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Malaysiakini - the heady days of Reformasi September 11, 2023 12:13

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Three of Malaysiakini and the Power of Independent Media in Malaysia, by Janet Steele, launched September 12, 2023. 

CHAPTER 3 The Reformasi Generation

If you listened carefully, you started hearing conflicting plans from Anwar and Mahathir; that was one of the things that happened. Conflicting policy announcements. But still, it came as a huge shock that day when Anwar was suddenly dismissed. And that day and that time was the trigger for a whole new awakening among my generation.

—Martin Vengadesan

Everything had seemed so good. The economy was growing; the just-opened Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur International Airport were the envy of the region. Virtually full employment, annual GDP growth of upwards of 9 percent and very little inflation made Malaysia one of the best performing economies in Asia. Poverty had declined from around 60 percent in 1970 to about 9 percent in 1995—“an impressive record by any standard,” as the Asian Development Bank noted.1

In the center of it all was Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a political powerhouse with an iron hand, no succor for his enemies and a bold vision for making Malaysia a fully developed country by 2020. Malaysiakini’s Ajinder Kaur, a student at the time, remembered:

The country was so peaceful, he is modernizing the nation, and he is this really great guy. We are moving ahead, and Mahathir had this Vision 2020 and says, “Oh, we are going to be this developed nation,” and it was indoctrinated in our textbooks, and we were made to study and present on it, and we think wow, 2020, we are going to be the next super-power of the world.2

“And Anwar,” she added. “Everyone saw Anwar and Mahathir as a really good pair, and they are going to bring—you know, we had so much hope in them.”

For anyone who had been paying close attention, however, like journalists from the Far Eastern Economic Review and Steven Gan of The Nation newspaper in Bangkok, there were signs that all was not well.3 Anwar Ibrahim, the charismatic deputy prime minister who also held the portfolio of finance minister, was known not to favor the big development projects of his boss. But these differences seemed minor until the Asian economic and financial crisis hit in 1997.

Abbot (2000: 249–50) notes that Anwar clearly favored austerity measures and cuts in government spending. Speaking out publicly against crony capitalism, he canceled a number of the administration’s high-profile infrastructure projects, including the Bakun Dam, the massive federal administrative center that would become Putrajaya, and a proposed bridge across the Straits of Malacca. Mahathir, on the other hand, favored government bailouts of politically connected conglomerates—at least one of which was controlled by his own son—and prestige companies such as Malaysia Airlines and the national car company Proton.

And then there was what had just happened in Indonesia, where President Soeharto was ousted by a coalition of pro-democracy activists that rallied around the slogan no KKN—korupsi, kolusi or nepotisme. As FEER noted, many of Anwar’s supporters believed it was the ousting of Soeharto that triggered the parting of the ways between Mahathir and his younger protégé:

In the past, Mahathir had repeatedly said he would step down as soon as he “read the signals.” Encouraged by developments in Indonesia, the Anwar camp sought to signal that the time had come for Mahathir to retire.

Anwar made a strong speech about “reform” prior to the run-up to June’s Umno assembly but stopped short of anything else. But his ally Zahid Hamidi, head of Umno’s youth wing, spoke out against “corruption, collusion and nepotism”—the same mantra delivered against Suharto. That was widely perceived as a direct attack on the premier by the Anwar camp.4

On September 2, 1998, Anwar was sacked from his position as deputy prime minister after he refused to resign. The reaction was immediate. Future Malaysiakini chief editor R.K. Anand, who was at UMNO headquarters at the time, remembered:

So we were all gathered, waiting downstairs, and the crowd is relatively calm. The Supreme Council members were upstairs in a meeting. And Anwar’s supporters, about 2,000 or 3,000 of them, were gathered down there. Before the meeting ends he comes down. He comes down and takes a plastic chair and puts it down and climbs on to it, and starts addressing the crowd with his fiery style. Says things like “you know they told me to resign; I refuse to resign. If I am going to fall, I will fall fighting. I will die as a warrior.” And that’s it. The whole crowd goes into a frenzy.

