via The Conversation, 11 July 2018: a piece by Josephine Caust
With colleague Dr Mariana Vecco, I recently published a research article about these issues. Some of our recommendations for vulnerable sites include:
- introducing control of visitor numbers as a matter of urgency
- tighter planning controls on adjacent development
- querying the use of sites for any tourist activities
- auditing sites for damage already incurred.
All of this should occur if UNESCO status is to be continued. However, there is also a bigger conversation we need to have – should tourists visit vulnerable sites and practices?
Hoi An is still a beautiful town but the presence of “wall to wall” tourists mars it. Sadly, as long as UNESCO status is used more as a marketing device than a route to preservation, the situation will continue to deteriorate.
Source: Is UNESCO World Heritage recognition a blessing or burden? Evidence from developing Asian countries
via Malay Mail, 10 July 2018: Gua Tambun is a site that I know very well – I studied it for my MA research a decade ago and have gone back to the site every couple of years. The news article incorrectly calls it the largest site in Southeast Asia, although it is one of the largest sites in the region. From the images in the news story the forest growth has been the heaviest that I’ve seen. The site has always had a problem with maintenance, but most of the rock art itself is well protected because it is out of reach of human hands. If anyone knows how to put me in touch with the relevant authorities, please send me an email – I would be very willing to help with the site’s rehabilitation.
Source: Perak govt plans to shut access to prehistoric Gua Tambun rock paintings | Malay Mail
via Bangkok Post, 10 July 2018:
Big old trees usually have a trove of stories behind them and the many 130-year-old Jujube trees in Ayutthaya Historical Park are no different.
Source: Ayutthaya shows love to big trees
via The Straits Times, 09 July 2018:
Lifestyle News -SINGAPORE – The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) has extended its exhibition Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City by a week till July 29, 2018.. Read more at straitstimes.com.
Source: Angkor exhibition at Asian Civilisations Museum extended till July 29, Lifestyle News & Top Stories – The Straits Times
via The Nation, 07 July 2018: A recent waking tour of Bangkok’s Front Palace (Wang Na) area.
A recent walking tour took in the architectural wonders that once formed part of the Front Palace
Source: In their former glory – The Nation
Earlier this month, a fascinating paper was published in Science about the genetic origins of Southeast Asian populations. Analysis of genomes from 25 ancient samples reveal that rather the neither of the existing theories (hunter-gathering Hoabinhians, or agriculturalists from China) are correct, and that there are four ancient populations the form the basis of all modern Southeast Asian populations today.
The prehistoric peopling of Southeast Asia
McColl et al.
Science 06 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6397, pp. 88-92
The human occupation history of Southeast Asia (SEA) remains heavily debated. Current evidence suggests that SEA was occupied by Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers until ~4000 years ago, when farming economies developed and expanded, restricting foraging groups to remote habitats. Some argue that agricultural development was indigenous; others favor the “two layer” hypothesis that posits a southward expansion of farmers giving rise to present-day Southeast Asian genetic diversity. By sequencing 26 ancient human genomes (25 from SEA, 1 Japanese Jōmon), we show that neither interpretation fits the complexity of Southeast Asian history: Both Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers and East Asian farmers contributed to current Southeast Asian diversity, with further migrations affecting island SEA and Vietnam. Our results help resolve one of the long-standing controversies in Southeast Asian prehistory.
Readers in Singapore may be interested in this talk at ISEAS next Wedneday
Why Was There No Singapore Before Raffles?
Date : Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Time : 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Venue : ISEAS Seminar Room 2
This seminar will examine issues in the writing about the history of Singapore before 1819. Sir Stamford Raffles and Dr John Crawfurd, the second Resident of Singapore, lead in reporting that Singapore was uninhabited before the British arrived. Generations of historians have concurred with this description of Singapore at 1819 and gone further to claim, as former Professors K G Tregonning and C M Turnbull have done, that whatever may have happened on Singapore before 1819 is irrelevant to the island’s historical development thereafter. This seminar explores the assumptions underlying this understanding of Singapore’s history and how the work at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre is challenging and revising these assumptions.
