The digitization of archival materials, newspapers, etc., is fantastic for researchers, but I also find it a bit frightening as there is undoubtedly information that is now freely available that some people perhaps wish wasn’t available for the world to see.

So when I come across information about people whom I have never heard of, particularly when it is information from the twentieth century, I always try to be careful about what I say and reveal.

At the same time, by now I’ve had numerous people indicate to me that I’ve written about their grandfather, grandmother, etc., and are happy to find information that they were unaware of.

So with a couple of readers recently indicating that they are related to a Malay woman from Sarawak whom I previously mentioned in a post – a woman I referred to as “Munirah,” but whose real name was apparently Saerah – I decided to look a bit more into who this person was.

MacBryan

As I mentioned in the previous post, in the 1930s Saerah was married to an Englishman by the name of G. T. M. MacBryan who converted to Islam while serving as an official for the Brooke regime in Sarawak and who made the pilgrimage to Mecca together with Saerah.

The story of MacBryan’s life and his pilgrimage with his wife was recorded in a 1937 book by Owen Rutter entitled Triumphant Pilgrimage: An English Muslim’s Journey from Sarawak to Mecca.

Shortly after this book was published the couple returned to Sarawak via Singapore and there were a few articles that appeared in the Singapore press about them at that time. The Singapore National Library has digitized those articles and they can be easily found by searching for “Munirah” (the name that Saerah was known by in this book) at this site.

These articles are generally positive, although it’s clear that they relish in what was perhaps amusing to their expatriate readers, namely stories of the time that Saerah had just spent in England where saw snow for the first time, enjoyed weekend parties in London, etc.

Here is an example: 1937 article.

shabby pilgrimage

By contrast, there were clearly some people in Sarawak who were not as amused. In particular, the people who published The Sarawak Gazette “welcomed” the couple back with a short article in the October 1937 edition (available here) entitled “Shabby Pilgrimage.”

While Saerah was referred to in this article with the utmost respect, as MacBryan’s “Malay wife of wondrous charm and surpassing manners,” MacBryan (or “David Chale” as he was called in the book) was not treated so nicely.

To quote, the article begins by stating that: “Very little will be done to improve the relationship between Islam and Christiandom by the publication of Triumphant Pilgrimage, an account by Owen Rutter of an English Moslem’s trip to Mecca. Trip is the right word. ‘David Chale,’ whose incredibly aquiline profile serves as frontispiece, was a young district officer in Borneo and developed a great liking for the Malays, which raised confused ideas in his mind of ‘giving a lead’ and in some obscure way promoting world peace by adopting their religion, a resolve bolstered up by a good deal of oblique disparagement of the Sarawak administration.”

spectator

Then a month later the critiques continued as The Sarawak Gazette published some critical reviews of Triumphant Pilgrimage, such as this one from The Spectator:

“David Chale (an assumed name), ex-district officer in Sarawak, over lunch at Quaglino’s, asked Mr. Rutter to write for him the story of his pilgrimage to Mecca. He explained, with a ‘strange exalted look in his eyes’ – ‘glittering blue eyes, strangely compelling,’ of course (see carefully posed studio portrait) – that he hoped to unite Islam and make it into a great force for world peace. ‘His lobster forgotten,’ he told [of] his conversion and of his marriage to a Malayan, and of the struggle he had had to reach Mecca.

“Exhausted by Chale’s intensity, and convinced that it was not another shameful journalistic stunt, Mr. Rutter agreed.

Triumphant Pilgrimage is as sickly with sincerity, as exhaustingly tense as its hero. Presumably Mr. Chale approves of his portrait, but if he possessed any of the judgment, modesty and sense of humor with which Mr. Rutter endows him, he would have refused to pass this account of his physical and spiritual adventures which nauseates by its smugness, its exaggeration of difficulties and its lack of any sign of real understanding of the Islamic world.

“After reading this book one sees the wisdom of Ibn Saud’s law (which Chale evaded) forbidding converts of less than six years’ standing to go on the pilgrimage.”

Munirah

So G. T. M. MacBryan clearly had some detractors. Whether such criticisms were warranted or not, I don’t know enough yet to say, but the claim that he was “intense” does seem to me to have some basis.

It is also unclear to me what the relationship between MacBryan and Saerah was like after their return to Sarawak, but with the arrival of World War II, the relationship apparently fell apart, and the next time we find Saerah mentioned in the media is in 1947 when she was interviewed in Singapore as she was on her way to England with her new husband-to-be.

