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Though resistance was not impossible, it was difficult, especially since the rulers and their courts were now largely beholden to the Dutch for their positions. The Javanese culture and society of earlier days was no longer serviceable, and court intellectuals sought to find a solution in both a revitalization of the past and a clear-eyed examination of the present. Neither effort was successful, though not for want of trying. The idea of opposing Dutch rule, furthermore, was not abandoned entirely, and it was only the devastating Java War —30 that finally tamed the Javanese elite and, oddly enough, left the Dutch to determine the final shape of Javanese culture until the midth century.

Patterns of a colonial age

Except in Java and much of the Philippines, the expansion of Western colonial rule in most of Southeast Asia was a phenomenon only of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. In the earlier period Europeans tended to acquire territory as a result of complicated and not always desired entanglements with Southeast Asian powers, either in disputes or as a result of alliances. After about , Western forces generally were more invasive, requiring only feeble justification for going on the attack. The most important reasons for the change were a growing Western technological superiority, an increasingly powerful European mercantile community in Southeast Asia, and a competitive scramble for strategic territory.

Only Siam remained largely intact and independent. By the rest of the region had been divided among the British, French, Dutch, and Spanish who soon were replaced by the Americans , with the Portuguese still clinging to the island of Timor. More peaceful Western encroachments on local sovereignty also occurred until the s.

Crisis and response

Full-blown, modern colonial states existed for only a short period, in many cases for not much more than a generation. These colonial regimes, however, were not insubstantial, as they put down strong bureaucratic roots and—though often co-opting existing administrative apparatuses—formed centralized disciplined structures of great power. They were backed by the enormous economic resources of the industrialized Western nations, and by the early 20th century, having effectively disarmed the indigenous societies, they possessed a monopoly on the means of violence.

There is no mistaking the impact of Western colonial governments on their surroundings, and nowhere is this more evident than in the economic sphere. Production of tin, oil, rubber, sugar, rice, tobacco, coffee, tea, and other commodities burgeoned, driven by both government and private activity. This brought rapid changes to the physical and human landscape and coupled Southeast Asia to a new worldwide capitalist system. Indeed, colonial domination was only a variant condition in a rapidly changing world. Siam, which through a combination of circumstance and the wise leadership of Mongkut ruled —68 and Chulalongkorn — avoided Western rule, nevertheless was compelled to adopt policies similar to, and often even modeled on, those of the colonial powers in order to survive.

Modernization appeared to require such an approach, and the Thai did not hesitate to embrace it with enthusiasm. Bangkok in the late s surpassed even British Singapore as a centre of such modern amenities as electric lighting and medical facilities, and the state itself had achieved an enviable degree of political and economic viability among its colonial neighbours. They were unable, however, to avoid other concomitants of state expansion and modernization. It was not the purpose of the new states to effect rapid or broad social change. Boundaries were drawn, villages defined, laws rewritten—all along Western lines of understanding, often completely disregarding indigenous views and practices—and the new structure swiftly replaced the old.

Social change was desired only insofar as it might strengthen these activities. Thus, the Thai began early on to send princes to Europe for their education, employing them throughout the government on their return. The Dutch created exclusive schools for the indigenous administrative elite—a kind of petty royalty—and invented ways of reducing social mobility in this group, as, for example, by making important positions hereditary.

But the new governments did not provide Western-style learning to most Southeast Asians, primarily because it was an enormous, difficult, and expensive task and also because policymakers worried about the social and political consequences of creating an educated class. Except in the Philippines, by the mids only a small percentage of indigenous children attended government-run schools, and only a fraction of those studied above the primary-school level.

Some Southeast Asian intellectuals soon drew the conclusion that they had better educate themselves, and they began establishing their own schools with modern, secular courses of study. The newer generation, however, was more certain in its opposition to colonial rule or, in Siam, rule by the monarchy , clearer and far more political in its conception of a nation, and unabashedly determined to seize leadership and initiative in their own societies. In Burma this group called themselves thakin Burmese: These new intellectuals were not so much anti-Western as they were anticolonial.

They accepted the existing state as the foundation of a modern nation, which they, rather than colonial officials, would control. This was the generation that captained the struggles for independence in Siam, independence from the monarchy and emerged in the post-World War II era as national leaders. The chief problem facing the new intellectuals lay in reaching and influencing the wider population.

Colonial governments feared this eventuality and worked to prevent it.

