Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies <p>The <span lang="en-US"><strong>Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies (ASEAS)</strong></span><span lang="en-US"> is an international, interdisciplinary and open access social sciences journal covering a variety of topics (culture, economics, geography, politics, society) from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Topics should be related to Southeast Asia, but are not restricted to the geographical region, when spatial and political borders of Southeast Asia are crossed or transcended, e.g., in the case of linguistics, diaspora groups or forms of socio-cultural transfer. ASEAS publishes two focus issues per year and we welcome out-of-focus submissions at any time. The journal invites both established as well as young scholars to present research results and theoretical and methodical discussions, to report about on-going research projects or field studies, to publish conference reports, to conduct interviews with experts in the field, and to review relevant books. Articles can be submitted in German or English.</span><br><br> <span lang="en-US"><strong>Impact Factor:</strong></span><span lang="en-US"> 0.62 (CiteScore 2017), </span><span lang="en-US"><strong>Online ISSN: </strong></span><span lang="en-US">1999-253X<br></span><span lang="en-US">Published by SEAS (Society of South-East Asian Studies)</span></p> SEAS en-US Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies 1999-2521 <p>Articles published before December 2019 are licensed under the following Creative Commons License:<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.</a>&nbsp; Articles published after that date are licensed under the following Creative Commons License:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International</a>.</p> Editorial <p>-</p> Melanie Pichler ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-28 2019-06-28 12 1 1 2 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0009 The contestation of social memory in the new media: A case study of the 1965 killings in Indonesia <p>While today’s Indonesian democratic government remains committed to the New Order orthodoxy about the mass killings of 1965, new counter-narratives challenging official history are emerging in the new media. Applying mixed-methods and multi-sited ethnography, this study aims to extend our collaborative understanding of the most recent developments in this situation by identifying multiple online interpersonal stories, deliberations, and debates related to the case as well as offline field studies in Java and Bali. Practically and theoretically, we ask how the tragedy of the 1965 killings is contested in the new media and how social memory plays out in this contestation. The study finds that new media potentially act as emancipatory sites channeling and liberating the voices of those that the nation has stigmatized as ‘objectively guilty’. We argue that the arena of contestation is threefold: individual, public vs. state narrative, and theoretical. As such, the transborder space of the new media strongly mediates corrective new voices to fill missing gaps in the convoluted history of this central event of modern Indonesian history.</p> Hakimul Ikhwan Vissia Ita Yulianto Gilang Desti Parahita ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-28 2019-06-28 12 1 3 16 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0010 Future-making and frictional mobility in the return of Burmese migrants <p>This article explores the experiences of recent returnees from Thailand to Southeast Myanmar and the complicated landscape of their future-making. In looking at the arduous journeys of Burmese migrants both in Myanmar and Thailand, I discuss how economic and political developments in reform-era Myanmar have informed Burmese migrants’ idea of return migration. Seeking a better life through coming home, they have encountered factors of friction and traction that either support or impede their plans. Accordingly, I argue that the return of these Burmese workers has become frictional mobility rather than a straightforward return. Ethnic politics and land boom in the region have intensified social inequality and conflicts that eventually make the organization of return more complex. The situation allows migrants to settle in their home country, postpone the return, and continue shuttling at the border while using the pattern of movement as a livelihood.</p> Prasert Rangkla ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-28 2019-06-28 12 1 17 30 Excluding migrant labor from the Malaysian bioeconomy: Working and living conditions of migrant workers in the palm oil sector in Sabah <p>In 2012, Malaysia launched its bioeconomy program, with the palm oil sector as one of the main pillars. In focusing on the societal processes that accompany the Malaysian plans to establish a bioeconomy, it is of special interest to understand which occupation groups in the palm oil sector are included and which are excluded from the socio-economic targets of the program. Research on the bioeconomy, as well as a green economy more broadly, often neglect the possible effects of green economy models on labor markets. I argue that low-skilled migrant workers employed in the Malaysian palm oil sector are structurally excluded from the national goal of enhancing the living and working conditions of the population by transforming into a bioeconomy. This exclusion intersects with a specific precarity caused by the socio-economic status of low-skilled migrant workers. The article shows that Malaysia’s bioeconomy program reinforces the precarity of this group of workers, expressed in the lack of perspectives for upward mobility, their discrimination on the labor market, and in social barriers preventing them from further training. The findings presented are based on expert interviews and semi-structured qualitative interviews with workers from Sabah.