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Future of History
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Associate Professor of Philosophy
Chulalongkorn University

Managing Director,
Noviscape Consulting Group


Asian History
Managing Director,
Noviscape Consulting Group
History; context; equitable society;
middle-of-the-Pyramid; metaphor;
In the beginning of the movie The DaVinci Code, Professor Robert Langdon, a fictional role
played by Tom Hanks, starts his lecture by saying that Understanding our past determines
actively our ability to understand the present. How do we write our own histories, person-
ally or culturally and thereby define ourselves? How do we penetrate years, centuries, of IDEAS
historical distortion to find original truth? History plays a crucial role in how we shape our
society and ideas more than we could imagine. For history, old history moves in cycles, while new history
moves in a straight line. We can experience how both types of
In this issue of TRENDNOVATION SOUTHEAST, we touch upon emerging signals for change history have changed, and we can talk about such changes in
regarding history and Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is one of the world hubs of culturally the meta-narrative. The future is always unknown; this is what
rich ancient ethnic groups with diverse social structures. The region embraces three impor- is so fascinating about its nature. Knowing the future can be a
very powerful thing to accomplish. If we knew for certain what
tant global religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, apart from being the sea-silk road will happen, then we could arrange things in the present to
for spices. Because of the high demand for its natural resources, most of the countries in anticipate what will happen and reap big rewards. The world
the region were occupied by the Western Powers and Japan. For almost five centuries, the would be a very different place if the latter is known. However,
impact of non-indigenous actors in the past has left the legacy of colonial successors and not being able to know the future does not exactly mean that
reached a contemporary tipping point when it became the center of gravity in the Pacific we should not talk about it at all. It has only been within the
theater of World War II. Decolonization through nation-building and reframing national last few years that Southeast Asia has begun to debate what
history were among priorities for the countries in the early post-colonial period. The recent the role of history should be in the post-colonial, post-cold war, Warship in the mall, Makati City, Manila, Philippines.
post-communist, hyper globalized and cyber world of the early
financial crisis in 1997 gave birth to the modern-day Southeast Asia, as all elements and 21st century. More precisely, what is the role of a new version
Copyright 2011 PACEYES. All rights reserved.
institutions in the region were challenged and shaken by this grand eruption Southeast of regional history in the world of iPhones, iPads, Blackberries,
Asia history is going to change! Facebook and Twitter? In Malaysia, a group of parents and scholars, the so-
called reclaiming our truly Malaysian history move-
We start our journey into the future of the region with the first article, which features the ment, has demanded that the national government review
role of history in shifting Southeast Asia into a more equitable society, when history has not and reform the history curriculum and textbooks which
always been written by the victor. The changing equation is a combination of a juggling SCENARIOS AND are being used as a political tool by the governing regime
(CPI, 2011).
between the old and new versions of history, more diverse and complex interpretation of
existing history, increasing degree of new media and ICT in historical content, and rising
In Indonesia, there has been an attempt to rationalize
demand for a meaningful history for people at the middle-of-the-Pyramid. These trends may the present, and redefine a golden era (1945-1998) in
define the coming of an era of Peoples history. Having resulted from a shift in the regional and international order to rewrite history for Indonesias future, particularly
demand-supply equation, contemporary history in Southeast on its political history, local history, role of the armed
The second article explores the unique relationship between city development and history. Asia is moving forward. It has recently branched from the cur- forces and the dominant religion, Islam (Guan, 2006).
As cities in Southeast Asia continue to expand their functional role as the nodes for mod- rent wave of national and monotonous analogy, into a wave of
local and interdisciplinary interpretation of the existing historical In Thailand, the foresight on an ageing society indicates
ernization, people are becoming nostalgic and yearning for their local past, and old urban fabrics, both in context and content. that the country is shifting into a Mature Society, with
corners and quaint rural towns are being revitalized to serve this nostalgic desire. This trend a social structure that requires answers for complex and
has implications for the poor, as old and rustic areas are being gentrified without adequate
support for the displaced. The beginning of history controversial questions (See Issue 7 for details).

