Mar 24, 2014

Academic Articles published during 2nd & 3rd Week of March 2014

Here is the list of academic articles published in 2nd & 3rd Week of March

Chachavalpongpun, Pavin (2014) 'Japan Pursues a 'Thailand-Plus-One' Strategy', ISEAS Perspective, 2014(#15)

- Thailand’s political crisis has shown no sign of subsiding and has had a far-reaching political and economic impact on its relations with economic partners, such as Japan.

- While Thai-Japanese economic ties remain strong, Japanese companies are closely monitoring political developments and have put in place back-up plans for fear of an escalation of political conflict in the kingdom.

- One of Japan’s backup plans is the realisation of a Thailand-Plus-One business model, which seeks to transfer labour-intensive industries from Thailand into its neighbouring countries. The Thailand-Plus-One initiative allows for Japanese businesses to diversify risks in their operations in Thailand.

- The impact the Thailand-Plus-One policy on Thailand could be immense should it fail to recover from its prolonged crisis. Its neighbours are at the same time eager to welcome foreign investors, and are formulating attrac- tive policies to encourage inflows of foreign direct investments.

Cook, Malcolm (2014) 'Peace’s Best Chance in Muslim Mindanao', ISEAS Perspective, 2014(#16)'s_Best_Chance_in_Muslim_Mindanao.pdf


- Political disagreement and ensuing violence have precluded the integration of the Moro community into the Philippines since the Spanish colonisation of the Philippine archipelago in the 1500s. Since the 1970s, over one million Mindanao residents have been displaced by political violence, over 100,000 have died and the regional economy has been stunted by this nation-building failure.

- The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) completed on 25 January 2014 offers the best chance yet for a political solution to the insurgency in Muslim Mindanao in the forty-plus years of peace negotiations.

- The potential payoffs from the latest diplomatic effort hinge on three differences from previous unsuccessful agreements: (i) the balance of power within the Moro insurgency favours the supporters of this Agreement, (ii) the Agreement provides for greater and more sustainable autonomy and disarmament, and (iii) greater engagement and support from foreign states and local stakeholders.

- While the Framework Agreement is an important step in moving Mindanao toward peace, there are four significant hurdles to be overcome: (i) many difficult details are glossed over in the Agreement, (ii) President Aquino’s single presidential term runs out in mid-2016, (iii) the new MILF-led Bangsamoro government will need to absorb the existing regional government, and (iv) a successful Supreme Court challenge may prove fatal to the Agreement.

- A signed Bangsamoro Basic Law based on the Framework Agreement and a successful 2016 Bangsamoro election would redefine the Philippine state and Manila-Muslim Mindanao relations. Another failure, however, would reaffirm the Moro sense of alienation that lies at the root of the insurgency and would leave no major Moro group willing and able to negotiate further with the Philippine government.

Chong, Terence (2014) 'Christian Evangelicals & Public Morality in Singapore', ISEAS Perspective, 2014(#17)


- The engagement of evangelical Christians in public morality debates has been on the increase in Singapore over the last decade. This increase has been partly the result of two general trends.

- Firstly, historic and spiritual shifts within the Christian community saw the decline of liberal Christianity in the 1960s and early 1970s, and the rise of evangelical Christianity in the 1980s. Many evangelicals were less concerned with issues like poverty or social injustice because they were part of the new middle class reaping the benefits of global capital and the status quo. Instead, many turned their spiritual attention towards public morality issues that arose in tandem with the country’s increasing mass consumption and affluence.

- Secondly, it is argued that when the People’s Action Party came to power in 1959, it portrayed itself as both a morally upright state that did not tolerate corruption, nepotism or patronage, and a morally conservative state that led the purge of pornography and drugs, liberal sexual attitudes, and decadent lifestyle values. These two portrayals were aligned with Christian interests.

Gerber, Jonathan, Sarah Turner, and B. Lynne Milgram. "Food Provisioning and Wholesale Agricultural Commodity Chains in Northern Vietnam." Human Organization 73, no. 1 (2014): 50-61.


