Coclanis, Peter A. (2008). Framing Southeast Asia’s Economic History: Cycles of Globalization over. The Journal of the Historical Society, 8(1)
Westerners, it seems, cannot help but to observe that Singapore, the greatest port in Southeast Asia, is marked by impressive levels of wealth, low taxes, a favorable business environment, sophisticated commercial practices, amazing heterogeneity, a dazzling array of trade partners, and, alas, occasional problems with pirates in the Straits of Malacca. To be sure, this observation will not bring about frissons of excitement to Southeast Asians today, especially since they have heard this before from globetrotters such as Saskia Sassen and Thomas Friedman. One wonders if it also seemed old hat to Southeast Asians in the early sixteenth century, for the opening observation did not originate with the Westerner who wrote this paper, but with another one, the famous Portuguese apothecary Tomé Pires, discussing the port of Malacca in his classic travel account Suma Oriental, penned between 1512 and 1515 CE.
The Journal of the Historical Society
Coclanis, Peter A.