On Being Southeast Asian and the Bankruptcy of Liberal Persuasion

The other day an article appeared in my Facebook feed called “Being South-East Asian.” It was written by historian, political scientist and public intellectual Farish Noor and published in the Malaysian newspaper The Star Online.

For years Farish Noor has sought to engage with an audience beyond the ivory tower, and I’ve long admired his effort to do so. Every time I visit Malaysia or Singapore I always stop in at a bookstore to look for his latest publication.

So with high expectations I clicked on the link to The Star Online piece, but quickly realized that the article was not what I expected.

02 Being

The gist of the piece is that Noor is concerned about the opposition to cosmopolitanism and pluralism in Southeast Asia today from people who engage in “identity politics that are narrow and couched in terms of ethno-nationalism.”

To counter these identity politics, Noor tries to convince his readers that the divided societies of today are the result of the “colonial rupture” by arguing that prior to the period of colonial rule Southeast Asians successfully embraced cosmopolitanism and pluralism.

He thus urges his readers “to reconnect with the region’s complex, varied past – before the European colonial powers came.”

As for what that complex, varied past looked like, Noor provides the following example:

“One can think of the Javanese port city of Banten, for instance. Home to merchant communities from China to the Arab lands, its complexity was captured in the writings of Theodorus de Bry (1601), which showed it to be far more plural and cosmopolitan than any other kingdom in Western Europe.”

This is the complex, varied past that Noor would like people in Southeast Asia to “reconnect” with. Again, to quote,

“The lessons of history are many, and what South-East Asia’s history teaches us is that complexity and diversity need not be seen in problematic or exclusive terms. If pre-colonial South-East Asians could manage and balance having multiple identities at the same time, then surely we too can do the same today.”

03 Baby-Boomer-Politics-and-Southeast-Asia

This idea that precolonial Southeast Asian societies possessed liberal attributes that are worthy of our emulation has long been a hallmark of scholarship in the field of Southeast Asian Studies in the English-speaking world.

I see this approach to the past as the product of a certain form of politics, what I have termed “Baby Boomer politics” (or “Baby Boomer lite politics” to contrast it with the more radical street protests and acts of civil resistance of the 1960s).

For decades certain scholars have been promoting an idealized and romanticized image of precolonial Southeast Asia, as a place where women were “autonomous,” slavery and warfare were not particularly brutal, states were not as coercive as in other parts of the world, etc. This approach emerged in the English-speaking world in the shadow of postcolonial struggles for independence and opposition to American foreign policy in the 1960s and 1970s, and it harbors an implicit critique of the West, but a direct critique of colonial rule.

Further, this school of though that seeks to demonstrate the positive attributes of precolonial Southeast Asia is built almost entirely on Western sources, and of a selective reading of those sources.

Finally, today these ideas are gaining some new energy from the academic sub-field of decoloniality, a critical approach that seeks to untangle the legacies of power structures that were formed during the colonial period. While this approach focuses mainly on the present, it is based on a belief that precolonial societies possessed positive (liberal) attributes that colonial rule either destroyed or distorted.


While I am familiar with the historical scholarship on Southeast Asia that seeks to promote a positive image of the precolonial era, I had never heard of (or don’t remember having ever heard of) Theodorus de Bry, whose “writings” Noor claims provide an image of Banten as “far more plural and cosmopolitan than any other kingdom in Western Europe.” So I decided to see what de Bry had to say about Banten.

As it turns out, Noor recently published an article on de Bry and Banten entitled “When the World Came to Banten: Images of Cosmopolitanism and Pluralism in Java in the Writings of Theodore de Bry 1601” [Kawalu: Journal of Local Culture Vol. 5 No. 2 (2018): 195-214], so I first read that piece to learn more.

Noor states in this piece that de Bry was a “writer-engraver” and that together with his two sons “he produced some of the most popular accounts of voyages to the Americas as well as the East Indies, but the de Bry family were most known for the quality of their engravings that gave Europeans a vivid impression of life beyond the shores of Europe” (198).

Of particular interest to Noor is a book that the de Bry family produced that contains some of the earliest images and information about the East Indies (~the Indonesian isles). This book has a long title that we can shorten to Icones Indiae Orientalis.

Regarding the contents of this book Noor states that it contains de Bry’s writings and engravings, but that it was published by his sons. In particular, Noor states that “After the death of Theodorus in 1598, his writings and engravings of India and the East Indies were compiled and published in the form of the Icones Indiae Orientalis that was put together by Johann Theodore and Johann Israel” (200).