There was an article that was published in 1947 in The Singapore Free Press (18 April 1947, page 1) entitled “Malay Beauty Sets Sail for UK: Love Story from Sarawak.”

This article reported on a steamer that had set sail for England from Singapore the previous day. It noted in brief that such well-known people as the wife of the Governor of Singapore were onboard, but then it proceeded to discuss in detail two “not so well-known” passengers, “Sarah MacBryan, a lovely Malay girl, and young Mr. Derek [should be David?] S. Walford.”

The article then relates in detail “their story, which is as interesting as any which had come out of Sarawak.” Here I think it is perhaps best to simply quote from the article:

sarah

Mrs. MacBryan, a Sarawak Malay, 34 years old, mother of two children, wore a short think silk multi-striped European summer frock. Derek Walford, tall, young and serious – he is only 24 years old – an ex-Sarawak police officer.

Mrs. MacBryan was brought up on a Sarawak rubber plantation. Her story really begins in 1936, when Mr. G. T. M. MacBryan, a member of the Sarawak Government Service under the White Rajah, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, asked her to marry him. The ceremony was duly performed under the Muslim marriage rites.

Mr. MacBryan, who supplied material for an author to write his life story, revealed that as a midshipman at the end of the Great War he threw up the Navy because “discipline chafed his spirit,” and “spiritual suffocation is worse than physical.”

Given a job in a shipping office he was so disgusted at being little better than an office boy that one day he threw a cup of tea in the face of the manager. Then he met an old friend of his father’s from Sarawak. The idea of running a district appealed him and he took a job in the Sarawak Government service.

Apprehending a murderer one day, Mr. MacBryan was so impressed with the stoicism of the man when he was captured – a Muslim – that he came to the conclusion that he could not live out his life without the help of such a faith, and to meet his spiritual needs he must make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

He resigned from Government service, went to India and in three years returned to Sarawak. It was then that he met lovely Sarah MacBryan – known as Munirah – and with her he planned his trip to the Holy City.

sarah 2

With the aid of his charming wife, MacBryan succeeded in his mission, and is one of the few white men who have kissed the black stone and so absolved himself from his sins, and he witnessed the mass sacrifice of the animals in all its color.

They examined the great library at the Mosque at Medina, full of the treasures of the Moslem world collected over the last thousand years.

Their happiness lasted for several years, and the Malay girl visited many of the capitals of Europe, had parties at the London Casino, the Berkeley, and the Savoy Hotel – and saw snow for the first time in her life.

Then came separation, the war, and in September 1946 – – a divorce.

A few months ago, she met Derek Walford.

“I was intending to join Rajah Brooke’s police force when war broke out,” he told me yesterday, “but naturally I went into the Army, and my service took me to India.”

“At the liberation of Malaya I was a half-trained policeman with the British Military Administration and I went there with the occupying forces. Then I was released from the services in the Far East and held a post in the Sarawak police force until I resigned recently.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Walford had met Mrs. MacBryan and together they traveled to Singapore on their way to England.

They remained here for three weeks staying with friends while they arranged their passage.

When I saw her in her cabin before she sailed today, I asked her: “Are you going to be married in England?”

She replied: “I have been divorced under both Mohammedan and English law, and I am, therefore free to marry whom I please.”

Mr. Walford added: “We cannot say we will definitely be married until we have studied the legal position in England, but if we are able to marry it will be in England and not in Malaya.”

“I plan to spend the next few years in Malaya if I can get a job, and I am going home on leave for a spell. My parents know about the situation as it stands at the moment, and they are not standing against my wishes.”

“Most of my leave will be spent in London.”

And they left to carry their luggage up the gangplank to the ship which will carry them to England where their future will be decided for them by the lawyers.

ford

Why would a reporter for The Singapore Free Press in 1947 spend so much time talking about two “not so well-known” people?

My sense is that it is because they didn’t fit “the norm,” and this made their story potentially interesting for readers. They were doing something that “normal” people didn’t do, and they were taking a chance that “normal” people also did not take.

As the advertisement above indicates, late-colonial Malaya and Sarawak were places where there were supposed to be clear boundaries between the British and the Malays.

MacBryan, Saerah and Walford all crossed/blurred/ignored/challenged those boundaries.

The reasons behind their “transgressions” might have differed, and might have fallen across a wide spectrum from the ignoble to the noble, but ultimately crossing those boundaries at that time was an action that was ahead of the tide of history.

