Rising Asia Journal
Rising Asia Foundation
ISSN 2583-1038
PEER REVIEWED | MULTI-DISCIPLINARY | EASTERN FOCUS

Latest Issue

VOLUME 4, ISSUE 1 (WINTER/SPRING)
JANUARY TO APRIL 2024

Issue Information
  • Editorial Board & Journal Information
  • THE HISTORY LESSONS HENRY A. (HEINZ ALFRED) KISSINGER NEVER LEARNED FROM HIS INTERVENTIONS
    IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
    Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
    HARISH C. MEHTA
    Abstract

    THE HISTORY LESSONS HENRY A. (HEINZ ALFRED) KISSINGER NEVER LEARNED FROM HIS INTERVENTIONS
    IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
    Letter from the Editor-in-Chief


    Unapologetic and unrepentant he remained till the end. His destruction of peaceful societies justified at the altar of his deep commitment to his warmongering policies, his bizarre humor on display even when bombing innocent civilians. The documentary record shows him laughing through the Paris Peace Talks, through the Christmas Bombings of North Vietnam that he ordered to force Hanoi back to the negotiating table. The same peace agreement that he accepted in January 1973 was on offer earlier. In the end, he prolonged the Vietnam War.

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  • Notes on the Authors
  • Contents
Commentaries
  • THE MAN WHO HOLDS THE “SECOND KEY”: MULTIRACIAL SINGAPORE WINS A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
    ASAD LATIF, Editorial Writer, The Straits Times
    Abstract

    THE MAN WHO HOLDS THE “SECOND KEY”: MULTIRACIAL SINGAPORE WINS A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION


    The author writes that Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s landslide victory in the presidential election in September 2023 suggests that Singaporeans are less interested in their president’s former political affiliations than in how well he can ensure the future of a tiny island city-state in an increasingly unstable world. Latif adds that the future cannot but be a multiracial one. Tharman’s ethnicity, he explains, did not propel him to victory. It was the absence of ethnically-based political choices among the majority Chinese that did so.

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  • TEESTA DISASTER: A HUMAN-MADE CATASTROPHE AND THE LESSONS LEARNT
    VIMAL KHAWAS, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
    Abstract

    TEESTA DISASTER: A HUMAN-MADE CATASTROPHE AND THE LESSONS LEARNT


    The author, a specialist in disaster management in North East India, writes that Sikkim should now concentrate on the efficient handling of the already constructed and commissioned hydropower projects instead of venturing into new ones. There should be proper human coordination and Early Warning System in place to manage the functional dams. The inefficiency and lack of human coordination to handle current flash floods in the upper Teesta catchment has badly exposed Sikkim. A small mistake upstream will have a tremendous human and environmental impact downstream. Sikkim needs to evolve a comprehensive regional hydropower policy in view of its unique regional environment, ecological setup, and geography.

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  • ASEAN IN A COMPETITIVE WORLD ORDER
    GURJIT SINGH, Former Indian Ambassador
    Abstract

    ASEAN IN A COMPETITIVE WORLD ORDER


    ASEAN’s absence, both from certain new global formations and from key United Nations groups, raises questions about the role the regional organization is playing. The author also suggests that the time has come to reboot India-ASEAN relations in the interest of both sides, in order to stay relevant.

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Research Articles
  • TRACING THE FILM HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM WITH HOÀNG VĨNH LỘC’S WAR PICTURE THE FACELESS LOVER: NEOCOLONIALIST FILM
    OR NATIONALIST MELODRAMA?
    TRẦN ỨNG THUỲ TRANG, Fulbright University Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City
    Abstract

    TRACING THE FILM HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM WITH HOÀNG VĨNH LỘC’S WAR PICTURE THE FACELESS LOVER: NEOCOLONIALIST FILM
    OR NATIONALIST MELODRAMA?


