Living Landscapes, Connected Communities: Culture, Environment, and Change across Asia

Living Landscapes, Connected Communities: Culture, Environment, and Change across Asia


Abas bin Leman is a member of the Jakun indigenous community from Kampung Melai, a small village near Tasik Chini, Malaysia. He is a farmer and rubber smallholder. Together with his wife, Simoi bt Seng, he is often asked to recount the traditional tales and legends of the area that are closely linked with the surrounding environment.

Trias Aditya is a lecturer in the Department of Geodetic and Geomatics Engineering, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, where his teaching areas include the management of infrastructure and community development, geoinfor-mation for disaster management, and spatial planning, as well as the study program in natural disaster management. He completed his PhD in geoinformatics at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His current research interests focus on 3D cadastre, spatial data infrastructure, geovisualization, and participatory mapping. His recent publications include international papers on spatial data infrastructure to support volcanic risk management, and participatory mapping for neighborhood infrastructure planning.

Narumol Aphinives is a consultant specializing in environmental education and sustainable development projects. She has been involved in designing and implementing numerous initiatives in Southeast Asia over the past 20 years. She was an editor and a writer for Creating Environmental Education for Sustainable Development in Schools, commissioned by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Thailand, and was also a consultant for the accompanying training program. She was previously the executive director of Amnesty International Thailand, a member of the board of directors and general manager of the Green World Foundation, as well as a journalist.

Widodo Brontowiyono is a founder and lecturer of the Environmental Engineering Department, Islamic University of Indonesia, Yogyakarta, as well as the director of the Center for Climate Change and Disaster Studies, and director for Research and Community Services at the same university. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio, USA, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. His research concentrates on water resources and environmental management. He is also active as a writer for journals and newspapers. His most recent book is Water Resources Vulnerability and Rainwater Harvesting, Learning from Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2012).

Kamaruzzaman Bustamam-Ahmad is a lecturer at the State Institute for Islamic Studies (IAIN) Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and was a visiting research fellow at the Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya. He completed his PhD in anthropology at La Trobe University, Australia. His research focuses on the anthropology of Islamic culture and the sociology of religion in Southeast Asia, and he is engaged in an ongoing project on Malay identity in the historical relations between Aceh and Penang. His latest publications include Acehnologi (2012), Islamic Studies and Islamic Education in Contemporary Southeast Asia (coedited with Patrick Jory, 2011), Wahdatul Wujud (2013), and Islamic Thought in Southeast Asia: New Interpretations and Movements (coedited with Patrick Jory, 2013).

Henry Chan is the head of conservation in Sarawak for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia. He was previously head of social initiatives and environmental impact assessment at the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, and a socioeconomic advisor to the Malaysian–German Technical Cooperation Program on Sustainable Forest Management. He has conducted research among indigenous peoples in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. His main research interests are human ecology, resource tenure, and conflict resolution. He holds a PhD in social sciences from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Theeraphan Chulakarn studied agricultural technology at Walailak University, Thailand, and then worked at the university. He played a major role in the restoration of Khiriwong after the catastrophic disaster in 1988 and was a committee member of several community groups. He undertook a number of research projects on issues such as people’s participation in sustainable watershed management, and community-based ecotourism management. The Thailand Research Fund cited his paper, “The study of belief, rituals and stories to promote the spirit of natural resource conservation of the Khiriwong villagers,” as the best research award in 2006. Theeraphan Chulakarn passed away in 2009.

Jose Atanacio L. Estuar currently heads the Eastern Twinstars Foundation that engages in social enterprise research and development in “frontier areas” or geographically hard-to-reach areas with pockets of economically challenged and socially excluded populations. His career as a development professional began with volunteer service in 1991. This eventually led to stints with local and international non-governmental organizations in the fields of microfinance, livelihoods, and social enterprise.

Wataru Fujita is a political ecologist who focuses on Southeast Asia. He holds a PhD in Southeast Asian area studies from Kyoto University, Japan. He has conducted field research in Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sarawak (Malaysia), and northeast Thailand, on the relationship of socio-political structures of forest management policy and their impact on local people’s subsistence. His current research examines changes in modes of local people’s perceptions and natural resource use as a result of democratization in Southeast Asia.

