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Chinese Indonesians and regime change : [book review] Chong, Wu-Ling Sep 1, 2012

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Pacific Affairs: Volume 85, No. 3 – September 2012 678 as the military. Nattapoll punctures the myth that the monarchy favoured democratization in the 1930s and that Thailand’s politics was dominated by authoritarians in the People’s Party, showing the extent to which royalists successfully struggled to regain authority and power after the 1932 revolution. Hewison and Kengkij show royalist notions of “Thai-style democracy” to be a Thai variant of the “Asian values” argument routinely used to rationalize authoritarianism. Krittian reviews how royalist groups worked before, during and after the 2006 coup to undermine criticism by draping the act in the yellow robes of royal legitimacy. Two concluding chapters illustrate how a particular ideological-economic construct, the King’s notion of “sufficiency economy,” has been used to legitimize economic policies enacted by the coup regime. Isager and Ivarsson (“Strengthening the Moral Fibre of the Nation: The King’s Sufficiency Economy as Etho-Politics”) survey how the sufficiency economy construct is used to provide a moral gloss on policies that reduce state assistance to the poorest members of Thai society. Andrew Walker (“Sufficiency Economy and Elite Misrepresentations of Rural Livelihoods”) effectively shows that while sufficiency economy may serve as a useful ideology for royalists it is out of touch with the lives of most rural Thais, who have long been oriented toward livelihood strategies that go well beyond simple subsistence farming—the preferred image of villagers under the sufficiency economy rubric. I would be loath to criticize very much in this courageous scholarly effort. To be sure, I would say that the conceptual division of the book into sections reflecting the liberal social sciences’ division of the world into culture, law, politics and economics, seems not only a bit strained but belied by the contents of the book, which poignantly display how all of these are intertwined in the production of royalist power. But conceptual organization seems an entirely secondary consideration for an important book that should be read by anyone wishing to understand current political realities in Thailand. The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Jim Glassman CHINESE INDONESIANS AND REGIME CHANGE. Chinese Overseas, v. 4. Edited by Marleen Dieleman, Juliette Koning, and Peter Post. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2011. xv, 232 pp. (Illus.) US$137.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04- 19121-1. This edited volume is the latest scholarly, comprehensive work that deals with Chinese Indonesians, in English. It stems from a series of monthly seminars held at the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) as well as an international workshop jointly organized by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS, Kyoto University), NIOD, ASiA (University of Amsterdam) and Leiden University. Book Reviews 679 This collection of articles on Chinese Indonesians is a very welcome addition to scholarship on the subject matter. It is also a challenging volume for scholars and those who are interested in studying the Chinese Indonesians. The volume is broadly divided into four sections. The first section is the introductory chapter of the volume. The second section deals with issues of assimilation, identity and belonging of Chinese Indonesians from different perspectives (chapters 2 to 4). The third section focuses on how Chinese Indonesians dealt with issues of identity and civil rights during the colonial period (chapters 5 and 6). The fourth section presents cases of Chinese Indonesian business firms and how they responded to periods of crisis and political regime change (chapters 7 to 9). As the editors point out in the introductory chapter, the current Chinese Indonesian studies have been dominated by the state-centred and essentialist overseas Chinese perspectives that treat Chinese Indonesians as passive bystanders and powerless victims in Indonesian history. This collection aims to go beyond these perspectives to show how Chinese Indonesians played an important role in shaping their destinies and important social trends in the country during times of crisis and regime change. In other words, the editors argue that the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia were not merely passive bystanders or victims of historical events, but rather were active agents of change during periods of crisis. In the second chapter, Juliette Koning explores the conversion to Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity of a group of Chinese Indonesian owner-managers of small- and medium-scale enterprises in Yogyakarta during political regime change in the late 1990s. It is an important contribution to research on religious conversion among Chinese Indonesians, which is still under-studied. Nobuhiro Aizawa in the third chapter analyzes the reasons why the assimilation policies that aimed to completely integrate ethnic Chinese in Indonesian society did not produce the expected results despite the active advocacy of the Institute for the Promotion of National Unity (LPKB) and the Communication Body of Organizing National Unity (BAKOM PKB), two important organizations led by Kristoforus Sindhunata, a Chinese Indonesian political activist who is a key figure of the assimilation movement. The fourth chapter features Andreas Susanto’s examination of the strategies adopted by the Chinese in Yogyakarta in response to the pressures for assimilation. The fifth chapter by Nobuto Yamamoto explores the role of peranakan Chinese (Chinese who are culturally Indonesian) journalists in the nationalist movement during the late colonial era. His contribution deserves special attention as the subject matter is still under-researched. The story of a simple Chinese shopkeeper in Batavia, Loa Joe Djin, who triggered a legal regime reform during the colonial period, is the central theme of the contribution of Patricia Tjiook-Liem in the sixth chapter. In the seventh chapter, Alexander Claver discusses the business experience and survival strategy of Margo-Redjo, a Chinese-owned coffee Pacific Affairs: Volume 85, No. 3 – September 2012 680 firm in Semarang, during the economic crisis of the 1930s. Peter Post in the following chapter focuses on how the Oei Tiong Ham Concern, the largest ethnic Chinese-owned conglomerate in Asia before the World Wars, adapted and adjusted itself constantly during the late Dutch colonial era, the Japanese occupation period, and the Sukarno period in order to sustain its businesses. The ninth and final chapter, by Marleen Dieleman, analyzes how the importance of ethnic Chinese network ties, political connections and foreign (non-Chinese and non-Indonesian) partners to the Salim Group, the largest ethnic Chinese-owned conglomerate in Indonesia during Suharto’s era, changed as the group grew and experienced the Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998 as well as the subsequent political regime change in the country. Overall, the collection succeeds in a couple of respects. First, the contributors have shifted away from the state-centred and essentialist overseas Chinese paradigms that ascribe a passive and powerless role to Chinese Indonesians in history. They have made a compelling case that Chinese Indonesians demonstrated active agency in shaping their destinies and that of the country during periods of crises, war and revolution. Second, the footnotes and bibliography included in each chapter are rich sources and will be of greatest use to those who are keen in studying the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. However, some chapters only partially deal with the issue of regime change, which is part of the title of the volume. This shortcoming indicates that much more significant efforts are needed in researching the impact of regime changes on Chinese Indonesians and how the latter respond to the changes and subsequently shape their own destinies as well as that of the country. Having said that, Chinese Indonesians and Regime Change is still an important contribution to the studies of Chinese Indonesians, and would be of benefit to students and scholars with an interest in this area of study. National University of Singapore, Singapore Wu-Ling Chong EXPERIENCE AND REPRESENTATION: Contemporary Perspectives on Migration in Australia. Studies in Migration and Diaspora. By Keith Jacobs. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2011. xi, 164 pp. US$99.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7546-7610-2. Keith Jacobs emigrated from England to Australia in 2002 to take up a position at the University of Tasmania. In a sense he and his family were not going to a typical part of Australia. Tasmania is a large island far off the Australian coast, with a monocultural population of British origins, no major cities and an extensive natural environment with few industries other than agriculture, tourism, mining and logging. Tasmanians are undoubtedly Australians, but their society is far from typical. One relevant difference is that


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