2016
Sydney Southeast Asia Centre
Newsletter
MAY EDITION
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Humanitarian Engineering in Southeast Asia
We’re pleased to announce that Understanding Southeast Asia (ASNS 2665), curated by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, will form a compulsory unit of the Faculty of Engineering and IT’s Humanitarian Engineering major.

We’re pleased to announce that Understanding Southeast Asia (ASNS 2665), curated by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, will form a compulsory unit of the Faculty of Engineering and IT’s Humanitarian Engineering major.

Designed for students of the Diploma of Languages and for students travelling to Southeast Asia as part of a student mobility program, the unit will offer civil engineering students a holistic and comprehensive picture of the region and enhance their learning experience.
 
As Australia’s first Humanitarian Engineering major, available to students from 2017, the inclusion of the unit is designed to help students develop the crucial cross-cultural skills needed to plan, implement and maintain infrastructure and engage in disaster reconstruction in the region.

For Dr Petr Matous who drove the effort to include the unit, Southeast Asia is and should be a priority area for students and the online component of the unit will allow students the flexibility to complete the major whilst in-country.

‘Creating students with good technical skills who understand the region and can work across different cultures with limited resources is extremely important, and this unit will encourage just that.' 

-          Dr Matous, Faculty of Engineering and IT

Read Dr Matous’ piece in The Conversation on why engineers don’t just build things, they can help save the world.
Meet our postgraduate students
As our community of postgraduate students grows, we’re delighted to introduce you to a small selection. Find out why our postgraduate students choose to study and travel in the different countries of Southeast Asia, the difference it has made in their lives, and the real-world issues they’re researching.

As our community of postgraduate students grows, we’re delighted to introduce you to a small selection. Find out why our postgraduate students choose to study and travel in the different countries of Southeast Asia, the difference it has made in their lives, and the real-world issues they’re researching.

Under the leadership of Natali Pearson, our postgraduate students participate in a variety of initiatives and events including a seminar series, Three Minute Thesis Challenge, and research workshops.

‘These events provide opportunities for inter-disciplinary collaboration, networking, exploring current research – your own, and others’ – intensively, and having fun.'
-          Natali Pearson, PhD candidate in Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Become a postgraduate student member
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RESEARCH
Elite-peasant relations in Indonesia
Iqra Anugrah, PhD candidate in Political Science and Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University and recipient of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s Visiting PhD Scholar Fund, spent one month in Sydney in March 2016.

Iqra Anugrah, PhD candidate in Political Science and Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University and recipient of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s Visiting PhD Scholar Fund, spent one month in Sydney in March 2016.

His research project, Elite-Peasant Relations in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia: Decentralisation, Dispossession and Countermovement, analyses the fragmentation of agrarian and peasant movements at the national level. Based on 18 months of fieldwork, Iqra is researching patterns in elite accomodation of peasant interests in post-New Order Indonesia.

Whilst in Sydney, Iqra focused on a paper comparing the patterns of elite-peasant relations in two districts, which he will present at the upcoming AAS-in-Asia Conference at Doshisha University in Japan in June 2016.

During his time with SSEAC, Iqra met a number of our members and associate members who share similar research interests, and participated in several seminars. Through these networks, he broadened his contacts within the Southeast Asian Studies community in Australia and hopes to maintain these ties into the future. 

‘I learnt a tremendous amount about the productive publishing culture for junior scholars, the push to move beyond disciplines and engage with mutli-disciplinary intellectual enterprises, and the importance of networking with senior scholars in my field. I feel that such efforts are strongly encouraged and facilitated here in Sydney.' 
-          Iqra Anugrah
Mapping truth on Wikipedia during Thailand's political crisis
Dr Aim Sinpeng, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Dr Ying Zhou, Faculty of Engineering and IT, are examining the construction of Wikipedia pages of key political events during Thailand’s political crisis from 2006 to 2014.

Dr Aim Sinpeng, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Dr Ying Zhou, Faculty of Engineering and IT, are examining the construction of Wikipedia pages of key political events during Thailand’s political crisis from 2006 to 2014.

Funded by a SSEAC Collaborative Grant, the research project hypothesises that Wikipedia is a site of political resistance by anti-coup and anti-establishment users who construct pages as alternative sources of ‘truth’ to counter dominant discourses by the state.

Between 2006 and 2014, Thailand witnessed its most violent and protracted political crisis, including two military coup d’etats. During this period, there has been a sharp decline in freedom of press and expression. Some of the opposition discourse and grievances have found refuge in cyberspace, where state control and censorship is less effective.

As an online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia provides alternative accounts of Thai history. However, the process of creating and editing Wikipedia pages is also highly contested. Given the reach of Wikipedia – visited 16 million times each month in Thailand – the stake for whom controls the discourse on Wikipedia is crucial to the legitimacy of the Thai state.

Challenging Wikipedia’s ‘neutrality’, the research project is probing the ways in which Wikipedia pages on Thai political history contain biases.
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OUTREACH
Cultural learning in schools
Ferncourt Public School, recipient of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s Schools Grant, hosted an Indonesian cultural learning day to complement their commitment to improving Asia literacy.

Ferncourt Public School, recipient of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s Schools Grant, hosted an Indonesian cultural learning day to complement their commitment to improving Asia literacy.

Primary school students at Ferncourt learnt about the diversity and wealth of Indonesian performing arts and cuisine. Divided into three activities, students enjoyed the tastes of various Indonesian dishes made by members of the local Indonesian community; discovered native foods and spices and the cultural and historical aspects of these foods; and participated in a series of performing arts workshops.