Noor then goes on to examine and discuss some of the images and their accompanying text about Banten in this work. What strikes Noor is a contrast that he detects between the information and images about Banten with the images and information that de Bry had earlier published concerning the Americas. To quote,

“For the reader who is familiar with the images of native Americans in his earlier work on the new world, de Bry’s images of daily life in the East Indies could not be more striking in contrast. De Bry’s censorious tone that was read off the pages of his work on America is nowhere to be found in the Icones Indiae Orientalis. For here de Bry was forced to concede that the world of the East Indies was one where Asian communities had developed their own system of commerce, governance, religious praxis and culture to a level that rivaled Europe’s” (200).

In reading these comments, I became confused. Noor argues that de Bry “was forced to concede” that the world of the East Indies “rivaled Europe’s,” but how did de Bry know about the East Indies in the first place? Noor does not say. Did he visit the East Indies? Where did he get his information from? Noor likewise does not tell us.

But isn’t knowing where de Bry got his ideas from kind of important? After all, Noor’s argument is that de Bry presented Banten in more positive terms than he did the Americas, and that this reflects an historical fact – that conditions in Banten “rivaled Europe’s” – that de Bry “was forced to concede.”

06 de Bry Wikipedia

Curious to know more, I decided to look into this matter. Turning first to Wikipedia, I read that de Bry was “an engraver, goldsmith, editor and publisher,” but saw no mention of him being a writer. I also found that he never left Europe, and that his publications were copies/adaptations of earlier works.

Digging deeper, I consulted a 2003 work edited by Jennifer Speake, Literature of Travel and Exploration: An Encyclopedia (Routledge). Here I was able to see in the brief entry on de Bry that the forms his engravings took were influenced by numerous factors.

For instance, the entry on de Bry in the Speake volume states that “De Bry, as a Lutheran, emphasized the cruelty of the Spanish conquerors toward the natives.” The Wikipedia entry, meanwhile, notes that de Bry also tailored his books for his anticipated audience and that there are thus at times significant differences between versions in different languages.

Finally, these two sources make it clear that de Bry’s engravings were produced in different ways. Sometimes he faithfully copied extant images. Sometimes he copied and altered extant images. Sometimes he produced his own images based on textual information.

From the information in these basic sources it should be clear is that de Bry’s books need to be examined much more carefully than Noor has done in his article. We can’t just compare images in one book with images in another. Instead, among other issues, we have to ask where the images in de Bry’s work come from and to check to see if there are differences between de Bry’s versions and the original images that he copied.

07 Speake

As for the images and their accompanying text in Icones Indiae Orientalis, the Speake volume notes that they come from a book that a certain Willem Lodewycksz published in 1598. Lodewycksz participated in the first Dutch voyage to the East Indies. He returned in 1597 and published an account with prints of sketches that he had made the following year.

This work was published in Dutch, Latin and French: D’Eerste Boeck: Historie van Indien, waer inne verhaelt is de avontueren die de Hollandtsche Schepen bejegent zijn (Amsterdam: Cornelis Claesz, 1598); Prima pars descriptionis Itineris navalis in Indiam Orientalem, earumque rerumquae navibus Batavis occurrerunt; Premier Livre de l’histoire de la navigation aux Indes Orientales, parles Hollandais. It was later translated into English (without images and image captions) and included in the 1702 work A Collection of Voyages Undertaken by the Dutch East India Company.

Given that de Bry died in March of that same year of 1598, it is not clear to me if he made engraved copies of the images in Lodewycksz’s book before he passed away, or if his sons, or someone else, made the engravings at some point between the time of their father’s death and the publication of the Icones Indiae Orientalis in 1601.

Whatever the case may be, the images in Icones Indiae Orientalis are faithful reproductions (in reverse) of the originals in the Lodewycksz book. The textual information is likewise largely the same, although it has been re-organized and reformulated to some extent.

08 Two-Texts

Lodewycksz’s book contains short thematic chapters some of which are accompanied by an image with a caption. De Bry’s book, meanwhile, does not have chapters, but just images and captions. Further, while the captions in the de Bry work contain the same basic information as the captions in Lodewycksz’s book, at times some additional information from Lodewycksz’s chapters are added to the captions in the de Bry book in order to make the information more understandable to readers. It is in this way that one can say that the de Bry book “reorganizes” and/or “reformulates” the information that Lodewycksz provided.