So as we were waiting there, after the meeting, after he left, the crowd was just going wild. And the police did not do anything because there would be bad press. You must remember that because of the Commonwealth Games, there was an overwhelming presence of foreign media there. So that’s why Mahathir came down. And it was for the first time that I actually saw people hurling plastic water bottles at him. His car was kicked and punched, the police had to form a human barricade around him, to get him safely into the car.5

The next day, September 3, the police filed affidavits charging Anwar with five counts of sexual impropriety (sodomy) and five charges of corruption. On September 20, he was detained under the ISA, until a preliminary hearing on the 29th at which he was denied bail.6

Meanwhile, the city erupted. Malaysiakini editor Martin Vengadesan, at that time a music critic for The Star newspaper, remembered:

So suddenly there was an increase in student activism, there were young people joining opposition parties, Parti Rakyat, the youth movement; suddenly you had five times more people than you used to. Then they formed the new party as well, Keadilan [Justice]. Every week there was some escalation. You know the picture of him being beaten up was another sign to people that this façade of a very democratic Malaysia was not true. If the second most powerful person in the country could be toppled so suddenly and fall so hard, and be bashed up behind bars, what more the ordinary person?7

Or, as Ajinder said, “So we always thought like everything is nice and beautiful, and the media made it seem that way as well. So suddenly, when Anwar got sacked, it was like, ‘Oh my God, what is happening to my country?’ ”


Young Malaysians had never seen anything like it. In an era in which even cell phones were scarce, there were protests and speeches at Dataran Merdeka, and nightly gatherings at Anwar’s house in Bukit Damansara, a posh neighborhood which R.K. Anand remembers as being full of “fancy restaurants and whatnot” but not food that ordinary people could afford.8

As friends and well-wishers called on Anwar, the atmosphere outside became almost carnival-like, as thousands of people thronged his house, night after night. Soon vendors started to arrive. “You had sate reformasi, laksa reformasi, people trying to cash in on it,” Anand said. “So it turned into this whole night market kind of thing. And DBKL [the KL City Council] came and put in portable toilets and all this.”

FEER journalists Murray Hiebert and Andrew Sherry noted a few days after Anwar’s ouster that the drama seemed unlikely to blow over, as the former deputy prime minister obviously had a lot of support. “Each day since his ouster, thousands of people—ranging from punk rockers with orange-dyed hair to bearded Islamic teachers, businessmen, activists and opposition politicians—have come to visit the former minister at his relatively modest private house in Kuala Lumpur,” they wrote. “ ‘You groom him like a son, then you kill the son,’ grumbles a middle-aged businessman sitting outside Anwar’s house.”9

A few days later, on September 20, the biggest rally began at the national mosque. Eyewitnesses described Anwar’s calls for reformasi and the display of emotion that greeted them as unprecedented, “the largest opposition rally the country had seen in three decades.” FEER reported:

Alternating chants of Allah-hu Akbar—God is great—with invective against Mahathir, the crowd roared Anwar on as he denounced what he called a conspiracy against him and called for the prime minister to resign. At Anwar’s request, the crowd then made its way to the city’s symbolic heart, Merdeka Square, where independence was declared in 1957. Breaking through police barriers, throngs that had now swelled to about 50,000 people poured into the grassy square to hear further condemnation of the government.10

After Anwar left, part of the crowd marched past the Sogo shopping complex towards the headquarters of UMNO, where they allegedly broke windows and tore down posters of UMNO leaders. Heading towards Mahathir’s residence and demanding his resignation, the crowd of supporters—now estimated at 35,000—was stopped by riot police, who began firing tear gas. Human Rights Watch reported that Anwar was arrested at his home later that night by police armed with assault rifles.

On September 21, the riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd that was awaiting Anwar’s appearance at the courthouse. The police made about 100 arrests, “some of them accompanied by beatings.”11

Anand remembered:

When I look back at it in hindsight, it was probably the most brilliant experience of my journalistic career. And I can safely tell you with a high degree of confidence that it was Mahathir who created Reformasi. It wasn’t Anwar. Because you would expect someone who is a deputy prime minister and a really popular leader, and the unceremonious manner in which he was sacked, you would expect protests to take place. And when these protests took place, you immediately come down so hard on the protesters, firing away with your water cannons and tear gas, just for a bunch of people who are gathering. And that stoked the anger, and that just snowballed and snowballed and snowballed, and they started seeing Mahathir as an oppressor, the whole regime as being oppressive, and it just exploded.

Eighteen Days

Each of Malaysia’s mainstream news organizations is either owned by or affiliated with a particular segment of the ruling coalition (Gomez 2004; Nain and Anuar 1998). The Star, Malaysia’s largest English-language daily, is owned by the Malaysian Chinese Association, a partner in the ruling Barisan Nasional. The New Straits Times Press group, which publishes both the English-language New Straits Times and Malay broadsheets Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia, is owned by UMNO’s holding company, Fleet Holdings Sdn Bhd. The Tamil papers are under the control of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC).