Recent research examining the functioning of agricultural wholesale markets in the Global South tends to aim at understanding how these connect co Mmodity chains between Global South suppliers and Global North consumers (often via large chain supermarkets), identifying groups of winners and losers en route. Often, the everyday lived experiences of individual actors along these chains, and how they maintain a livelihood within these vast networks, is o Mitted in favor of macro-level interpretations. Focusing on agricultural food provisioning in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city, we analyze the co Mplex negotiations among numerous actors operating both local co Mmodity chains as well as regional South-South networks through the city's Cho Long Biěn wholesale market. These negotiations and trade relations rely on intricate networks, ties, and social capital. In present day socialist Vietnam, long-standing agricultural co Mmodity chain actors are not necessarily losing out to new players such as supermarkets as one Might expect, nor is their trade declining due to recent food safety concerns. Instead, these actors constantly renegotiate their positions along dynamic networks to maintain viable livelihoods.

Martin, Samuel, and Julius Susanto. "Supplying power to remote villages in Lao PDR.—The role of off-grid decentralised energy options." Energy for Sustainable Development 19 (2014): 111-121.

DOI: 10.1016/j.esd.2013.12.012


In Lao PDR, a least developed country in South-East Asia, provision of electricity to remote areas is a high priority for the Government, which has the objective of electrifying 90% of the population (in terms of number of households) by the year 2020. While this objective is commendable and tremendous progress has been made over the past 10 years in terms of rural electrification, some important questions remain unanswered. Currently, grid extension is the main technical option considered. One of the main reasons for this push for grid extension is the assumption that access to the grid means development. However, when analysed closely, the reality from the field is far more complex. Although grid electricity has tremendous potential to provide economic development opportunities in rural areas, it also has some drawbacks. In particular, productive activities fail to develop in many grid connected villages where the demand for electricity remains low even after a few years after having been grid electrified. This paper argues that alternative options to grid extension, e.g. off-grid decentralised renewable energy (DRE), exist, are often more attractive financially and could be promoted more effectively. These technologies can be cheaper than grid extension, even on a like-for-like comparison.22Comparing the cost of each option supplying the same amount of electricity (in kWh). DRE technologies also provide opportunities for development, even without driving large productive loads. These opportunities are presented in terms of 1) the flexibility of needs that DRE technologies can satisfy, 2) empowerment of rural communities and 3) decentralised decision making processes. So far, the promotion of DRE in Laos has not always been successful, but this should not be an argument against promoting these options. A close look at recent rural electrification project budgets reveals indeed that grid extension is far more subsidised than DRE, raising concerns about the social equity of such projects. © 2014 International Energy Initiative.

Shamshudeen, Rosya Izyanie, and Brian Morris. "‘No hugging please, we are Muslims’: Akademi Fantasia, Malay television audiences and the negotiation of global popular cultural forms." Asian Journal of Communication 24, no. 2 (2014): 142-157.

DOI: 10.1080/01292986.2013.839725


This paper analyses the audience reception of the Malaysian reality television programme Akademi Fantasia (AF), which first aired in 2003 and completed its ninth season in 2011. AF has been an influential pioneer in the national television industry, inaugurating the trend of local reality shows and weathering intense competition from similar shows to remain at the top of the ratings chart over the last decade. Based on the Mexican talent search show, La Academia, Malaysia's AF is a unique hybrid blend of an Idol-style talent contest and Big Brother observational spectacle. The article draws on primary audience research to investigate the ways in which Malay audiences interpret the potentially incommensurable cultural meanings generated within the context of a localised version of a global television format. Chua's concept of 'identification and distancing' is employed as a framework to analyse the complex ways in which perceived Malay 'cultural norms' assume primacy as interpretative lenses for audience evaluations of the show and measures of its local difference from similar global cultural products. The research also reveals how these cultural norms are themselves being negotiated by the audience as part of the everyday experience of inhabiting coexisting local and global popular cultural spaces. The analysis focuses on audience understandings and pleasure in the programme in relation to fashion and taste; the behaviour of the official judges; voyeurism and conflict in 'backstage' coverage; and emotional intimacy onstage in the public performance component of the programme. © 2013 AMIC/SCI-NTU.

Young, Alasdair R. "The value of pointillism? Integrating trade and development and the European Union as a global actor." Contemporary Politics 20, no. 1 (2014): 118-126.

