Cricket and the Politics of Representation

In the current round of the never-ending grind that is now international cricket, there are strong reminders that the game, like sport generally, carries strong social and political symbolism with powerful meaning and resonance within the broader communities involved. Take the Australia-Sri Lanka series, for example, in which a rebuilding home side is inflicting heavy … Continue reading

The Motorbike and Social Change

My Phnom Penh house is close to Diamond Island, the modern name now given to an area formally known as Koh Pich, an island at the confluence of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac rivers which leads the city’s development drive with a convention centre, food and entertainment outlets, housing, and a golf driving … Continue reading

Whatever Happened to Cricket?

This has been the sort of week that makes you realise just how much cricket has changed in recent years, and to wonder what the long term consequences might be. Australia is in England to play just a series of one day matches, nothing else.  An England tour always used to be an Ashes tour, … Continue reading

Old Books and New Technology

Like most academics I have an extensive library that reflects an intellectual journey and a range of sometimes (to others) bewildering interests.  That is in turn reinforced by memories and records of great libraries and archives around the world as part of a search for information and understanding amidst all those interests.  The “historian’s moment”, … Continue reading

Reading Highlights

In any reading life there occasionally comes along a spell where everything picked up (or now, rather, downloaded) turns out a winner. That probably mirrors the broader life itself: for the most part things meander along neither exceptionally nor unexceptionably, sometimes they turn ordinary to mediocre or even poor, every so often abysmal, leavened now … Continue reading

e-Book Crime

One of many consequences of the e-book revolution is the “opening” of both author outlet and reader access avenues. That is, with Kindle, Nook, Kobo and all the rest writers now have an alternative to the old grind of finding an agent and/or a publisher and then getting a deal and then getting published. There … Continue reading

Syria In Vogue But On The Outer

As the Kofi Annan plan peters out and the shelling of places like Hama and Homs resumes, the international focus on Syria is now focused momentarily on a sideshow, the mysterious disappearance from the Vogue website of a profile on Asma al-Assad first published in March 2011. ( ).  However, some of that original piece … Continue reading

ASEAN Dreams, Australian Puzzles

My walks to and from the office here in Phnom Penh these few days are punctuated by the noise of sirens and the rush of motor cycle police as yet another cavalcade of dignitaries sweeps past en route to yet more meetings, relegating to the road edges the normal crush of cars, four wheel drives, … Continue reading

Ignoring Asianists, Not Asia

Simon Marginson writes well on Australian domestic higher education issues, but his recent piece on Asia ( ) might not rank among his best. He outlines the current “rediscovery” of Asia by Australia that spawned the Henry review,  rehearses the “hot” points about economic and demographic growth, then makes the fair point that while the on-going … Continue reading

Old Sport, New Money Games

Old Sport, New Business and Governance Challenges  (this first appeared in The Conversation as “Moneyball: Why sporting organisations need to start playing by the rules” Rangers Football Club, the historically Protestant half of Glasgow’s “Old Firm” (the other half being the Catholic Celtic) has entered financial administration to prevent UK tax authorities installing their own … Continue reading