29 May 2014
In Indonesia, the former minister for Religious Affairs is being urged to resign after being accused of misusing funds that were meant to be used to fund pilgrimages to the holy city of Mecca. In Malaysia, a parliamentary candidate has found herself the target of a smear campaign in which images of a foreign actress in a bikini were distributed, purporting to be her in a state of undress. In Thailand, the army has stepped in to prevent what appeared to be an escalating state of tension between opposing political factions that has brought the country to the brink of civil war.
All across South-east Asia, we see ample evidence of politics being waged in earnest, but with almost no ideological moorings to give these spectacles any real meaning. Why is this so?
A cursory glance at the goings-on across our region would suggest that we, contemporary South-east Asians, have grown accustomed to the tools and trappings of Modernity but have not internalised any of its values or ideas.
… The writer is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / RSIS / Print
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