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Journal of International Studies (JIS) Vol. 4, 2008

 
Islam in the Japanese Media: Between Prejudices and Promises
Omar Farouk Bajunid
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
In terms of resources newspaper circulation and readership, television viewership and radio networks and audience, the Japanese media is supposed to be one of the world's most powerful establishments and yet paradoxically due to both its structural as well as political constraints its role especially in handling foreign news has been reduced virtually to a 'gate-keeping' function, The representation of Islam in the Japanese media has to be viewed and understood within this context This paper is an exploratory attempt to examine the representation of Islam in the Japanese media. It argues that it is not possible to understand the treatment of Islam in the Japanese media without understanding how the media is organized and its role in Japanese society. The paper also argues that as the representation of Islam in the media has also been partly a function of the history of Islam in Japan it is really not possible to understand the factors that have influenced the portrayal of Islam in the Japanese media without a good knowledge of how Islam itself has evolved in Japan and its place in the history of the Japanese nation, Finally, the paper will also show that while the extensive negative media coverage of Islam following the 2001 September 11 incident has reinforced the prevailing prejudices towards Islam, it has also at the same time, albeit unintentionally, created an unprecedented level of public awareness, if not interest, about Islam among the Japanese public.
 

 
Deliberative Democracy: A Malaysian Perspective
Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
This paper discusses briefly first the theory of deliberative democracy as an important aspect of the democratic system of governance which encouragescitizens to participate in decision-making process by thinking and debating critically on issues that are political and of public interest especially with regard to policies that impact their daily lives and their future. This paper then analyses this theory from the Malaysian political perspective. Malaysia has different approaches toward implementing deliberative democracy. This is because of the nature of society and political circumstances of the country. While Malaysia rejects liberal democracy but it embraces elite deliberation which believes that democracy should be applied responsibly without jeopardising racial and religious harmony which calls for limiting certain democratic practices, such as freedom of speech and that of the press.
 

 
The Rise of Singapore-India Defense Relations inthe Postcold War Era: Strategic and Security Implications
Bilveer Singh
 
Introduction Ɩ Full Text
Since the early 1990s, Singapore-India relations have progressed rapidly in most fields. In the economic realm, Singapore companies have invested massively in the Indian telecommunications industry. Bilateral trade rose 40% from 2004 to 2005 and increased further following the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between the two states in 2005. 1 In 2006, bilateral trade jumped 20% to S$20 billion.2 Defense relations, which have also been enhanced, are epitomized by the signing of a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in October 2003. Among other agreements, the DCA gave the Republic of Singapore Armed Forces (RSAP) access to Indian training facilities.3 Although the progress in Singapore-India economic relations has been analyzed in a many studies, analyses of security and defense cooperation have been undertaken primarily in the broader context of India's relations with ASEAN.4 In the current study, we analyze Singapore-India defense relations in the post-Cold War era. The study begins by examining the defense policies of Singapore and India, especially the transformation from mutual suspicion towards cooperation with the onset of the postCold War era. Various areas of defense and security cooperation will be highlighted. The implications of the rise in defense cooperation between the two countries and the way in which it impacts regional security will be also discussed. Although defense relations between both states have improved rapidly since 1993, new avenues of cooperation are also being assessed, including research and development [R&D] and humanitarian operations. Pitfalls along the path to closer cooperation are evidenced by China's apprehension over India's increasing influence in Southeast Asia. In addition, potential conflicts between India and Pakistan could place Singapore in an awkward position if the strategic partnership of Singapore and India continues to strengthen.
 

 
Laos in the Vietnam War: The Politics of Escalation, 1960-1973
Patit Paban Mishra
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The land locked and underdeveloped country of Laos presents a scenario in early 1960s that almost brought the world on the brink of a major war. Compared to the contemporaneous Berlin Wall Crisis and Cuban Missile crisis, the events in Laos had been pushed back by scholars without it receiving much attention. The Lao imbroglio was accentuated after the escalation of conflict in Vietnam, when Laos became a side show of the Vietnamese conflict. When the two superpowers, the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)confronted each other in Laos, there was a serious international crisis. The present paper would explore ramifications of the crisis in Laos in the context of Cold War. It would analyze factors responsible for escalating the crisis and defusing of it afterwards. The role of superpowers, great powers, and regional powers would be discussed with their interests and motivations. The local actors who had different considerations and their response to the ongoing crisis would also to be projected. The internationalization of the crisis, particularly after it was linked with Vietnam War, aggravated the problem in Laos resulting in a delay in finding a solution to problem in Laos.
 

 
Malaysia-Myanmar Relations Since 1958
Jatswan S. Sidhu
 
Introduction Ɩ Full Text
Although Malaysia established official diplomatic relations with Myanmar (formerly Burma) in 1958, it may, however, appear that the former only started paying attention toits relations with the latter since 1988, especially when Myanmar ended its almost threedecades of self-imposed isolation. Contrary to this, Malaysia in fact has had a longhistory of close and cordial relations with Myanmar since 1958, although there wereperiods when relations between both took a downside. While Malaysia's relations withMyanmar can be categorised as close and cordial in the 1950s and 1960s, it however,became low key in the late-1970s and early 1980s. Nevertheless, from the late-1980s onwards, Malaysia-Myanmar relations once again rose to a significant level, especially during the administration of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (1981-2003).
 
