Most people who arrive at New Mandala are looking for something meaty about the countries of mainland Southeast Asia.
A quick glance at the search engine terms that consistently bring readers to rspas.anu.edu.au/rmap/newmandala gives a strong indication of reader interests. Some of the phrases that rank particularly highly are the predictable ones: “sufficiency economy”, “burma cyclone”, “thai crown prince” and “ladyboy”. But many of the other terms that regularly bring readers to the site are not nearly as region-specific. Some of them are quite unexpected. Over the years we have seen large numbers of readers stumble here looking for information on everything from “globalisation” and “tea”, to “miss universe”, “dog”, and “fig leaf”.
Not everybody is in the market for material on Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and all the rest.
The College of Asia and the Pacific at the ANU recently launched an exciting academic blog called South Asia Masala that will be of great interest to those New Mandala readers looking for material beyond the boundaries of mainland Southeast Asia.
South Asia Masala adds to the College’s stable of blog offerings. Online since early July 2009, it has already developed a tremendous range of content. If you are looking to take your blog reading (and commenting) beyond the western frontier of Burma, then South Asia Masala is well worth your regular consideration. Recent posts on China-India border disputes, education policy and poverty, and Australia-India bilateral relations will be of immediate interest to many New Mandala readers. South Asia Masala is also building up a range of compelling content on Afghanistan and Pakistan. And for the cricket tragics among us there is this recent essay that charts India’s rise as a cricketing superpower.
Try as I might, I can’t say we have ever managed to get much cricket content on New Mandala. Perhaps this is one area where some productive South Asia-Southeast Asia linkups could occur. Along that line, if anybody knows more about enterprises of this sort I would be very happy to hear from you. And if anybody could help explain why cricket became so popular in almost all of Britain’s former South Asian colonies except Burma I would be similarly delighted.
That is just one question among many that people from across the South Asian and Southeast Asian Studies academic blogging communities could help explore together. There is so much to be learned by building bridges between the two regional specialties.
South Asia Masala Zindabad!