Seminars

Year:

Title Date & Time
Myanmar’s Way to Genocide: The Rohingya Crisis in a Disciplined Democracy
Dr Roger Lee Huang

 

Abstract:

An estimated 700,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh since the tatmadaw’s (Myanmar’s armed forces) August 2017 ‘clearance operations.’ This has turned Cox’s Bazar into one of the world’s fastest growing and largest refugee settlement. Although state-directed violence in Myanmar’s ethnic peripheries is not unique, the state’s attitudes towards the Rohingya community are qualitatively different to other major ethnic groups in the country. Identity politics are a powerful factor shaping the ongoing mass violence against the Rohingya community. The “othering” of the Rohingya community as illegal “Bengali” migrants that are not a part of the Myanmar nation is a long-term state-led process. Whereas some critics argue the crisis in Rakhine state exposes Myanmar’s apparent democratization as a false dawn, this paper argues that genocidal violence against the Rohingya “others” is part-and-parcel of Myanmar’s consolidation into the tatmadaw’s disciplined democracy.

 

Short bio:

Dr Roger Lee Huang is Lecturer in Terrorism Studies and Political Violence with the Department of Security Studies and Criminology, Macquarie University. He received his PhD from the Department of Asian and International Studies, City University of Hong Kong as a Hong Kong PhD Fellow. He has previously worked at Lingnan University, the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan and Academia Sinica (Taiwan) and has interned with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Yangon, Myanmar.

 

Please click here for youtube video of the seminar.

14 Jan 2019 (Mon)
Federal Republic or Dynastic Federalism? Imperatives of Political and Electoral Reforms in the Draft Federal Constitution of the Philippines
Prof Julio C Teehankee

 

Abstract:

The Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution (ConCom) convened by President Rodrigo Duterte in early 2018 completed a draft federal constitution premised on the implementation of extensive political and electoral reforms as major pre-requisites to a shift to federalism. These reforms include: (1) the need to regulate the number of political dynasties; (2) the need to institutionalize a package of political party reforms that include campaign finance reform, subsidy to political parties, a ban on party switching, and strengthening citizen parties linkages; and (3) the need to strengthen a mixed-electoral system in the House of Representatives. Without these important reforms, a shift to federalism might prove to be disastrous for the country with the regions becoming fiefdom of local political clans and dynasties. Recently, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments released its own draft federal constitution, co-authored by former president and current Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The House draft constitution has not only expunged all of the ConCom’s proposed reforms, it has removed the anti-political dynasty provision and term limits for local and nationally elected officials already enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. With the 2019 midterm and 2022 presidential elections in the horizon, it is apparent that the country’s political elite cannot rise above their self-serving, narrow, and partisan interests for the good of the Filipino nation.

 

Short bio:

Julio C. Teehankee, an educator, researcher, and political consultant with a wide experience in electoral and political party related activities, is professor of Political Science and International Studies at De La Salle University. Teehankee served as chair of the Subcommittee on Political Reforms of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution that was convened by President Rodrigo Duterte in early 2018. He has published extensively on Philippine elections and party politics, and his latest publication is “Regional Dimensions of the 2016 General Elections in the Philippines: Emerging Contours of Federalism,” Regional and Federal Studies 28 (2018)

 

Please click here for youtube video of the seminar.

12 Nov 2018 (Mon)
The Rise of Duterte and the Return of Mahathir: Current Features of Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia
Dr Bonn Juego

 

Abstract:

Through an analysis of news reports, public debates, survey results, speeches and policy documents, the concepts of emergent authoritarian populism in the Philippines and the enduring authoritarian neoliberalism in Malaysia will be developed. The first part of the presentation will elucidate the significant features of the process through which the new regime of authoritarian populism is taking shape in the Philippines, and conclude that the dying EDSA-type liberal democracy has been a spawning ground for the popularity of Duterte’s authoritarian politics. The second part will unpack the historical trajectory and prevailing institutions of Malaysia’s neoliberal economy embedded in an authoritarian political framework – which shall serve as initial conditions, normative indicators and benchmarks against which the promises for regime change of Mahathir and his Reformasi allies must be evaluated. Based on these studies in contemporary Southeast Asia, the seminar will comparatively reflect upon the contradictory trends of cases in which a democratic route has been taken to either legitimize or overcome authoritarianism.

 

Short bio:

Bonn Juego is postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, with interdisciplinary teaching responsibilities in the social, political and economic sciences of development issues. He is visiting fellow at SEARC, City University of Hong Kong during the autumn of 2018, and has held guest researcher positions at the Department of Political Science, Aalborg University, and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen. His recent publications and research endeavours are on contemporary Philippines and Malaysia, the political economy of the ASEAN Economic Community project, the challenge of right-wing populism and nationalism in Asia and Europe, the concept of authoritarian neoliberalism, and the new privatization of global development finance. His talk is based on two recent publications: “The Philippines 2017: Duterte-led Authoritarian Populism and Its Liberal-Democratic Roots” (Asia Maior, 2018) and “The Institutions of Authoritarian Neoliberalism in Malaysia: A Critical Review of the Development Agendas Under the Regimes of Mahathir, Abdullah, and Najib” (ASEAS, 2018).

 

Please click here for youtube video of the seminar.

5 Nov 2018 (Mon)
Propagating the Singapore Model: Geographic Imaginaries of Urban Renewal and Transnational Cooperation in the Belt and Road Era
Dr Elmo Gonzaga

 

Abstract:

Studies of Singapore as a creative or communicative city typically focus on its Renaissance City Plan to refashion its urban environment into a domain with “cultural vibrancy", which would draw foreign capital and talent to fuel innovation. Looking at the global circulation of cultural flows amid the shift of the world economy to Asia, this paper examines Singapore’s expanding sphere of influence in the burgeoning ASEAN Economic Community, whose aggregate GDP is already the world’s fifth largest. Consolidating its geopolitical position within the region, Singapore aims to transform itself into a leading hub for knowledge production by disseminating geographic imaginaries of urban renewal and transnational cooperation that highlight its exceptionality. On the one hand, the state-owned consultancy firm Surbana Jurong designs master plans for emerging metropolitan areas using templates for Special Economic Zones and Smart Cities based on Singapore's successful trajectory of development. On the other, the state-run cultural institutions National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum stage international exhibitions that promote new narratives and networks of intraregional creative practice with Singapore at the vanguard of innovation.


Short bio:
Elmo Gonzaga is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He obtained his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on Southeast Asian media cultures. His two recent publications in Cinema Journal and Cultural Studies look respectively at the culture industry of poverty porn and digital nostalgia in the smart city.
 

Please click here for youtube video of the seminar.

10 Sep 2018 (Mon)