Institute of Borneo Studies,
University Malaysia Sarawak,
94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak Malaysia
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I have learnt two important lessons through the years of pursuing formal education. One is the value of formal education as a means to explore the world. Second is the need to contribute back to the society. Both have shaped my duties as a university lecturer at UNIMAS and how I carry my obligations towards society at large. I work to translate skills I have gained from two distinctive yet inter related areas of knowledge. One is inter-disciplinary perspectives which I have acquired through my training as an Asian and Southeast Asian Studies student. The other is social anthropology particularly the field of applied anthropology, which involves application of anthropological perspectives in development practices.
Because of my interdiscplinarian background, my research interests are also quite broad. Foremost is the anthropology of Bornean societies. This includes the emergence of the international borders on the island of Borneo. Of particular interest here the formation of national identities at border areas and how the formation of national identity effects every day interactions, kinship relations and economic relations between communities at the frontiers of international boundaries.
I am also interested in political ethnography – governance structures and local leadership patterns among rural and small communities, and how these patterns are changing with the penetration of new ideologies (modernization, democracy and election) into rural areas. Conversely, how these new ideologies have been adopted and adapted by small communities into their own political, economic and socio-cultural contexts.
For the last 15 years I have been making sense of the term “development” especially in rural and remote contexts of Malaysia. As it is, the term development is one of the most contentious terms in modern time. It means different thing for different people. My aim is to offer the anthropological perspective - a view of humanity grounded in a tradition of cross-cultural scholarship and action – in the area of community development. I work to design, plan and implement community development projects using community or people-centred approach, asset based community development and participative techniques. Together with this is an increasing interest in the emerging field of society and technology. This is especially with regards to the interplay between technologies (i.e information communication technologies), government policies and strategies for development intervention. Using broad social impact approach, I conduct impact studies to assess non-technical outcomes of technology-based development in rural areas. All these engagements boil down my keen interest in societal issues surrounding “small people” at the margins of technological advancement and innovation.
of Philosophy in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge (2008)
Masters of Arts in Asian Studies, Cornell University (1998)
Bachelor of Arts in Southeast Asian Studies, University of Malaya (1994)
Three main areas of research:
1. The emergence of political boundaries on the island of Borneo and the impact of borders on population movements, identity formation, kinship relations and informal economies along international borders (for instance, the border region of Kalimantan and Sarawak).
2. Methods, issues and challenges of technological implementation for rural development. There are two parts to this. First is the role of inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinarian methodologies in research and development to examine society and technology relationships. Second is participative development approaches and community-engaged model for technological implementation in rural areas.
3. Impact of technological implementation in rural areas. Of particular interest is assessing the applications and outcomes of information communication technologies by rural communities in remote areas.
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