These were some very interesting people.


I recently started reading a new survey of Southeast Asian history by a well-known historian when I was surprised to come across this paragraph about women in traditional Southeast Asia in the introduction:

“Southeast Asia’s gender pattern was strikingly different from that of its neighbors and trade partners in China, India, and the Middle East. Up until the nineteenth century, Southeast Asian women played economic roles equivalent to though different from those of men, and therefore had more latitude and agency than their European, Chinese, Indian, or Arab counterparts. They monopolized textile and ceramic production, shared agricultural tasks (dominating planting, harvesting, and foraging), and most importantly did most of the marketing and business. The status concerns of Southeast Asian men made them particularly inept in managing money and marketing. European and Chinese male traders dealt largely with local women, and found their own local sexual partners extremely helpful in their business.”

Reid book

What surprised me about this paragraph were a couple of things. First, I was surprised to see this trope about the special position of women in Southeast Asia still getting repeated in 2015. My sense was that by now this concept had been challenged and deconstructed enough that it could no longer be held up as a defining feature of the Southeast Asian past, but apparently I was wrong in thinking that way.

The other thing that surprised me was the “slipperiness” of the language that was used to talk about this topic. If women engage in certain work because men are so concerned with status that they become “inept” at doing such work, then how can we call that work “equivalent though different” to the work of men? Who thinks that it is “equivalent”? Surely not the men who don’t want to engage in that work. . .

Women Telephone Operators at Work (12)

In thinking about these issues, I tried to imagine what this same paragraph, with a few slight modifications, would look like if we used it to describe America in the late 1940s:

“America’s gender pattern was strikingly different from that of its neighbors and trade partners in Mexico, China, India, and the Middle East. In the mid-twentieth century, American women played economic roles equivalent to though different from those of men, and therefore had more latitude and agency than their Mexican, Chinese, Indian, or Arab counterparts. They monopolized the secretarial and telephone operator professions, shared factory work (dominating routine repetitive tasks) and most importantly did most of the grocery shopping and managed the household budget. The status concerns of American men made them particularly inept in typing letters and dialing telephones. European male traders dealt largely with local women, and found their own local sexual partners extremely helpful in their business.”

And to give a visual sense to this point, consider the following:

In other words, if we exchange “America in the mid-twentieth century” for “Southeast Asia,” this paragraph becomes (for multiple reasons) ridiculous. So what makes it believable when we talk about premodern Southeast Asia?


I wrote below about some materials that I came across in British Colonial Office records regarding some British citizens who sought a license to lease some islands in the East/North Borneo/Western Philippine/South China Sea in the early twentieth century. I wasn’t sure if this was new information or not, but a friend and scholar who is an expert on this topic just let me know that this is an episode which apparently has not been reported before.

So to follow up on what I wrote below, I did find some later documents. In particular, on the third of January 1920 a certain Commander G. V. Rayment of the Intelligence Division of the British Admiralty wrote a letter to H. Beckett of the Colonial Office to inquire about this issue.

aa

Commander Rayment wrote the following:

“Some considerable time ago a British Company in Singapore applied for permission to raise capital with a view to starting a company to exploit certain small islands in the South China Seas. There was correspondence between the Colonial Office and the Admiralty on this subject: the latter proposing that the enterprise should be quietly and discreetly encouraged.

“Do you know whether anything really happened? Unfortunately I have lost track of the papers in the Admiralty, and as I cannot remember the name of the island I am at a loss to pick up the track! As you will no doubt realize, our interest in this particular affair is strategical.”

bb

On the seventh of January 1920 H. Beckett responded as follows:

“Your letter of the 3rd of January – South China Sea Islands. The Admiralty reference is Admiralty letter of the 14th of December, 1917, [?].80146.

“Since that time we have had a good deal of correspondence with which I need not trouble you, the upshot of which has been that in September last we sent out a license to the Governor of the Straits to issue Messrs. Gudgeon, Bell and Shelley-Thompson to work the Islands. The license is on similar lines to others which have been granted in the case of unoccupied Islands.”

Beckett then listed the islands, and they are the same as in the previous communications (see the blog posts below).

A day later on the eighth of January 1920 Commander Rayment responded to H. Beckett by stating:

“Many thanks for your letter of 7th January. It gives me just what I want and has enabled me to get hold of the paper dealing with the subject.”

cc

Ok, so that’s jolly good that Rayment got his information, but what actually happened? Did Messrs. Gudgeon, Bell and Shelley-Thompson actually do anything? I haven’t found any evidence of that.