In the end, however, the images and information in the de Bry book clearly all come from Lodewycksz’s earlier publication.

Therefore, besides the fact that we don’t know if de Bry is the one who copied these prints (or if his sons, or someone else, did so after he died), and the fact that his prints about the Americas require nuanced examinations before we can compare them with others, the simple fact that the images and text about Banten were created by Lodewycksz undermines Noor’s argument that we can see something meaningful in “de Bry’s” images of Banten by contrasting them with “de Bry’s” images of the Americas.


As Noor discusses the images, however, even more serious problems emerge. Take the above picture of Chinese merchants. Noor makes the following statement about its accompanying text:

“In the account of Chinese merchants for instance, the author notes that life for the Chinese community in Banten was freer than elsewhere, and that Chinese women were able to engage in commerce in the public domain” (205).

Not able to read Latin, I at first had no choice but to accept what Noor says. However, when I looked at the French version of the book by Lodewycksz that de Bry copied, I saw that it says that this picture contains images of Chinese merchants and “one of their purchased women, whom they use in Java during their time of residence” (l’une de leur femmes achetée, les quelles usent en Iava, durant le temps de leur residence).

Turning to the Latin version of Lodewycksz’s text, and relying on Google Translate for help, I can see that it says the same thing (effigies femina quam emerunt, qua in Iava, quandiu ibi resident, utuntur).


Returning to the de Bry text, I could see that it says something similar: “In Banten women are purchased” (In Bantam foeminas mercantur). However, much of the information that follows differs from the information in the caption to this image in Lodewycksz’s book: In Bantam foeminas mercantur, quas suis officiis, quamdiu [quandiu] ibi commorantur, adhibent. In Chinam redeuntes illasdem reuendunt [revendunt]: aut si liberos ex illis fors susceperunt, secum eas abducunt.

After some investigation, I realized that the information in the de Bry text is a reformulation of information from both the image caption and the chapter text in Lodewycksz’s book.

Just before his chapter on Chinese merchants, Lodewycksz has a section on foreigners in general where he states that,

“As soon as a Stranger arrives at Bantam [Banten], he buys a Wife for his use, for the Day, and for the Night. And when he returns, he sells her, but takes the Children with him if she hath any, and gives the Mother liberty to marry whom she pleases” (Voyages 198).

While that statement was made about all foreigners in Banten, it is used in the de Bry book to talk about Chinese merchants, saying that when they return to China they sell their wives and take the children with them.


I thus cannot find anything here that supports Noor’s statement that “Chinese women were able to engage in commerce in the public domain.”

The closest one could come to such a claim is to say that the de Bry book indicates that in Banten “women could be bought and sold by foreign men in the public domain.”

I also do not find anything here to support Noor’s statement that “In the account of Chinese merchants for instance, the author notes that life for the Chinese community in Banten was freer than elsewhere.”

There is something in the text here about the Chinese living at a distance (remota), and Lodewycksz indicated in his text that:

“The Chinese have a particular Place towards the West side of Bantam, as well as the Portugueze, and there the Dutchmen have their Warehouse. This part of the Town is defended by good Palissadoes on the Landside, and by a Marsh, which makes it very strong, and difficult to be taken by force” (Voyages 186).


Later in his text, in talking about the Portuguese, Lodewycksz states further that:

“They live in Bantam, in the same Part of the Town where the China merchants live, neither of these two Nations being permitted to dwell within the Walls” (Voyages 200).

In other words, the Chinese were forced to live separately from the people of Banten, and they built their settlement in a way that made it defensible, an indication that they faced potential dangers. None of this is a sign to me of the Chinese being particularly “free.”


Moving on to another image, Noor examines the picture above of a military council and says that it,

“. . . offers a glimpse of a political council, where the Sultan presides over his court. The meeting is held outdoors, with the ruler, his court, nobles, generals and admirals all sitting on the ground as they discuss matters of military and strategic concern. Interestingly, the text that accompanies the illustration notes that also present at this political assembly were Malays (from the Malay Peninsula), Arabs and Turks (Malayos, Turca, Arabes). The fact that Malays, Turks and Arabs were present at the political council suggests that Bantenese society was one where foreigners were allowed to take part in matters of governance, and that affairs of state were handled via consultation with all the communities that were residing in Banten then” (203).