    After the Fall of Saigon in 1975, Communist Vietnamese film critics in the newly unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) widely cited the 1972 South Vietnamese film, The Faceless Lover, as an example of neo-colonialist psychological warfare. In response to their critiques, this paper raises several questions: What role did the state play in constructing Southern Vietnamese war cinema? If the Communist film critics’ suggestions are inaccurate, how can we account for the emotion-laden pathos of the film? Using Vietnamese-language archival resources, the essay argues that the critical and commercial success of The Faceless Lover results from the rise of privatized cinema supported by cinema policy renewals in the early 1970s and mainstream reception of melodrama during the Second Republic of Vietnam, instead of serving any neo-imperialist agenda. Informed by melodrama theory, this essay argues that the film’s melodrama mode and ambiguous anti-war semiotics constitute an undercurrent of nationalism. It systematically rejects postwar Communist critics’ arguments while expanding the South Vietnamese film industry’s historical agents and contemporary scholars’ more objective and nuanced perspectives. This study is significant because it nuances the relationship between state apparatuses and the production of a national cinema unique to nations whose “land, government and cultural imaginary” have been divided by Cold War politics of Vietnam. The special issue addressed in this paper regarding Vietnamese cinema concerns its lack of film studies scholarship on the cinema of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) after 1975, which stems from a systematic erasure of RVN films under the Communist SRV.

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  • Case Study of Tezu Block, Lohit District of Arunachal Pradesh
    A NEW DEAL FOR WOMEN OF RURAL ARUNACHAL: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF SELF-HELP GROUPS
    AJAY KUMAR PANDEY, Rajiv Gandhi University; MAN NORBU, Rashtriya Raksha University; and PUNYO YARANG, Rajiv Gandhi University
    Abstract

    Case Study of Tezu Block, Lohit District of Arunachal Pradesh
    A NEW DEAL FOR WOMEN OF RURAL ARUNACHAL: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF SELF-HELP GROUPS


    The Self-Help Groups of Arunachal Pradesh are a new experiment of recent origin. While numerous studies have been conducted on women’s empowerment in the context of the role of SHGs across India, the topic is under-studied as it relates to Arunachal. This case study of SHGs illustrates the comprehensive development of women occurring on multiple fronts, alongside the challenges they encounter. They are an informal association of individuals, predominantly comprising women, who mutually uplift each other socially, politically and economically. To put it into perspective, among 131 countries, India ranks 120th in female labor force participation rates, while the incidence of gender-based violence remains unacceptably high. This paper, largely based on primary data collected during a field study carried out in 2021, aims to understand how SHGs impact tribal women economically and how these groups help raise their economic awareness. It studies the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), a poverty alleviation initiative of the government of India launched in 2011 that strives to mobilize impoverished rural households into SHGs to enhance their capacities to manage and enhance their livelihoods, as well as the Arunachal Pradesh State Rural Livelihoods Mission (ArSRLM), an autonomous body that serves as the nodal agency for implementing the central government’s NRLM/Aajeevika schemes in the state. The present study improves our understanding of the extent to which the NRLM’s philosophy is mirrored in one of the rural societies of Arunachal Pradesh.

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  • ADVENTURE OF PLANTS (PART II): BOTANICAL INCUBATION OF TEA PLANTATIONS IN INDIA AND CEYLON IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY
    TIAN MASHUANG, School of Humanities, Tsinghua University
    Abstract

    ADVENTURE OF PLANTS (PART II): BOTANICAL INCUBATION OF TEA PLANTATIONS IN INDIA AND CEYLON IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY


    This article is the second part of a series on the botanical incubation of tea plantations in South Asia. While the first article illustrated the early imagination and blueprints created by botanists to establish a tea industry in South Asia, the second article concentrates on how those botanical “business plans” were realized in the mid-nineteenth century. Botanists launched the first migrations of tea plants and prepared ecological habitats for tea through research on climate, soil, and ecology. Botanical gardens in India and Ceylon provided indispensable botanical and technical support for early planters with seeds, plants, and knowledge, extending the outreach of the global tea production chain to South Asia. This saga is illustrated by the stories of “amateur capitalists” who devised and incubated the tea industry with the help of the botanical infrastructure in Calcutta, Saharanpur, Peradeniya, and Hakgalla. Those pioneers were a number of botanists and naturalists such as Joseph Banks, Robert Kyd, George Govan, John Forbes Royle, Hugh Falconer, Nathaniel Wallich, and their Ceylon counterparts H.T. Normansell and G.H.K. Thwaites. The story of tea manifested in the multi-species universalism of plants, animals, people, and knowledge, as well as the cosmopolitan connections among academic and commercial establishments beyond artificial borders and identities.