Nonetheless, I find these documents interesting in the way that they suggest that those “islands in the Sea” were still very much a “no man’s land” at this time.

CO 273 57957


In is 1970 work, Việt Lý Tố Nguyên, Lương Kim Định presented an outline of his understanding of the early history of East Asia.

The main point that Kim Định wished to make about early history was that the “Viêm race” (Viêm tộc/Yanzu 炎族) had already inhabited the area of China before the Han race arrived on the scene.

This was important for Kim Định, because he believed that the Vietnamese were part of the Viêm race, and that therefore, they had just as legitimate of a claim to be the “owners” of various aspects of “Chinese” culture as the Han Chinese did (or in Kim Định’s eyes, even more legitimate of a claim).

While there are plenty of problems with Kim Định’s view of history, it is good material for “remixing the past.”


I recently came across a poem in Chinese that was written by Yan Jieren 嚴杰人 in 1943 called “The Annam Maiden” (Annan Nulang 安南女郎). Yan Jieren was a writer and journalist from Guangxi who joined the Communist underground in 1940.

The poem is about a woman that Yan Jieren saw at the China-Vietnam border. From some of the points that Yan Jieren made (that she was apparently wearing a blue turban, for instance), it appears that his “Annam maiden” was probably the member of what would today be called an “ethnic minority” group.

However, to Yan Jieren, this woman represented “Annam” to him, and seeing her stimulated a lot of thoughts in his mind.

The poem below was published in a journal called Literary Creation (Wenxue chuangzuo 文學創作, [2 卷, 1期, 97-8]). I have some points to make about it, but I’ll present the poem in its entirety first, and offer some comments below.

1

At the border,

I saw you.

Examining you with a discrete eye,

I observed your half-naked body.

The blue on your head is like a Frenchman’s eyes,

Azure like the firmament.

Living on the red earth of Asia’s tropics,

The protrusions of your body,

Form an S-shaped line,

Like the appearance of your fatherland on maps.

Your comportment,

Made me think of,

A coconut tree, like those in your village.

Your body,

Stands as naked as the trunk of a coconut tree,

And it has the same color as the trunk of a coconut tree as well.

Your hair,

Is lush and luxuriant like the leaves of a coconut tree.

Those two fruit-bearing breasts,

Hanging in front of your chest,

Are also like two unripe coconuts on a tree.

2

Like your sisters,

You also chew betel nut,

And let it darken your red lips,

And dye black your white teeth.

You all stubbornly maintain,

This preference of your race,

As if you were maintaining the blood of your race.

Is this to make yourselves so that,

You do not forget your race?

Oh!

You also sang,

Sounding painful, like one who has suffered a wrong.

It twisted your throat,

And made your happiness turn to sorrow,

And made your singing sound like crying.

Listening to the mournful sound of your singing,

It was as if at the same time I heard,

The cries of,

That Red River that flows with the blood of your men,

And that Mekong River that flows with the tears of you women.

3

And I,

When you sang,

(which is also when you cried)

I cried,

Because the sound of your singing,

(which is also the sound of your crying)

Infected me with an irrepressible,

Profound sense of sorrow.

Oh, Annam maiden!

You surely know that,

My race and your race,

Both carry the burden of the same weight of hardship.

My country and your country,

Both suffer from the same ruthless treatment.

You surely also know that,

Your pain and sorrow,

Is also my pain and sorrow.

We are both plants growing on a piece of land,

That has been set on fire,

While a windstorm blows over it.

How can we not but look at each other and wail?

4

For half a century,

China, Annam, Burma, Siam,

As well as Korea and India,

Have been forced to travel along,

A road as difficult to walk over as a bed of needles.

Asia,

This specific term,

Has been transformed by the invaders,

Into a synonym for “humiliation.”

Now,

The time to overthrow the invaders has arrived.

China has been the first to raise up,

The banner of resistance.

Over there on the other side of the Himalayas,

Our Indian brothers,

Have sounded the call to arms.

Dear Annam maiden,

Did you hear this?

5

We Asians of this generation,

Have received a mission from the Thearch on High [Shangdi/ Thượng đế],

To engage in battle with the invaders.

And for those of us in this world,

It is only through struggle,

That each Asian’s life,

Can gain the value of existence.