Rosalie Arcala Hall is a professor of   political science at the University of the Philippines Visayas. She obtained her PhD in public and international affairs from Northeastern University, USA. Her research on post-conflict civil–military relations has involved extensive fieldwork in Aceh (Indonesia), Dili (Timor Leste), and Mindanao (Philippines). She is currently working on research projects with US and European collaborators on military mergers, asymmetric warfare, and Muslim women in the security forces, and recently published on the role of the local military in Philippine Political Science Journal.

Adnan A. Hezri is a senior fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, where he earlier attained his PhD in public policy. He has 15 years experience in research and policy advocacy on sustainable development issues, specializing is comparative environmental policy, and dealing with areas such as the green economy, climate change adaptation, and policy integration for sustainability. His most recent publication is Towards a Green Economy: In Search of Sustainable Energy Policies for the Future (coedited with Wilhelm Hofmeister, 2012).

Wimonrart Issarathumnoon is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She obtained a PhD from the Department of Urban Engineering, University of    Tokyo, Japan. Her main research interest is architectural and urban conservation, focusing particularly on public participation in heritage management and planning. Her recent publications include a study of regeneration in a Japanese upland village cultural landscape, and an examination of the role of the traditional urban community in Bangkok’s heritage core.

Takako Iwasawa is an associate professor in the Department of Fine Arts and Music, Hokkaido University of Education, Iwamizawa campus, Japan. She has undertaken long-term research on the ethnomusicology and ethnochoreography of both traditional and contemporary performing arts in Thailand, including Nakhon Si Thammarat. She has conducted a study on community dance in Japan, examining dance as a tool of community engagement and empowerment.

Kam Suan Pheng is a senior scientist at WorldFish, Malaysia. She specializes in integrative approaches for natural resources assessment, planning, and management through the use of geospatial technologies in combination with systems modeling, and implemented in multidisciplinary research modes. She has developed geographical information systems applications for, and published on, topics related to coastal resources evaluation and zoning, land use planning, agro-ecological analysis, physical accessibility analysis, poverty mapping, and recommendation domains for targeted agricultural and aquaculture technologies. She is the coeditor of Tropical Deltas and Coastal Zones: Food Production, Communities and Environment at the Land–Water Interface (2010).

Sirirat Katanchaleekul is an independent researcher with a keen interest in ethnography and cultural identity, having studied at Walailak University, Thailand. Her API fellowship took her on a journey to research the “sea people” – seafaring ethnic communities of southern Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. She is presently engaged as a document editor for the National Cultural and Creative IP Resources Creation Project. In addition, she operates a sound studio that produces independent contemporary music in Thai.

Motoko Kawano is a research associate and faculty member at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo, Japan. She teaches a graduate course on economic planning and public policy for Indonesian officials, and is involved in several research projects such as the GRIPS Global COE Program “Transferability of East Asian development and state building.” She holds a PhD in area studies from Kyoto University, Japan. Her main research interest is in development and politics in developing countries, particularly Southeast Asia. As an editorial contributor she recently published “Biwako: Learning from the Mountain Communities of the Lake Catchment” (2011).

Cristina P. Lim is currently the director of the Social Science Research Center of Ateneo de Naga University, Philippines, where she teaches economics and environment-related subjects in the Department of Social Sciences. Having studied at Kagoshima University, Japan, and the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, she has done extensive research works on gender, natural resources management, urban poor issues, migration, small-scale fisheries, governance, poverty, and child labor. She has published locally and internationally. She is also actively engaged in community development efforts particularly with the urban poor, rural farmers, and fishers.

Joyce Lim Suan Li is a Malaysian-born teacher, choreographer, performer, and Noh musician. She divides her time between Asia and the USA, where she studies with masters of traditional dance and performs in a range of spaces. She is a member of Tesarugaku-no-kai, a Noh performing group based in Tokyo, and Theatre Nohgaku, a company that creates and performs both new works and traditional Noh. She is currently teaching at the Noh Training Project in Pennsylvania, USA.

Dave Lumenta is an associate researcher at the Center for Anthropological Studies, University of Indonesia, where he is coordinator of the research cluster on Transnational Interconnections, Mobility and Social Dynamics at Interstitial State Spaces. He completed a PhD at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Japan. His main research focus is the social history of the borderlands in Indonesia and surrounding Southeast Asian countries. His other interests include sound design, progressive jazz composition, and ethnographic photography.
Ribut Lupiyanto is a researcher at the Center for Environmental Studies, Islamic University of Indonesia, having studied environmental science at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. His research interests encompass the study of environmental-carrying capacities and regional development. He has published widely on issues such as environmental responses to earthquakes, the role of local politics in relation to global warming, and case studies of urban improvements in the context of climate change.

