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Historical Legacies in Southeast Asia (individual papers)

Sunday 22 March 2015, 0900 – 1100, Auditorium 1

Chair:
Stephen Druce
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
stephen.druce@ubd.edu.bn

List of Papers:

  • The emergence of early polities along the northwest coast of Borneo and the origins of modern Brunei, tenth to mid-fourteenth centuries
  • Brunei in World War II: Society and memory
  • Tracing the strategies of tourism promotion in the Netherlands East Indies, 1908-1941
  • Khrushscev’s Role in Indonesia – Soviet Union Relations (1953-1964)

 

Paper 1: The emergence of early polities along the northwest coast of Borneo and the origins of modern Brunei, tenth to mid-fourteenth centuries

Stephen Druce
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
stephen.druce@ubd.edu.bn

The paper explores the rise of early trading polities from the tenth century along the northwest coast of Borneo in Sarawak and Brunei, their subsequent collapse in the mid-fourteenth century, and the emergence of modern Brunei at Kota Batu shortly after this period as the major trading centre in the region. A tenth century origin for the Borneo northwest coast polities is based on archaeological data. This is consistent with Wang Gungwu’s account of the Nanhai trade during the Tang period (618-907), which suggests that Borneo (and the Philippines) played little or no part in this trade.

The rise of these polities appears connected to a major trade boom that began at the start of the tenth century and encompassed much of Asia. Linked to this trade boom was the expansion of Sung commercial activities in Southeast Asia that led to traders from Chinese ports sailing to the northwest coast of Borneo. By about the mid-fourteenth century, the four largest of these northwest coast polities had collapsed as a consequence of external factors that resulted in a major decline in the region’s trade. Modern Brunei then emerged as northwest Borneo’s dominant entrepôt at Kota Batu, the location of the large and sophisticated water city described by Pigafetta in 1521.

The paper also briefly addresses several studies that claim non-Borneo groups founded Brunei and Santubong in Sarawak. I argue that the origins of the northwest coast polities should be seen as inherently local.

 

Paper 2: Brunei in World War II: Society and memory

Frank Dhont
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
frank.dhont@gmail.com

During World War II the whole of Borneo was occupied by the Japanese. The Japanese Navy occupied the South of Borneo and the Japanese Army occupied the North of Borneo. Brunei was affected also and was governed by the Japanese Army group that occupied the North of Borneo. The Japanese occupation represented a radical change from the previous colonial administration and profoundly affected indigenous society.

The paper investigates the way Brunei experienced and perceived the Japanese Occupation and frames this Bruneian perspective in a context of differences as well as the similarities between the North and the South of Borneo. Emphasizing the historically very different paths to the modern nation and state of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, the paper highlights the different nuances on how the Japanese occupation is depicted and remembered in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, both from a personal perspective of people in society and by the respective nation states.

 

Paper 3: Tracing the strategies of tourism promotion in the Netherlands East Indies, 1908-1941

Achmad Sunjayadi
Universitas Indonesia
achmad.sunjayadi@ui.ac.id

Not many people are aware that actually modern tourism in Indonesia already commenced during the Dutch colonial era in early the twentieth century. Meanwhile few have studied of tourism in the Netherlands East Indies. In 1908, the Netherlands East Indies government established the Vereeniging Toeristenverkeer (Association of Tourist Traffic ) in Weltevreden, Batavia (now Jakarta). This semi official body constituted an association of state and private enterprises handling the matter of tourism in the Netherlands East Indies. One of this organization’s goals was to promote the tourism in the Netherlands East Indies. By using the official documents, annual reports, newspapers, magazines, guide books, travelogues from the period, we can trace which strategy of tourism promotion they used. We can also trace the medium, various forms of promotion that disseminated both domestic and overseas. This study shows that we should study it because it can help to understand the strategy of tourism promotion in Indonesia today.

 

Paper 4: Khrushscev’s Role in Indonesia – Soviet Union Relations (1953-1964)

Ahmad Fahrurodji
Universitas Indonesia
geopoliticum@gmail.com

It is undeniable that the great support given by the Soviet Union to Indonesia in the first two decades after its independence, is an important factor affecting the development of Indonesia. The support of the Soviet Union in Trikora operation in order to get back West Irian from the Dutch, manifested in the form of military technical assistance, which changed the Indonesian military forces become one of the largest in Southeast Asia. Besides that, infrastructure development aimed at making Indonesia into an Industrial country with tremendous geographical potency, also has launched in this period. In the span of relations between the two nations during the period, the figure of Nikita Khrushchev, communist party leader of the Soviet Union, played a very important role for the improvement of relations between Indonesia – the Soviet Union. Unlike his predecessors, Khrushchev (1953-1964) gave considerable attention to the relationship between the two nations. His personal relationship with Sukarno became an important factor for improving the bilateral relationship into a friendship. This paper discusses the Khrushchev’s leadership style and its influence on Soviet Union – Indonesia relations. By using primary sources such as archives from the collections of State Archive of the Russian Federation that have been declassified, including: Stenography of Nikita Khrushchev’s speech in luncheon with President Sukarno September 1964. In addition will be used magazines and publications from the Soviet embassy in Jakarta period of the 1960s as well as other sources.