Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 44/3 (December 2022)

Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 44/3 (December 2022)
Date of publication:  December 2022
Publisher:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
Number of pages:  180
Code:  CS44/3
Soft Cover
ISSN: 0129797X
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  • Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 44/3 (December 2022)
    [Whole Publication, ISSN: 1793284X]
  • Preliminary pages
  • 2. Dictators Never Die: Political Transition, Dynastic Regime Recovery and the 2021 Suharto Commemoration in Indonesia, by Adam Tyson, Nawawi, authors
    Political transition theory has clear indicators for successful democratization, including the two-turnover test in elections, rule of law, press freedom and institutional reform. However, the distinction between system change and regime change remains ambiguous. After rapid political transitions from authoritarian to democratic systems, old guard elites seek to recapture power and protect their wealth in countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines. The authors characterize this as a process of dynastic regime recovery, with elite networks seeking to control discursive spaces as part of a broader strategy to regain political power and legitimacy. Political distortions persist in rapid transitions to democracy, and this article examines the ways in which interlocking elites from the Suharto era strategically adapted to Indonesia’s competitive multi-party system. The authors gathered data from 21 interviews with the Suharto family and their associates, as well as observations from an exclusive commemorative event celebrating the centenary of Suharto’s birth in June 2021. The centenary celebration was a network-led revanchist effort to promote a positive narrative about Suharto’s presidency, as a constituent part of a complex regime recovery strategy. The 2022 election of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the Philippines indicates that there are opportunities for the rehabilitation of formerly discredited political dynasties. The recovery of the Suharto family legacy, business networks and political party coalitions has yet to ensure institutional recapture or electoral victory, but it is too soon to write a definitive political obituary.
  • 3. ASEAN’s Socialization of Myanmar: Perilous Ambivalence, the 2021 Coup and the Way Forward, by Gibran Mahesa Drajat, author
    Since Myanmar joined ASEAN in 1997, the organization has tried to socialize it in the belief that the country would steadily conform to the bloc’s common purpose of preserving peace and stability in Southeast Asia. The Myanmar military’s (Tatmadaw) ouster of the elected quasi-civilian government on 1 February 2021, and the ensuing political violence across the country, represent a critical opportunity for ASEAN to demonstrate that the organization remains committed to the aforementioned common purpose as well as the promotion of democratic principles and human rights. Given that ASEAN’s efforts to socialize Myanmar have been neither consistent nor adequately followed through, the 2021 coup should not be regarded as an isolated event. The situation is further exacerbated by ASEAN’s complacency regarding Myanmar’s internal affairs during the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) tenure between 2016 and 2021. During this period, the Tatmadaw conducted numerous human rights abuses, particularly against the Rohingya, and the political system was still heavily dominated by the military. Because of the inconsistent multilateral approach that ASEAN has adopted towards Myanmar, the organization now risks becoming entangled in great power competition. This entanglement resulted from a phase in ASEAN-Myanmar relations known as “perilous ambivalence”, which would have significant repercussions for ASEAN’s credibility, image and legitimacy on the global stage. To ensure that ASEAN remains at the centre of the Indo-Pacific security architecture, there is a need for a coherent long-term policy to monitor, engage and address any internal threats that could undermine peace and stability in the region through continuous enhanced interaction. The 2021 Myanmar coup d’état, and its subsequent fallout, provides a compelling case for such a policy.
  • 4. How do Filipinos Remember Their History? A Descriptive Account of Filipino Historical Memory, by Dean Dulay, Allen Hicken, Anil Menon, Ronald Holmes, authors
    How do Filipinos remember their history? To date this question still has no systematic answer. This article provides quantitative, descriptive results from two nationally representative surveys that show how Filipinos view three of the country’s major historical events: the Spanish colonization of the Philippines; martial law under President Ferdinand Marcos; and the 1986 People Power Revolution. The descriptive results include several takeaways, including: first, the modal response towards all three events was indifference (versus positive or negative feelings); second, positive feelings towards martial law were highest among those who were alive at that time; third, the distribution of feelings towards these historical events was similar across individuals with different educational achievement; and finally, a surprising proportion of respondents expressed positive feelings towards both martial law and People Power. We discuss the potential limitations of our study and conclude by considering the implications of these results for the Philippines’ contemporary politics.
  • BOOK REVIEW: Burmese Haze: US Policy and Myanmar’s Opening-and Closing, by Erin Murphy, by Hunter Marston, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Troubling the Water: A Dying Lake and a Vanishing World in Cambodia, by Abby Seiff, by Ming Li Yong, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Opposing Power: Building Opposition Alliances in Electoral Autocracies, by Elvin Ong, by Khoo Ying Hooi, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: The Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation, by Ang Cheng Guan, by Ryo Sahashi, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Politics in Contemporary Indonesia: Institutional Change, Policy Challenges and Democratic Decline. By Ken M.P. Setiawan and Dirk Tomas, by Amalinda Savirani, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Unearthing Politics: Environment and Contestation in Post-Socialist Vietnam, by Jason Morris-Jung, by Huynh Tam Sang, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: The Sovereign Trickster: Death and Laughter in the Age of Duterte, by Vicente L. Rafael, by Aries Arugay, author

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