THE Arab Spring that has swept North Africa and the Arab peninsula in recent months has commanded much media attention. Unpopular regimes are faced with unprecedented opposition and have resorted to excessive repression to stay in power.
On the sidelines of this major geopolitical shift have been a range of “other” popular uprisings against, and challenges to, repressive and authoritarian regimes in Asia. The Saffron Revolution in Burma is slowly moving along and the short-lived Jasmine Revolution in China has been subdued by the state.
In our immediate region, it was the reformasi movement of the late 1990s that ushered in a new era in Indonesia with the end of the Suharto regime and a, by now, buoyant democracy. In Malaysia, similar reform movements attempted to end Mahathir’s reign.