Garuda Di Dadaku, Malaysia di Perutku: Bordering and Social Transformations of Bugis in Indonesia Sebatik Border Island

Garuda Di Dadaku, Malaysia di Perutku: Bordering and Social Transformations of Bugis in Indonesia Sebatik Border Island
Lina Puryanti


The research aims to investigate the social transformations -- discontinuity and reconfiguration -- of everyday life transpiring in borderland of Sebatik Island, a tiny island located at the border between Indonesia and Malaysia, off the eastern coast of Borneo as bordering processes and practices that being co-constructed by the nation-states, Indonesia and Malaysia, and the Bugis local residents. By exploring the notion of border as an interweaving processes of state territoriality and everyday border-making, I pay an analytical attention to the border dynamics as both a top-down, macro-level processes and a bottom-up, micro-level practice. At this juncture, both the state and ordinary citizens are active agents of the processes of bordering with new social, political, and economic opportunities as well as constraints, strengthening some people while disempowering others.
Based on ethnography and historical research, I examine three areas of social life along the borders of Sebatik island – economy, Islamic education, and local politics – as sites for examining bordering and practices both by the states of Malaysia and Indonesia and the Bugis community. I argue that in the border making, there have been multi layered processes and practices of navigating and negotiating state borders in their everyday life which result in ‘new’ and ‘old’ border imaginary and life along the borders. In this context of re-emergence of borders as state frontiers and nation-state building apparatus, Sebatik island is a strategic site to examine the reconfiguration of borders and its impact on borderlanders’ everyday life and the reordering of border communities. The analysis demonstrates that, in the bordering processes, practices, and strategies employed by Bugis borderlanders amidst the stronger state presence in Indonesia Sebatik, rather than treating borders as a state-controlled geopolitical entity that delimit the everyday functions and life of borderlanders, borders present opportunities and prospects of ‘better life’ through diversification of economic and trading engagements (Chapter Five), through reinvention of tradition and modernity for shaping santri-citizens at an Islamic school (Chapter Six), and through border politics of the Bugis Sebatik elites (OKB) and their network of influence in Indonesia Sebatik island in proposing border regional autonomy (Chapter Seven)
This dissertation reveals social transformation in the border island like Indonesia Sebatik as a site of in-depth understanding of larger social processes of globalisation, regionalization, identities, nation-state formation, state-society relations, and im/mobilities of people, goods and services. Therefore, the dissertation is hoped able to contribute to the development of border studies in the countries of Southeast Asia within a vision of ostensibly debordering of the region yet rebordered.


Lina Puryanti

Defended in


PhD defended at

National University of Singapore, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Southeast Asian Studies


Social Sciences


Maritime Asia
Southeast Asia


International Relations and Politics
National politics
Gender and Identity
Diasporas and Migration