Meanwhile, in his text, Lodewycksz said the following:

“As to the affairs of War, the King calls to the Council all the General and under Officers, which are three hundred in number, and if any thing considerable, or some great Expedition is resolved upon, these 300 Officers command the Inhabitants, who obey them faithfully” (Voyages 192).


What Lodewycksz described was a military council, where important people were called together (and the image has the sultan [a], members of the religious [b] and military elite [a/c], members of the nobility [d], Malays [e], Turks, Arabs [f], and a group of servicemen/slaves [h] off to the side), after which those people commanded those under their authority to obey. This strikes me as much more hierarchical and coercive than the description of a “political council” where “affairs of state were handled via consultation with the communities that were residing in Banten then.”

Such a positive twist, however, is in line with a long tradition in the field of Southeast Asian history in the English-speaking world to present precolonial rule as benevolent and democratic (think King Ramkhamhaeng).

But even if we put all of that aside, there is a basic problem: Why were there no Chinese and Portuguese at this “political council”?

They were not there because Banten was not a place “where foreigners were allowed to take part in matters of governance,” but instead, it was a place where some foreigners were considered acceptable by the ruler, and where others were ghettoized.

In this respect it would be easy to draw parallels between Banten and certain port cities in Europe at that time.


Does this mean that “Asian communities had developed their own system of commerce, governance, religious praxis and culture to a level that rivaled Europe’s”? If what they were rivaling was ethnic/religious segregation, economic exploitation, etc., then yes, Banten clearly appears to have rivaled certain European port cities at that time. The Lodewycksz and de Bry books both make this clear.

That, however, is not what Noor imagines about Banten, but in the end that is the problem – his ideas are unfortunately just imaginings.

Having read this same type of discussion about precolonial Southeast Asia for decades now, I cannot see that it achieves anything other than making people with liberal leanings feel good about themselves (“See! The type of society that we want was there in Banten in the past!!), and feel ever more disturbed that there are people around them who do not see the world in the same way (“Why do people treat domestic workers like they are property? Why are there so many ethnic/religious divisions?”).

Further, I think that there is a strong liberal belief that if people can see “the truth,” they will all come to their senses. I’m not convinced that this is true (look at American politics!), but even if it is true, the positive depictions of precolonial Southeast Asia like the ones Noor presents are not “the truth,” they are myths derived from distorted/selective readings of historical sources.

It is of course admirable that Farish Noor (and many others) would like to see Southeast Asia not be subject to “identity politics that are narrow and couched in terms of ethno-nationalism.” However, I’m convinced that this approach of holding up precolonial Southeast Asia as a model for people today to follow does not achieve that goal.

At best it just perpetuates the circulation of feel-good myths in the field of Southeast Asian history. At worst it is simply another form of identity politics.

Some of the ugliness in Southeast Asia today is easily detectable back in Banten in the late sixteenth century. It was not created by “the colonial rupture.” Colonialism introduced new problems, for sure, but there are many others that have much deeper historical roots, as they are intimately entwined with the human condition.

Creating liberal myths about the past does not change any of this. Certain Southeast Asianists have been doing that for decades. . . and many of the problems of the past are still here with us today.

Chang’an News from Vietnam

I came across a Vietnamese newspaper from the late 1930s-early 1940s called the “Tràng An Báo.” This name is interesting.

“Tràng An” is usually written now as “Trường An” and comes from “Chang’an” 長安, the name of the Han Dynasty capital, a city that continued to serve as the capital of various other Chinese dynasties, including the Tang.

Perhaps because the city served so long as an imperial capital, its name eventually became synonymous with the word “capital” and one can find it in Chinese writings where its use does not literally mean “Chang’an” but simply “the capital.”

It is undoubtedly in this sense that the name was chosen for this newspaper. “Tràng An Báo” can thus be translated as “Capital News” or the “Capital Newspaper.”

What is interesting, however, is to think about how different Vietnam is today. I cannot imagine anyone in Vietnam today naming anything “Tràng An,” except perhaps a Chinese restaurant. . . Times have changed.

Vietnamese Poetry 4.0

I can’t read fiction anymore. When I was young, I found novels to be a great means to “travel” to places (both in the literal and figurative senses) that I could not visit in real life, and I would spend hours reading and imagining about life and the world. But I don’t/can’t do that anymore.

In looking at reports about the declining sales of books of fiction, it looks like I am not alone in this sense. Instead, with the Internet, and streaming services like Netflix, there are now many other ways to “travel” through fiction and stories.

While it is sad to see fiction fall on hard times, I am always impressed at how good the storytelling in some Netflix series can be, and that assures me that there are still many great writers in the world.

