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Comments for New Mandala

New perspectives on Southeast Asia

Last Build Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:44:46 +0000


Comment on From battlefield to marketplace on the Thai–Myanmar border by Shona Loong

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:44:46 +0000

Thank you! I feared writing this that Mae Sot today had already moved on from what I'd been trying to understand when I was there.

Comment on From battlefield to marketplace on the Thai–Myanmar border by t f rhoden

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 02:10:11 +0000

Thanks for the article. Well done! Yap, Mae Sot ain't the Mae Sot of 30, 10, or even 5 years ago...

Comment on Jokowi shares the blame for MD3 debacle by Paul Rowland

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 00:59:02 +0000

There are some excellent points in this piece. While the legislators who drafted this law and those who assented to its passage deserve approbrium for the very concept of shutting down public criticism of an elected body, the President and his government share the blame. Let's not forget the political parties. Laoly and Jokowi belong to PDIP, a party that could have easily stopped the law. Jokowi is not the first president to be asleep at the switch when an odious law passes on their watch. Remember when Partai Democrat allowed the passage of a bill that ended direct elections for mayors and bupatis in 2014? SBY felt the need to pass a Perpu to rescind that bill because, while he could have stopped the bill at any point, his ambivalence and inattention allowed it to pass. Yes, the MD3 bill needs to be revised but, as Sherlock points out, the President needs to get his own house in order.

Comment on Lee Morgenbesser on Hun Sen by John Lowrie

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 08:08:48 +0000

Apart from some die-hard supporters of Cambodia's ruling party most others who have chosen to take a close interest in the country are indeed coalescing around the observations expressed by Lee Morgenbesser and Sebastian Strangio and Ear Sophal to name just two more. You can add people like me who have worked in Cambodia for over 20 years. Although we are "foreign" and "civil society" - once welcomed but now regarded with hostility - our contribution and experience does allow us to express opinions. We can do that in our own right, because of the money and benefits we have brought for poor Cambodians, and on behalf of many of those Cambodians who today are back to where they were under the Khmer Rouge. Very many are afraid to express any views that are less than wholehearted appreciation even devotion to the ruling party and its top leadership. It was clear to us that PM Hun Sen decided that when his senior most powerful colleagues were unwilling to reform, as he outlined in his 5 hour introspective speech after his party's near defeat in 2013, the only logical course was to return to the kind of rule where there is no chance of electoral defeat anywhere. From that point any previous semblance of neutrality in state institutions including security forces was dropped. Instead absolute loyalty has been demanded..... and then rewarded. The current crackdown on all forms of opposition has created an artificial situation that the majority of Cambodians do not want. Young people especially, with their sights on the outside world through their Smartphone screens, will want more. They will not accept, unlike their parents, being told what to think and what to do. The sad thing though is many in the international community, who are committed to still doing business with the regime, are investing in the old generation instead of new ones. So much for universal human rights.

Comment on Lee Morgenbesser on Hun Sen by Jacqui

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 01:48:24 +0000

Great discussion. Well done New Mandala.

Comment on Brunei’s stateless left in a state of confusion by How can ASEAN approach the refugee crisis? -

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:34:09 +0000

[…] are over 20,000 stateless people living in Brunei. Despite having lived the kingdom for generations, many ethnic Chinese residents are denied […]

Comment on From battlefield to marketplace on the Thai–Myanmar border by Liam Gammon

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:17:34 +0000

CBO = "Community-based organisation"

Comment on Gareth Evans on confronting Hun Sen by Dr Tim Rackett

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 23:27:14 +0000

There is no necessity that Cambodia should evolve or develop into a liberal democracy. It has never been liberal and follows its nationalist and 'Buddhist Socialist' political imaginations and cultures.Moral condemnation does get us far in understanding the complexity.

Comment on Performing Heritage (or, Making Temples Great Again) by Roy Morien

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:00:12 +0000

A most reasonable article somewhat stained by some seemingly anti-colonial sentiments that are rather mean-minded and unnecessary. It could be said that the British and the Dutch (and indeed the French in Cambodia: ref Angkor Wat) showed much more interest in preserving the cultural, religious and architectural heritage of these countries than did the locals. Why denigrate those efforts as if they were some sort of strategy to impose stricter colonial rule. Perhaps the Europeans 'provided managerial authority) because they could and were competent, and the local Javanese did not because they could not. I find Susie Protschky's comments to be sour history.