The region is moving toward to a more equitable society. This

The third article talks about the struggle of countries within Southeast Asia with paradigm on equitable society is of course not a prediction. However, we should not be too
shifting between their colonial legacy, post-colonial reality, and the ambition for ASEAN complacent in our analysis. We are not saying that all of the
After the millennium, it has slowly been extended to the majority countries in Southeast Asia will really become equitable in the
solidarity. Bringing itself out of the colonial mindset will need to deal with new risk, new of people in the countryside. After the cold war era the Soviet same way as there will be a solar eclipse on such and such a
imagination, and new vision. An on-going juggling between the forces of courage and anxiety Union is no more, and China has all but renounced their Maoist date. Many conditions have to be there in order for this region
will produce various phenomena in these respective countries. ideology and embraced neo-liberalist consumerism in full. A to become more equitable. Furthermore, we would like to say
dramatic increase in regional economic growth from around that many of these conditions are already happening. One of
TrendNovation this month interviews Dr. Charnvit Kasetsiri, a renowned Southeast Asia histo- the mid-1970s until the 2000s appeared to be concentrated these conditions is that the old orders are dying down.
rian, Rockefeller Scholar, and a former Rector of Thammasat University, about his vision for only in the main urban areas and with the middle class and
the future of Southeast Asian studies and history. Our Infographic of the month revisits the elites there. The region has been dominated by a nationalistic The trends right now are that some countries in the region
version of the post-colonial and post-cold war versions. Both especially Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand appear to be
results of scenario buildings from the first city foresight exercise in Thailand. It was conducted globalization of industry and democratization have accelerated leading to a more equitable society where the middle class
between 2006 and 2007 as part of the Thailand reform project in Lamphun, an ancient a new demand for answers for a number of histories that have is becoming dominant and the old and privilege-laden ruling
province in the north of Thailand. It features the city in the nutshell and the key drivers for been left unclear among ordinary Southeast Asians. This can class is becoming less powerful. The powerful elites are not
change, with an intensive description of four scenarios and city innovations. be seen from on-going campaigns for historical reforms and disappearing altogether, but they will be transformed to just
changing social structure in several countries: another group within the urbanite middle class.
Disclaimer : The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Noviscape Consulting Group or the Rockefeller Foundation. Disclaimer : The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Noviscape Consulting Group or the Rockefeller Foundation.
Copyright Trendsoutheast 2009 - 2012. All Rights Reserved. Copyright Trendsoutheast 2009 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.
4 5
(CBT) with homestay for cultural and historical learn-
New historical metaphor With the new middle class order, history does not go ing along the Mekong region (Cambodia, China, Laos,
in the Middle-of-Pyramid in cycles, especially on the complicated subjectivities. Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) is a good example REFERENCES
A shift of focus from the nationalized and conservative of such development. Centre for Policy Initiatives (2011).Reclaiming Our Truly Malaysia
Even though the world is mired in conflict between the historical interpretation will lead to an emergence of History, 19 May 2011. Retrieved from
West, led by the US on the one hand, and Islam, neither the middle-of-the-Pyramid metaphor, especially for malaysian-history&catid=141:lim-teck-ghees-contribution&Itemid=93
Huntingtons culture clash nor Fukuyamas league of revitalizing sub-national histories (regional, city, com-
Fukuyama, F. (1992). The End of History and the Last Man, New York:
Free Press.
democracy could single out the historical metaphor in munity level), while national history will face with more Guan, K. C. (2006). Rewriting Indonesian History: The Future in Indonesias
the region. The majority of the people in Southeast challenges in contemporary interpretation. History Past, Working Paper, No. 113, Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies,
Singapore. Retrieved from
Asias Megacities are from the countryside and they for them goes in one direction and there is no turning Supporting the local historian: History, the pers/WP113.pdf
have contributed a great deal to their cities economy. back the constituted historical version that serves the nineteenth century discipline, is the root of political Huntington, S. P. (1993).The Clash of Civilizations?Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72,
no. 3, Summer 1993, pp. 2249.
With expanding education and opportunities they past and the present while serving them both truthfully, science, anthropology, and sociology. Making Kurtz, S. (2002). The Future of History,Policy Review, No. 113, June and
have begun earning more, and thus it is natural that the disruptive history in the middle-of-the-Pyramid different sets of history, especially biographies July 2002. Retrieved from
they are demanding their fair share as well. What is (Steinberg, 1996). And this is the big shift in history of local thinkers, philosophers, sages, and inven- Lasco, R. D., C. M. D. Habito, R. J. P. Delno, F. B. Pulhin, and R. N.
happening that has not taken place before is that the that we now experiencing in and around the region. tors, will enhance and encourage the poor and Concepcion (2011). Climate Change: Adaptation for Smallholder
Farmers in Southeast Asia.
so-called grass-root people are becoming middle indigenous groups to understand. Supporting the Mekong Responsible Tourism, Hands-on history and homestay on the
class themselves, which means that there will be no local historian to study, review, and diffuse his/ Jasmine rice plateau.

perceptible difference between them and the urban A new and diverse historical content her findings to the local community and onto the
Prasenjit, D. (ed.) (2003). Decolonization: Perspectives from Now and Then.
elites. This means that the gap between the urban web will accelerate the involvement of ordinary Steinberg, M. P. (1996). Cultural History and Cultural Studies, in Nelson,
C., and D. P. Gaonkar (eds.), Disciplinarity and dissent in cultural studies,
centers like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila and Emergence of new and diverse historical content is a people into this very academic and closed society. Routledge.
the countryside will narrow dramatically. The space result from the above evolving regional socio-economic Wollweber, L. T. (2007).Thai cinematic war with Burma, New Mandala,
22 May 2007. Retrieved from
for people in the-middle-of-the-Pyramid is widening, context. Innovations in content of TV programs and Innovation in historical content: At this mo- dala/2007/05/22/thai-cinematic-war-with-burma/
particularly from the-bottom-of-the-Pyramid. This is a the tourism industry create a new demand in the wide ment, there are limited and insufficient historical