Therefore,

Let each of us Asians,

All exist for the sake of struggle.

My dear Annam maiden,

Even the plentiful milk inside the breasts.

Of you and your sisters,

Only flows in order to nourish struggle in the next generation.

Today,

Let each of us Asians,

Loudly make our pledge:

Let the places where the arteries of the Himalayas pass through,

Be filled with good fortune and happiness,

And that the universe that we can see from the peak of the world,

As we stand on Mount Everest,

Also be filled with happiness and freedom.

6

One point that I find fascinating about this poem is the way that it combines a Pan-Asian call for unity with a somewhat derogatory and Sino-centric view of the Vietnamese.

Yan Jieren used the “Annam maiden” as a symbol for Annam/Vietnam. And what did that symbol look like? Well. . . she was half-naked, chewing betel nut with teeth dyed black and a curvaceous body that featured well-rounded breasts. . .

Now let’s pause and think for a moment. . . When your average male reader of Literary Creation read this poem in 1943, what, if anything, might have inspired him? Was it the passionate call for a Pan-Asian struggle against the invaders?

Or was it thoughts of another kind of passion that the image of “the coconut girl” evoked?

Ultimately, I think this poem is a great example of the conflict between two forces that are probably much more powerful than “invaders” and “resisters” – idealism and reality. The call for Pan-Asian unity might have sounded nice, but it had to deal with many other ideas that were more deeply ingrained in local societies.


Following up on the previous post, I found some more information about the case of certain British citizens wishing to lease some islands in the East/North Borneo/Western Philippine/South China Sea in the early twentieth century.

In particular, I came across a draft of a contract (“indenture”) that was sent to various British officials in 1919 for them to approve or amend.

This contract was between King George the Fifth and two rubber planters from Johore, Louis Wilfrid Wilsford Gudgeon and Wilfrid Carruthers Bell, and Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of the Straits Settlement Albert James Shelley-Thompson.

a

There are more documents relating to this case that I have not read yet, so I don’t know what ultimately happened, but this contract itself is fascinating.

It begins by stating the following:

“WHEREAS it has been represented to His Majesty by the said Licensees that they are now by themselves or their agents in occupation of (or they are desirous of occupying certain coral Islands belonging to His Majesty and not any Colonial Government situated in the China seas between Singapore and Hongkong respectively called and lying in or about the degree of latitude and longitude next mentioned (that is to say). . .”

b

The document then goes on to list the names of various islands and cays (a sandy island over a coral reef, also written as “key”) and their locations. For the islands that have latitude and longitude coordinates provided, I mapped them out, and here is where they appeared:

c

I don’t know the exact location of all of the islands and cays/keys that belong to the Spratly Islands, however it is obvious that the islands and cays/keys that are mentioned in this contract were either in the Spratly Islands or just to the west of the Spratly Islands.

d

So how could British officials in 1919 think that there were no claims to these islands? It is interesting to see that the contract says that no “colonial government” had claimed these islands.

This gets to the heart of this convoluted topic. The historical claims to sovereignty over these and other islands are so problematic because 1) the idea of sovereignty as we know it today did not exist in the past and 2) there have been many changes in government in the region over the past few centuries, from empires to colonies, to nations, to occupied territories, to communist nations, etc.

This leads to an important question: Can any claim or contract survive all of those changes?

If it can, then why isn’t Loai-ta Island or Itu-Aba Island or Low-kiam cay British today?

Your Majesty, are you listening??

Here is the document I am referring to: Indenture


I was looking at some microfilms that contain records from the British Colonial Office. The ones that I have access to have largely melted over the years in the tropical heat, but there are certain files that are still preserved.

One that I came across today dated from 1918 and was about an application by some British citizens to gain permission “to work certain islands in the China Sea between Singapore and Hongkong.”

1

The documents in this file demonstrate that British officials were not sure if they had the authority to grant such permission, but in the end a certain “Mr. Risley” (who appears to have been an official working for Under Secretary of State George Fiddes, who in turn served Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour) made the following comment:

“. . . while a claim to the sovereignty over these islands may eventually be made by one of the Powers whose possessions lie in the China Seas, there is nothing to show that any such claim has ever been put forward in the past.

“In these circumstances and in view of the fact that the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty attach importance to the occupation of the islands by British subjects, Mr. Balfour sees no objection to the grant of the authorization desired by the petitioners.”

