By Michael D. Barr
Cultural Politics and Asian Values seems to be on the political, cultural and spiritual heritage of East and Southeast Asian societies and people of 'the West', that allows you to seeing how they're affecting modern nationwide and foreign politics: democratization, the overseas human rights discourse, NGOs and globalisation.
The publication surveys the political heritage and pre-history of the 'Asian values' debate, taking it as much as the period of Megawati Sukarnoputri, Chen Shui-bian and Kim Dae-jung. In chapters on Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and liberalism, Barr explores the histories and conceptual essences of the area religions curious about or suffering from the talk.
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Extra resources for Cultural Politics and Asian Values: The Tepid War
8 • If we look at Indonesia we find that President Sukarno’s reaction to ‘Western decadence’ in the 1960s was to order the burning and smashing of Western rock-and-roll records and paraphernalia. 9 The mood in post-Suharto Indonesia did not see any substantial softening of the Indonesian rejection of ‘the sixties’. As Robert Hefner eloquently put it, recalling his own field trips in the 1970s, . . if the United States was previously seen as the land of cowboys and scientists, both of whom excited a grudging admiration, A broad history: from Meiji to ‘East Asian Miracle’ 19 by the late 1970s these icons had been displaced by troubling images of pornography, violence, and drugs.
Finally comes ‘the broad base’ or the ‘privates’. 24 An essential concomitant to Lee’s hierarchical, elitist perception of society was the concept of the meritocracy. Lee was adamant that, following the most idealised reading of Chinese Confucian tradition, the elite would hold their superior positions because of merit, talent and education, rather than because of class, inherited wealth, or family connections. Members of the elite should be the most intelligent, the best educated, the best trained, and the ones with the most verve, initiative and energy.
51 Expressions of self-confidence such as this became commonplace by the early 1990s, but they were only just starting to emerge in the late 1980s. This mood of cautious triumphalism set the stage for a period of heightened East Asian cultural, economic and political assertion although the form it took could not have been foreseen. Yet the essential elements of what became known as ‘Asian values’ were present by the end of the 1980s. Before moving into the 1990s, however, it is appropriate to return to a consideration of the contributions of Lee Kuan Yew and Dr Mahathir.