Societal and Environmental Protection in Southeast Asia
0900–1030, Saturday 16 April 2016, L5
University of Oxford
List of Papers:
- Paper 1: Climate Change in the Philippines: Paradoxical Relationship among Ecology, Grassroots Society and Political Administration
- Paper 2: The Bajo and the human environment: an exploration of language metamorphosis and environmental change in coastal Indonesia
- Paper 3: The Eco-poetics and Environmental Consciousness in Angkarn Jantatip’s Poetry: ‘Sieng Sontana Jaak Panang Tham’, Hua Jai Hong Tee Ha (2013)
Paper 1: Climate Change in the Philippines: Paradoxical Relationship among Ecology, Grassroots Society and Political Administration
University of Passau
Following the concepts of environmental legitimation crisis (Habermas, 1973/1992; Marshall &
Goldstein, 2006) and environmental justice (Schroeder et al., 2008; Middleton, 2012), this study
deals with socio-ecological conflicts resulting from climate change, erroneous norm, environmental
degradation, and inefficient implementation of socialised housing policies for the urban poor in the
Southeast Asian City of Cagayan de Oro, Northern Mindanao, Philippines. The city government
enacted the Piso-Piso Program to provide dwellings for the landless and homeless populace.
Consequently, housing projects were built and occupied in areas deemed not suitable for settlement.
When typhoon Washi (local name: Sendong) hit the city in December 2011, the main victims were
mostly from these places. Social housing welfare is evidently deficient; however, the city
government allowed marginalised residents to settle in disaster prone areas. In spite of that, there
was no resistance coming from the urban poor. The resistance only occurred after the effects of the
typhoon were encountered. This paper analyses the tolerance of the city government and nonresistance
of the urban poor preceding the disaster. Further, it examines the policies of the
government and its reaction to the demands of the urban poor following the disaster. It argues that
environmental crisis can be avoided through environmental justice. Methodology consists of data
from government, international groups, local and national media. Scope of analysis includes the
policies, city mayor, association of the urban poor, environmental and civil society movements.
Paper 2: The Bajo and the human environment: an exploration of language metamorphosis and environmental change in coastal Indonesia
Based on my recent fieldwork amongst the Bajo of Nain Island in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, I intend to explore contemporary responses to cultural intersection and processes of semantic expansion that ensure cultural identity is protected in the convergence of different groups and their regional narratives of belonging. This paper will argue that human adaptation to social change can trigger changes in the environment, with the environment being constructed through a series of vernacular linkages and circulation of agency. Change, thus, is perceived as the essence of collective empowerment for as long as the accommodation of foreign notions does not compromise Bajo order. The causality of environmental adaptation needs to be reviewed from the spectrum of rationales that do not rely on binary concepts for a more diverse understanding of the relational processes which compose cultural identity.
Paper 3: The Eco-poetics and Environmental Consciousness in Angkarn Jantatip’s Poetry: ‘Sieng Sontana Jaak Panang Tham’, Hua Jai Hong Tee Ha (2013)
University of Leeds
In Thai literary work, nature significantly informs our definitions and cultural constructions of the non-human, and shapes human history in relation to the external environment. Angkarn Jantatip’s poetry collection Hua Jai Hong Tee Ha (‘The Fifth Chamber of the Heart’), which won the S.E.A Write Awards in 2013, describes the complex relationship between natural history, social and cultural transformations, the passage of time, and the decline of religious belief and spirituality. This paper argues that Angkarn’s work is ecologically oriented and reflects human quest for identity that crosses the boundaries of time and space. By exploring his ecological poetics and environmental consciousness in the poem sequence ‘Sieng Sontana Jaak Panang Tham’ (‘The Conversation from the Cave Walls’) within an ecocritical framework, this paper suggests that natural history and human culture portrayed in his poetry are shaped and informed by the Mekong bioregion.
Focusing an ecocritical discourse of poetic language and environmental imagination, this study demonstrates Angkarn’s examination of natural history in representations of the Fish God, the Primitive Man, and the Earth, who retell their stories in response to changes in the Mekong environment. The poet critiques human primitive beliefs, environmental history, and stories of human settlement that are passed on through prehistoric cave paintings. His eco-poetics travels across time (human and natural temporalities) and boundaries (land and water) and reveals environmental issues in contemporary Thai poetry.