2

Given what is happening today, and what we know of the history of this region, this is a fascinating comment as it shows that there was a person in 1918 who essentially said, “Someday some country might claim this territory, but no one has done so yet, so. . . . let’s claim it for ourselves while we can.”

What did they want to do with the islands? Apparently on some of the 11 islands under discussion there was potential to harvest and produce guano, copra and rubber.

3

And who were the British subjects who wanted permission “to work certain islands in the China Sea between Singapore and Hongkong”? So far all I have seen is the mention of some people surnamed “Judson, Bell and Shelley-Thompson.”

4

I’ll try to look more into this issue later, but for now, here is the (damaged) version of the file that I found this information in (CO 273/475 3884).

Perhaps this is an historical episode that is already well-known. If it is, my apologies for repeating something we already know. If, however, it is not well-known, then. . . we have something new to research.

Island Permission


I was at a conference this summer where someone made a good presentation about the existing scholarship on the “Indianization” of Southeast Asia, that is, the process by which various aspects of the cultural traditions of local societies in the Indian continent came to play a role in the lives of people in the part of the world that we now refer to as Southeast Asia.

In the process, this scholar talked about how some scholars have argued that people in Southeast Asia “localized” (i.e., changed to fit local tastes/ideas/sensibilities) cultural concepts and practices from the Indian subcontinent.

This concept of “localization” is a central pillar of the field of Southeast Asian Studies in “the West” (the UK, Australia and North America), but it is not necessarily the most accurate term to use to refer to this historical process.

I was reminded of this point when a senior scholar at this conference who is well-versed in post-colonial theory but not an expert on Southeast Asia asked, “Why not just refer to this phenomenon as hybridity?”

Indeed, why not?

global and local

The reason why the term “localization” is favored over “hybridity” in the field of Southeast Asian Studies in the West has to do with academic politics. This concept was developed to counter the colonial-era argument that Southeast Asia had been transformed by outside influences from India and China.

By arguing that the people in Southeast Asia had “localized” outside cultures, scholars implied that “local/indigenous” cultures were more important to people in the past and that elements from “foreign” cultures therefore had to be changed to fit local cultures.

It is easy, however, to make the opposite argument – that members of the local elite valued foreign cultural traditions over the customs of their rustic neighbors and sought to impose those foreign traditions on local societies. In such a process, it was inevitable that whatever cultural tradition emerged was not an exact replica of some other cultural tradition, as there is no case anywhere in the world of one culture exactly reproducing another.

That the resulting cultural tradition did not exactly replicate the cultural traditions of the places where the foreign cultural traditions emerged from was thus not the result of deliberate “localization,” but of a more accidental process of hybriditization.

hybridity

That said, there are also problems with the term “hybridity.” To some, the idea implies that there are two clear cultural traditions that mix equally to create a “hybrid.” This, of course, is not necessarily accurate.

In the case of the spread of cultural practices from the places that we now refer to as India and China into the area that we now call Southeast Asia, there was never a “pure” Indian/Chinese culture that they came from and they did not form some kind of equal “hybrid” with aspects of local cultures.

Instead, these foreign cultural influences – be they from Buddhism, Brahmanism, Confucianism, Islam, or Christianity – were always seen as superior to whatever existed locally.

Therefore whatever blending that took place resulted in what we might call a “hierarchical hybridity,” rather than a hybridity of equals.

In any case, the senior scholar’s question – “Why not use the concept of hybridity?” – reminded me of these issues, and it also reminded me of a song from the 1980s that was popular in the Soviet Union. It was a song by the group Joe Pravda and the Sputniks called “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) the Concept of Hierarchical Hybridity?”

This song was later covered by Elvis Costello and the Imposters as “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?” However, I like the original more, and above is a link to that classic song and video from Joe Pravda and the Sputniks.


Video này không có phụ đề, nhưng chỉ cần biết tiếng Anh hoặc tiếng Viết là có thể hiểu được. This video is half in English and half in Vietnamese. The parts in English explain what is said in the parts in Vietnamese.


Video này không có phụ đề, nhưng chỉ cần biết tiếng Anh hoặc tiếng Viết là có thể hiểu được. This video is half in English and half in Vietnamese. The parts in English explain what is said in the parts in Vietnamese.




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a collection of thoughts and writings on Burma

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on knowing the past in Singapore

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Albert Einstein — 'What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.'

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About Vietnamese Cultural History and Scholarship

Digital Southeast Asia

Ideas for employing digital humanities approaches to the study of Southeast Asian history

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