Comments

  1. T. T. says:

    The opposition is missing to present an upside-side to them to govern, rather than just saying “we limit the down side of najib”. So they should keep the upside to electing najib and add to it their own.

  2. Kelenger says:

    Alex mentioned that moderates within both groups need to regroup and refocus their attention to act as effective counterpoints against these groups and to discipline conservative activists within their own ranks.

    I have one question: Do they have strong motivation and militancy as the other group have? I hope I am wrong but I sense that they don’t. Either because of lack of conviction, perceived urgency of the matter or others that I am not sure. If they don’t they will never act as effective counterpoints.

    Case in point, there are various interpretations of Almaidah 51 but the other interpretations are almost unheard of, lost in the very loud and clear MUI statement which indicates that no other interpretation is acceptable as the verse is crystal clear: Voting for a kuffar is sinful. I haven’t heard there is any open discussion on this verse conducted by prominent muslims “left” and “right”, nor there is open letter to MUI to challenge their interpretation. Although this is very important for us as one nation now and in the future.

  3. It is the Tourism Authority of Thailand, not Tourist Authority. Probably the most worthless organization in the Thai Government. They have taken to counting “arrivals” to Thailand as “visitors” when arrivals could be anything from in-transit passengers to visa runners. TAT could be disbanded tomorrow and would not be missed at all.

  4. Chris Beale says:

    Dhammakaya is the trigger. Prayut is going to have to fight on SO MANY, MULTIPLYING fronts now. Here are just four of the most obvious : Bangkok, Patani, Isarn, Burma-Thai border (Myanmar monks already coming out in support of Dhammakaya), Chiang Mai. Good luck Prayut – you’re going to need it. Meanwhile Prem, and a bevy of discontented, power-seeking military – young, and old – their officers trained in Chulalomklao Military Academy coup conveyor-belt self-promotion tactics – wait in the wings. Their tanks, troops, and special operatives, ready.

  5. Chris Beale says:

    When Bill Cinton was President, there were plenty of allegations of cronyism. As there have been subsequently against the Clinton Foundation, a dead-weight against Hilary’s presidential ambitions. Is Trump really so different ? The above is a very good article, making a poignant, probably prescient point- certainly in terms of Trumpian scale. But America’s Asian-style politico-economic rot set in long before Trump. Indeed there’s something of a dynamic symbiosis of the two twins.

  6. Kurt Schwitters says:

    “if it is laziness or hard work that has to do with how the current Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was able to allegedly channel more than $1 billion into his personal bank accounts.” Crime is a species of hard work, evidently too hard for poor ol dumb Najib, who has been caught and humiliated, while his Chinese ‘brain’ Jho Low has not even been questioned. All those subsidized foreign university degrees and the best Malaysia can produce is a huge embezzler. Pathetic.

  7. jo says:

    the point was surely the conflation of lgbt (a term and identity with distinctly ‘western’ origins, and associated with a distinctly ‘western’ activism) with gender non-conformity/non-normative expressions of gender/etc. as well as the impact of the increase usage of the term, which are surely very simple points that sustain themselves sufficiently.

  8. Kelenger says:

    You are right it is about a glasss half-full or half-empty (I presume the water represents moderate and tolerant Islam).
    I would like to add a couple of things.

    First, Ahok won the first round but by only 2-3% margin i.e got only approx. 43% of the votes hence less than 50%, threshold to win the election in one run. Compare that to his approval rate of more than 70% (before the Almaidah 51 case in Pulau Seribu). This indicates around 20-30% agree that he has done his job well but do not want him as a governor. Why is that? Although politic apparently plays an important role we should not dismiss religion aspect. It will be difficult to politicize this if there is no base at all in the religion. Probably there were many who went to the demonstration have vested interest other than religion but several people that I know genuinely do not want to vote for Ahok merely because their believe that voting for Ahok is a sin and that Ahok is guilty of blashphemy.

    Second, the lack of a vocal counter argument (currently alternative interpretaions are only whishpered timidly) from the moderate regarding Almaidah 51 indicates they do not have strong conviction, charisma, or perceived authority to challenge the MUI interpretation of the verse. Very few or even no one from the current moderates are as vocal as the late Gus Dur.

