 2, 17, 84, 87
Trinh, 180,184,185
Tsunarni,xii, 39,60,62, 157,178
Tu Due, 186
Tun Abdul Razak, 96
Tunku Abdul Rahman, 81, 94, 95,
100
Tunku Razaleigh Hamzah, 99

U Nu, 114,116,117
U Thong, 160,161
Un Kham, King, 71
Unfederated Malay States (UMS), 89
United Development Parry, 61
United Malays National Organisation
(UMNO), 94-100, 102-104
United Nations (UN), 11, 27, 28, 33,
35,50,58,62,67, 118,120,121
United Nations Transitional Authority in
Cambodia (UNTAC), 11, 28
United States, 34, 46, 136, 145, 177
and Cambodia, 22-24, 27, 30
and East Timor, 34
and Lao PDR, 65, 74--77
and Myanmar, 120
and Thailand, 170, 171
colonisation of Philippines, 131-132
and Vietnam, 183, 191-197
as foreign md provider, 23, 25, 37, 52,
76-79, 170
Unity in Diversity, 40
UNTAC see United Nations Transitional
Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC)
Upland Lao, 68
USSR, 26, 28, 181, 191, 193, 195
Vajiravudh (Rama VI), King, 166
Vientiane, 67, 69, 70, 74-76,78, 160, 163



















Vietcong, 75, 181, 192 see also National
Liberation Front
Vietrninh, 73, 180, 190-192
Vietnam, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20-23, 25-28,
66-73,158,159,171,172,177,213
and Laos, 69-72, 75, 76
early history, 183-185
Confucian revival, 185-186
colonial history, 186-188
First Indochina War, 190-191
partitioning of, 191-194
since 1975, 194--197
World War II, 190-191
Vietnamese, 16-19, 21, 23-27, 30,
68-71,78, 10, 111, 163, 164,
182-190, 192, 194, 195, 197
VOC see Netherlands United East India
Company (VOC)

West Irian, 47
West Timor, 35, 58
"White Raja", 89
World War II, 6, 34, 66, 132
Cambodia, 19, 20
Lao PDR, 72-74
Malaysia, 82, 92
Myanmar, 108, 115
Singapore, 142, 148
Thailand, 158, 159, 169
Vietnam, 190-191

Xieng Khouang, 68, 70

Yangon (formerly Rangoon), 106, 110,
111, 113, 115-117, 119
Yogyakarta,41,42, 50
Yunnan, 159