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The Rising Asia Roundtable Review
  • REVIEW OF ANG CHENG GUAN'S SINGAPORE'S GRAND STRATEGY (NUS PRESS, 2023).
  • SINGAPORE’S JOURNEY FROM THE DREAM OF BEING THE “NEW YORK” OF MALAYSIA TO A SMALL STATE WITH A “GRAND STRATEGY”
    HARISH C. MEHTA
    Abstract

    SINGAPORE’S JOURNEY FROM THE DREAM OF BEING THE “NEW YORK” OF MALAYSIA TO A SMALL STATE WITH A “GRAND STRATEGY”


    ROUNDTABLE REVIEW OF ANG CHENG GUAN, SINGAPORE’S GRAND STRATEGY (SINGAPORE: NUS PRESS, 2023), 195 PAGES.

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  • SINGAPORE’S (THUS FAR) SUCCESSFUL GRAND STRATEGY OF ENSURING SUCCESS
    MANJEET S. PARDESI, Associate Professor of International Relations, Victoria University of Wellington
  • HISTORIAN ANG FILLS A GAP IN THE LITERATURE DOMINATED BY POLITICAL SCIENTISTS
    BICH TRAN, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
  • SINGAPORE’S GRAND STRATEGY HAS BEEN EFFECTIVE, BUT CAN IT WORK AMIDST WORSENING U.S.-CHINA TENSIONS?
    TOH HAN SHIH, Chief Analyst, Headland Intelligence, Hong Kong
  • SINGAPORE’S GRAND STRATEGY IS ALWAYS DYNAMIC AND IS NOT CAST IN STONE
    ANG CHENG GUAN, Associate Dean, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
The Rising Asia Review of Books
  • WHY REGIMES IN MALAYSIA AND SINGAPORE
    ARE SO RESILIENT
    VINOD KUMAR PILLAI, Independent Scholar
    Abstract

    WHY REGIMES IN MALAYSIA AND SINGAPORE
    ARE SO RESILIENT


    Regime Resilience in Malaysia and Singapore, edited by Greg Lopez and Bridget Welsh (Selangor: Strategic Information and Research Development Centre / Singapore: World Scientific, 2023), 328 pages, US$108.

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  • NOSTALGIA: THE ETERNAL HOMECOMING
    SALIKYU SANGTAM, Tetso College
    Abstract

    NOSTALGIA: THE ETERNAL HOMECOMING


    Ching-hwang Yen, While East Meets West: A Chinese Diaspora Scholar and Social Activist in Asia-Pacific (Singapore: World Scientific, 2022), 400 pages, US$98.

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About the Journal

Rising Asia is a scholarly publication and journal of record with a multidisciplinary orientation. It serves as a resource for the study, investigation, and teaching of Asian societies. Each volume of the journal contains interpretive essays on all aspects of Asian history, economy, diplomacy, literature, health, science, military affairs (war, peace and society or WPS) and culture.

Its coverage spans the humanities and social sciences, incorporating various thematic approaches—historical, economic, foreign policy, military, literary and theoretical that explore issues of grand strategy, ideology, ethnicity, race and gender, diasporic and indigenous communities, and colonialism and postcolonialism. The journal also publishes research articles in the field of Film Studies, as well as commentaries on museum exhibits and resource guides, provided all of them are scholarly in nature.

Journal Information

Title: Rising Asia Journal
Frequency: Three times a year
ISSN: ISSN 2583-1038
Publisher: Rising Asia Foundation
Chief Editor: Harish C. Mehta
Copyright: Rising Asia Foundation
Starting year: January 2021
Subject: Multidisciplinary subjects
Language: English
Publication Format: Online
Phone No: 91-9830721954
Email id: harishcmehta1968@gmail.com
Website: www.rajraf.org
Address: 32 T, New Road, Alipore, Kolkata 700 027, West Bengal, India

Editorial Board

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

HARISH C. MEHTA
PhD, McMaster University, Canada;
former Lecturer at University of Toronto, McMaster,
and Trent University;
and former Senior Indochina Correspondent,
The Business Times of Singapore.
harishcmehta1968@gmail.com
harish.mehta@utoronto.ca
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CONSULTING EDITOR

GURJIT SINGH
Former Ambassador of India to Germany, Indonesia, ASEAN, Ethiopia and the African Union;
currently honorary Professor of Humanities, Indian Institute of Technology, Indore (Japan, Indonesia, ASEAN, Africa and Europe),
ambassadorgurjitsingh@gmail.com
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ASSOCIATE EDITORS

