Category Archives: On this day in SEA history

On 23 October in Southeast Asian history



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Updated on October 23, 2019

1857: Birth of Juan Luna y Novicio, a « Ilocano people » painter, sculptor and a political activist of the Philippine Revolution, who died on December 7, 1899

Luna y novicio

1910: Death of Chulalongkorn (Rama V), king of Siam (Thailand) since 1868 to 1910, born on September 20, 1853. He is succeeded by Vajiravudh

1944: The Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history begins in the


1950: Offensive of the Indonesian troops on Ambon, capital of the South Mollucas held by separatists

1955: In South Vietnam, by a referendum organized by the PM Ngo Dinh Diem, monarchy is abolished by 98,2 % of the votes,_1955

1965: In Vietnam, the 1st Cavalry division (US) and South Vietnamese  forces launch a new operation seeking to destroy North Vietnamese forces in  Pleku province

1972: Citing difficulties with South Vietnamese President Thieu, U.S. negotiators cable  Hanoi requesting further negotiations in Paris over the proposed draft peace accord

1972: Operation Linebacker, a US bombing campaign against North Vietnam in response to its  Easter Offensive, ends after five months.

1981: Devan Nair becomes third president of Singapore, until March 27, 1985

1991: End of the Paris Conference and signature of Agreements on Comprehensive Political  Settlement of the Cambodia conflict, putting an end to a 21-year long war


2007: Death of Lim Goh Tong, Malaysian-born Chinese businessman, born in 1918

2009: Southeast Asian leaders meeting in Thailand formally launch a widely criticized human rights commission at a regional summit. The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on  Human Rights has been touted as the region’s first watchdog on human rights

2011: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and his Indonesian counterpart discuss the two countries’ growing military ties after more than a decade-long suspension by Washington over human rights issue

2013: Thousands of Cambodian opposition supporters begin a three-day rally to protest what they say was a rigged election and the illegitimate return to power of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

2018: Vietnam lawmakers elect as president the Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong, the only candidate on the ballot, making him the most powerful man in the country

Holidays and Observances

Chulalongkorn Memorial Day in Thailand

On 22 October in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on October 22, 2019

1913: Birth of Bao Dai, king of Annam emperor of Vietnam from 1926 until 1945 and as emperor of Vietnam from 1945 until 1949, who died on July 30, 1997

1945: In Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama proclaims that a state of jihad exists against the Dutch, making participation obligatory for Muslims

1953: Laos gains independence from France, except defense matters, by the Franco-Lao Treaty of Amity and Association

1957: Vietnam war first United States casualties in Vietnam

1970: Tunku Abdul Rahman resigns from Prime Minister of Malaysia

1972: Henry Kissinger proposes to Nguen Van Thieu a cease-fire, but the Vietnamese president rejects it as a treason

1988: Birth of Matt Evans, Filipino actor

1989: In Cambodia, Khmer Rouge occupy Pailin

2009: Southeast Asian governments raise pressure on military-ruled Myanmar on Thursday to hold « free and fair » elections next year, and urge the junta to free pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi

2010: Indonesia admits that its soldiers tortured Papuan detainees and promised a thorough investigation after online footage showed them being beaten and humiliated

2013: The Sultan of Brunei introduces a new code of sharia law which could see stonings introduced for adultery, amputations for thefts and public flogging for drinking alcohol.

2013: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi finally receives the EU’s Sakharov rights prize she won in 1990 at the height of a brutal military crackdown, but said her work was not yet done
 2013-10-22 Aung-San-Suu-Kyi Sakharov

On 21 October in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on October 21, 2019

1627: Death of Frederick de Houman, Dutch explorer who reached Aceh

1816: The Penang Free School is founded in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, by the Rev Hutchings. It is the oldest English-language school in Southeast Asia

1967: Tens of thousands demonstrators marched in Washington, DC, in opposition to the Vietnam War

1972: North Vietnam president Phan Van Dong says he is ready to accept a cease-fire as a first step towards a settlement to the Vietnam war

1988: Former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his wife, Imelda, are indicted in New York on fraud and racketeering charges. Marcos died before his trial and Imelda was acquitted in 1990

2008: Thailand’s former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, is been found guilty of corruption after helping his wife buy a plot of government land in Bangkok at a reduced price

2010: In Manmar, the new national flag has been flying at government buildings and NGO offices across the country from 3 p.m

On 20 October in Southeast Asian history



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Updated on October 20, 2019

1603: Chinese uprising in Philippines fails after 23,000 killed

1944: General Douglas MacArthur fulfills his promise to return to the Philippines when he commands an Allied assault on the islands, stepping ashore at Leyte, 2 1/2 years after he’d said, « I shall return.”

1958: In Thailand, a second coup d’état by army chief Sarit Thanarat takes place, allegedly because of the government failed to solve economic problems

1962: Vong Savang, the son of the king of Laos Savang Vatthana is named crown Prince

1967: Thousands of demonstrators in Oakland, California, hold the biggest protest yet against the Vietnam war

1977: In Thailand, military coup d’état led by Kriangsak Chomanan ousts Tanin Kraivixien

1999: Abdurrahman Wahid is elected the 4th president of Indonesia

2009: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono becomes the first president of Indonesia to be sworn in for a second term, consolidating political stability in the sprawling southeast Asian archipelago

2013: Jamalul Kiram III, 75 — who described himself as the « Sultan of Sulu » after a group of islands in the southern Philippines — died at a government hospital but remained defiant to the end.

