『就決定是你了，巴達維亞！』- 臺灣世界史 第4集
This program is brought to you in part by the Big Catch. The Taiwan Bar series of stickers for the app LINE is finally online. Too kawaii!! Hello and welcome to Taiwan Bar. Today’s topic is a place that is near by, but we often see as far away, but really it’s still near by: South East Asia. Taiwan today is often compared to Japan and South Korea in North East Asia, But from the perspective of population movement, geographic location, etc, We are closer physically and culturally to South East Asia instead. So what if we are nearer, you ask? In the VOC-led Dutch Golden Age, South East Asia became the centre for trade in Asia. It probably even led global trade in the 17th century. In this trading centre, the central centre was Batavia. Wait… what’s Batavia? Today the city is known as the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. It was from here the VOC established their impressive Asian trade empire. In the VOC colonial period, Batavia was even praised as Queen of the East. How did Batavia become the centre for Asian trade? [clears throat]
Let’s find out. Even before Europeans set foot on South-East Asian shores in the 15th century, South East Asia had long been a commercial hub where various cultures came into contact. The main outside influences at the time were Indian, Chinese, and Islamic cultures. The first to enter the ring was Indian culture! Their influence could be seen even before the Common Era! Early writing in South East Asia was heavily influenced by India. Next to appear is Chinese culture, Present due to trade as early as the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) Of the various regions, the most heavily influenced by Confucian thought was Vietnam. Not to be outdone, Islamic civilisations then made headway into the region, Islam was first introduced by Muslim merchants, And so began Islamic activity and culture in the region. After the 15th century, Europeans (tah-dah!) slowly but surely came on the regional scene. To increase efficiency in trade, they set up trade posts in the region. First, the Portuguese took Malacca, Then the Spanish took Manila, In the 17th century, the VOC from the Netherlands finally joined in on the South East Asian colonisation. They set boldly forth in search of spices, They first tried to take Macau to trade with the Ming Dynasty, But they failed in expelling the Portuguese to secure trade. Then they were threatened off of the Pescadores Islands by the Ming. The more the VOC was tossed about, The more they wanted to have a permanent Asian base for trade. In 1619, the VOC again set sights on South East Asia. They occupied what is now Jakarta and named it after a tribe they descend from, the Batavians; Thus, Batavia. This served as VOC Asian headquarters. Even though they were first drawn by the world’s largest pepper producing region of Banten, According to 17th-century international conventions on the occupation of terra nulius, Only land that is not “cultivated” and has no “sovereign” government (by European standards) Can one stake a claim for the land on a first-come-first-served basis. This said, Banten has had a Muslim sultanate that repelled Dutch attacks. The Dutch could only go and claim Batavia, in Indigenous territory. The VOC basically went: “I choose you, Batavia!” And thus marked the beginning of an awesome trade network. The VOC relied on its well-armed forces to rule the seas. The Dutch then used Batavia as a hub for commerce. The profits were staggering. The city of Batavia also rose in prominence. In order to increase profits, the VOC not only set their commercial headquarters in Batavia, They also used tactics of violence and pillaging. The first is monopolisation. The VOC used force to gradually rule the region’s seas, replacing Portugal as the main power. This further strengthened their monopoly on spices and other goods. They also forced local populations to produce crops such as spices and cane. The VOC also had a policy of forbidding the sale of spices to anyone but themselves. Producers were forced to sell their spices at prices set by the VOC. Commonfolk were of course not pleased, but there was little they could do. If you remember from last season, it’s just like when Japan colonised Taiwan. The VOC also threw itself into the slave trade. Batavia became the world’s largest centre for slave trading. The Dutch captured anyone from islanders to koolies from coastal regions of China What is sad is that the VOC made huge profits from causing human tragedy. Due to various ingenious but tragic colonial policies, The VOC’s stock value skyrocketted. In profits, it led the pack and never looked back. Despite all this money, no improvement came to Indonesia’s development and economy. There was only tragedy. After the VOC planted and nutured the seeds of discontent among local people, There was a series of anticolonial rebellions and wars on Java. Although the VOC was able to eventually quash each of these rebellions, Unending wars strained VOC finances, Becoming a major factor contributing to their decline. Wait a second.