big trend that is going on. range of freshly decoded regional and local histories. contents and discussion on local healthcare,
From an unseen secret and taboo, new frontier on socio- community resilience, environmental preservation,
Many of the written histories from the post occidental- ethnography, indigenous invention, regional political and natural disasters in Southeast Asia. Innovation
dominated Southeast Asia have been studied, reviewed,
and reinterpreted, because of the question of authentic-
economy, and human welfare, the demand comes from
within ordinary people to enjoy the edutainment materi-
in content development and narration into local
languages and other means of communication will
ity, both in a cross border level (ancient and contem- als on local and regional histories in their free time, or leverage individual life skills and understanding Soraj Hongladarom is an associate
porary conflicts, socio-anthropology, arts and trades), consider experiencing and exploring the surrounding professor of philosophy at Chulalongkorn
on the surrounding areas.
University in Bangkok, Thailand. He has
and national level (particularly on national legends and mystery on site. In other words, these interactions have
published books and articles on such diverse issues as bioethics,
politics). 1 For example, the roles of indigenous people in been transforming the historical content that glorifies History of Southeast Asia invention: Encour- computer ethics, and the roles that science and technology play
World War II, as well as overseas Chinese and Indians the past into a more realistic and pragmatic version aging a group of local scientists, technologists, in the culture of developing countries. His concern is mainly on
contribution to economic and social changes in Indo- for everybody. and historians to have more reviews of their how science and technology can be integrated into the life-world
nesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand; the history histories of local inventors and everyday technol- of the people in the so-called Third World countries, and what
of food and consumption in urban Southeast Asia; or The increasing demand for a quest into the past among ogy utilization will allow diffusion of technological kind of ethical considerations can be obtained from such rela-
even, the history of the fight to eliminate poverty by the Southeast Asian audiences can been seen from the innovation and knowledge from the past to lever- tions. A large part of this question concerns how information
technology is integrated in the life-world of the Thai people, and
community groups, e.g. a history of the assembly of the current popular cable TV program, Hidden Cities, age dignity, and provide a will to change and
especially how such integration is expressed in the use of informa-
poor (in Thailand), a history of irrigation and farming which on-airs at the History Channel (Asia). It exploits cope with problems caused by climate change tion technology in education. He has organized the International
in the Sub-Mekong region, and etc. local experts, including writers, historians, archaeolo- and consumerism. Conference on Information Technology and Universities in Asia
gists, and scientists to investigate and reveal the tales by (ITUA 2002) at Chulalongkorn University. His works have ap-
featuring different episodes on the history of Southeast peared in The Information Society, AI & Society, Philosophy in the
Asia cities and countries unseen and untold stories, Contemporary World, and Social Epistemology, among others.
e.g. Penang, Ipoh, Kedang, and Sarawak in Malaysia, DRIVERS & INHIBITORS Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana is the Managing
Java in Indonesia, Luzon in the Philippines, the City of
Singapore, the lost Kingdoms of Thailand, and Vietnam.
Increased opportunities for the formerly grass- GROUP and the Principal Investigator of
roots historians and local sages on promoting TRENDNOVATION SOUTHEAST NEWS-
Boosting up a rural ecotourism industry by reviving local histories. LETTER. He has involved with various
and restoring the dried-down traditional cultures and regional scenario buildings and future
stories particularly on organic farming, traditional Increased penetration of information and com- exercises since 2000. As a policymaker,
medicine and the culinary arts has proven to be not munication technologies into society-at-large, and he was Director of the Policy Entrepreneur
only an alternative source of income for small farmers, expansion of history lovers communities. and Foreign Affairs Department at the Public Policy Develop-
but also a channel for the communities to harvest social ment Office (PPDO), the Office of Cabinet Secretariat. He has
Increased educational opportunities, new histori- a background in economics of technological change, innovation
profit through lessons learnt from a maintenance and cal contents, and discussion on an interpretation management, health, and nuclear physics. His expertise is in
The Malaysias history textbooks preservation of their local heritages, including a will to of the existing facts in history. the areas of strategic foresight, technology and innovation
(Source: understand their historical route, and so on. A project management, public policy, trend analysis, and political economy.
malaysian-history-are-we-condemned-to_18.html) supported by Alliance France to combine concepts Increased feelings of solidarity among the urban
of responsible tourism and community based tourism and non-urban population.
1 Wollweber, 2007 Disclaimer : The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Noviscape Consulting Group or the Rockefeller Foundation.
Copyright Trendsoutheast 2009 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.
6 7
Capitalizing old structures, and adaptive reuse initiatives, in which Town covers 1.73 percent of the city, but its popula-
DR. APIWAT RATANAWARAHA on old buildings are restored and converted for new
functions. For instance, in Singapores Boat Quay,
tion represents 2.64 percent of the total.2 Likewise,
Bangkoks inner districts remain highly dense. Many