DOI: 10.1080/13569775.2014.881605


This article investigates the relationship between the European Union's withdrawal of trade benefits for developing countries under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and its sanctions under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Our expectation is that GSP withdrawals and CFSP sanctions will not cohere. However, our research reveals that GSP suspension has been coherent with CFSP sanctions when the latter exist prior to the decision-making process on GSP sanctions and when the International Labour Organisation has set up a Commission of Inquiry condemning the country, as with Myanmar/Burma and Belarus. The presence of separate institutional frameworks explains the GSP suspension towards Sri Lanka in the absence of CFSP sanctions. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Abu Bakar, Siti Hajar, Richard Weatherley, Noralina Omar, Fatimah Abdullah and Nur Saadah Mohamad Aun (2014) 'Projecting social support needs of informal caregivers in Malaysia', Health & Social Care in the Community, 22(2), 144-154.

DOI: 10.1111/hsc.12070


This article presents the findings of a self-report study of the consequences of being an informal caregiver in Malaysia. The aim of this exploratory study was to examine Malaysian efforts in assisting informal caregivers, based on an analysis of the issues and concerns raised by the caregivers themselves. Data were obtained from a cross-sectional survey of informal caregivers in 2009. This sample comprised parents, spouses and/or adult siblings, and adult children, caring for their children, spouses or siblings and parents who were chronically ill and/or had a disability. Of 300 prospective participants, only 175 could be located (58%), but all those contacted agreed to participate. Respondents were randomly selected and interviewed using a structured questionnaire to identify the emotional, financial, social and physical issues consequent upon being a caregiver. Most respondents reported that their care-giving responsibilities had impacted their emotional, financial, social and/or physical well-being. Inadequate and/or uncertain income was by far the greatest concern followed in descending order by social, physical and emotional consequences. The one-way analysis of variance showed significant differences among the three categories of caregivers with respect to physical and emotional consequences. The findings show that care-giving has detrimental effects on the lives of informal caregivers, and that they are in significant need of social support to help them deal with care-giving tasks and responsibilities. Based on the findings, an integrated social support programme is proposed, tailored to the needs of informal caregivers. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Leong, Chan-Hoong. "Social markers of acculturation: A new research framework on intercultural adaptation." International Journal of Intercultural Relations 38 (2014): 120-132.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.08.006


The research examines the social construction of acculturation and naturalization from the perspectives of both native and immigrant citizens in Singapore. More specifically, what and by how much must immigrants do in order to be considered a full participating member in the adopted society? The convergence and divergence of viewpoints will illuminate the perceptual gaps between native and immigrant communities. In addition, the composite score of the markers will provide a measurement of social inclusiveness; it reflects the depth of psychological barriers imposed by the individual in preserving the distinct boundaries of citizenship. Multivariate analyzes showed that the two groups reacted differently to the challenges and benefits from immigration. Surprisingly, naturalized citizens were more sensitive to the impact of perceived immigrant threats and contribution even though they imposed fewer barriers to the new arrivals in becoming a part of the mainstream society. The definition of socio-economic confidence and how it may moderate acculturation attitude will also be discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Rolleston, Caine, and Sofya Krutikova. "Equalising opportunity? School quality and home disadvantage in Vietnam." Oxford Review of Education ahead-of-print (2014): 1-20.

DOI: 10.1080/03054985.2013.875261


Levels of basic literacy and numeracy skills among Vietnamese primary school children are high by comparison with other countries of a similar income level, and the country has made impressive gains in primary enrolment in recent years as well as improving the quality of schooling. Nonetheless, there remain substantial gaps in school performance between children from more and less advantaged backgrounds. Part of the justification of free public schooling consists in the equalisation of 'opportunities to learn' and the mitigation of learning inequalities which result from differences in home-background advantage. In this paper we examine the learning achievement of pupils in primary Grade 5 and explore the relationships between home-background, teacher, peer and school factors and learning progress in Grade 5, using data from Young Lives. We find that disadvantaged pupils receive relatively equitable access in relation to indicators of 'fundamental' school quality, a considerable policy success regarding the provision of 'minimum standards'. However, differences by home advantage are relatively large where more sophisticated 'opportunities to learn' are considered, such as the number of hours of instruction received, including through 'extra classes', as well as access to learning resources such as computers, internet and non-text books. Analysis of the predictors of attainment suggests that some of these are likely to constitute an important part of the explanation for the persistence of learning inequalities by home background in Vietnam, suggesting that following success in equalising basic inputs, policy attention should turn more directly to boosting wider 'opportunities to learn' among disadvantaged pupils. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.


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