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Voon Phin Keong


Until recent decades, the pattern of life in most parts of Asia remained in a state of timelessness', bound to the earth' and regulated by the rhythm of the seasons. Change was an alien thought. The end of colonialism after world war II, the dramatic rise of Japan, the emergence of the 'newly-industrialising economies' [NIES), expanding intra-Pacific Asian Economic linkages, the idea of an open China and the end of the Cold War are among the key events that have brought tremendous changes in Asia. As one the countries under going rapid development, Malaysia has contributed to these changes. While the physical and economic expressions of change are highly visible, the impact from the political, social or cultural perspectives is less readily gauged. The need to understand Asia in the context of these various changes provides one of the urgent tasks in Asian Studies. In Malaysi4 as an active participant and quite often playing a leadership role in Asian economic affairs, Asian Studies has thus taken on a greater sense of relevance than before. This paper is an overview of the Malaysian experience and endeavour in 'Asian Studies'. tt will highlight the main areas of interest, the major institutions and associations involved, and their areas of concern and problems. The terms 'Asian Studies', 'Asia', associations/institutions', and'disciplines'are used in the broadest sense.


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