Malaysias Georgetown, and Thailands Chiang Mai, of these residents are poor, without secure land tenure,
Department of Urban
and Regional Planning, old shophouses have been restored and adapted for and live in sub-standard housing units.
Chulalongkorn University restaurants, souvenir shops and other businesses.
The Master Plan to develop and preserve the Rattana-
Quaint old towns: the new frontier kosin area of Bangkok focused primarily on physical
aspects, and paid little attention to the livelihoods of
KEYWORDS: Nostalgia-driven revitalization occurs not only in existing communities, especially those without land
Historic preservation; urban revitalization;
older areas of big cities, but also in small rustic towns. tenure. The plan was greatly resisted by the existing
gentrification; cultural mapping As transportation and communication networks ex- communities, which led the planners to reconsider
IDEA pand and travel costs become more affordable, not
only foreign backpackers but also local yuppies are
their approach. Similarly, according to a study by
Indonesias Urban and Regional Development Insti-
flocking to these towns for short visits. They desire tute, the Jakarta Old Towns spatial master plan had
As Southeast Asian cities continue to grow and dozed physical remnants of the past but also have the experience of the old lifestyle no longer found overlooked basic problems such as housing.3 Historic
become further integrated into the global economy, altered old community lifestyles and livelihoods. They in modern cities. The revitalization initiative in Am- preservation initiatives that consider only historical
old urban artifacts and fabrics are being replaced usually displace the previous dwellers, many of whom phawa, a water-based community in Thailand, has value without the context of development and pov-
with larger, modern structures. Glass skyscrapers are illegal squatters who are likely to become illegal been boosted by its floating market and shophouses erty have often resulted in restoration of functionless,
continue to define urban skylines, and shopping malls settlers elsewhere. These negative consequences of that cater to weekend visitors from Bangkok. Chiang isolated artifacts. Alternative pictures of older districts
and supermarkets expand their functional role as the large-scale projects are increasingly recognized by Khan in Northeastern Thailand has become popular are being considered, as well as better methods to
central nodes for resource consumption. Among this planners. But in Southeast Asia where the power of among tourists because of its wooden houses along preserve and renew them.
macro-trend, a micro-trend has become noticeable. economic forces trumps social, aesthetic and other the Mekong River, as has Van Vieng in Laos for its
People are becoming nostalgic and yearn for their non-monetary values, the dual drivers of land-value
local past, and old urban corners and quaint rural maximization and architectural modernization seem
rustic atmosphere. Ironically, many of the goods Expanded lists of methods:
and souvenirs sold in these places are not made
towns are being revitalized to serve such this nostal- irresistible and irreversible. locally, but brought in from wholesale markets in From point to line to plane
gic desire. This trend has implications for the poor, Bangkok or other big cities. Old shophouses have Planners now consider wider areas for urban revital-
as old and rustic areas are being gentrified without also been bought and gentrified by outsiders, who ization initiatives, including not only individual struc-
adequate support for the displaced. Capitalizing on see investment opportunities in these old towns. tures (the point), but also groups of buildings (the
history has its costs. line) and the whole neighborhood (the plane).
The nostalgic desire for old lifestyles and places They also attempt to widen the scope of intervention,
among the urban middle-class has captured the including not just physical aspects, but also social and
SCENARIOS interest of capitalists. Plernwan, a shopping mall in economic issues in urban revitalization and regenera-
the resort town of Hua Hin in Southern Thailand, was tion. Housing issues for the displaced remain a key
Modernizing and monotorizing inner cities built with the theme of play and learn in the past, concern for a revitalization plan. There are still limited
bringing old town feelings back to its modern shop- cases in Southeast Asia where the implementation
Modern urban planning and development practices ping district. It has become a popular destination for of historic preservation plans is well integrated with
in the context of globalization of trade, investment, weekend trips among middle-class Thais. affordable housing and other development issues.
and tourism have drastically changed the Southeast
Asian urban fabric. Even though a wealth of historic
structures with religious and governmental connec- IMPLICATIONS
tions still remain, ordinary urban artifacts, such
as shophouses, have been demolished and replaced AND INTERVENTIONS
by modern structures for commercial and residential
Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram, Thailand.
purposes. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Citys heritage
areas are gradually being replaced by shopping
Copyright 2011 PACEYES. All rights reserved. History and poverty continue
malls and modern buildings; so are Jakartas Kota to be intertwined
Tua and Sunda Kelapa, and Manilas Intramuros. In Nostalgia-driven, tourism-oriented Preservation and restoration of historic structures is
Bangkoks older parts, through which transit lines
are constructed, land prices have increased sub- historical reinvention nothing new to this region. But the past initiatives usu-
ally stop short at conserving individual buildings, or
stantially and old shophouses are being torn down There is however a growing interest among planners at best, groups of buildings. They pay less attention
for higher-density development. This phenomenon is and concerned citizens to preserve historical districts. to the non-physical aspects of history, such as com-
also happening in fast growing secondary cities. In Several reasons may explain this trend, including munity livelihoods and well-being. Many plans ignore
Bandung, Indonesia the once vibrant and dynamic romanticism for the past, recognition of unique cul- basic problems faced by residents in the old areas,
area of Braga Street has been replaced by modern tural identity and architectural value, and economic where urban problems are usually pronounced. In
shopping malls.1 opportunities for the tourism industry that demand older, inner-city areas of Jakarta, Bangkok and other
unique cultural products. Many cities now have his- big cities in Southeast Asia, population densities are
Walking in Intramuros History Town, Manila, Philippines.
Many redevelopment projects have not only bull- toric preservation plans, which include restoration of Some rights reserved by Caryl Joan Estrosas.
high compared to newer, outer areas. Jakartas Old
References: 2 The Jakarta Post, Old Town revitalization overlooks the residents. 06 June 2007.
1 Martokusumo, W. (2002). Urban heritage conservation: Experiences in Bandung and Jakarta. In Peter J.M. Nas (ed.): 3 The Jakarta Post, Old Town revitalization overlooks the residents. 06 June 2007.
The Indonesian Town Revisited, pp. 374-389, LIT Verlag-Institute of Asian Studies, Mnster/Singapore.
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An attempt is being made by Thailands Community
Organizations Development Institute (CODI) and a
Regardless of redevelopment approaches, gen-
trification will likely continue, unless the govern- The Southeast Asian
network of community savings groups in the UNESCO
World Heritage city of Ayutthaya to develop a
city-wide community reconstruction project in which
ment implements affordable housing and other
compensation programs for the poor. Colonialism Hangover Effect
historical monuments and poor people can cohabit Cultural tourism will increase the demand for revi-
in mutually beneficial ways.4 talization and reinvention of historical artifacts and
lifestyles in actual community settings. Without ac- BY
Participatory, cultural mapping tive participation of community residents, however,
a well-intentioned revitalization plan may end up Founder, Siam Intelligence Unit Colonialism, post-colonialism, imperialism,
Among many tools currently being explored in creating only a cultural zoo for tourists. nationalism, ASEAN, history
preservation and revitalization in Southeast Asia,
cultural mapping is gaining popularity in areas where Historic preservation and community revitaliza-
historical and cultural assets have potential as the tion will not be financially sustainable, unless IDEA in Vietnam. There will be both political machinery and legal
measures employed to bar citizens in the country from criticiz-
entry point for intervention. Recognized by the United public-private partnerships are institutionalized ing these topics. Because of an incompatibility with universal
Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organiza- between the local government, private property Southeast Asia did not face a threat from European colonialism freedom of expression, they will censor outside criticism by
tion (UNESCO), the tool utilizes community-based on a grand scale until the 18th century. This Western coloniza- creating internet firewalls like in China. If any citizen violates
owners, and the residents. Examples include the tion brought about a radical change into most of the ancient these rules, they will be imprisoned. Conservative force
participatory data collection and management and Penang Heritage Trust in Malaysia and Old Phuket kingdoms in the region. During World War II, aggression by dominatessocial policy. There will be more imposition of
mapping techniques, possibly including sophisticated Foundation in Thailand, and the Sumatra Heritage the Empire of Japan replaced an era of white superiority, and strict censorship, political mechanisms, and public humiliation.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Trust in Indonesia. Indonesia and Malaysia have the region gradually nurtured its own version of nationalism, This will lead to more violence both inside each country and
which later ignited independence movements and led to the between the countries.
national-level trust funds for heritage preservation, birth of contemporary Southeast Asian nations.
There are several examples in this region. As part of
the Malaysia Urban Conservation Initiatives, a team
although they do not usually cover other related
The Special Committee on Decolonization was set up by
Soft Colonial
of planners and students in Taiping have conducted the UN in 1962, and the birth of the Cold War era drew a This is a scenario with a strong sense of the current socio-
watershed line between the colonial and post-colonial eras. political dilemma. It represents a juggling between conserva-
cultural mapping workshops with city residents and But after that, the Cold War had a strong influence on the tive and progressive forces, and illustrates symptoms that have
school children to raise awareness about preserva- development of each country in Southeast Asia.Some countries resulted from a colonial mindset in spite of an adaptation to
tion issues. A similar project, led by the Department selected to join with the free world under the leadership of the modern political structure.