There are no better media critics than Malaysian journalists. Carefully attuned to the placement of every word and the nuance of every sentence, they also interpret editorial “reshuffles” with admirable precision. In the 1990s, everyone knew that while the press was controlled by the ruling coalition, it was Mahathir who called the shots. In remembering the events of Reformasi, Malaysiakini editors R.K. Anand and Jegathesan Govindaraju noted that a key moment had occurred about one month before the move against Anwar, when Mahathir “transferred out” senior editors in key press positions who were deemed loyal to Anwar.

FEER noticed this too. Calling it a “media putsch,” the weekly observed on July 30 that in the space of one week, Johan Jaafar and Nazri Abdullah, “both staunch Anwar allies,” had resigned as editors of Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian.

Meanwhile, over at TV3, a free-to-air television channel also owned by the UMNO-linked Media Prima group, a young producer named Wee Yu Meng, now a Malaysiakini editor on the Bahasa Malaysia desk, had received some odd instructions. About one month before Anwar was sacked, he recalled, they had been instructed to add into the daily newscast the statement that “nobody is above the law.” Although he did not fully understand “the agenda” at the time, now he knows that it was “to prepare the mindset of the people.”12

“We get academicians, we get the police, we get everybody to psych out the public,” he remembered. “Nobody is above the law.”

Once Anwar was sacked, it was even worse, Wee said:

You see it is very difficult for us in TV3 and Berita Harian. Because we are directly under UMNO. We are the ones who built Anwar’s character from nobody to deputy prime minister. We built his image, okay? And I remember doing dirty jobs for Anwar too. He attacked Sanusi Junid, the agriculture minister. For almost a month, every night I have to go to Tanjong Karang, which is about two to three hours’ drive away, to show that rats are destroying the paddy field, and the farmers are suffering. I did a lot of propaganda work. So, like I say, I have done so many many things, some of them of which I’m not proud.

At TV3, where the vast majority of journalists were Malay, there was considerable support for Anwar, and also a lot of confusion. Remembering those days, Wee said, “We were lost. Totally lost. We really didn’t know how to react. To follow orders or not to follow orders. We were so divided.”

The management at TV3 quickly brought in new bosses. Kadir Jassin came in, and Chamil Wariya from Utusan Malaysia. Chamil’s job was to “clean the TV3 newsroom.” Anyone—down to the reporter’s level—who was not in line with Mahathir was told either to resign or be transferred elsewhere.

TV3 covered the demonstrations, but it wasn’t easy. Wee remembered Anwar’s ceramah at Masjid Negara. “When he talked about TV3, the supporters started to throw ice cubes on us,” Wee said.

So Anwar says “relax, it’s not them. It’s higher up than them.” So we are saved. Then our vehicles got damaged in a few incidents. Wherever we go, we are no longer being loved. Previously they loved TV3 … so it’s totally changed, everything. They break our vehicles, they beat some of us. Things like that.

Why was TV3 even covering the demonstrations? For the slightly sinister reason that the government wanted to have a record of what happened. “Most of it was never broadcast,” Wee added.

Given eyewitness accounts, it is not surprising that the ceramah were never broadcast. Anand remembers:

He is a fiery orator. That is why in hindsight, in retrospect, when I look at it, I was truly amazed. Because this was a man who was deputy prime minister, who was accustomed to life as a VIP, and when all of that was removed from him, within a matter of 24 hours, I actually saw him transformed into a street fighter almost instantaneously. He did not even take a day or two to wallow in self-pity, to cry over spilled milk. Immediate transformation!

There were more instructions for TV3. “We must not show any crowds, people who are supporting Reformasi, things like that. But anything to do with violence, yes,” Wee said. But when they showed the violence, they also showed the size of the crowd, and the bosses realized “it’s not working; it’s backfiring.”

“So we are told to completely stop. So the producers, we have to make sure that the visuals that we transmit don’t have anything that can be negative to Mahathir’s administration.”

“To be very honest with you,” Wee added, “most of us are sympathizers. But we know there’s a lot of spies. People who will report who is what, things like that. We believe there are Special Branch people, so we are always very worried about what we say, what we do, we don’t do it openly.”

