Seminars

Year:

Title Date & Time
Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia
Dr. Michael Vatikiotis

Abstract

• How will the deepening religious divisions in Indonesia and Malaysia affect the world?

• What is China's growing influence in the region?

• Why is Malaysia riddled with corruption?

• Why do Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines harbour unresolved violent insurgencies?

‘The gun is never far removed from the political arena in Southeast Asia,’ writes Michael Vatikiotis in his part memoir and part political study of the dynamics of modern Southeast Asia, a frontline of two of the most important global conflicts: the struggle between a declining West and a rising China, and that between religious tolerance and extremism. Southeast Asia accounts for sizeable chunks of global investment and manufacturing capacity; it straddles essential lines of trade and communication. Whether it is mobile phone parts or clothing and accessories, Southeast Asia is a vital link in the global supply chain. Yet peering beyond brand new shopping malls and the shiny glass towers of Bangkok and Jakarta, Blood and Silk highlights why it is one of the most perennially unstable regions of the world and reveals the true struggle of people’s lives, the brinkmanship played by its leaders, vivid portraits of the personalities who pull the strings and the many issues that have a global impact from the Islamic jihadist groups of Central Java to the right-wing Buddhist nationalists of Rakhine State in Myanmar. From negotiating with deadly Thai Muslim insurgents, mediating between warring clans in the Southern Philippines to consoling the victims of political violence in Indonesia, Michael has first-hand, hair-raising experience of the endemic violence in these countries and interweaves this in to the narrative of this many-layered portrait of the region.

Short bio

Michael Vatikiotis is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and gained his doctorate from the University of Oxford. He is a member of the Asia Society's International Council and has a decade of experience working as a private diplomat and conflict mediator for the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. He is a former BBC journalist who has worked in Asia for over thirty years, living in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. He now lives in Singapore and is the author of two previous books on the politics of Southeast Asia. @jagowriter

4 Sep 2017 (Mon)