the United States, and some countries decided to follow the
of Urban and Regional Planning at Chulalongkorn Soviet-Sino pact. Not only is there internal pressure onthe issue of universal
University, has used the method to start revitalization freedom of expression, but also a fight and debate for more
initiatives in the Kudeejeen and Klongsan areas in Nowadays, without the influence from the Cold War period, open policy from within the elite group. Some progressive
Bangkok. In Vietnam, the Cham Heritage Mapping Apiwat Ratanawara- Southeast Asia can make its own socio-political development. factions can identify the critical problem on maintaining such
Surprisingly, these young ex-colonial countries still exercise an incompatible stance on universal human rights order, and
Project, which was led by the local and national h a is an Assistant colonial codes of conduct to maintain their supremacy, freeze are suggesting a peaceful transition process. Nevertheless,
governments of Vietnam and facilitated by UNESCO, Professor at the Depart- their citizens mindset inside the colonial era, and preserve the conservative factions still exert strongresistance to change.
adopted the participatory mapping method that ment of Urban and Re- their order. Among the Southeast Asian elites, they cannot
recover from the colonial hangover. Struggling out of the This scenario reflects the currently unpredictable outcome be-
utilizes GIS. The project Our Heritage Our Future gional Planning, Chu- hangover will help promote human rights for the minorities tween the progressive and conservative forces in each country.
in Chompet, Laos enhanced the linkages between a lalongkorn University and thus will lead to not only improving their basic needs but They are decorated with modern institutional structures such
community-based cultural mapping activity and the to improving poverty in the long run. as democratic parliaments, newspaper councils, and human
in Bangkok, Thailand, rights commissionsas examples. But there will continue to be
development of a tourism management plan.
where he teaches infra- elements of pre-modern characteristics, too. Both coercion
structure planning and SCENARIOS and consent control mechanisms will be imposed on some
areas of these countries that have different minority peoples.
DRIVERS/INHIBITORS finance, urban manage-
ment, and economic Because of their limited influence in world politics, Southeast
Asian countries will continue to abide by and subscribe to
If the concepts of Smart Growth, Compact City, development. His current various global institutions and international systems, e.g.
Low-Carbon Society and other similar ideas are research includes proj- UN Security Council (UNSC), UN Human Right Commission
seriously pursued, densities of population and (UNHRC), World Trade Organization (WTO), etc. It is unlikely
ects on city innovations that full development of imperialism in this region would lead
economic activities will increase in inner areas, in Southeast Asian megacities, infrastructure tofull scale conflict among neighboring countries.
and land will become even more expensive. More justice, and inequality in access to basic services
old shophouses will continue being replaced by The final outcome of the recovery from the colonial hangover
in Thailand. He has been a Visiting Assistant Pro- effect will designate Southeast Asias fate to one of three
high-rise condominiums and offices, and only scenarios. There are two negative scenarios and a positive
some of them may survive and be adapted for fessor at the Department of Urban Studies and
one. We will start by illustrating the two unpromising pictures.
new uses. Planning at MIT, teaching infrastructure finance
and energy security. He was a Doctoral Fellow Southeast Asian Imperialism
Advancement in wireless technologies has re- at the Belfer Center for Science and International This scenario reflects a situation in which nations will adopt
duced the cost of rewiring telecommunication Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard a conservative ideologythat leads to more and more repres-
infrastructure in old buildings. This may allow for sion and conflict. To preserve the benefits of an elite club and
University, conducting research on infrastructure, maintain social order, the superclass will maintainthe existing
adaptive reuse of old buildings, and increase their
value without having to replace them with new technological development and innovation policy. taboosthey have protecting them from public criticism and The original Merlion statue at Merlion Park in Singapore.
debate, especially on the issues like lsemajest in Thailand, Some rights reserved by kun0me.
buildings. racial policy in Malaysia, and communist party hegemony