Indonesian dance artists instructed students in the tari jaipong (a Sundanese traditional dance) and the tari randai (an Acehnese body percussion dance), which were designed to educate students with basic language and cultural awareness. Students showcased these dances in front of the school community.

Ferncourt will be integrating this new knowledge into the primary school curriculum through tailored learning units such as Indigenous Australia and the Makassans, as well as through study units such as ‘our stories’, ‘understanding each other’, and ‘global and social issues’.
Nursing education a priority for Indonesia
Sydney Nursing School hosted a visit by His Excellency Mr Thomas Lembong, Minister for Trade, Indonesia, in March 2016.

Sydney Nursing School hosted a visit by His Excellency Mr Thomas Lembong, Minister for Trade, Indonesia, in March 2016.

The Minister has a particular interest in nursing education, and was audience to a presentation about Sydney Nursing School’s courses as well as a tour of its simulation facilities. He expressed a keen interest in the development of closer ties between Australia and Indonesia, and focused particularly on the importance of the discipline of nursing for meeting the growing demand for health care services in Indonesia.

The Minister also met several Sydney Nursing School students from Indonesia, engaging them in a lively discussion about their experiences studying at Sydney.
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TEACHING
Batik urbanism
The Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning showcased students’ studio work from Indonesia in an exhibition entitled Order In The Disorder.

The Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning showcased students’ studio work from Indonesia in an exhibition entitled Order In The Disorder.

The exhibition included works by architecture students involved in our interdisciplinary field school Cultural Industries in Central Java, held in February 2016, in a separate exhibition entitled Batik Urbanism.

As part of the field school, students travelled to Yogyakarta to explore the importance of creative industries in Central Java, visiting local historical sites, artisans’ workshops, markets and shops where their products are sold, and to contemporary, alternative spaces.

In January 2016, Dr Rizal Muslimin led a group of architecture students to Bandung. Students worked with the local community and the Institute of Technology in Bandung to identify via studio and fieldwork the rules by which form and structure evolve in informal settlements, and the nature of ‘bottom up’ responsive and adaptive solutions to urbanism.
Fostering veterinary student exchanges
The University of Sydney along with Universitas Gadjah Mada(UGM) and Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) in Indonesia have established a student exchange program for final year veterinary students.

The University of Sydney along with Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) in Indonesia have established a student exchange program for final year veterinary students.

In 2016, the two-way student exchange saw students from UGM undertake an 8-week placement in Semester 1. Students focused on four components; farm management, disease investigation, pathology and advanced reproductive technologies.

For students Ng Yik Soon and Jordan Balun, their experience at the University of Sydney has been eye-opening. ‘We’ve encountered a huge difference in teaching strategies, presentation, environment, and most of all, we’ve had to deepen our understanding about sheep!’

In the first week, students travelled to various farms and were introduced to different livestock units, including beef cattle, pigs, and sheep. During the Advanced Reproductive Technology rotation, students even had the opportunity to artificially inseminate 150 sheep at Arthursleigh.

‘The day before, we learnt about ram and bull breeding and at night, we enjoyed a barbeque and joked around. For us, artificial insemination was an entirely new concept, we had never heard about it before and we feel extremely lucky to have had the chance to do such an operation.’

Students also studied disease outbreak and transmission, and were provided with professional approaches to controlling outbreaks as veterinarians.
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NEWS
Recognising our global humanitarians
Congratulations to Associate Professor Robyn Alders, Faculty of Veterinary Science, who has been nominated for the newly established Mitchell Global Humanitarian Award.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Robyn Alders, Faculty of Veterinary Science, who has been nominated for the newly established Mitchell Global Humanitarian Award.

She was nominated for her work in Southern Africa helping village women to immunise their hens against Newcastle disease. Since 2004, A/Prof Alders has been involved with highly pathogenic avian influenza control and preparedness in Southern Africa, as well as Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. She is currently working on the ‘Timor Leste Village Poultry Health and Biosecurity Program’ funded by the Department of Agriculture, and the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Mitchell Global Humanitarian Award recognises Australians and others supported by Australian aid who have made an outstanding contribution to the cause of international development.

We wish A/Prof Alders the best of luck for the award announcement in 2017!
Complete our member survey
Our member survey is now open and we want to hear from you! Your contribution is greatly appreciated as it will help us promote and showcase the high-impact research that is happening across the University of Sydney on Southeast Asia.

Complete the member survey
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WHAT'S ON
Seminars
Engaging with Policy in Southeast Asia: Postgraduate Research Workshop
28 July 2016

The University of Sydney will bring together research students from around Australia to explore how activists interface with the governments of countries in Southeast Asia and the associated challenges.

Apply now
Politics in Action: Democratic Updates from Southeast Asia
29 July 2016

The policy roundtable aims to provide current political updates on the states in Southeast Asia as well as space to discuss the broader implications of political issues beyond national borders. 

Register now
Thailand in Comparative Perspective: An International Symposium
26-27 September 2016

Thailand in Comparative Perspective will promote the sharing of ideas and insights on the comparative outlook of recent developments in Thailand from a diverse bodies of knowledge in the social sciences.
ASEAN Forum 2016: China in ASEAN
7 October 2016

The 2016 ASEAN Forum co-hosted with China Studies Centre will shed light on how China is shaping political, economic and cultural aspects of life for those in ASEAN. 

Register now
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