The Aging of Asia: Policy Lessons, Challenges > Articles

Another obstacle was that the ordinary people, especially outside cities and towns, inhabited a different social and cultural world from that of the emerging leaders. Communication was difficult, particularly when it came to explaining such concepts as nationalism and modernization. Still, despite Western disbelief, there was considerable resentment of colonial rule at the lower levels of society. This was based largely on perceptions that taxes were too numerous and too high, bureaucratic control too tight and too prone to corruption, and labour too coercively extracted. In many areas there also was a deep-seated hatred of control by foreigners, whether they be the Europeans themselves or the Chinese, Indians, or others who were perceived as creatures of their rule.

Most of the new intellectual elite were only vaguely aware of these sentiments , which in any case frequently made them uneasy; in a sense they, too, were foreigners. In the s, however, a series of anticolonial revolts took place in Burma, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Though they failed in their objectives, these revolts made it clear that among the masses lay considerable dissatisfaction and, therefore, radical potential.

The revolts, and the economic disarray of the Great Depression , also suggested that European rule was neither invulnerable nor without flaws. When the outbreak of war in Europe and the Pacific showed that the colonial powers were much weaker militarily than had been imagined, destroying colonial rule and harnessing the power of the masses seemed for the first time to be real possibilities.

The arrival of the Japanese armed forces in Southeast Asia in —42 did not, however, occasion independence. A few leaders perhaps had been naive enough to think that it might—and some others clearly admired the Japanese and found it acceptable to work with them—but on the whole the attitude of intellectuals was one of caution and, very quickly, realization that they were now confronted with another, perhaps more formidable and ferocious, version of colonial rule.

The Japanese had no plans to radicalize or in any way destabilize Southeast Asia—which, after all, was slated to become part of a Tokyo-centred Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere ; in the short term they sought to win the war, and in the long run they hoped to modernize the region on a Japanese model. Continuity served these purposes best, and in Indochina the Japanese even allowed the French to continue to rule in return for their cooperation. Still, for two distinct reasons the period does represent a break from the past. First, the Japanese attempted to mobilize indigenous populations to support the war effort and to encourage modern cooperative behaviour on a mass scale; such a thing had never been attempted by Western colonial governments.

Virtually all of the mobilization efforts, however, were based on Japanese models, and the new rulers were frustrated to discover that Southeast Asians did not behave in the same fashion as Japanese. Frequently the result was disorder, corruption, and, by the end of the war, a seething hatred of the Japanese. It was also the case that, both because the war was going against them and because the response to other approaches was unenthusiastic, the Japanese were compelled before long to utilize local nationalism in their mobilization campaigns, again something quite impossible under European rule.

The consequences were to benefit local rather then Japanese causes and, ironically, to contribute handsomely to the building of anti-Japanese sentiments. A second difference between Western and Japanese colonialism was in the opportunities the occupation provided the new educated elite. The Japanese were wary of these people because of their Western orientation but also favoured them because they represented the most modern element in indigenous society, the best partner for the present, and the best hope for the future.

Nor could Southeast Asians who found themselves in these positions easily fault the policies they now accepted responsibility for carrying out or at least supporting, since many of these policies were in fact—if not always in spirit—similar to ones they had endorsed in earlier decades. In short, the Western-educated elite emerged from the Japanese occupation stronger in various ways than they had ever been.

By August they stood poised to inherit or, given the variety of political conditions at the end of the war, to struggle among themselves over inheriting the mantle of leadership over their own countries. Southeast Asia was changed in an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, way by the Japanese occupation. Japanese rule, indeed, had destroyed whatever remained of the mystique of Western supremacy, but the war also had ruined any chances that it might be replaced with a Japanese mystique. There was clearly little clinging to Japanese concepts except where they could be thoroughly indigenized; even the collaboration issue, so important to Europeans and their thinking about the immediate postwar era, failed to move Southeast Asians for long.

The swift conclusion of the war in the Pacific made it impossible for the former colonial masters to return to Southeast Asia for several weeks, in some areas for months. During the interim , the Japanese were obliged by the Allies to keep the peace, but real power passed into the hands of Southeast Asian leaders, some of whom declared independence and attempted with varying degrees of success to establish government structures.

For the first time since the establishment of colonial rule, firearms in large numbers were controlled by Southeast Asians. Such was the groundwork for the establishment of new independent states. Prewar nationalism had been most highly developed in Vietnam and Indonesia, and the colonial powers there were least inclined to see the new realities created by the war, perhaps because of the large numbers of resident French and Dutch and because of extensive investments.

The result in both countries was an armed struggle in which the Western power was eventually defeated and independence secured. The Indonesian revolution, for all its internal complexities, was won in little more than four years with a combination of military struggle and civilian diplomacy.