Some clarification is required. There are many ethnic Chinese in South East Asia. Today, they control much of the economy in many South East Asian countries. But this causes resentment from indigenous people. Even 300 years ago during the Age of Exploration, There were many cases of ethnic cleansing by colonial powers aimed at the Chinese. Why was everyone so eager to get rid of the Chinese? Simply put, the Chinese were targetted for their money and power. Chinese labourers have long been going overseas to work. The Chinese have been numerous in trade ports in South East Asia long before the arrival of Europeans. Chinese merchants found strength in unity. Batavia, for example, was basically a Chinatown. Even though the Chinese were condusive to trade in the eyes of the VOC, But their strength so worried the VOC that they conducted regular massacres to keep them in line. Chinese immigrants experienced hardships and violence everywhere they went. China’s development was traditionally land-based. The government agreed that once Chinese people left the motherland, they did so at their own peril. The rise of Koxinga is thus an important development. His was a Chinese-led polity that was sea-based, Furthermore, it could match western powers on the seas. In 1662, Koxinga had just taken the Dutch colony on Taiwan and set sights on Spanish-controlled Luzon. (Today in the Philippines) Though a European colony, there were many Chinese merchants on the island. Koxinga thought it a good opportunity and wrote a letter demanding the capitulation of the Spanish governor. The letter threatened military invasion and violence. After reading, the Spanish governor hid under a rock for a bit. Koxinga’s banners were infamous in the region, This was, after all, the forces that defeated the VOC. Despite the threats, Koxinga was not yet able to ready troops for invasion when he died. Had the great commander Koxinga been able to enter South East Asia, Perhaps the power distribution in South East Asia would have changed completely. The plight of South East Asian Chinese would perhaps have also been different. Now, we have an understanding of the great scale of trade in 17th-century South East Asia. Chinese, Indian, and Arab traders have been present for 1000 years or more, But the VOC changed all the rules of engagement, They used force to plunder value out of land, goods, and labour. They incorporated the region into their global trade network, The same tactics were also used by European powers in America and Africa, Even in Taiwan with the sugar industry set up by Japan, And now with globalisation under market capitalism. It is simply playing back similar ways of oppression on repeat throughout history, It seems almost certain the same tragedies will play out when a more forceful civilisation meets a weaker one. Can we not have it any other way? After many conflicts on a global scale, we’ve seemed to finally recognise all humanity is on the same boat, Thus we’ve made important strides to ensure sustainable development and universal human rights. Although inter-ethnic tensions have not yet been fully resolved, But it seems like it is possible to strive for some sort of mutual good. Let me have this glass of araq. See you next time! Kampai! B: Hey!
A: What’s up? B: We’re four episodes into the season! A: Time sure flies! It’s been two full years since the first Taiwan Bar video. B: Time don’t never wait for no-one.
A: No! Wait for me! A: Wait, the link on the video is to the first episode of this season, not the first video ever. B: I know, the first Taiwan Bar episode was the one where we went “Bonjour, bonjour!” A: Hey, get back on topic, don’t start using clickbait tactics. B: But more views isn’t bad.
A: You’re right it isn’t. B: Anyway, I think we should do something special on our two-year anniversary. A: Special? Like what? B: Other than seeing Taiwan Bar in videos, we should invite everyone to the real thing. A: The real thing?
B: Of course we have to invite everyone to our bar! B: We can have a chat and tell stories.
A: Can we get drinks? Teacher: Everyone sit down, class is starting. A & B: Good morning Mr. Teacher. Teacher: That’s right, we’re starting up a course. We are having a guest in for 13 August 2016 at 14:00. We will be talking about original-content media like Taiwan Bar, And how they guide us through the footsteps of history. B: Okay, I think we can scram.
A: Yup, I’m off. B: What you want for lunch? A: Chicken.
B: Chicken? A: I want an egg with it! Teacher: Hey… come back? Space is limited, please register now. (Please come) A: Bye!