Dan Ta 1

Poets, however, are another story. Poetry has never been as popular as fiction, and the sale of books of poetry has always been a tiny fraction of the total sale of literary works.

Yes, the Internet can make it easier to share one’s poetry with the world, but just as I don’t find myself reading literature these days, I also don’t find myself reading poetry, even if it is readily available online.

That then creates a bit of a problem for me as my wife (Phan Lê Hà) is a poet, has been writing poems for decades, and has volumes upon volumes filled with handwritten poems. . .

She could publish a book of poetry. But who will read it? She can put poems online. But again, who will read them?

Soulmates 1

In recent years, Phan Lê Hà has collaborated with songwriters and musicians who have transformed some of her poetry into songs. That has been one way to make poetry more accessible to a contemporary audience/readership.

However, in the process of transforming a poem into a song, it is inevitable that aspects of the original poem will get lost along the way. So Phan Lê Hà has been trying to find a way to make a poem something other than words on paper while still maintaining the original spirit and form of the poem as much as possible.

With this goal in mind, I recently started making videos of Phan Lê Hà’s poetry. In these videos, Phan Lê Hà reads the poems herself. There is also music, but the music is limited, and plays more the role of a score in a movie, rather than the music of a song.

I’m not sure if we have fully succeeded yet, but this is the best technique that we have been able to come up with in order to bring a poem to life in the digital age. We can therefore, think of these videos as examples of “Vietnamese Poetry 4.0”.

Dan Ta 2

The first two videos that we have made are of “Soulmates” (Tri Kỷ) and “Telling Myself” (Dặn Ta).

Soulmates” is actually a combination of three different poems. It tells a complex and multi-layered story about songwriters/composers Văn Cao and Trịnh Công Sơn, as well as about Phan Lê Hà and her father. In this story of “Soulmates,” numerous direct and indirect references are made to the songs of Văn Cao and Trịnh Công Sơn, as well as to various historical periods and events, from the Nhân Văn Giải Phâm Affair to the Subsidy Era (Thời bao cấp).

The complexity of “Soulmates” makes it difficult to translate into English. Therefore this video is in Vietnamese.

This second video is of a poem called “Telling Myself.” This is a poem about struggling to keep up with the unpredictable changes and opportunities that life brings us. It is about deciding to make a change in life when one has still not settled from an earlier change in life. For this poem we have made a version with English subtitles.

Soulmates” (Tri Kỷ)

Telling Myself” (Dặn Ta) – With English Translation

Telling Myself” (Dặn Ta) – Without English Translation

Moving Forward in the Era of the Decline of Area Studies & the Humanities

For a long time now I’ve been witnessing a decline in interest in area studies, the Humanities, the field of History, etc., all of the fields that I was trained to work in.

Meanwhile, I haven’t come across many (actually, any) solid suggestions for how those fields can change to adapt to current conditions. Indeed, it is rare to find anyone even talking about the problems these fields face. . . which is itself a serious problem. . .

So for roughly the past decade I’ve found myself more or less thinking in isolation about these issues, and talking to myself about these issues.

While there are many factors that are contributing to the decline in interest in fields like History and Asian Studies, ultimately I would argue that the forces of change that globalization and the digital revolution have set in motion go the furthest in explaining why it doesn’t make sense for a young person today to choose to major in such fields.

Globalization and the rise and spread of English as the main international language has made the need for people who have a knowledge of another society’s language, culture and history much less obvious, if not less necessary.

Meanwhile, while the digital revolution has dramatically transformed how human beings communicate, fields like History and Asian Studies still require students to communicate in pre-digital-revolution ways.

This latter point has been bothering me for a long time, so I finally decided to change how I teach, so as to teach students some of the basic skills that one needs to be able to communicate online in the twenty-first century.

Agrarian Transformation in Thailand, and Rural-Urban Interactions

One of the great joys of my work is making videos of conversations with scholars who research about Southeast Asia.

It was my great pleasure and honor to recently make this video of a conversation between Professors Jonathan Rigg and Phan Le Ha.

Dr. Jonathan Rigg, Professor and Chair in Human Geography at the University of Bristol, has been researching and writing about rural transformation in Thailand, and Southeast Asia more generally, for decades. On the occasion of the publication of his most recent book, More than Rural: The Textures of Thailand’s Agrarian Transformation, he sat down for this fascinating discussion.