Enter Malaysiakini

It was October 1999, and Ajinder Kaur was fresh out of university and looking for a job. An English major, the two options seemed to be teaching and writing. She liked to write, and when she saw a notice in the Malay Mail classified advertisements saying that Malaysiakini was looking for a reporter, she sent an email straightaway to Steven Gan asking for an interview. The office was in a fourth-floor shop lot in Section 14 of Petaling Jaya, near the Jaya Supermarket. It had been an architect’s office.

“So being a fresh graduate,” she remembers, laughing,

you think you’re going to go to this very glamorous job, but when I walked in, there was no office set up, it was Steven and Prem, and the interview was at the back of this shop. The previous tenant had kitchen cabinets on the wall; it was the pantry! And I think that Steven was living in that place as well! I was like, oh my God, what is this office? Does this organization even exist?

The atmosphere was so warm, though, that once she heard exactly what the mission was, she knew immediately that this was something she wanted to do.

.... chapter continues...

  • 1 Asian Development Outlook 1996 and 1997. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 94.

  • 2 Interview with Ajinder Kaur, Dec. 19, 2019.

  • 3 See, for example, Murray Hiebert “Mixed signals,” Far Eastern Economic Review 161(21): 24–8.

  • 4 S. Jayasankaran “Protégé to pariah,” Far Eastern Economic Review 161(38): 13–14.

  • 5 Interview with R.K. Anand, Nov. 25, 2019.

  • 6 Details come from Abbot (2000: 246).

  • 7 Interview with Martin Vengadesan, Nov. 26, 2019.

  • 8 Interview with R.K. Anand, Nov. 25, 2019.

  • 9 Murray Hiebert and Andrew Sherry (Sept. 17, 1998) “After the fall,” Far Eastern Economic Review 161(38): 10–13.

  • 10 Simon Elegant, Murray Hiebert and S. Jayasankaran (Oct. 1, 1998) “First lady of reform,” Far Eastern Economic Review 161(40): 18–20.

  • 11 “First lady of reform,” ibid.

  • 12 Interview with Wee Yu Meng, Nov. 27, 2019.

NUS Press Highlights of 2016 December 27, 2016 10:30

While 2016 has proven to be a rather bleak and tumultuous year, we are proud to have published some books that will continue to have much bearing in the new year ahead.


All eyes will continue to be on Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency as it implements plans of restoring peatland to prevent haze crises (like that of 2015) from engulfing the region again.

Two NUS Press books, Catastrophe and Regeneration in Indonesias Peatlands (edited by Kosuke Mizuno, Motoko S. Fujita and Shuichi Kawai) and The Oil Palm Complex (edited by Rob Cramb and John McCarthy) touched on some agricultural and labour challenges that Malaysia and Indonesia are facing within the oil palm industry and peatland agriculture. In his review of both books in The Jakarta Post, James Erbaugh commented that both titles “provide scholarship that elucidates the complexities of oil palm production, and the challenges presented by peatland agriculture as well as peatland restoration.”



Indonesia’s gubernatorial election is set to take place in February 2017 and Edward Aspinall’s and Mada Sukmajati’s edited volume, Electoral Dynamics in Indonesia will be handy for observers as it provides greater insight into the patronage systems and money politics at the grassroots level.

In the field of maritime developments: Tensions in the South China Sea will continue to have much bearing on US-China and China-ASEAN relations in 2017. Ng Chin-keong’s collection of essays, Boundaries and Beyond, provides a novel way of understanding the nature of maritime China, and the undercurrent of social and economic forces that have created new boundaries between China and the rest of the world. 

Lastly, in light of the 29th Southeast Asian Games taking place in Kuala Lumpur next year, Stephen Huebner’s Pan-Asian Sports and the Emergence of Modern Asia, 1913-1974 explores the role international sporting competitions had in shaping discourses of nationalism and development across Asian states. As one of the first major studies of the history of sports in Asia, Dr Huebner’s book provides a compelling window into the intersection between sports and politics in the region.


The history of pre-independence Singapore remained a staple to our publishing programme this year, with Timothy Barnard’s Nature’s Colony shedding much light on the Singapore Botanic Gardens' lively history. Professor Barnard examined the Gardens’ changing role in a developing Singapore—from colonial times under the charge of several colourful Superintendents and Directors, to today, as a World Heritage Site.

On a more personal level, social work pioneer Ann Wee reminisces about her eventful life in Singapore. Her memoir A Tiger Remembers ruminates on the Singaporean family, and presents the reader with a series of charming vignettes from her life that captures the nuanced transformation of Singaporean society over the years. These intimate recollections, all told in exquisite detail and rich with insight, are testament to the vibrant cultural heritage of the nation.

