The Indianization of Southeast Asia

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PDQ Submission
If you’re in the area, KaalaChakra: The Wheel of Time is a current exhibition at the National Library of Singapore showcasing the influence of Indian culture into ancient Southeast Asia. With the kind permission of the National Library Board, SEAArch brings you highlights from this fascinating exhibition.

The term ‘Indianization’ was coined in the early 20th century and was seen as a cultural colonization of Southeast Asia – the idea was that Indian princes and merchants would set up colonies and trading posts in Southeast Asia (notably, Suvarnabhumi and Suvarnadvipa) in their desire to build trade with China. In doing so “converted” local populations into their Indian way of life and religion. Yes, the theory sounds awfully colonial in its thinking, and it fed to another underlying assumption that Southeast Asia was an archaeological backwater compared to the great civilisations of India and China.
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Orang Asli museum gets $4 million boost

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Orang Asli (‘original people’) refer to the small aborginal population who live in the hinterland of Malaysia. In Peninsular Malaysia, the three main groups of Orang Asli are the proto-Malays, the Semang (negritos) and the Senoi. They represent a very small part of the population, and the development of Malaysia in the last few decades have led to the encroachment of land in their grounds.

Govt allocates RM4m for orang asli museum
The Star, 20 Feb 2008
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Preah Vihear dispute has a social cost

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While the Cambodian and Thai governments continue their dispute over the management of the Preah Vihear temple, this article explores the social cost of the dispute – the temple, once a symbol of unity for Thais and Cambodians living in the area, have become divided along nationalistic lines.

Politics and Preah Vihear
Bangkok Post, 19 February 2008
Link has expired
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Wednesday Rojak #21

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We’ve got a lot of Khmer culture and a spot of political intrigue in Indonesia coming up in this week’s mix of stories:

  • Paul Schmeltzer brings us pictures from the Khmer temple of Phimai in Thailand.
  • Currently based in Phnom Penh, Alison in Cambodia shares a recent article she wrote for Heritage Watch about The Royal Palace.
  • An article in the International Herald Tribune discusses the furore in Solo, Indonesia over who is to succeed to the throne in the Surakarta Sultanate in a convoluted and tragically funny tale of court intrigue.
  • Andy Brouwer writes about his taste of Khmer dance
  • and also about the 10th century Khmer temple Prasat Neang Khmau.

In this series of weekly rojaks (published on Wednesdays) I’ll feature other sites in the blogosphere that are related to Southeast Asia and archaeology in general. Got a recommendation for the next Wednesday rojak? Email me!

Studying Angkor’s demise, archeologists warn of repeating the past

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The ecological demise of ancient and modern Angkor is discussed here as several archaeologists (including Roland Fletcher, pictured here, who has earlier spoken here, here and here) are featured talking about how the tourism explosion at Siem Reap and the elevated drain on water resources are described as an ‘ecological time bomb’.

Studying Angkor’s demise, archeologists warn of repeating the past, 17 February 2008
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Patiayam: The next Sangiran?


Numerous fossil finds in the Patiayam have shown that the mountainous region in Java is rich with faunal remains dating back to a million years BP. The potential richness of these finds have been compared to the other famous prehistoric site Sangiran. However, there has been little able to be done with these finds due to a lack of resources and funding.

Patiayam: Site of great fossil finds
The Jakarta Post, 15 February 2008
Link is not static, and the story remains on the Jakarta Post website for seven days.
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