The inaugural forum of the FEU Global Lecture Series of the Department of International Studies centered on the theme, Contemporary Development Issues in Asia as we face turbulent times that bring about conflicts abroad.

In partnership with the Department of Political Science, the forum had visiting scholars, Dr. Kar Yen Leong of Tamkang University, Taiwan and Dr. Danny Tan, curator of the Army Museum of Singapore

Dr. Leong discussed the parallelisms between the conflicts found in the war in Ukraine-Russia and Taiwan-Chinese tensions. He reminded the FEU community that identities are strong, inalienable, and are the focal point for ordinary people when there are existential threats that are looming in their borders. This identity, he argues, is built, and molded over time, and is very personal to people. This identity is what keeps ordinary people believing in their sense of nationality. For Dr. Leong, identity must be nurtured, developed, and identified.

On the other hand, Dr. Tan covered post-colonial legacies and its impact on national ethnicity by looking at Malaysia. He argues that the present reality of nations is linked to their colonial past. He discussed the nuances of colonialism, the motivations behind colonization and the post-colonial mentalities that are left after colonization. Indeed, colonial pasts cast exceptionally long shadows, and the essence of what it means to be a citizen of one’s country carries with it its own burden of self-identification. Dr. Danny asks the difficult question of what former colonies might owe to their colonial pasts.

As a key take away, one of the students noted how the event was able to clearly emphasize several pressing issues in Asia that are often overlooked as compared to other contemporary affairs. Not only did it provide a necessary background on the issues between China and Taiwan, as well as the Malay group in Malaysia, but it also illuminated on how it has affected and will continue to influence the international arena.

The event was able to elucidate on key ideas–such as the effects of nationalism and colonialism on the current situations of the states– and what we, as scholars of International Studies, can learn from this phenomenon.

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