    So yes, the water at this point is probably right in the middle (half full/empty). The result of Ahok case may confirm whether the water level is actually in decreasing or increasing trend, whether the access to grassroot and ulema are more powerfull than access to those in power, whether this country can dismiss good performance based on religious discrimination.

    If Ahok is convicted and jailed it will be more difficult for western Islam apologist to defend the the religion from intolerant accusation by pointing to Indonesia as a poster boy of tolerance in a muslim majority country

    Also, imagine if the church leaders and a presidential candidate say that non-muslim Amercian is forbidden to elect a legal, respectful and capable muslim as leader. Not because of terrorist threat, etc but because he is merely a muslim. I am sure there will be uproar and condemnation from left, right and center.

  9. Kelenger says:

    Thanks for the Article. You are right it is about a glasss half-full or half-empty (I presume the water represents moderate and tolerant Islam).
    I would like to add a couple of things.

    First, Ahok won the first round but by only 2-3% margin i.e got only approx. 43% of the votes hence less than 50%, threshold to win the election in one run. Compare that to his approval rate of more than 70% (before the Almaidah 51 case in Pulau Seribu). This indicates around 20-30% agree that he has done his job well but do not want him as a governor. Why is that? Although politic apparently plays an important role we should not dismiss religion aspect. It will be difficult to politicize this if there is no base at all in the religion. Probably there were many who went to the demonstration have vested interest other than religion but several people that I know genuinely do not want to vote for Ahok merely because their believe that voting for Ahok is a sin and that Ahok is guilty of blashphemy.

    Second, the lack of a vocal counter argument (currently alternative interpretaions are only whishpered timidly) from the moderate regarding Almaidah 51 indicates they do not have strong conviction, charisma, or perceived authority to challenge the MUI interpretation of the verse. Very few or even no one from the current moderates are as vocal as the late Gus Dur.

    So yes, the water at this point is probably right in the middle (half full/empty). The result of Ahok case may confirm whether the water level is actually in decreasing or increasing trend, whether the access to grassroot and ulema are more powerfull than access to those in power, whether this country can dismiss good performance based on religious discrimination.

    If Ahok is convicted and jailed it will be more difficult for western Islam apologist to defend the the religion from intolerant accusation by pointing to Indonesia as a poster boy of tolerance in a muslim majority country

    Also, imagine if the church leaders and a presidential candidate say that non-muslim Amercian is forbidden to elect a legal, respectful and capable muslim as leader. Not because of terrorist threat, etc but because he is merely a muslim. I am sure there will be uproar and condemnation from left, right and center.

  10. Shaik says:

    I’m not sure what David Han’s diatribe is about, but whatever it is, he certainly does proves the author’s point in this article’s third paragraph:

    “Unsurprisingly, such anti-racist endeavours have prompted vitriolic retorts from their detractors, who often indulge in confusing intellectual gymnastics.”

  11. neptunian says:

    Donald Trump talks like a third world dictator and wants to act like one. Hopefully, the institutions in the US is stronger than those of the third world. A third world dictator is dangerous only to his / her own country, The potus is dangerous to the whole world.
    I am spending money faster than I should in a rational world. If Trump gets to act like a third world dictator, then apocalypse is just round the corner – don’t need savings then…

  12. Kelenger says:

    Very good points. You should have an anrticle of your own here.

  13. David Han says:

    Unlike Sangeetha Thanapal the author Hydar Saharudin is not an opportunist. Whiteness studies and postcolonial theory already did great harm to subordinated minorities, because they encourage them to adopt the racial identities and discursive practices of so-called People Of Color. I support the author interpretation that local history matters most for ethnic relations.

    Singapore is a postcolonial state and it should be compared with Fiji where we know that Indo Fijians are a strong political force. Why are ethnic violence between Indo Fijians and native Fijians political disrupting and how do Singaporean “Chinese” could avoid it with social enginering ?

    We should also not forget that Singapore is the Swiss of the world region that is sometimes called Asian Meditaranean to emphasize the similarity between the maritime relationships between the Mediteranean Sea and the South China Sea, Philipine Sea and Celebes Sea.

    We folk in the humanities must resist the the lure of mimicry. We could gain more citations from US humanities with flattering their narcistic mindset that all marginal people are just like People of Color in the USA and whiteness is an universal signifier for dominance, rationality and modernity. The USA has no solutions for the problems of the world at large and it is certainly a much more ridiculous model nation than the British Empire was in their heyday.