Maria F. Mangahas is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines Diliman. She earned her PhD in social anthropology from Cambridge University, UK. Her research interests focus on the anthropology of fishing and on media anthropology (more specifically digital piracy and the circulation of “scandals”). She teaches courses in economic anthropology, ecological anthropology, and museology. She has published extensively on the fishing culture of Batanes province, Philippines. She is currently editor of AghamTao, the journal of Ugnayang Pang-AghamTao (Anthropological Association of the Philippines).

Dwi Any Marsiyanti is an anthropologist who graduated from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is the coordinator of the Research Department of Roromendoet Indonesia in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is currently a member of the advisory board of the Siemenpuu Foundation in Finland, a donor for forestry projects in Indonesia. Her main concerns are social justice, human rights, gender and children’s issues, environment, and disaster risk management and reduction. She dedicates her life to disempowered people, and this is reflected in her close relationships with all the communities where she works.

Tomoko Momiyama is a music composer, dramaturge, and producer of multi-disciplinary art events, installations, and performances currently based in Tokyo, Japan, having graduated from Stanford University, USA. Her community-based and site-specific works have been presented throughout Japan, as well as in Asia, Europe, and the USA. She weaves the folk music of contemporary societies by intervening in the relationship between people and their environments, and engaging people from various backgrounds in the collective processes. She has received numerous commissions and invitations to perform from around the world.

Muhammad Haji Salleh teaches comparative literature at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. He has taught in Malaysia, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, and Brunei, and has been a fellow in many learned institutes, including in Japan and the USA. He has published 12 collections of poetry and more than 30 books of criticism, translation, and anthologies. Among his major poetry collections in Malay are Perjalanan Si Tenggang II, Sajak-sajak Sejarah Melayu, Salju Shibuya, Meraih Ruang and Setitik Darah di Bilik Bundar; while in English they include Time and Its People, Beyond the Archipelago and Rowing Down Two Rivers. He was also the editor of Tenggara, Journal of Southeast Asian Literature for over 25 years. He is a National Laureate of Malaysia.

Fumio Nagai is a political scientist, specializing in Thai politics and administration, as well as international relations in Southeast Asia. After studies at Kyoto University, Japan, he worked at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University as a research associate, and is now a professor and deputy dean at the Graduate School of Law, Osaka City University. His current research interest focuses on comparative decentralization in Southeast Asia. His recent publications include Changing Local Government and Governance in Southeast Asia (coedited with Tsuruyo Funatsu, 2012).

Noorhayati Abdullah has long been active in her community of Tasik Chini, Malaysia. She is a founding member of Chini Herb Enterprise, where she works with other women from the Jakun community to gather medicinal plants from the forest and process them for sale. She was encouraged by a prominent scholar to take up writing poetry as a way of expressing her feelings about her people, and the social and environmental challenges they face. She has previously been involved in an action project to safeguard traditional botanical knowledge.

Myfel Joseph D. Paluga is an anthropologist and assistant professor at the Department of Social Science, University of the Philippines Mindanao. His main area of research is indigenous socio-political systems and the diverse cultural attitudes toward animals in Southeast Asia. He is currently conducting research on the health and medical practices of the indigenous people of Mindanao.

Totok Pratopo is the chairperson of Pemerti Kali Code, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the main community organization addressing social and environmental concerns in the riverbank settlements of Kali Code. He has been a community organizer since 2001. In recognition of his contributions, he has received several awards including the Habitat Award from the Minister of Indonesian Public Works (2002); the Kalpataru Award from the governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta (2004); and, the City Mayor Award under the environment category (2008).

Danilo Francisco M. Reyes is an assistant professor of literature, cultural studies, and creative writing at the School of Humanities, Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines. He has also taught at Universitas Sanata Dharma in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and at the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. He is a poet, essayist, and translator. Promising Lights, his first book of poems, was shortlisted for the National Book Awards, and he is currently at work on a second book of poems as well as a collection of short fiction. He has researched and published on aspects of globalization, cultural studies, folklore studies, the development of fiction, and the visual arts, including a bibliographic catalogue of Filipina writers.

