This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
December 16, 2016
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Gerald Sim
This week our MA student Adrian Alarilla recaps Gerald Sim's lecture on Singapore's cartographic cinema last week.

Gerald Sim (Photo by Rod Searcey)

Film Studies professor Gerald Sim presented his paper, “Singapore’s Cartographic Cinema,” on December 8, 2016 at the UW Seattle campus. His insightful and enlightening talk was well-attended by students from the Southeast Asia Center, who co-presented it, as well as those from other departments.

Sim based his thesis of postcolonial aesthetics on Singapore’s unique relationship with its colonial history as well as the relative insignificance of its land area. Because the tiny island nation is so small, it often appears on maps as just a “little red dot.” Singapore’s insecurity of its size has led to the development of a unique spatial imagination, wherein the little space it has is often politicized, and it sees its history and culture in terms of space. Therefore, even in Singaporean cinema, there is often a desire, whether conscious or unconscious in the part of the filmmakers, to map out its spaces, hence the term “Singapore’s Cartographic Cinema.”

Sim identified three types of mapping discourses in Singapore’s Cartographic Cinema: 1) Aerial maps (the desire to look at Singapore from the top, as you look at a map), 2) Affective, or emotional, maps (wherein different emotions are linked to different places), and 3) Colonial atlases (wherein different shots, when pieced together, orients the viewer to the colonial center of Singapore). To support his argument, Sim presented clips from different cinematic examples, such as Old Places by Royston Tan, Keluar Baris by Boo Junfeng,  All Lines Flow Out by Charles Lim, Perth by Djinn, and Seniman Bujang Lapok by P. Ramlee. Sim also heavily cited works from prolific filmmaker Tan Pin Pin. All of them, in varying degrees, do display a unique awareness of space, as well as the need to map it. A really interesting example is Tan Pin Pin’s Singapore Ga Ga, an episodic documentary about the soundscape of Singapore. Each episode often establishes its location in relation to an MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station, so that as you keep watching the film, you visit different stations, and you map out not only Singapore, but also the internal relationships that circulate within Singapore.

Some of these films are available online, so check them out if you’re interested in Singaporean Cinema! Other interesting online resources are:
  • exhibit in Singapore’s National Library Building
  • Singapore Film Locations, a website that maps out the locations used in noteworthy Singaporean films

Happy Winter Break to all students, faculty and staff! TWISEA newsletters will not be sent out during Winter Break and will resume the first week of winter quarter. 

Happy Holidays,

Archived Stories
In this issue
Featured Courses

*Indicates new content this week

If you are interested in sharing an article you wrote, an event in the greater Seattle area, or any other information you would like to see in TWISEA, email us at

Featured Courses - Winter 2017

ANTHROPOLOGY ANTH 473 (1-10 cr) with Peter Lape
Pacific Archaeology
MW 1030-1220 BMM 112

ARCHAEOLOGY ARCHY 325/ARCHY 525 (1-10 cr) with Peter Lape
Pacific Archaeology
MW 1030-1220 BMM 112

EDUCATION EDUC 401 H (1-10 cr) with Christine Stickler
Miseducation of the Filipino: History, Decolonization, and Action
Th 230-350 MEB 237

GRADUATE SCHOOL GRDSCH 525 (3 cr) with Tikka Sears & Theresa Ronquillo
Acting Up: Amplifying Voices Through Interactive Theater as Pedagogy
T 130-420 DEN 303 

HISTORY HSTCMP 205/JSIS A 205 (5 cr) with Vicente Rafael
Filipino Histories 

TTh 230-420 JHN 175

HISTORY HSTAS 530/JSIS A 580 (5 cr) with Laurie Sears & Christoph Giebel
Field Course in Southeast Asian History

T 130-320 THO 215

MUSIC MUSEN 411/MUSEN 511 (1 cr) with Christina Sunardi
Gamelan Ensembles 

MW 330-450 MUS  058
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Recommended Resources

This section lists news items and other recently-published resources that have been recommended by faculty and grad students over the past week. To submit an item for next week, email
Newly Listed:
  • A Compilation of Memories of Chris Grorud created by The Southeast Asian Center have been posted on the SEAC website. Find the link here.

  • The University of Hawaii Outreach College is offering Khmer language class online for Spring semester 2017 (January 9 - May 12). Click here for more information.

  • The Wing Luke Museum has a new exhibit, "Who's Got Game?", that will honor the accomplishments of Asian Pacific Americans in sports, and explore the role of sports in APA identities and communities.The exhibit will be in the museum until September 17, 2017.

  • Our MA student Dan Murphree was featured on the FLAS blog this week. "Studying Abroad with the Murphree Family in Myanmar."

  • University of Washington Press: Masterworks from India and Southeast Asia by Kimberly Masteller

Previously Listed:
  • Seattle Globalist: "Seattle author's fiction blends her Filipino and Latino family influences" by Mayumi Tsutakawa

  • New York Times"That Thing With Feathers Trapped in Amber? It Was a Dinosaur Tail" by Nicholas St. Fleur

  • Our MA student Dan Murphree was featured on the FLAS blog this week. "Studying Abroad with the Murphree Family in Myanmar."

  • IMPORTANT! Is your house or office filled with knick-knacks from your visits to Southeast Asia? The Southeast Asia Center is happy to take your donations of material cultural items! We are working on curating cultural kits for K-12 educators and would to make your items available to students throughout Washington State. We will group the itmes with related items and develop item information sheets for educators to use in their classrooms.

    Please keep in mind:
    -Items will not be returned, so please donate items knowing that we cannot secure their return to you
    -No delicate items that children cannot potentially handle
    -Must be small enough to fit in a medium flat-rate box through USPS

    What are we looking for?
    -Original items from Southeast Asia
    -Samples of bills or coins
    -Cloth, weavings, batik, etc.
    -CDs of music
    -Small musical instruments
    -Writing samples
    -Children's book
    -Anything really!

    Please be sure to include a short bit of background information if you have it. You can bring items to the Southeast Asia Center (Thomson Hall 303) or send us an email at to arrange a pickup. Thank you in advance for your participation.

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Previously Listed:

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Fellowships and Funding

Newly Listed:

Previously Listed:

  • Summer Study Abroad in Laos (SAIL), June 27 - July 31. Undergraduate and graduate - Scholarship Deadline March 15, Application Deadline April 3

  • Don't forget! The FLAS application is open until January 31. For more information, check out the upcoming info sessions:
    Wed, January 11, 3:30-4:30, Thomson Hall, 317

  • The Boren Fellowship is now accepting undergraduate applications to study languages abroad including Khmer, Javanese, Malay, Vietnamese and Thai. National deadline is January 31.

For general information on funding sources, including FLAS, visit the SEAC website
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Conferences and Calls for Papers

Previously listed opportunities:

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Educators: Sign up for our K-14 educator emails for events and resources geared specifically towards teachers. 

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