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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies was established in 1999 with a mission to promote outstanding research and teaching about the region. Southeast Asia encompasses the modern states of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, and East Timor. To these ends the Center facilitates faculty and graduate research, assists students with fellowships and awards, supports the teaching of four Southeast Asian languages, presents public lectures and cultural programs, conducts outreach and teacher-training programs in the wider community, organizes conferences, and hosts visiting scholars from around the world. The Center also works closely with UCLA's Interdisciplinary Degree Program in Southeast Asian Studies, supports new faculty positions and expanded course offerings, and contributes to the development of library holdings and services.

Cover page of Women in Contemporary Philippine Local Politics

Women in Contemporary Philippine Local Politics


This study looks at the profiles of Filipino women provincial governors plus city and municipal mayors who were elected into office in 1992, 1995, 1998, and 2001. It presents their socio-economic profiles, their entry into politics, and the major projects they pursued as they got into office. The study validates more general studies that women politicians come from political families. However, the surveys show that they have had achievements as government administrators or professionals and business women before entering politics, or have served as local councilors or village heads (barangay chairs) before running for office. Once in office, they pursue projects which may not be immediately labeled as gender-oriented, such as agriculture or public works, with the more gendered social services (health and education). Nonetheless, some of them are aware of responding to issues important to mothers and children, and some have even started women's and/or children's programs. Many of them consider their being mothers as a big influence on the priority they give their projects.

Cover page of From Wilderness to Nation: the Evolution of Bayan

From Wilderness to Nation: the Evolution of Bayan


Spanish documents of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries point to static political organization in the Philippines that predated the Spanish presence there. Documents in the indigenous language Tagalog point in a different direction—to a fluid, evolving reality represented by the word bayan. The fluidity of bayan allowed it to define the transformations that took place—from wilderness to nation. While forces have sought over the past four centuries to concretize political realities, bayan has remained the locus for representation and meaning for Filipinos.

Cover page of Gio Thoi Phuong Nao/From Where the Wind Blows

Gio Thoi Phuong Nao/From Where the Wind Blows


Gio Thoi Phuong Nao/From Where the Wind Blows is a collection of poems about the journey of a Vietnamese woman in her search for freedom. The poems reflect the special characters of the Vietnamese women who are capable of expressing their emotions as well as the willingness to fight for their beliefs. The presentation introduces the author's collection of poems in Vietnamese as well as those which have been translated into English.

Cover page of What Can Happen When the Artist Is Vietnamese

What Can Happen When the Artist Is Vietnamese


Looking back at his homeland from Paris, Tran Trong Vu's cartoonlike images explore bureaucracy and entrepreneurial conformity in a burlesque of socialist realist style. "When I was still in Hanoi, it was fairly easy for my fellow art students and me to understand that the purpose for a drawing exercise of a purely academic nature (without conceptual thought) was actually an exercise in technique. But none of the instructors would acknowledge this. Neither was there encouragement on the part of the art school for the development of individual styles. It was exactly this lack in training that produced the ranks of Hanoi artists lazy in their quest for new styles. But to be an artist means having to use one or many styles." The attached document contains an abridged English translation of Tran Trong Vu's remarks followed by the full text in Vietnamese.

Cover page of Art and Politics in the Balagtasan

Art and Politics in the Balagtasan


The BALAGTASAN is a curious literary form. Born about the second quarter of the 20th century, during the time when electronic media was just being introduced to the Philippines, the BALAGTASAN is probably the last poetic form which was thoroughly enjoyed by the Filipino people. As a literary form, the BALAGTASAN is essentially traditional and can almost be said to be merely a new label for an old bottle of wine. Yet, it contains elements which explain why the traditional remains contemporary and popular.

Cover page of Foreignness and Vengeance: On Rizal's "El Filibusterismo"

Foreignness and Vengeance: On Rizal's "El Filibusterismo"


Philippine national hero Jose Rizal's (1861-1896) second novel, El Filibusterismo (1891) was written in Castilian, a language only 1% of the population could read, and published in Ghent. It is read in every school in the Philippines, but in an English translation, or is known by comic book or film versions. Much of its original nuance is simplified. In Spanish dictionaries, one of the definitions of filibustero is that of a pirate, hence a thief. But as one who, we might say in English, "filibusters", s/he is also one who interrupts parliamentary proceedings, smuggling his or her own discourse into those of others. In either case, we can think of the filibustero as an intruder, breaking and entering into where s/he does not properly belong, and doing so by surprise and often in disguise. Small wonder then that by the latter nineteenth century, "filibustero" was also glossed as "subversive," in the sense of a disruptive presence, a figure who by word or deed, suddenly and surreptitiously steals upon the social order.