Penchom Saetang is a citizen advocate in Thailand, working with local communities to raise awareness of a number of pressing issues, notably the health and environmental impact of hazardous waste, as well the underlying corruption behind industrial pollution management. She was a founder of the Campaign for Alternative Industry Network, an environmental advocacy group, and is director of Ecological Alert and Recovery–Thailand (EARTH), which advances the goals of environmental and social justice protection. She also contributes to the work of the Thai Working Group for Climate Justice, established to raise public awareness on climate change-related problems and to contribute to national climate-related policy formulation, especially mitigation and adaptation issues.

Thirawuth Senakham is an assistant professor in the Cultural Studies Department, Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. She received her PhD in political science from Thammasat University, Thailand, and has a particular research interest in diasporic communities. Her recent books as author, editor and contributor include On Ethnicity (2004), Transnational Anthropology (2006), Looking Forward and Backward on Popular Culture (2006), Visiting the Thai Diaspora in Myanmar (2007), and Border Moved, We Being Diaspora: Bare Life of the Thai Diaspora (2007).

Motoko Shimagami is an associate professor at the Six-University Initiative Japan Indonesia (SUIJI) Promotion Office, Ehime University, Japan, and co-chairperson of the non-governmental organization i-i-network, which specializes in research and action for community governance. She leads several community-based research and educational projects linking Indonesia and Japan. She is an editorial contributor to the report “Biwako: Learning from the Mountain Communities of the Lake Catchment” (2011), while recent publications in English include “An Iriai Interchange Linking Japan and Indonesia: An Experiment in Interactive Learning and Action Leading toward Community-Based Forest Management” (2009).

Simoi bt Seng comes from Kampung Melai, one of the smaller Jakun villages in Tasik Chini, Malaysia. As a child, she would listen intently to the stories of the lake that were told to her by her grandparents. Today, she is one of the few remaining storytellers who remember the oral traditions of previous generations.

Dicky Sofjan is a core doctoral faculty member at the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS), based in Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He holds a PhD in political science, and was the API Regional Project manager. His main research areas include Islam, Muslim politics, religion, and contemporary issues. Having worked for a number of international organizations, he has extensive experience in strategic communication, social marketing, and resource mobilization. He is also the founder/chairman of INA Frontier (Indonesian Learning and Social Enterprise), a Yogyakarta-based organization of intellectual-activists working in the areas of education, training, and social enterprise.

Sombath Somphone is the executive director of Participatory Development Training Centre (PADETC), which he founded in 1996 to foster sustainable, equitable, and self-reliant development in Laos, having earned degrees in education and agriculture from the University of Hawaii. He has led PADETC to emphasize eco-friendly technologies and microenterprises in many diverse ways; it is now designing new child-centered lesson plans for primary schools. In 2005, he was honored with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in recognition of his efforts to promote sustainable development, especially for his work with young people through leadership programs.

Ayame Suzuki is a lecturer at Fukuoka Women’s University, Japan, having previously been a research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. She obtained her PhD in international relations at the University of Tokyo. Her research interests include the political economy of East Asia, law and politics, and the relationship between finance and politics. Her recent publications include Minshu Seiji no Jiyu to Chitsujo: Malaysia Seijitaisei-ron no Saikouchiku [Freedom and Order in “Democracies”: Reconsidering Malaysia’s Political Regime] (2010).

Motohide Taguchi is a composer based in Japan. His compositions have been presented not only in Japan, but also in Asia and Europe. Since early in his career, he has investigated the possibilities of utilizing elements of Japanese and Asian traditional music in his works. This led him to conduct research on Southeast Asian composers sharing the same tendencies, to introduce their works to Japan, and to join contemporary music festivals in the region. Recently, his creative activities have broadened to cover music making workshops and sound installations.

Toshiya Takahama is an artist and a professor at the Printmaking Division of the Department of Painting at Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan, where he previously completed graduate studies. He has held several major solo and group exhibitions in Japan and other Asian countries, and is particularly known for his printmaking and art installations. His recent work focuses on the relationship between the artist and the different places where people live and work.

Tatsuya Tanami is the executive director of The Nippon Foundation, Japan, having formerly served as the director of its International Program Department. He previously had a long career with the International House of Japan, and is one of the leading figures in the organization and administration of international cultural and academic exchange programs. He has published on the role of Asian intellectuals, the history of international exchange, and intellectual networks and civil society. He was honored as the tenth Wittenberg Fellow (2004), and is a member of the Japanese Association of Studies on International Relations.

