According to Munshi Abdullah, the author of the Hikayat Abdullah (Annals of Abdullah), 'knowledge and skill are the ladder to riches, and riches lead to greatness. Of a truth, all things created by Allah in this world have their value which can be reckoned in terms of money; learning alone commands a price which no man can determine' (Abdullah, 1970: 40). This empowerment of ethical behaviour through the disciplining of the mind in the practice of principles frames the Hikayat's approach to the practice of mercantilism and good government in the service of commerce. This article interprets the dimensions of this 19th-century Asian vision and uncovers three themes related to the maritime Silk Road: impartial administration of law and order, beneficent autocracy and the proper prioritization of wealth and good manners.
Developmental railpolitics advances Chinese geostrategic ambitions without the overt opprobrium commonly generated by such issues as China's militarization of the South China Sea, military modernization, border conflicts and trade disputes. This article examines the implications of planned Chinese high-speed rail (HSR) investments in Thailand and Indonesia. The HSR project in Thailand represents an important advance in China's geopolitical influence through the larger design of the Singapore–Kunming Rail Link (SKRL), while the one in Indonesia is aimed at forging better economic ties with the largest country in Southeast Asia. It also assesses the room for political manoeuvre by those two countries vis-à-vis China's developmental railpolitics. Thailand considers the Chinese HSR project as only its first step to achieve its ambitious goal of becoming a land transportation hub in Indochina. Moreover, the Kingdom is still practising a strategy of balancing foreign powers. The HSR project in Indonesia also reflects changing political considerations on contracting foreign partners to build infrastructure. The conclusions suggest that China can be outmanoeuvred in railway bargaining by the recipient states, depending on geopolitical positioning and the nature of their domestic political and economic conditions. (Contemp Southeast Asia/GIGA)
"In many ways, the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) is a microcosm of the Singapore brand of government. The DNA of Singapore's policymaking is its forward-looking nature. S. Rajaratnam's trademark is taking the long view while Lee Kuan Yew articulated his wish for leadership foresight and the admiration for 'helicopter quality' candidates in policymaking. This was how RSIS' mission began under the stewardship of the late President S. R. Nathan. RSIS began (as IDSS — i.e., the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies) in 1996 as a form of policymakers' clairvoyant on security matters. To date, it is Singapore's 'frontline' think tank on Asia-Pacific security, counter-terrorism, inter-religious dialogue and non-traditional security threats. The contributors in this edited volume, Forward Engagement: RSIS as a Think Tank of International Studies and Security in the Asia-Pacific, are the stalwarts of the RSIS mission for the past 20 years and the leading lights for the RSIS of the 21st century. These are their reflections for posterity as well as their forward projections for their quasi-diplomatic and intellectual roles in the service of Singapore's national security."--Publisher's website.
AbstractAndrew Linklater'sViolence and Civilization in the Western States-Systemis to be both praised and critiqued for opening spaces for discussing civilisational standards in the era of a globalising world. It offers a healthy provocation for inquiry into how non-Western states ought to comprehend the legacies of Western political evolution colouring existing 'IR' as a discipline. Linklater's book inspires three thematic reactions: globalisation does bring harm; the notion of a universal civilisation remains open to debate; and the possibilities of civilising patterns in premodern Southeast Asia serving as supplementary mirrors and extensions of the relationship between violence and civilisation. It is suggested that Linklater's sequel must consider the trajectory of non-Western sociologies of IR.
The Singaporean polity has created the 'militarized civilian'. This policy phenomenon beckons the question: How is this cross-fertilization carried out in Singapore's civil-military relations? Militarization is in the first sense meant to inculcate a calibrated dual personality within the civilian whereby being an effective soldier requires indulging in simulated military suffering as a badge of pride; at the same time, the citizen soldier has to believe that military and civilian values are perfectly interchangeable and contribute equally to the maintenance of peace. In a second sense, militarization is equally about permanently ritualizing sacrifices for a communitarian defence. We argue that while mostly successful, militarization also produces the tension arising from the need to appear pugnaciously vigilant while avoiding the casualties that must logically arise from heightened simulated combat. This tension is explained through two dimensions of ongoing crises: the parameters of a politically dramatized National Service ritual; and the constant propaganda of geopolitical dangers threatening the Republic. (Pac Rev/GIGA)