A lecture at the Siam Society, Bangkok on 12 July.
Boxer Codex: A plan to invade Siam
A Talk by John Silva
The sumptuously illustrated 16th century Boxer Codex, with close to 100 images on rice paper featuring the people of the Pacific, Asia and Southeast Asia is the first known illustrated manuscript of the region.
The Orientalist Charles Boxer had acquired the manuscript in 1947 at an auction in England, and despite Boxer’s naming it as “Manila Manuscript” (its printing attributed to the Chinese-Filipino printer Keng Yong or Juan de Vera) his colleagues would name the codex after him.
Ever since the acquisition, no complete and modern transcription, editing and annotation of the whole manuscript was done until this new book printed by the Vibal Foundation of the Philippines in 2016 to commemorate the coming 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Spanish on Philippine shores.
Philippine historian Carlos Quirino in the 1950’s worked on the Philippine section of the Codex and for Filipinos, accompanying images of Filipino tribes, richly adorned in gold changed local perceptions of pre-Spanish past and instead, instilled pride and identification.
But it is the complete transcription, Massachusetts. He is an author and contributor to various Philippine and international translation and annotation of this publication written in the modern understandable style, covering the chosen kingdoms, groupings and tribes of Asia, plus two very important end letters attached and addressed to the then Spanish King Philip II which draws our attention and is the subject of this talk.
The finery drawn showed native wealth, the treasures that abound, the descriptions of fortifications and sailing routes, the local conflicts, all lead up to the end letters (from the Portuguese Bishop of Malacca and the Spanish Governor General of Manila) urging King Philip to invade Siam and, from there complete the conquest of neighboring kingdoms including China and Japan. In addition, Manila would become the Vice-Royalty for Spain in the east to administer the conquered areas.
Several events scuttled the conquest plans and the Boxer Codex is appreciated today as a late 16th century pristine manuscript capturing a visual and literary slice of life of the peoples of Asia.
Mr. John L. Silva is the Executive Director of the Ortigas Library in the Philippines. The private Library has extensive rare books, maps, prints, and vintage photographs of the Philippines and is open to the general public. Mr. Silva received his M.A. in Philippine-American Studies from Goddard Cambridge in publications.
Source: The Siam Society
Just a reminder for the MOWCAP-Asia Culture Center Grants Program – the deadline is this week!
The MOWCAP-ACC grants program supports the efforts of the many groups and organisations that collect, and preserve and provide access to documentary heritage from the Asia-Pacific region. It aims to encourage collaboration and partnerships to undertake projects (e.g. preservation of materials, digitizing, exhibitions, publications etc) as well as to develop skills and resources (eg. workshops, training programs, expert assessments etc).
Grants of up to $US 10,000 are available for the preservation and sharing of the documentary heritage of the Asia-Pacific. Grants are required to be fully expended, and the project completed and acquitted, within a 6-month period (July-December 2018). The grants are administered through the MOWCAP Office, Asian Culture Center, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.
Source: The MOWCAP-Asia Culture Center Grants Program
Exhibition of Rare Books at The Siam Society from the collections of Prince Prisdang and Mom Luang Manich Jumsai
27 June – 26 July 2018
The opening of the 3rd exhibition of old and rare books from Prince Prisdang and Mom Luang Manich Jumsai’s collection will take place on 27th June at 5.30 pm. These books are on permanent loan to the Siam Society by Dr. Sumet and his family.
This exhibition will include books on Siam published between 1900 and 1950 (Rama V – IX). Altogether over sixty titles have been selected for this exhibition. The books are in English, French, German and Dutch. Exciting and classic titles like “The Land of the White elephant”, “Mission Pavie Indo-Chine” and “A Half Century Among the Siamese and the Laos”, will be of great interest to book lovers of Asia-Pacific history and travel. We owe much to the adventurous travelers and writers who took a keen interest in the far away land so that we can understand what Siam used to be like at the turn of the last century.
The Rare Books Exhibition will be on view from 28 June – 26 July (except Sunday and Monday) from 10 am – 5 pm.
Source: The Siam Society