From available evidence, it appears that Malaysia's relations with Myanmar were very much "personalised", often centered on the leaders of both countries. In another direction and inspite of the existence of fraternal relations between leaders of both states, it can be noticed that Malaysia's stance towards Myanmar has been riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions. This has been evident since 1988 when Malaysia has practiced a rather contradictory policy especially when it concerns Myanmar's slow pace of political reform and its abysmal human rights record. This is because while Malaysia has, on occasions, criticised Myanmar for its human rights violations, at the same time it has often back-tracked from its earlier pronouncements.
 
In this connection, this paper attempts to discuss and analyse the factors that have influenced and shaped Malaysia'S relations with Myanmar since 1958. The paper will be divided into three major periods namely the pre-1988 period, relations from 1988 till 2003, and finally, relations since 2004. This is because while Malaysia had little economic interests in Myanmar in the pre-1988 period, its investments has grown since 1988, with economic priorities becoming the major driving force in its relations with the latter. Apart from that, Myanmar's self-imposed policy of isolation that was eventually aborted in 1988 too had its bearings on the reiations between both countries. Not only did
Myanmar remain relatively isolated on the one hand, Malaysia too had little interest in the latter, on the other.
 

 
The Phantom of Bosnia-Herzegovina Revolt 1875-1878
Azlizan Bt Mat Enb
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The Ottoman administration in Bosnia-Herzegovina which began in 1463 was based on Islamic laws. The local people accepted the Ottoman administration and had lived under its rule for 412 years. However, this was disrupted by a revolt in Bosnia in 1875 when Christian Slavs accused the government for maladministration and that the Christian welfare had been neglected. On this pretext the Serbians started a revolt. The Serbians were ambitious in wanting to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina as a part of Serbia 's territory and to create a Greater Serbia. This paper examines the role played by the Serbia in Bosnian revolt of 1875. The study is based on British documents.
 

 
Southern Thailand: Some Grievances of the Patani Malays
Ahmad Amir Bin Abdullah
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The provinces of Patani, Yala and Narathiwat are witnessing waves of violence especially since January 2004. Many see the violence as a sign of the resurgence of separatism. There are many reasons for this. The Malay Muslims in these provinces are not happy with the government attempts to assimilate/integrate them into the mainstream Thai society. There is an inherent fear among them that government policies are meant to erode their Malay Muslim identity in the majority Buddhist nation. They want to retain a separate political, cultural and religious identity as Patani Malay Muslims. This paper discusses how some of the government policies have contributed to the Patani Malay Muslim grievances against the government in Bangkok. 
 

      
     
Timor-Leste: A Country Profile
Baiql.S.W Warhani
 
History Ɩ Full Text
Timor-Leste or previously known as East Timor, once the farthe st of the Portuguese colonies, lies in the longitude of 123°E and latitude of 90 S. Towards the south is Australia and in the north is the Republic of Indonesia. Approximately 40,000 to 20,000 years BC, the first people to have settled on the island of Timor, were of the Vedo-Australoide type. Around 3000 years BC, the second wave arrived. They consisted of Melanesians, similar to the people of Papua and some Pacific Islands. The third wave who arrived around 2500 BC consisted of 'proto-malays' – people coming from South China and North Indochina. Hi storically Timor-Leste was occupied by two nations, first Portugal and next by Indonesia. The Portuguese came for sandalwood and other resources in East Timor in 1515.
 
Three centuries later, Portuguese introduced coffee plantations, sugar cane and cotton as new sources of revenue. Under Portuguese administration, Timor-Leste remained largely underdeveloped with an economy based on barter. Due to its geographical distance and internal conditions in Portugal, Timor was considered a neglected Portuguese colony. The average annual growth rate between 1953 and 1962 was very low, approximately 2%. Based on that fact, the United Nations declared TimorLeste a non-self governing territory under Portuguese administration. As a colonial power, Portugal was forced by the UN to be more serious in developing Timor.
 
Before the Second World War, however, Timor-Leste was seen as strategically important. Timor served as a buffer zone for Australia. Under Japanese occupation, the Timorese lived under miserable conditions. Therefore they worked hand in hand with Australians to force the Japanese out of the island. This was the first instance of the close bond between Australia and the people of Timor. This had a tremendous impact on the existing relationship between the two states.
 
The changed political situation in Portugal in 1974 were to have serious implication on the political future of the Timorese. The so called 'transition to democracy' in Portugal brought Timor to a new era when Portugal for the first time gave freedom to the people of Timor to form their own political parties.
 
A violent coup took place on August II, 1975, in an attempt to seize power from the Portuguese and prevent the control of the left-wing Frente Revoluciomiria do Timor Leste Independente (Fretilin). The Fretilin won the struggle for power. On November 28, 1975, Fretilin declared an independent Timor-Leste as the Republica Democratica de Timor Leste (RDTL). However, the RDTL was only short-lived as ten days later on December 7 1975 Indonesian troops invaded the countey.