4 Disclaimer : The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Noviscape Consulting Group or the Rockefeller Foundation.
Copyright Trendsoutheast 2009 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.
10 11
Racial issue: Malaysias brain drain is a good Thai nationalists were colored by anti-Chinese senti- It has both positive and negative effects. An increased
example of one of the consequences of unresolved ment. Furthermore, during the 1930s and through popularity in post-modern research has uncovered a
racial issues. Currently, Malaysia is facing a serious the 1950s, the Chinese in Thailand faced a strong limitation to nationalism in the region.
brain drain problem. 305,000 Malaysians migrated control and anti-Chinese program under the military
overseas between March 2008 and August 2009, dictatorship of Prime Minister Plaek Pibunsongkhram. Internet and Social media: Internet and Social
compared to only 140,000 in 2007. One of the top media bring people from different nations closer
three reasons for the brain drain is social injustice Plaeks government ordered campaigns, such as pro- without travelling. These tools facilitate people to
such as unequal access to scholarships and higher moting Thai as a single national language and trying understand differences between their histories in
education especially among the younger generation to close down many Chinese schools. A country may culture, beliefs, lifestyles, etc. It also makes people
within the non-Bumiputera community. This statistic need a certain period of time to integrate minorities understand the true meaning of multiculturalism and
conforms to the history of the bureaucracy during the in their society with the employment of violence and pluralism.
colonial era. Malaysia maintains the structure of the suppression mechanisms. Thailand is trying to inte-
MAS (Malay administrative service) with the similar grate the Muslim minorities like they did the Chinese Open debate on Ideology: Normally, people in
MCS (Malayan civil service) system. The MAS was in deep Southern provinces. Malaysia is also trying Southeast Asia exchange information via non-public
junior to the MCS, which was practically reserved to run a single Bahasar Malay language campaign discussion. This kind of mechanism releases social
for British officers. After declaring its independence, to integrate the Chinese and Indian minorities. How- pressure on taboo topics. But, now open debate on
Malaysia introduced a quota system of one non- ever, in the 21st century, such abuse of human rights ideology is flourishing much more, and this encour-
Malay to every four Malays in the MCS. In 2005, the policy will no longer be accepted by the international ages the society in the practice of tolerance and more
composition turned out to be 77.3% Malay, 9.37% community. Southeast Asia countries therefore need acceptances of differences in ideology.
Chinese, 5.12% Indian, and 7.77% others. to apply the pluralism concept to accept differences
in ethnicity, language and religion. Inhibitors:
Stateless/Nationality-less/ and Ethnic
minorities: A recent incidence on Burma Rohingya ASEAN promotion: The 600-million ASEAN popu- Conservative idea: Conservative thinking in some
people reflects another historical problem in the re- lation and a closer trade relationship among mem- of the elite factions may delay the transitioning
gion. Rohingya people of Arakan (Rakhine) State of bers will finally make ASEAN more important, and progress.
The Presidential Palace in Jakarta. Burma face heavy discrimination because of Burmas will be getting more action in resolving the conflict.
Some rights reserved by ShutterMonKey ruler beliefs about Burmese nationalism and Thera- In the future we shall see how ASEAN can evolve
vada Buddhism. They treat theRohingya people as a themselves into more than simply a government-
ASEAN solidarity
stateless people. However, recent positive democratic
reform in Burma, which led to a cease fire agreement
to-government space, but a real ASEAN citizens
community. ASEAN study, with learning from the
Anderson, B. (2006). Imagined Communities.Verso Books, England.
with minority peoples such as the Shan people, may EU experience both good and bad, and ASEAN Charoensinolarn, C. (2006). Development Discourse: Power, Knowledge,
The last scenario touches upon a bright future for ASEAN lead to positive treatment for Rohingya people, too. citizen network building will lead to the true peaceful Truth, Identity, and Otherness.Vibhasa, Bangkok.
solidarity, in which Southeast Asia transcends from the cooperation among Southeast Asian countries, and Chin, J. (2011). History and Context of Public Administration in Malaysia.
colonial mind into the modern mindset. Most of the lead- Identity and Religion: There is an ongoing will eventually build a true ASEAN solidarity. In Berman, E. M., Public Administration in Southeast Asia: Thailand,
ing Southeast Asian countries will adopt true universal research study of new Thai identity sponsored by
Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Macao (pp. 141-154).
CRC Press, United States of America.
human rights concepts. They will accept more pluralism Thai security sections to resolve the problem in deep Conner, S. (1995).Racial definitions `hangover from days of colonialism.
and multicultural concepts. People will realize their full
rights and turn themselves into a citizenship comfortable
Southern Thailand regarding Muslim minorities. DRIVERS & INHIBITORS Retrieved from
New Thai Imagination will be based on pluralism
with self-governance and public responsibility. This internal and multiculturalism, which is differentiating, open-
Downing, L. (2008/0). The Cambridge introduction to Michael Foucault.

