Think Tank (November to December 2019)
Asia-Pacific and the Humanitarian World

Against the backdrop of countries in the Asia-Pacific region increasing their contributions to address international humanitarian challenges, the RSIS’ Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme hosted the second of a two-part conference series on humanitarian work in the region on 5 and 6 December 2019. Titled “Asia-Pacific and the Humanitarian World”, the event was a co ...

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Data-Gathering in Colonial Southeast Asia 1800-1900: Framing the Other
Empire-building did not only involve the use of excessive violence against native communities, but also required the gathering of data about the native Other. This is a book about books, which looks at the writings of Western colonial administrators, company-men and map-makers who wrote about Southeast Asia in the 19th century. In the course of their information-gathering they had also framed the people of Southeast Asia in a manner that gave rise to Orientalist racial stereotypes that would be used again and again. This work revisits the era of colonial data-collecting to demonstrate the workings of the imperial echo chamber, and how in the discourse of 19th century colonial-capitalism data was effectively weaponized to serve the interests of Empire.
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Cina Timor: Baba, Hakka, and Cantonese in the Making of Timor-Leste
Although they were a tiny minority in the most backward of European colonies, the ethnic Chinese played a critical role in the development of Portuguese Timor and the making of modern Timor-Leste. Against their portrayal either as comprador merchants whose sole concern was profit or as hapless victims of tragically recurrent mass violence, this book explores the diverse origins of the ethnic Chinese in Portuguese Timor — early Hokkien-speaking pioneers whose creole offspring engaged in trade both with and against the colonial state, Hakka-speaking agriculturalists from the Pearl River Delta and Meixian regions of Guangdong, Macanese civil servants in the colonial administration, and Cantonese convicts sent to serve out their sentences on Timor’s distant shores. Drawing on Portuguese and Chinese primary sources, the book traces the intersection of colonial state practices, Chinese associational forms, and republican ideals out of which emerged a distinct identity as Cina Timor — Chinese Timorese.
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Terrorist Deradicalisation in Global Contexts: Success, Failure and Continuity
A collection of case studies of terrorist rehabilitation programmes from around the world, this book examines the wide-ranging methodologies of terrorist deradicalisation initiatives adopted by different countries globally. It contextualises these programmes as they were initiated and explains the factors that led to their relative success, failure or continuity. The different typology of rehabilitation modes acts as a guide to establishing a framework and a starting point for any deradicalisation and rehabilitation programme. These case studies demonstrate practical examples of how the theories can be applied to achieve real results. This book is an indispensable resource for researchers, practitioners and policy-makers in the field of Terrorist Deradicalisation and Rehabilitation.
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Terrorist Rehabilitation and Community Engagement in Malaysia and Southeast Asia
The contributors to this book analyse the different approaches and modes of terrorist rehabilitation that have been attempted by Malaysia, and other countries in Southeast Asia. With an emphasis on the particular contexts within which they operate, this book examines the factors that determine the relative successes and failure of a wide range of community initiatives in integrating terrorists back into society. These initiatives include using methods based on social psychology, religion, and entrepreneurship to develop a comprehensive approach to rehabilitating and deradicalizing terrorists in Malaysia as well as Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. As such it makes an important contribution to the global policy debate, coloured by the unique characteristics of the South East Asia region. A valuable resource for researchers and policymakers seeking constructive ways to counter violent extremism.
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China’s Omnidirectional Peripheral Diplomacy
In view of its size, and vast land and sea boundaries that it shares with its neighbours, China has always regarded its peripheral policy as a crucial aspect of its national security. Such a mentality conforms to Chinese leaders' core belief that a stable external environment — in particular, its immediate region — remains the sine qua non for the continued and sustained rejuvenation of their nation. This book examines China's evolving strategies towards its surrounding peripheries. It is the first book to examine in detail President Xi Jinping's steering of China's peripheral diplomacy. It argues that China pursues an ambitious, omnidirectional regional diplomacy that emphasizes the entire periphery region, and not just specific peripheries. According to this book, Chinese regional policy cannot be properly and adequately understood without taking into account its full breadth, substance and scope. Featuring chapters that explore China's evolving policy in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Central Asia, and addressing new developments under Xi, this book fleshes out the intricacies of how China has been managing its peripheral relationships in Asia under new circumstances and new leadership.