</p> Janina Puder ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-07-01 2019-07-01 12 1 31 48 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0012 The third wave of Indonesia’s food market: Practices at small community markets in Yogyakarta <p>There is growing awareness among people living in developing countries of the importance of healthy lifestyles. Farmers’ markets (FMs) are a rather new type of market in Indonesia, succeeding traditional and modern markets. They began to appear in 2006 in Bali and were established in Yogyakarta in the early 2010s. This article contributes to limited research in this area by presenting a qualitative analysis of market participants with three main aims: to explore the meanings of local and healthy food from the vendors’/managers’ perspective, to identify the vendors’/managers’ motives for using FMs, and to examine the mechanisms underpinning the performance of FMs. I found no consensus regarding the meanings of local and healthy food. Instead, market participants have a geographically wide concept of ‘local’ that includes perceived high-quality (and healthy) raw materials from all over the Indonesian Archipelago. To assure the quality of food from such distant sources, formal and informal market mechanisms are used in Greater Yogyakarta FMs, as evidenced by the unique practices designed by the markets’ vendors and managers.</p> Dodi Widiyanto ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-28 2019-06-28 12 1 49 67 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0013 Recalling hydraulic despotism: Hun Sen’s Cambodia and the return of strict authoritarianism <p>Mirroring trends elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Cambodia has witnessed a pronounced shift towards stricter authoritarianism over recent years. The state appears more firmly ruled by prime minister Hun Sen than at any time during the past three decades, while the de facto status of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) more closely resembles the single party regimes of neighboring states. One of the major tools of political control and expansion of authority employed by the hierarchical CPP network is the construction of major infrastructure projects, most notably hydropower dams and irrigation schemes. This article focuses attention on the hydraulic infrastructure aspects of exacting political authority and social control by the elite over the nation, drawing upon Wittfogelian perspectives for a conceptual framework. It maintains that Cambodia increasingly represents a modern variant of a hydraulic society, but primarily functions as a satellite hydraulic state of China. The growing influence of China over Cambodia’s hydraulic development has helped elevate Hun Sen to resemble a neo-classic hydraulic despot. Hydraulic society concepts help provide partial understanding of contemporary power relations and party-state ascendency, including the longevity and resilience of Hun Sen’s supremacy.</p> David J. H. Blake ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-28 2019-06-28 12 1 69 89 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0014 The new politics of debt in the transition economy of Vietnam <p>This study reviews the rising household debt and nonfinancial corporation debt in Vietnam, a socialist-oriented, lower middle-income emerging economy. Vietnam has made huge strides in economic growth within three decades of reforms, lifting millions of people out of poverty thanks to better access to credit. At the same time, there are lending and borrowing practices that signal troubles ahead. Based on a thorough examination of the theoretical literature on indebtedness, the study sets out to identify the drivers of borrowing and over-borrowing in Vietnam in recent years. Particularly, the abundant financial and physical resources have given rise to consumerism and the boom of the super-rich. These are two of the four factors that have shifted Vietnamese culture from one that traditionally condemned debt as a vice to one that now tolerates indebtedness. The other two factors can be found at the corporate level where there is an over-reliance on debt financing and rampant rent-seeking. Here, a kind of ‘resource curse’ threatens sustainable corporate growth – businesses rely too much on borrowing to fuel their operations, but in fact are overlooking the innovation factor. The new politics of debt, we suggest, have created a toxically pro-consumption, debt-tolerant society.</p> Hong-Kong To Nguyen Viet-Ha To Nguyen Thu-Trang Vuong Manh-Tung Ho Quan-Hoang Vuong ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-28 2019-06-28 12 1 91 110 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0015 China’s cultural diplomacy in Malaysia during Najib Razak’s premiership <p>This article aims to provide an analysis of China’s cultural diplomacy (CCD) in Malaysia in the latter years of the premiership of Najib Razak (2015-2018). It intends to reflect on the efforts China has been exerting in order to increase its soft power in the Southeast Asian nation. The authors have identified and analyzed four major fields of CCD: the activities of two Confucius Institutes; the first overseas campus of a renowned Chinese university; invocations of shared history, embodied mainly by the figure of the legendary admiral-eunuch Zheng He, regularly commemorated as China’s historic envoy of peace; and Malay translations of classical Chinese novels. The article’s findings reveal an intricate pattern of networks involving various actors, both Chinese and Malaysian, state, semi-state, and non-state, pursuing their own particular interests, which tend to converge and overlap with the aims of Chinese cultural diplomacy. The implementation of CCD has also been formed by the local political and societal structures: a) a ‘special’ relation between Razak’s cabinet and the PRC leadership, revolving around party-based diplomacy and intensive economic cooperation especially between 2015 and May 2018; b) the presence of a large Chinese community, which provides opportunities and, at the same time, creates limitations for the China´s cultural diplomacy practice in Malaysia.</p> Jakub Hrubý Tomáš Petrů ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-28 2019-06-28 12 1 111 129 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0016 Book Review: Werning, R. & Schwieger, J. (2019). Handbuch Philippinen. Gesellschaft-Politik-Wirtschaft-Kultur <p>-</p> Ralph Chan Joshua Makalintal ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-28 2019-06-28 12 1 131 133 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0017