These are some of the issues covered in this fascinating conversation:

02:36 – Jonathan’s intellectual journal from “More than the Soil” (Routledge, 2001) to “More than the Rural” (Hawaii, 2019);

06:40 – The materiality of the urban vs. the values and practices associated with the urban;

10:12 – Moving beyond rural/urban and agrarian/non-agrarian binaries;

12:03 – Urbanization in Asian contexts;

15:52 – The concepts of peri-urban and desakota;

18:58 – The (contested/changing) link between poverty and land;

22:20 – A key point in “More than Rural”;

25:22 – Understanding rural “problems” as strategies.

Vietnamese Prehistory and International Scholarship – Part 2: Thought & Solheim

In 1971, archaeologist Wilhelm “Bill” Solheim made some comments in the magazine National Geographic about the origins of agriculture. His comments were premature, and turned out to be false.

Then in the late 1990s those comments were discovered by some Vietnamese who were interested in prehistory. They now serve as “evidence” to support the idea that the ancestors of the Vietnamese were the first people in Asia to cultivate wet rice and that they introduced this technology to the Han Chinese.

To learn more about this, please watch the following video:

Vietnamese Prehistory and International Scholarship – Part 1: Introduction

For the past half century or so there has been an idea circulating in the Vietnamese world that holds that the ancestors of the Vietnamese were the first people to inhabit the Asian mainland, and that they established the foundations of East Asian civilization but were then driven southward by the Han Chinese who claimed that civilization as their own.

In recent years, individuals who promote this view of the past have cited Western scholarship to support their views. In this video series we will examine the Western scholarship that is used to support this perspective on prehistory.

The video below is an introduction to this topic.

Tiền sử Việt Nam và học thuật quốc tế (phần 1)

This is my first attempt at making a video in Vietnamese. . . You gotta start somewhere. . .

In recent years some Vietnamese people interested in history, both inside and outside of the country, have created a new story about Vietnamese prehistory (Note: We are not referring to people classified as “historians” in the official academic sense).

For instance, in contrast to the widely-held belief that wet rice was first cultivated in the area of the Yangzi River, the above-mentioned historians hold that the ancestors of the Vietnamese were the first people in Asia to cultivate wet rice, and that they spread this knowledge to the area of what is now China through ancient migrations from south to north.

To prove their points, these individuals cite studies by “international scholars.” In this series of videos, we will examine the ideas that these historians have put forth, as well as the research by the international scholars that they cite. At the same time, we will point out some problems with the way works are cited and how that influences historical arguments.)

Trong những năm gần đây, một số nhà quan tâm nghiên cứu lịch sử Việt, cả trong và ngoài nước, đã tạo ra một câu chuyện mới về tiền sử Việt Nam (Lưu ý: chúng tôi không nói đến các “nhà sử học” theo quan niệm chính thống của giới hàn lâm).

Ví dụ, ngược lại với ý tưởng được nhiều người tin tưởng rằng lúa được trồng sớm nhất ở khu vực đồng bằng sông Dương Tử, các nhà nghiên cứu nói trên có luận điểm rằng tổ tiên của người Việt Nam là những người ở châu Á trồng lúa nước sớm nhất, và họ truyền kiến thức trồng lúa nước đến khu vực đồng bằng Dương Tử thông qua các cuộc di cư cổ xưa từ nam ra bắc.

Để chứng minh quan điểm của mình, họ trích dẫn các nghiên cứu của “các học giả quốc tế.” Trong loạt video clip này, chúng tôi sẽ xem xét những ý tưởng mà các nhà nghiên cứu lịch sử này đã đưa ra, cũng như xem xét các bài nghiên cứu của các học giả quốc tế mà họ trích dẫn, và đồng thời chỉ ra một số vấn đề liên quan đến trích dẫn và ảnh hưởng của nó đến cách lập luận lịch sử.

How May I Help You?

Following up on the ideas in the previous post about how valuable it is to try to understand what “users” of a product/service actually think, and given that I’ve been maintaining this blog for almost a decade without really knowing what readers/visitors think, like, or what they are looking for. . . I have created a one-question/anonymous form that simply asks:

“What is it that you are looking for at Le Minh Khai’s Southeast Asian History Blog? What are you interested in/curious about? What is it that you would like to see more of? Thank you for responding!!”

If you have the time (and it can take as little as a few seconds), please let me know what you think, so that I can do a better job of producing a blog that is of interest.

Here again is the form.

Thank you very much!!