Darunee Tantiwiramanond is an independent researcher based in Pathumthani, Thailand. She has researched the growth of women’s leadership and participation in civil society in Southeast Asia, and is active in various civil society initiatives to advance the status of women and girls in Thailand. She has served as a member of the Civil Society and Human Rights Coalition of Thailand, and prepared a report on the status of gender equality and human rights in Thailand for the United Nations. Since the great flood of Bangkok and environs in 2011, she has been involved in a social enterprise project promoting direct linkages between organic food producers and patients as well as general health-conscious consumers.

Karnt Thassanaphak is a poet, writer, editor, photographer, and artist in various fields (using both his real name and pen name “Karnt Na Karnt”), and lives in Thailand. At the same time, his work is used to support and participate in the activities of various social movements. He has conducted research on the art of the “campaign media” in the Philippines and Malaysia, examining the interface between artists and media producers interacting with social movements.

Michi Tomioka is a research fellow at the Urban Research Plaza, Osaka City University, Japan. She has spent extensive periods in Java learning and practicing traditional Javanese dance under Sri Suciati Djoko Suhardjo, S. Pamardi, and Sulistyo Tirtokusumo, and has participated in many dance productions as a dancer, choreographer, and producer. She is particularly interested in the emerging changes and the evolution of Javanese dance in the era of Indonesian independence. She recently published a paper on “Women’s Dances from the Javanese Court” (2012).

Justine Vaz is an independent researcher based in Malaysia, with extensive experience as a conservation practitioner and environmental consultant, specifically focusing on forest-dependent communities, indigenous knowledge, resource management, and customary tenure. She holds a degree in geographical and environmental studies from the University of Adelaide, Australia. She has recently completed a review of indigenous and community-conserved areas in Sabah, Malaysia; contributed to drafting a new state strategy for biodiversity conservation; and is involved in developing a plan for community management of an urban forest reserve in partnership with the local forestry authority. She has published on nature, conservation, and contemporary land use issues.

Ekoningtyas Margu Wardani is a researcher at the Center for Asia and Pacific Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia. She is pursuing a PhD at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University, the Netherlands. She works on several research and community engagement projects – including in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand – in which her interests focus on food security, indigenous people, economic anthropology, environmental economics, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable livelihoods.

Kokaew Wongphan is an independent researcher, now working on Burmese migrant workers’ associations in southern Thailand with the Cross-Ethnic Integration in Andaman Project. She is engaged in her own research study on the relationships between Burmese ethnic groups, based in Phang Nga province, southern Thailand. She is a volunteer with an environmental network in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Supa Yaimuang is the director of the Sustainable Agriculture Foundation, Thailand. She works with farmers’ organizations to promote sustainable agriculture to the rural community as well as supporting city farms for urban communities. She has conducted community-based research and farmer-to-farmer education in relation to changes in rural communities, biodiversity and farmers’ rights, food systems and food security, climate change, and adaptation in the agricultural sector. Her recent publications have focused on food security indicators and the preservation of biodiversity.

Yeoh Seng Guan is a senior lecturer at the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University, Sunway campus, Malaysia. He holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, UK. He is an urban anthropologist who works primarily on the interfaces between cities, religion, media, and civil society in Southeast Asia. He also has an interest in visual ethnography, and has done fieldwork in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. He is the editor of Media, Culture and Society in Malaysia (2010) and The Other Kuala Lumpur (2014), and has book chapters in The Spirit of Things: Materiality in an Age of Religious Pluralism in Southeast Asia (2012) and Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity (2013).

Yonariza is a professor in forest resources management at Andalas University, Padang, Indonesia. He obtained his PhD in natural resources management from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. His research interests include the decentralization of forest management, forest restoration, and natural resources management from the perspective of legal pluralism and common property studies. His research on a post-logging ban on timber tree planting in Southeast Asia was recently published by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture.

Zawiah Yahya is principal fellow at the Institute of Occidental Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, where she has been head of department, faculty dean, and professor in postcolonial studies and critical theory. Her most recent publications include Reading Approaches in Malay Literature: Theory in the Making (2010) and “Western Text in Uncolonised Context: English Studies in Japan and Thailand” (2009–2010). Her current research interest deals with Western constructs of knowledge about Malaysia through literary, film, and social media discourses.