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Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University of Wellington. Vol. 24, No. 5. 1961

Colonial Policies Discussed

Colonial Policies Discussed

Nineteenth centry colonial policies were discussed, and so were their nationalist successor's of the 20th century.

Throughout, the discussion was very even-tempered; there was no attempt to strike godlike poses by distributing moral judgments left, right, and centre.

It was much more a search for causes than a hunt for culprits; a search all the more pleasant for the contributions of the delegates from that part of the world geo. graphers call Asia.

For instance, a young historian of the Philippines analysed the corruption to be found in his country as the consequence of the imposition of a bureaucratic system, which assumes loyalty to an impersonal idea, the state, on a culture such as the Filipino, which demands loyalty first and foremost to persons: kinfolk, friends. Another example of the value of such contributions could be taken from the session dealing with Islam in Southeast Asia.

One "interesting" (i.e., mind-numbingly boring) paper attempted to explain the shape of the Indonesian mosque by showing its affinities with various similar edifices in the Indian sub-continent. An Indonesian participant, however, showed that the shape was also very similar to that of the Balinese temple, and suggested that perhaps the Indonesian mosque had indigenous roots. There was much sympathy for his viewpoint.

Thus Southeast Asia through her historians is concerned to stress her individuality; the superficial view, still too widely peddled, that she only exists as the shadow of whichever dog is having his day in Asia is doomed to extinction, and not before time.