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The revolution of the Vietnamese, who had defeated the French by , continued much longer because of an internal political struggle and because of the role Vietnam came to play in global geopolitics, which ultimately led to the involvement of other external powers, among them the United States. In both cases, however, independence was sealed in blood, and a mythologized revolution came to serve as a powerful, unifying nationalist symbol.

In the rest of Southeast Asia, the achievement of independence was, if not entirely peaceful, at least less violent. For better or worse, these conflicts were no substitutes for a genuine revolutionary experience. Whether by revolution or otherwise, decolonization proceeded rapidly in Southeast Asia.

The newly independent states all aspired toward democratic systems more or less on the Western model, despite the lack of democratic preparation and the impress of nationalist sentiment. For another, the new leadership retained the commitment to modernization that it had developed earlier.

They looked forward to a new world, not an old one. The difficulty, however, was that there was as yet little consensus on the precise shape this new world should take, and colonial rule had left indigenous societies with virtually no experience in debating and reaching firm decisions on such important matters. It is hardly surprising that one result of this lack of experience was a great deal of political and intellectual conflict. Often forgotten, however, is another result: This signaled the beginning of a kind of cultural renaissance, the dimensions and significance of which are still insufficiently understood.

The first two decades of independence constituted a period of trial and error for states and societies attempting to redefine themselves in contemporary form. During this time, religious and ethnic challenges to the states essentially failed to split them, and except in the states of former Indochina both communism and Western parliamentary democracy were rejected. Indonesia, the largest and potentially most powerful nation in the region, provided the most spectacular examples of such developments, ending in the tragic events of —66, when between , and 1,, lives may have been lost in a conflict between the Indonesian Communist Party and its opponents.

An important issue in the employment of older workers is their skills and training in the face of changing job environments. Unfortunately, a bias against older employees makes training or retraining rare in developed countries in Asia.

History of Southeast Asia - Patterns of a colonial age |

As a result, there is a tendency for many older persons to be relegated to unskilled or semi-skilled tasks if they wish to remain working, often due to seemingly outdated skills, or sometimes even basic literacy. A growing trend for older persons is to engage in unpaid volunteer work. With the future elderly being more educated, we are likely to see an increase in the number of older people who desire to engage in volunteer work or continue to contribute in other ways to society. We expect to see older people in the region become more politically active and influential, as they comprise a larger segment of the population.

It is widely recognized that preventive and primary healthcare are the best strategies for dealing with the health challenges of aging, especially in developing countries. Rising costs, however, have created financial burdens for healthcare systems. For example, in China, which was once regarded as having an exemplary healthcare system for a low-income agrarian society, access to healthcare has degenerated considerably since the early s at the same time as costs have soared.

Rising out-of-pocket costs prevent many Chinese from seeking care and have resulted in wide disparities in access to healthcare. These trends have been of particular concern to older Chinese, who often have greater healthcare needs yet fewer means and who also make up a larger proportion of the rural population than do the young.

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Though almost all these programs rely on public funding, they are not cost-effective and specific enough to meet individual needs. Countries wanting to rebuild family care in order to reduce the burden on institutional systems have to incorporate a more structured approach, with higher-level skills training and support for informal caregivers. A major challenge for Asia will be the huge number of older people, mostly women, with dementia, 24,25 a condition that often requires institutionalization.

The earlier the institutionalization from onset, the shorter the survival time, except when the dementia has progressed to a very late stage. Community-based long-term care for older people in China, both informal and supported by local governments, has begun to emerge, especially in urban areas. While some local and other agencies are providing basic training for laid-off workers, there is a need for more in-depth training programs offering a broader range of care-giving skills. China also recognizes the need to develop undergraduate programs in geriatric medicine and plans to establish more geriatric hospital units.

Financing healthcare is a major issue faced by all countries with an aging population. As people live longer, they often suffer from general poor health or disabilities over long periods, increasing the overall need for healthcare. This, in turn, puts financial pressure on pensions and health-insurance systems. The problem in the region is that population aging often comes before enough wealth can be accumulated for public assistance.

Thus, many governments are only able to provide acute hospital care in cities. China has a co-payment system involving central government, provincial and employer contributions, with workers contributing to an insurance scheme but also sharing the cost of treatment each time. The World Bank suggests a mixture of tax redistribution, savings and insurance for healthcare financing in the long run.

One point made in the meetings that produced the Shanghai Implementation Strategy was that the elderly in the Asia-Pacific region are frequently relatively illiterate, politically passive and extremely obedient to authority. Thus, policies should aim at ensuring a supportive environment for frail persons who do not make demands; and enabling a supportive network allowing them to live in places of their own choice. Aging in place emphasizes the importance of strategies that make it possible to support older people in their homes and communities. In encouraging home-living, even with a certain degree of frailty, society must foster family-oriented care-giving, because home care is less expensive and safer than institutional nursing care.