ANG CHENG GUAN
Professor, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore. (International History and Politics of Southeast Asia),
iscgang@ntu.edu.sg
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JANGKHONGAM DOUNGEL
Professor, Department of Political Science, Mizoram University, Aizawl (Local/Regional Politics & Socio-Economic Development of Mizoram, and Autonomy Movements in the North East),
jdoungel@gmail.com
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BOARD OF EDITORS

Julie Banerjee Mehta
Former Lecturer, University of Toronto and York University, currently Guest Faculty Professor, Loreto College, Calcutta (Postcolonial and Gender Theory, World Literatures, Diaspora Studies and Southeast Asian Culture),
juliemehta57@gmail.com
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Suchorita Chattopadhyay
Professor, Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University (Comparative Literature, Japan, and Asian Diasporas),
suchoritachattopadhyay@yahoo.com
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Craig Etcheson
PhD (International Relations), University of Southern California; former Visiting Scientist at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health from 2017 through June 2022 (Transitional Justice, Genocide Studies, and Cambodia),
etcheson@ix.netcom.com
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Lalnundika Hnamte
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Pachhunga University College, A Constituent College of Mizoram University (Peace and Conflict Resolution; Northeast Indian politics; Sixth Schedule and Tribal Autonomy; Migration and Citizenship;
Look East/Act East Policy),
lalnundika@jbc.edu.in
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Tuan Hoang
Associate Professor of Great Books, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California (Modern Vietnamese Intellectual and Religious History, Vietnamese American History,
and Vietnamese Catholicism),
tuan.hoang@pepperdine.edu
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Sanjay Kathuria
PhD (Economics), University of Oxford; Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, and Ashoka University, Sonipat, India; Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research and former Lead Economist, World Bank (South Asian Trade and Investment, India's North East, Global Economy, Economic Growth, and Competitiveness),
sanjay@cprindia.org
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Veronica Khangchian
Assistant Professor, Gandhian School of Democracy and Socialism, ITM University, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh; and former faculty in the Department of Sociology at Delhi School of Economics and Maitreyi College, University of Delhi (Ethnicity & Conflict, Migration, and Peace Processes in Northeast India),
verokarujiliu@gmail.com
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Vimal Khawas
Professor, the Special Centre for the Study of North East India, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (the Himalayan region, Sikkim, Nepal, Environmental Studies/Security, Development Studies, Urban and Regional Planning),
vimalkhawas@mail.jnu.ac.in
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Siddharth Mallavarapu
Professor, Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, Shiv Nadar University (Disciplinary histories of International Relations, Theories of IR in the Global South, Asia in World Affairs, Comparative Political Thought, and Critical Security Studies),
siddharth.m@snu.edu.in
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Medha
Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, Shiv Nadar University (South Asian Historical International Relations, Postcolonial and Decolonial approaches, Identities, Ideologies and Religion, and Discourse Theory),
medha@snu.edu.in
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Biswajit Mohapatra
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong (Politics, International Relations and Foreign Policy; and India's North East),
biswajitm1@gmail.com
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Nguyet Nguyen
Assistant Professor of History, Department of Social Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Alaska, Southeast, Juneau, Alaska (Vietnam War, U.S. Foreign Relations, Imperialism and Decolonization, and Gender Politics),
ntnguyen2@alaska.edu
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Por Heong Hong
Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang (Malaysia's healthcare policy, biopolitics, politics of memory, politics of heritage),
porheonghong@usm.my
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Vu Duong Luan
Senior Lecturer, Department of Heritage Studies, and Head of Office of Research Affairs and International Cooperation, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi (Transnational History of Sino-Vietnamese Early Modern Borderlands, Comparative Studies of Social and Economic Institutions of Imperial China and Vietnam, and the Politics of Heritage in Chinese and Vietnamese societies).
luanvuduong@gmail.com
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ASSISTANT EDITORS

BOOKS
Mohini Maureen Pradhan
mohinipcal53@gmail.com

FILM STUDIES
Raka Mukherjee
rakamukherjeeofficial@gmail.com.

RESEARCH
Hemalatha Sridhar
tatsugarde@gmail.com

Hussena Calcuttawala
hussenacal@gmail.com

COLUMNS
Valentina Notts
valentinanotts@gmail.com

PUBLISHING EXECUTIVE
Roshni Subramani
sales.risingasia@gmail.com

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