Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity

Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity


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We live in a world populated not just by individuals but by figures, those larger-than-life people who in some way express and challenge our conventional understandings of social types. This innovative and collaborative work takes up the wide range of figures that populate the social and cultural imaginaries of contemporary Southeast Asia—some familiar only in specific places, others recognizable across the region and even globally. It puts forward a series of ethnographic portraits of figures that represent and give voice to something larger than themselves, offering a view into social life that is at once highly particular and general. They include the Muslim Television Preacher in Indonesia, Miss Beer Lao, the Rural DJ in Thailand, the Korean Soap Opera Junkie in Burma, the Filipino Seaman, and the Photo Retoucher in Vietnam.

Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity brings together the fieldwork of over eighty scholars and covers the nine major countries of the region: Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. An introduction outlines important social transformations in Southeast Asia and key theoretical and methodological innovations that result from ethnographic attention to the study of key figures. Each section begins with an introduction by a country editor followed by short essays offering vivid and intimate portraits set against the background of contemporary Southeast Asia. The result is a volume that combines scholarly rigor with a meaningful, up-to-date portrayal of a region of the world undergoing rapid change. A reference bibliography offers suggestions for further reading.

Figures of Southeast Asia Modernity is an ideal teaching tool for introductory classes to Southeast Asia studies, anthropology, and geography.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780824836467
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, The
Publication date: 07/31/2013
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Johan A. Lindquist is assistant professor of social anthropology at Stockholm University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue Ulf Hannerz xi

Introduction Joshua Barker Erik Harms Johan Lindquist 1

1 The Philippines Smita Lahiri Deirdre De La Cruz 19

Domestic Helper Josè B. Capino 23

Chinese Mestizo Richard T. Chu 25

Filipino Seaman Kale Bantigue Fajardo 27

Public Manager Anna Romina Guevarra 29

Lawless Element Orlando De Guzman 32

Agriculturalist Adam Lukasiewicz 34

Bakla Returnee Martin F. Manalansan 36

Call Center Agent Jan M. Padios 38

Community Health Worker Mai M. Taqueban 41

Beauty Contestant T. Ruanni F. Tupas 43

2 Vietnam Erik Harms 46

Petty Trader Ann Marie Leshkowich 49

Prostitute Christophe Robert 52

Domestic Investor Allison Truitt 54

Enterprising Cadre Ken Maclean 56

Soviet-Trained Scientist Christina Schwenkel 59

Aspiring Overseas Student Erik Harms 61

Cham H'Roi Girl Truong Huyen Chi 63

Mountain Village Head Christian C. Lentz 65

Photo Retoucher Nina Hien 67

Cultural Expert Lauren Meeker 70

Vietnamese Transnational(s) Ivan Small 72

3 Cambodia Jonathan Padwe 75

Cham Modernizer Alberto Pérez-Pereiro 78

World Musician Stephen Mamula 80

Village Police Chief Eve Zucker 82

Broken Woman Annuska Derks 84

(Buddhist) Ascetic Erikdavis 86

Government Official Jenna Grant 89

4 Laos Jerome Whitington 91

Miss Beer Lao Holly High 95

Mobile Phone Monk Patrice Ladwig 97

Mitigation Expert Michael Dwyer 99

Hippie, Interrupted N. J. Enfield 101

Beleaguered Village Leader Jerome Whitington 104

5 Thailand Jane M. Ferguson 107

Grassroots Woman Leader Leeray Costa 110

Bangkok Slum Leader Pilapa Esara 113

Transnational Farmworker Sudarat Musikawong 115

Thai Airways Flight Attendant Jane M. Ferguson 117

Kickboxer Pattana Kitiarsa 119

Single Woman Emily Zeamer 121

Rural DJ Julia Cassaniti 123

Spirit Medium Andrew Johnson 125

Hmong-Thai Schoolgirl Tracy Pilar Johnson 127

6 Indonesia Joshua Barker Johan Lindquist 130

Multimedia Expert Karen Strassler 133

Muslim Television Preacher James Hoesterey 136

Spiritual Trainer Daromir Rudnyckyj 138

Person with HIV/AIDS Tom Boellstorff 141

Activist Doreen Lee 143

Ex-Combatant Jesse Grayman 146

NGO Worker Aryo Danusiri 148

Overseas Female Labor Migrant Rachel Silvey 152

Field Agent Johan Lindquist 154

Street Vendor Sheri Gibbings 156

Street Kid(s) Chris Brown 159

Mr. Hajj Dadi Darmadi 162

Rich Person Joshua Barker 165

Career Woman Carla Jones 167

7 Malaysia Yeoh Seng Guan 170

National Leader Sven Alexander Schottmann 174

Reactionary Gerhard Hoffstaedter 176

Scholar-Musician Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied 179

Hang Tuah, Revisited Rusaslina Idrus 181

Supra-Ethnic Malaysian Julian C. H. Lee 183

Political Satirist Khoo Gaik Cheng 185

Squatter Yeoh Seng Guan 188

Returning Urbanite Matthew Amster 190

Timber Entrepreneur Michael Eilenberg 192

8 Singapore Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied 195

Malay Gangster Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir 198

Bangladeshi Worker Md Mizanur Rahman 200

Woman Activist Yu-Mei Balasingamchow 203

The Peri-Urban Tenant Loh Kah Seng 205

The People's Filmmaker Liew Kai Khiun 207

Schoolteacher Adeline Koh 209

Social Entrepreneur Erik Holmberg 211

9 Burma Nicholas Farrelly 214

Urban Dumsa Mandy Sadan 218

Journalist Thomas Kean 220

Political Prisoner David Scott Mathieson 222

Exile David Gilbert Violet Cho 225

Sex Worker in Thailand Ikuko Okamoto 227

Tatmadaw Officer Jacqueline Menager 229

Korean Soap Opera Junkie Aung Si 232

Entrepreneur Nicholas Farrelly 234

Indie Musician Aung Naing Thu (Pseudonym) 236

Epilogue Benedict Anderson 240

Notes 247

Further Reading 279

Contributors 285

Thematic Index 295

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