Cambridge University Press, New York.
dynamic, with a need to cooperate both on economics and minded, and flexible enough for people in the nation Fukuyama, F. (2011).The origins of political order: From prehuman times
international relations issues, will thus increase ASEAN to self-identify themselves and be proud of their own to the French revolution. Profile Books Ltd., England.
integration. The latest movement from ASEAN seems more identity. They can live their lives following their own Popularity of post-modernism studies: Nkrumah-Boateng, R. (2007). Ghana Goes For Gold: Dealing With
active than passive, such as the announcement on Myanmar cultural beliefs without being frustrated or estranged. Nationalism might be very important in the begin-
Our Colonial Hangover. Retrieved from
internal politics that led to the countrys political reform This can lead to a reconciliation process in deep ning of national establishment, but the nation is just Parsons, T. H. (2010). The rule of empires: Those who built them,those who
and a certain deadline to create an ASEAN community. In Southern Thailand. Thai authorities may accept some an invented political instrument (Anderson, 2006). endured them, and why they always fall. Oxford University Press, New York.
this scenario we should expect the government to regard degree of self-governance, but not separation. Winichakul, T. (2004).Siam mapped: A history of the geo-body of a nation.
the rights and provide social welfare to the minority. This SilkwormsBooks, Thailand.
The World Bank (2011). Malaysia Economic Monitor, April 2011 -
political infrastructure will help promote equality for the Brain Drain. Retrieved from
people, both political and economic rights.

EARLY INDICATORS Promoting understanding on Southeast Asia pluralism and

ASEAN from a historical perspective is a useful develop-
Indo-China border dispute: There have been cen-
turies-old conflicts between Indo-China and Thailand.
ment mechanism. Through supporting active forums and
media, especially social media and web-based content for ABOUT THE AUTHOR
the younger generation, will boost up awareness among Kan Yuenyong is a co-founder and
The roots of the continuous dispute between Thailand the people. However, a creative dialogue and fact-based executive director of Siam Intelligence Unit
and Cambodia on the Preah Vihear Temple issue re- content is also important. (SIU), an alternative
sults from the pre-modern or colonial age relationship
which generated a long term dispute between Siam think tank and research service on various
Supporting two of the most important issues will lead to social, environment, business and economic
and France ever since 1892. A movement from The better understanding among nations in Southeast Asia,
Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD)in Thailand issues. He is now studying in the advanced
less intense racial conflict, and the greater acceptance of
to reclaim a dispute area reflects a similar feeling. Stateless people and Ethnic minorities. certificate course on Promotion of Peaceful
Intense nationalist feelings in both nations have Society (class 3) at King Prajadhipoks Institute. He was selected
blossomed, and more conflict happens. This includes Pluralism study and promotion: Thailand by The Friedrich Naumann Foundation to represent Thailand in
conflict between Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. A has been accepted as having the best-integrated seminars on Strategic Planning and New Public Management in
border conflict between Laos and Thailand in 1988 overseas Chinese community in the World, and Stateless and starving Rohingya children doing daily exercise in 2009, held at the International Academy for Leadership, Germany.
is good example, because it caused more than 500 any type of racial conflict is close to non-existent. the Nayapara refugee camp, Bangladesh. He formerly worked at Internet Thailand Public Company Limited.
dead, and the disputed area remains a no man land But back in the 19th century, for various reasons, Some rights reserved by Austcare - World Humanitarian Aid
up till now.
Disclaimer : The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Noviscape Consulting Group or the Rockefeller Foundation. Disclaimer : The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Noviscape Consulting Group or the Rockefeller Foundation.
Copyright Trendsoutheast 2009 - 2012. All Rights Reserved. Copyright Trendsoutheast 2009 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.
12 13

Q How about how each country places
emphasis on the future of ASEAN
with more people, history may have new life. No mat-
ter where we come from, it is necessary to understand
studies? How do they mobilize the ourselves, our identities. In the meantime, I believe, we
knowledge? need to learn about our neighbors next doors. ASEAN
is a good framework to start with. We need to break