  14. Chris Beale says:

    If the video of Trumps’ alleged compromised position with Russian hookers is released, then he’s a dead duck. Did it even happen, does the video exist ? Do Donald Ducks’ many establishment enemies, have a copy ?

  15. Mad world says:

    Malaysia is also moving toward more conservative…is it from the same reason as happening in Indonesia?! From what I see it is almost the whole Muslim world are more and more being conservative..wonder if they got influences from the Middle East and the conflicts from that region! I heard on the radio yesterday that Christians in Egypt are in danger.

  16. tuck says:

    Truck could and he would; but he will be repudiated by his party because of it, then impeached.

  17. Krisna Murti says:

    You’re right, in Indonesia hardline islamist rise is grassroots movement, not just elite power play. And difference between hardline islam and moderate islam is equivalent to difference between christian catholic and protestant which sparks civil war in the holy roman empire in the 16th century.

    In part, we’ve seen this ideological war between moderate and hardline with ISIS vs the rest of islam world. ISIS is as hardline as it can get, and most of islam denounce them and fought them or flee from them.

    It won’t come to that in Indonesia. Remember that when you try to brainwash someone from a position of equality
    (which is the case for teacher to student, since the student can leave and get new teacher, and student still have input from parents), you’ll get counter arguments that will tamper the most extreme ideas. This has been scientifically proven.

    In the end, there will be middle ground consensus among general populace about what is acceptable and 2 differing ideology at the extreme moderate and hardline. It is exactly the same with what’s happening in America between liberals and conservative. And everything will be fine as long as all side still tolerates each other.

    I urge you all who understand Indonesian to read this: http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2017/02/24/15563371/islam.dan.kesalehan . From my experience, the position of majority of muslim in Indonesia still chooses “Akhlak” (etiquette) rather than “hifzh al-din” (to guard the religion). Which is the main difference between moderate and hardline islam.

    And if anyone insist that there is a sharp increase of follower of hardline islam, please have some empirical evidence. When compiling this evidence, please remember that even moderate islam in Indonesia still considers premarital sex as a sin, same sex marriage as forbidden, and a host of stuff that western intellectuals considers extremely conservative, backwards, and out of date. So believes in those central tenant of islamic faith can’t be consider hardline. Only how muslim acted on those believes can be consider hardline (for example: willing to do stoning for adulterers).

  18. Shawn McHale says:

    Re this comment in the review: “It brings to mind that surely the British alone had such a facility for popular song as an act of community and resilience and defiance.”

    Surely not the Irish. Or the Vietnamese, for that matter. What could they write about?

  19. Shawn McHale says:

    Not an Indonesia expert, but I have qualms about the following statement — “To count bissu and waria as traditional Indonesian expressions of LGBT identities does not in itself seem to be problematic. LGBTQ+ is a big enough category. The problem is the discrimination, not whether these traditional Identities are seen as LGBT or not.”

    I think this misses a key point. Yes, LGBTQIA+ is capacious and can add on more categories. But in one sense, this is a kind of imperialism — indigenous categories (like bissu) have to be slotted into an imported template, and understood *in relation to outside (and secular) categories,* rather than in terms of pre-existing categories of understanding. Now, one can argue that we are in the twenty-first century, this is the way the world is, and so on. But yes, such incorporation is “problematic,” in the sense that almost certainly, in the process of incorporation, cultural knowledge is lost.

  20. Marc says:

    If you talk to Indonesians who belong to minorities, that for more than one hundred years, often centuries, have lived in Indonesia without problems yet now feel scarred and are persecuted: If you talk to Shia, Ahmadiyya, now even Christian Indonesians. If you talk to trans Indonesians, gay and lesbian Indonesians, there is no doubt, that there is a rise of conservative and radical Islam in Indonesia: Members of minorities of all kinds feel its devastating effect on their lives, they are scarred, and all too many of them are already traumatized by it. Of course if you are an expat, if you are upper middle or upper class, if you live in the capital, and if you are not interested in the life of people less well protected than yourself the new Islamism might seem like no big deal. Yet I ask myself why so many people complain about a “fascist atmosphere” in Trump’s America when even in traditionally „moderate“ Muslim majority countries like Indonesia events like these are more and more commonplace: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/02/25/indonesian-hard-liners-again-turn-up-heat-on-ahmadis.html