By Tobias Rettig, Karl Hack

Colonial armies have been the focal issues for one of the most dramatic tensions inherent in chinese language, jap and Western clashes with Southeast Asia. The overseas crew of students take the reader on a compelling exploration from Ming China to the current day, reading their conquests, administration and decolonization.

The trip covers perennial topics akin to the recruitment, loyalty, and sundry influence of foreign-dominated forces. however it additionally ventures into unchartered waters through highlighting Asian use of ‘colonial’ forces to dominate different Asians. This sends the reader again in time to the 15th century chinese language growth into Yunnan and Vietnam, and forwards to neighborhood tensions in present-day Indonesia, and post-colonial concerns in Malaysia and Singapore.

Drawing those strands jointly, the publication exhibits how colonial armies has to be situated inside of wider styles of demography, and inside of larger platforms of imperial defense and gear – American, British, chinese language, Dutch, French, Indonesian, and eastern - which in flip helped to form sleek Southeast Asia.

Colonial Armies in Southeast Asia will curiosity students engaged on low depth clash, at the interplay among militia and society, on comparative imperialism, and on Southeast Asia.

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This was the case with Moluccan soldiers subject to high expectations and good pay. It seems that colonial powers created for themselves a dilemma. The very nature of colonial rule—which required people to take higher risks in distant lands, and to endure absence from metropolitan career ladders and networks—required payment of a premium to secure ‘white’ officers. In addition, the recruitment of minorities, by their nature providing smaller recruitment pools, as rank and file and as NCOs often required their preferential treatment.

Its ultimate test was to come on 13– 14 February 1942, when it was holding one of the last lines of defence before Singapore City, on the west coast of the island, at Pasir Panjang ridge. Blackburn’s Chapter 12 discusses how the events of those two days have been enshrined in film, literature, school texts and books, and at heritage sites, as a part of the stories of Singaporean and Malaysian nation-building. This is where our two Malay Regiment men step into the picture. The better known of the two is Lieutenant Adnan Saidi (1915–42), of Platoon number 7, ‘C’ company.

Should Chinese expansion into Yunnan, now part of the People’s Republic of China, and into Vietnam be regarded as analogous to later Western imperialism? Some historians of China may baulk at the language, since ‘imperialism’ long ago took its place in Chinese history as a pejorative term, mainly reserved for Western intrusion into Asia. 53 It is certainly true that the eunuch-admiral and his fleets are not our normal idea of colonial forces. This term is normally understood to refer to non-Western forces Imperial systems of power, colonial forces 21 employed in the pay of Western imperialism: the Sikh policeman or the Dutch-raised Marechaussee with his modern rifle and traditional klewang (short sword) for fighting in jungle and scrub.

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