We are also proud to have published Professor Kenneth Dean and Dr Hue Guan Thye's two-volume set, Chinese Epigraphy in Singapore, 1819-1911, which has been described by Claudine Salmon, Director of Research Emeritus at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris to be a "a repository of Singapore cultural and historical heritage." The collation of over 1,300 epigraphic records is a breakthrough in the telling of the Singapore story and according to Prof Dean, "such inscriptions provide snippets of what life was like in 19th and early 20th century Singapore, and capture the diverse cross-section of society at that time."


What importance does art hold in the representation of history?

In the context of the portrayal of Southeast Asia by its colonial masters, 
Sarah Tiffin’s Southeast Asia in Ruins explores how the British justified colonialism through imperial art. Dr Tiffin will be speaking at the National Gallery Singapore on 25 February 2017 about British artists' portrayal of Southeast Asian civilization(s) in ruins in Stamford Raffles' The History of Java, and the role that these artists (and their work) played in Britain’s imperial ambitions in Southeast Asia.

In 2017, photographers and photojournalists will continue to play a vital role in exposing the realities of an increasingly authoritarian Southeast Asia. Zhuang Wubin’s Photography in Southeast Asia will be a useful introduction to the discourse of photographic practices in the region as his survey provides insights into the role images play in shaping Southeast Asian society, culture and politics.




Five Minutes with Brian Bernards November 22, 2016 15:00

In this special edition of our author-interview series, Professor Philip Holden from the National University of Singapore conducted an email interview with Professor Brian Bernards on the occasion of the publication of the Southeast Asian edition of Writing the South Seas: Imagining the Nanyang in Chinese and Southeast Asian Postcolonial Literature. An assistant professor at the University of Southern California, Bernards works in three languages – English, Chinese, and Thai—and his book thus gives a revisionary perspective on the literatures of the region, and indeed the way in which we imagine Southeast Asia itself.  

Professor Holden's and Professor Bernards' exchange was first published on We are pleased to present some excerpts of their lively discussions:

Philip Holden: As someone who has been studying auto/biography, I’m always interested in the life stories of scholars. What drew you to study Chinese and Thai? And what fostered your interest in the literatures of Southeast Asia?

Brian Bernards: When I was 9 years old, a family from Shanghai (a father, mother, and their 2-year-old daughter) moved in with my family at our home in Minneapolis. The father was studying engineering at the University of Minnesota, and the mother, who later went on to study accounting, became our live-in babysitter. On occasion, our two families had meals together, and the boiled dumplings (shui jiao) our sitter cooked became quickly my new favorite dish. Our good friends from Shanghai lived with us for about two years, when the father graduated and found a plush job in Milwaukee. Starting high school about three years later in 1992, I opted to take Mandarin because of my prior exposure to Chinese culture (and cuisine!). I first traveled to mainland China in 1998, where I studied for a year at Sichuan University in Chengdu. My language professor recommended Chengdu because she had done research there, she knew I wanted to tread beyond the typical path of studying in Beijing, Shanghai, or Taipei, and, most importantly, she knew I would like the spicy ma-la food there. Living and attending school in Chengdu certainly opened my eyes, and my taste buds, to new experiences, flavors, and possibilities.

PH: Given your exposure to different disciplines, what are your thoughts on inter-disciplinary studies?

BB: I have always enjoyed literature (especially fiction and poetry), music, and film. As a student and traveler, I felt I could better connect with a place, a culture, a society, and its history through the very personal stories and creative imagination conveyed in fiction and memoirs by authors who were from or who were very familiar with that society. While Southeast Asian studies in the US is largely a social science-oriented field, I was fortunate to take history and anthropology classes as an undergraduate from professors who, rather than assigning dry textbook readings, assigned novels by authors such as Pramoedya Ananta Toer, José Rizal, Duong Thu Huong, Ma Ma Lay, and Kukrit Pramoj, to be read in conjunction with course lectures. I was very inspired by this approach to history and cultural studies, not only because it put the human impact of historical events and social transformations in relatable narratives rather than abstract figures, but also because the micro-histories we encountered in such literary narratives often challenged or even contradicted the standard interpretations and “big picture” perspectives taken for granted in the official histories. I am grateful to my teachers for cultivating the approach that would stick with me as I moved forward into graduate studies.

