Religion

Mixue is popular among the urban youth in Indonesia. (Mixue/Instagram)

Much ado about Chinese ice cream Mixue’s halal certification in Indonesia

ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata looks at the Chinese ice cream brand Mixue and the difficulty it faces in getting a halal certificate in Indonesia. What does it say about the power struggle between different interest groups and Indonesia’s processes?
A little girl touches the lights of a Christmas tree in Seville on 17 December 2022. (Cristina Quicler/AFP)

The cultivation of Christmas trees

Former journalist Lim Jen Erh writes of Christmas traditions and the spirit of the season, and the little things that make us happy amid the chaos of the rest of the year. Perhaps it is good to remind ourselves that we also deserve cultivating.
Two women and their babies pose for photographs in front of the giant portrait of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong on the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, China, 2 November 2015. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo/Reuters)

From Mao ideals to the American dream: What China's 'sent down youths' sacrificed to chase a better tomorrow

The post-50s Chinese generation of intellectuals who were heavily influenced by Mao had the practice of leaving their children behind as they single-mindedly sought to achieve success abroad. US academic Wu Guo remarks that this generation of people who had been sent down to the rural areas, travelled abroad, and finally gained a foothold and settled down in the US, have always been motivated by a religious zeal for chasing a dream.
The Dajia Mazu's litter arrives at a small temple in Xingang, Chiayi, allowing locals to pay their respects and celebrate the sea goddess’ birthday. (SPH Media)

Taiwanese art historian: The joy of sharing food in old Taiwan

Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun reminisces about the good old days of simple food and heartfelt folk religious festivals, where regular households threw banquets and opened their doors to friends and strangers. It is in those vignettes of daily life that all of Taiwan’s generosity, harmony, magnanimity and acceptance are on display.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, wearing traditional Bangka Belitung outfit, greets parliament members after delivering his annual State of the Nation Address ahead of the country's Independence Day, at the parliament building in Jakarta, Indonesia, 16 August 2022. (Tatan Syuflana/Reuters)

Will Indonesia establish a University of Confucianism?

The Joko Widodo administration recently announced plans to establish the International State University of Confucianism in Bangka Belitung province. This plan has however been strongly opposed by the local Aliansi Ulama Islam (Islamic Ulama Alliance, or AUI). The success of the plan to establish the university is probably contingent on whether Joko Widodo remains in power. Should a conservative Muslim politician be elected as the next president, it is unlikely that this university will be built.
A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by Iranian morality police is seen in Tehran, Iran, 18 September 2022. (Majid Asgaripour/West Asia News Agency via Reuters)

Can China stay silent about mass protests in Iran?

Even as the protests in Iran continue after more than a month with no sign of abating, all efforts seem futile as external support is not forthcoming. There looks to be little hope of permanent change as the current regime remains firmly in control. Meanwhile, as China expands its global influence, can it stay silent in dealing with the internal affairs of Iran and other countries? Or remove reports of protests from their state media?
Believers gather near the Trinity icon at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in the town of Sergiyev Posad, Russia, 18 July 2022. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

Impressions of Moscow: Miracles and hope at St. Sergius Monastery [Part 4]

In the last of four articles, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his impressions of the Moscow he knew from a decade ago. On a day trip from Moscow, he is awed by St. Sergius Monastery, the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walks on stage during the state funeral for Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe in the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan, on 27 September 2022. (Franck Robichon/Pool/AFP)

Kishida's political agenda in granting state funeral to Abe

Some Japanese believe that despite being the longest-serving Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe is not deserving of a state funeral considering his shortfall in political contribution. Others believe that incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has a political agenda behind the decision, including uniting the Liberal Democratic Party. Academic Toh Lam Seng examines Kishida's considerations and what it shows about the current and future Japanese political environment.
Indonesia's Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto gestures while attending the Gerindra Party leaders national meeting, in Bogor, Indonesia, 12 August 2022. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

Prabowo Subianto: Indonesia’s controversial presidential candidate

Prabowo has been in Indonesia’s political scene for decades and his chequered past has not deterred him from multiple runs for vice-president and president. Given his support from the conservative and radical Muslims, with a potential running mate that can boost his standing, will Prabowo finally make his mark as Indonesia’s president in the 2024 elections? ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata gives a profile of this controversial figure.