18 March, 2020

The massive island region of Indonesia and western Malaysian Peninsulas form “The Indo-Malayan archipelago strategically located between India and China, the two great poles of Asian civilization”.  Information from scattered publications on the historical experiences of the Indo-Malay societies provides insight to the extraordinary lifestyles and politics derived from their focal position surrounding trade.  “Far from an uncivilized backwater intermittently populated by unlettered fishermen and farmers, the ancient denizens of the Straights of Melaka and the Java Sea were connected by major arteries of commerce and communications.”  Certainly not “passive spectators” but rather part of an “intricate web of suppliers” connecting the western islands to the spices of Maluku to European and Chinese markets.  This book is a great opportunity to understand Southeast Asian history and culture.