Since Asian family values remain strong in many countries, it has been observed that aging in place should become an explicit policy, as it is in Hong Kong, along with community care programs. Governments have an important role in providing a conducive environment for aging in place. Strategies include giving direct or indirect subsidies for living at home. For example, Malaysia provides low-cost apartments or rental discounts, and reserves ground-floor units for older people.

At the community level, shopping outlets, recreational venues, and services, such as health and social care, should be close by and readily accessible. It is important also to ensure a safe, crime-free neighborhood. Informal caregivers are family members, neighbors or friends who perform the tasks voluntarily. The level of care provided by these people is often viewed as basic and non-professional. However, in reality these people could be highly skilled and reliable for example, capable of providing diabetes injections, or having the skills to care for demented parents.

Using examples found in some Western countries, Australia and Singapore have begun to provide training for informal caregivers and to develop a system for recognizing their contributions, so that they can serve not only their relatives but also others when their skills are formally recognized. The obvious advantage of this approach is the development of a trained workforce that compliments chronically scarce and expensive formal caregivers such as nurses, and occupational and physiotherapists.

As with any initiative, producing policy documents and forming national bodies for program coordination will not automatically guarantee success in implementing the Madrid Plan. A government needs to allocate sufficient resources and have the political will to see that policies are effectively implemented.

According to the UNESCAP regional survey, four-fifths of the 20 respondent countries have established either a focal agency or a coordinating body to oversee issues related to aging. The wide range of coordinating bodies shows the different strategies used to tackle the needs of older people. Not all countries with a lead agency have come up with national policies or plans of action but it is encouraging to see that many countries are gearing up their efforts. For instance, the Directorate of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Welfare of Bangladesh indicated in the survey questionnaire that a national policy on aging would be drafted "very soon.

In terms of assessing policy objectives, well over half of the countries have a monitoring mechanism in place. For example, the National People's Congress of China has organized nation-wide monitoring and supervision of the implementation of its law every five years. However, in spite of the impressive efforts by many countries, implementation often falls short of policy targets.

It is therefore not uncommon to see that most government initiatives cannot go beyond city zones. Although some countries have made efforts to mainstream their policies, a general lack of services in villages is often evident due to scarce resources, ineffective coordination by officials who do not understand the policy directives at the district level, political instability, or even corruption.

More research is necessary to understand the roots of the problem in individual countries and to improve implementation. ESCAP can play a role in promoting cooperation, experience-sharing, and the dissemination of best practices in the region, as well as in the exchange of expertise and resources so that countries can learn from each other's mistakes. Though the ultimate spirit of the Madrid Plan is to build a society for all ages, at all levels, the heavy emphasis on hierarchy and social order in many Asian countries means that broad-scale participation from the bottom-up is the exception rather than the norm in the region.

The mainstreaming process becomes more interesting and dynamic when the inter-generational dimension of aging is taken into account. By enhancing solidarity via mutual understanding and care between generations, it is hoped that not only will care be improved, but also ageism will be eradicated, creating a much larger and more influential mass of advocates for older persons.

The mutual interest of younger generations to improve the well-being of their parents, reducing burdens on themselves, and guarantee their own future, should not be overlooked as an important force for social change. Aging brings challenges as well as opportunities, 42,43 but in order ensure a positive outcome, resources and attention are needed from governments, NGOs and international organizations. But most important are the attitudes of people. One of the most pernicious areas requiring attention in the future is what some have called a "moral panic. This attitude is all too prevalent and does not recognize that with adequate planning and investment in good health and social services, the future older generations in the Asia-Pacific region will hopefully be healthier, wealthier and more self-sufficient than they are today.

Unintentional, if well-meaning, ageism must be avoided as we plan for the challenges of greater longevity. This article is based on a presentation in Bangkok to the Expert Group Meeting on regional preparation for the global review of the Madrid Plan of Action on Aging. China frets at pensions for aging population.

Reuters report, Feb 25, Retrieved Sep 14, , from http: International experience and pension reform in China Issue Paper no. Social security programs throughout the world: Asia and the Pacific, Retrieved July 31, from http: April , , Bangkok, Thailand. Psychological Sciences, 61B, PP Is there a gender difference? Do gender and widowhood make a difference? The challenge of success," Population Bulletin, 60 1 , International Plan of Action on Aging: Retrieved January 15, from http: Social Sciences, 61B, SS Diagnosis by expert panel," The Gerontologist, 40, Medical Sciences, 55A, MM Changing concepts and attitudes," Journal of Aging and Social Policy, 18, 2,