W I T H A Among the 10 ASEAN countries, Singapore

was quick to make its move on this. They founded
research units and institutions before anyone else.
through our boundaries and learn about Burma, Laos,
Cambodia, Vietnam and even Timor-Leste, etc.
BY The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, where we
DR. PUN-ARJ CHAIRATANA are conducting this interview now, is the oldest of
Managing Director,
Noviscape Consulting Group Dr. Charnvit Kasetsiri this kind in the region. At the National University of
Singapore (NUS), they also have a Department of
Southeast Asian Studies. They have put a lot of atten-
tion on this. Malaysia has the same kind of institution
at the University of Malaya. As for Thailand, we are
Q What is your perception of the
evolution of Southeast Asias history
be grand history of
heroes and heroines.
Therefore, it needs to
lagging behind. A Southeast Asian Studies Program
for B.A. was first realized at Thammasat University
regarding a change in contemporary in 2000. It was set up as a special project meaning
be rewritten or rein- with no budget. The Program has to make money
social and economic structure? terpreted to include (from tuition fee) to support itself and its academic
A Practically, Southeast Asia is quite a new termi-
nology coming from the West. Considering that the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
common people, and
allow them to have connections with history.
staff. The University does not support it like regular
has been in existence for some decades, I think
the perception of people in this region who relate
to being ASEANites or Southeast Asian people
In ASEAN we have varieties, an absolute monarchy
Brunei for instance; countries which are republics, a
country with a unique system for taking turn of enthrone-
Q We are experiencing socio-envi-
ronmental change, especially on a
is still not there yet. We have no shared history as ments Malaysia. We are more or less the same but grand-scale migration, emerging
a people. Many books written about Southeast still different; some have gone through violent changes. diseases, climate change, and other
Asia history, by D. G. E. Hall, David K. Wyatt or a Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia have been through non-traditional security issues; what
French scholar like Georges Coedes, are all from revolution. Thailand did not have intense revolutionary will be the role of history regarding
the outside, while those written by insiders are struggle. Though the 1932 coup left some scars but these trends?
almost nowhere to be found. cannot be compared to what happened in Indonesia, ABOUT DR. CHARNVIT KASETSIRI
Frankly speaking, there is no shared history nor
from within the region, so it is not easy to foresee
Vietnam, Cambodia or even Laos. There is still highly
conservative force in our society. But it is something we
need to address to when the middle and lower classes
A History should not be narrow, covering only stories
about aristocrats, elite, and small groups of people.
It should include more. Take a look at the 9-10 mil-
Dr. Charnvit Kasetsiri is a Thai historian. He
was a former Rector of Thammasat University
what the future of this region will be. There is not have changed significantly. How will the ruling class lions of Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who go
(199495) prior to his retirement. He is among
much hope for a shared future. But in terms of each adapt to the changes? This is a big problem. Some to work abroad and send a lot of remittances back
individual country there might be some. Siam/Thai- have dragged on for so long. Some factions have to their home country. They are admired by their Southeast Asias most renowned historians. He
land avoided colonial rule, but the way our history changed but others have not. If we cannot adapt to fellows back home, and I believe they even have a studied diplomacy and history at Thammasat
has been written is similar to those former colonies new environment, then conflicts arise. ministry to look after them. Meanwhile, Thai work- University, Bangkok and graduated with Honours
of UK, France, and the Netherlands. Former colonial ers abroad are not getting that attention. They are and the King Bhumibol Prize, a B.A. in Diplomacy.
nations have been in the process of throwing away not treated honorably because there are still lots of He then pursued a Masters degree at Occidental
colonial histories.
Q At this moment, there are not
so many debates or discussions
different class prejudice in the eyes of metropolitans
like us. History in the future should provide spaces to
College, Los Angeles, California. He obtained his
Ph.D. in Southeast Asian History at Cornell Univer-
Q Recently, there have been more
people elaborating on the existing
on the history of Southeast Asia
at a regional level. How do you
more people, those who play roles in society such as
history of labor or of migration to find workplaces
somewhere else.
sity in 1972. He received a Rockefeller Scholarship
from 1965 to 1970 during his studies in the United
history at various levels with new respond to this? States. Among the overseas appointments he has
approaches and interpretations.
History at the moment needs to respond to issues held during his academic career are Visiting Fellow
What is your scenario on how the The ASEAN body has not done well enough
on this. Ministers of ASEAN countries have a that our society currently faces, responding to the at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto
history of the region will come out? lot of meetings, but we have not seen what we changes and needs of people. History of just small
University, Japan; Visiting Lecturer (Southeast
groups is not enough, and no one wants to study it.
A The trend is more towards popular mass. People
in general--people like factory workers coming from
the countryside and going back and forth between
want in terms of academics, education. Everybody still
focuses on oneself and relies on European or American
texts. We often close our doors to the neighbors. We are
Many of our universities have no history department.
And for some with such department, if they could
Asian History) at University of California, Berkeley
and Santa Cruz, U.S.A.; Visiting Lecturer (Thailand
History), University of Hawaii, U.S.A.; and Visit-
urban and ruralhad no interest. They have noth- near but we are far from one another. We do not seem have their way, they would dissolve it. Most rectors,
ing to do with the nationalistic story. They probably to have any interest in our neighbors. We probably feel deans, professors do not care for history; it is just ing Lecturer, Asian Studies, University of Hawaii
want something more interesting and that they could good for looking to London, Paris, New York, or Tokyo. cosmetics. As for the young people, they see little in 2004. He is now Visiting Fellow at the Institute
relate to. I think if they want history, it should be lo- We pay little attention to the happenings in Vientiane, benefit for studying history. It is not only boring but of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore.
cal, possibly, history of ordinary people. It should Phnom Penh, Hanoi, or Kuala Lumpur, etc. This is our one cannot find job. But I still believe that if there
be more like them, they can relate to. It should not weakness and our under-developed education. is history reform, new interpretation, more concern

Disclaimer : The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Noviscape Consulting Group or the Rockefeller Foundation. Disclaimer : The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Noviscape Consulting Group or the Rockefeller Foundation.
Copyright Trendsoutheast 2009 - 2012. All Rights Reserved. Copyright Trendsoutheast 2009 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.
14 15
Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana
Dr. Apiwat Ratanawaraha
Mr. Kan Yuenyong
Co- Principal Investigator

Dr. Donald Arthur Johnson


Mr. Preeda Chaiyanajit

Project Co-ordinator

Mr. Passapong Boonlueng

Graphic Designer

Regional Horizon / Environment Scanning (HS/ES)

and trend monitoring for issues relevant to people.
life, and regional transformation across the
Sotheast Asian region.

Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana

Dr. Soraj Hongladarom
Mr. Kan Yuenyong
Dr. Apiwat Ratanawaraha

Dr. Charnvit Kasetsiri

Information Specialist

Trendnovation Southeast
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