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Contested Multilateralisms: Lessons for ASEAN
Despite its success, ASEAN has faced various internal and external challenges. To overcome such challenges, ASEAN can look to the experiences of other regional security architectures for useful learning points. With this objective in mind, RSIS’ Regional Security Architecture Programme (RSAP) ...
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Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and the Future of Defence: What are the Role of Ethics, Norms, and Governance?
The Military Transformation Programme (MTP) at RSIS, the Norwegian Institute of Defence Studies (IFS) and Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK) jointly organised a workshop on “Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and the Future of Defence: The Role of Ethics, Norms, and Govern ...
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Is the Use of Chemical Weapons No Longer a Taboo?
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is part of the rules-based international order. Therefore, the international community must uphold the integrity of the CWC for global peace and security. This was the key point made by Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, former director-general of the Organis ...
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Allies of Convenience: A Theory of Bargaining in US Foreign Policy
Asst Prof Evan Resnick’s Allies of Convenience: A Theory of Bargaining in US Foreign Policy is one of RSIS’ best works and a future classic in the study of alliances. This was how RSIS Dean Ralph Emmers hailed the book, published by Columbia University Press, as he launched it on 29 N ...
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Rising from the Ashes: UN Peacebuilding in Timor-Leste
In late 1999, the United Nations despatched a peacebuilding force to a country whose birth had been racked by violence. It was a first for the United Nations: it was not only taking on a peacekeeping role but also a state-building role, assuming the mantle of a sovereign government where there ...
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Malaysia’s 14th General Election and UMNO’s Fall: Intra-Elite Feuding and the Pursuit of Power
The 2018 Malaysian general election was a defining event in Malaysian history, with the Barisan Nasional coalition unexpectedly losing power after over half a century of rule. Edmund Terence Gomez and Mohamed Nawab Osman’s edited book, Malaysia’s 14th General Election and UMNO’s ...
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Co-organising the 23rd ARF Heads of Defence Universities/Colleges/Institutions Meeting
The ASEAN Regional Forum Heads of Defence Universities/Colleges/Institutions Meeting (ARF HDUCIM) is a Track 1 meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), designed to provide a defence diplomacy and best practice sharing platform for military institutes in the region that run education programm ...
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RSIS Alumni Activities
The past quarter was a busy month for the RSIS Alumni Association (RAA). In the course of the work of RSIS, our faculty travel widely and try to visit countries where there are RSIS alumni. This quarter, Dean Ralf Emmers hosted RSIS alumni in Beijing to a dinner and reinforced our connections ...
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Nanyang Alumni Service Award for RSIS Alumni Association’s First President
In recognition of his efforts as the inaugural president of the RSIS Alumni Association (RAA), Mr Phillip Ee was awarded the Nanyang Alumni Service Award during the recent NTU Homecoming event, held in October 2019. Mr Ee served tirelessly for four years and, together with his Executiv ...
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RSIS visit to Korean National Defense University (KNDU)
Mr Eddie Lim, the Head of the Military Studies Programme (MSP), a component programme of the RSIS Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), presented a paper in Seoul, South Korea, on Singapore’s national service experience. He was speaking at a conference titled “Developing Elite Res ...
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RSIS at the Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference and Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar
Mr Eddie Lim, Senior Fellow and Head of the Military Studies Programme, a component programme of the RSIS Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), was invited to speak at the fifth Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference (IPACC) and Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS), organis ...
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Mervin Kok
Adrian Chong
Julius Cesar Imperial Trajano
Sworn Hannah Elyse
Piya Raj Sukhani
Wu Shang-Su
S. Nanthini