By David Birch
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Extra info for Asia: Cultural politics in the global age
The Australian government held this line until the Indonesian government agreed to a referendum on independence in 1999, which resulted in an independent East Timor with the withdrawal of Indonesian troops, administration and government. GLOBALISATION, NEO-COLONIALISM AND ASIAN VALUES We have covered two contexts of cultural politics in Asia so far: the role of the state and nationalism, and modernisation. The third context we will deal with is that of globalisation and neocolonialism. The issue here is why the idea of Asian values is employed to justify ‘locking out’ or minimising western economic, political and cultural intrusions into Asian national sovereignty.
Pancasila functioned, then, not as a set of ‘positives’ that could be identified and agreed upon, but as an ‘empty’ set of terms which could be ‘filled in’ at any time by different groups in accordance with their own traditional values. But Pancasila could also be used as a political weapon: whoever was in a position to decide what it ‘really’ meant could effectively accuse opponents of being anti-Indonesian. Pancasila actually came about precisely for this purpose; it was put up, to some extent, as a bulwark against the idea of an ‘Islamic Indonesia’.
The English did not really expect that cricket (or any other English pastime) would actually ‘civilise’ the natives to the same level as themselves. However, there was an expectation that it might impart some level of order and civility among the natives. The photograph in Figure 3 of the Mayo College Cricket Team with its echo of the milieu of the English public school gives some idea of the process of dissemination of ‘all that we of the British race regard as the most precious as principles of morality, loyalty and culture’ (Lord Hardinge, Viceroy of India, on the occasion of the Annual Day of the Mayo College, 1913).
Asia: Cultural politics in the global age by David Birch