PH: What was the process of writing Writing the South Seas like?

BB: Writing the South Seas began as a way of combining my interests and background knowledge in modern Chinese literature, Southeast Asian studies, and postcolonial literary theory in an attempt to make a novel contribution, and hopefully a type of critical intervention, in each field. I felt the varying approaches from these different fields could be mutually illuminating in ways that the disciplines had yet to sufficiently consider. Mainly, I sought to bring a Southeast Asia-centered perspective to the study of literatures in Chinese on and from the region. Luckily, I conceived the project at the time that Sinophone studies was emerging and bringing about a sea-change in the modern Chinese literary field. Sinophone studies not only emphasizes cultural networks across national and ethnic boundaries, but also seeks to situate such networks locally in their multilingual milieu. In this sense, my interests in Anglophone literature and Thai-language literature from Southeast Asia, which might have otherwise been seen as irrelevant or marginal to modern Chinese literary studies, could provide an insightful comparative perspective that showcased the cross-lingual interactions and relationships of these Sinophone literary networks. I owe a significant intellectual debt to the pioneering work of Shih Shu-mei in this regard.

PH: The cover of your book will have a particular resonance for many Malaysians and Singaporeans. Could you explain this?

BB: I really have you to thank for this, Prof Holden, as you were the first person to recommend Suchen Christine Lim’s novel Fistful of Colours to me when I began researching Anglophone authors in Singapore. As you know, at the end of the novel, the protagonist returns to Kuala Jelai, her home village in Malaysia, from Singapore, and she becomes moved viewing the large wall murals while waiting for her train at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. When I read this passage, I wanted to see the murals myself, though at the time I had no idea they would later provide the source material for the cover of my book.

That was before the station closed. When it was operational, the station, along with the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway tracks, was an important living legacy of the intimate relationship, common colonial history, and shared culture between the two countries. Now that it is closed, it can only serve as a “heritage site” – a relic or a reminder of that past. For a lot of Malaysians and Singaporeans who grew up when the two societies were more integrated, Tanjong Pagar is bound to be a source of nostalgia, especially because it conjures a more rustic landscape and older colonial architecture that contrasts with the image of Singapore as a city of glistening skyscrapers and squeaky-clean air-conditioned malls. I think this nostalgic sentiment regarding the railway station is quite obvious in “Parting,” director Boo Junfeng’s contribution to the omnibus film, 7 Letters: he uses the space of Tanjong Pagar to tell the story of an interethnic romance against the backdrop of racial riots in the 1960s.

Interior of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, 2010
(Image credit: Jacklee, Wikimedia Commons)

Of the six triptych murals in the station, the one with the commercial maritime focus showing the harbour was the most relevant to my book in its entirety, so I commissioned an image of that mural for the cover. The different types of ocean vessels in the image, from a sampan to a junk to a passenger steamship, really captured the varying modes of maritime crossings and convergences that the Nanyang has historically signified. And it’s beautifully done.


NUS Press would like to thank's founding editor, Koh Jee Leong for granting permission to republish these excerpts. 

NUS Press at the 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium April 17, 2015 09:00

NUS Press participated in the 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium held in Kuala Lumpur back in 20 to 24 March 2015.

Organised by Project Southeast Asia, the symposium is the world’s largest annual Southeast Asian Studies conference focusing on critical issues such as sustainable development, environmental change and infectious diseases.

We were pleased to display our Southeast Asian titles at the symposium. Here's a highlight of the books:

NUS Press and author Peter Borschberg at KLRCA seminar April 15, 2015 10:00

NUS Press was delighted to attend Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA) seminar on 13 March 2015 titled 'The Reconciliation of Norms in International Relations'.

Represented by our distributor, we displayed three of our maritime classics: China as a Sea Power, 1127-1368: A Preliminary Survey of the Maritime Expansion and Naval Exploits of the Chinese People During the Southern Song and Yuan Periods, Hugo Grotius, the Portuguese and Free Trade in the East Indies and Pedra Branca: The Road to the World Court.

Peter Borschberg, author of Hugo Grotius, the Portuguese and Free Trade in the East Indies, shared the writings of Hugo Grotius and how Grotius shaped modern thinking and norms in international relations. Together with Professor Lee Poh Ping and Professor Anthony Milner, Peter led a discussion on the relevance of this historical experience to current contests in the Asia Pacific.

Watch the full coverage on the interesting talk below or on KLRCA youtube channel.