2014: Widodo, the first Indonesian president not to come from the ranks of the country’s established political, business and military elite, took the oath of office in a ceremony at the parliament in the capital, Jakarta, attended by regional leaders and US Secretary of State John Kerry

On 19 October in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on October 19, 2019

1904: Polytechnic University of the Philippines founded as Manila Business School

1943: Local Chinese and native Suluks rise up against the Japanese occupation of North Borneo. The revolt, staged in the capital, Jesselton, resulted in the deaths of 40 Japanese soldiers

1965: North Vietnamese troops launch a major assault on U.S. and South Vietnamese Special Forces Camp at Plei Me in the Central Highlands, 215 miles north of Saigon

1972: Henry Kissinger hold meetings in Saigon with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to discuss the proposed peace treaty drafted by Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the chief North Vietnamese negotiator in Paris

1981: Birth of Christian Bautista, Philippino singer

2002: In Indonesia, Abu Bakar Bashir suspected of being the one who ordered the attacks against churchs on December 24, 2000 is arrested. The day before he had publicly pray for Ben Laden

2007: Philippines. Amidst corruption controversies hounding the Arroyo administration, a bomb explosion rocked Glorietta 2, a shopping mall in Makati, which killed 11 and injured more than 100 people

2012: The United States invits Myanmar to the world’s largest multi-national military field exercise, a powerful symbolic gesture toward a military with a grim human rights record and a milestone in its rapprochement with the West


On 18 October in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on October 18, 2019

1653: Birth of Abraham van Riebeeck, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (1709-1713) who died on November 17, 1713

1804: Birth of king Mongkut (Rama IV) (1851-1868) who died on 1st October 1868

1950: The Defense minister Ramon Magsaysay orders the arrest of  José Lava, general secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines

1952: During the French Vietnam War, Vietminh offensive in Thai zone

1952: Birth of Bao Ninh, Vietnamese novelist


1955: A communiqué from Emperor Bao Dai’s office in Paris announces that he has dismissed Ngo Dinh Diem from the premiership and annulled his powers

1962: Birth of Min Ko Naing, Burmese activist

1965: The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) is forbidden

1972: Visit of Henry Kissinger to Saigon (up to October 22)

1991: In Cambodia, the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRPK), led by Hun Sen, renounces to Marxism-Leninism, admits multiparty system and change its name for Cambodian People Partyéa

2004: Burma Prime Minister Khin Nyunt is «permitted to retire on health ground» but in fact put under of house arrest

2006: In Cambodia, Funcipec Party (Royalist) expels his chairman, Prince Norodom Ranarridh after he destroyed chance with the ruling party of Hun Sen. His successor is Keo Puth Rasmey

2010: Burma will not allow any foreign election observers or international media into the country for its first poll in two decades, the head of the election commission says

On 17 October in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on October 17, 2019

1887: Foundation of the Indochina Union including the French protectorates of Cambodia, Annam and Tonkin

1943: The 415-km Thailand Burma railroad ( Death Railway ) between Bangkok, Thailand and Rangoon, Burma is completed. During the construction of the railway approximately 13,000 prisoners of war and 100,000 civilians. Part of the railway was “The Bridge on the River Kwai” which was later made into a movie.

1947: In London, Clement Attlee and Thakin Nu sign the « Treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Provisional Government of Burma Regarding the Recognition of Burmese Independence and Related Matters »

1950: Americano-Siamese security agreement

1953: Signature of a friendship and association treaty between France and Laos

1953: Franco-Cambodian agreement on the transfer of competences in military matters

1992: Death of Herman Johannes, Indonesian professor, scientist and politician, born on May 28, 1912

1992: Birth of Sam Concepcion, Filipino performer and actor

2009: Thousands of « red shirt » protesters rally in Bangkok, seeking a royal pardon for Thaksin Shinawatra, the country’s fugitive former prime minister

2013: Death of Sein Win, a renowned journalist in Myanmar who championed press freedom and endured three stints in prison as he chronicled several decades of his country’s turbulent history, at age 91.

2014: Six Myanmar journalists have been jailed by a Yangon court for « state defamation » amid mounting concern over a roll back of press freedom in the former junta-run state

2014: China and Vietnam agree to “address and control” maritime disputes, Chinese state media said, as differences over the potentially energy-rich South China Sea have spoiled relations between the two countries and other neighbours

2017: Declassified US files reveal new details of Indonesia’s mid-60s mass killings


On 16 October in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on October 16, 2019

1600: Dutch Olivier van Noort ships reach Philippines

1907: After the first elections to the Philippine Assembly, in July, the first session is opened. The Nacionalista Party of Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmena won the elections and will continue to dominate Philippine electoral politics until World War II

1931: Birth of Rosa Rosal, Filipina actress and humanitarian

1954: In Vietnam, a national congress, convened in Saigon by Bao Dai, refuses the adhesion to the French Union Française “under its current form”

1965: In Indonesia, the Chinese trade mission in Jakarta is ransacked (anti-China activities after the September 30 coup)

1967: John Baez is arrested in Vietnam protest

1968: Birth of Mark Lee, Singaporean actor and director

1973: Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese diplomat Le Duc Tho are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the Paris peace accords. Kissinger accepted, but Tho declined the award until such time as « peace is truly established. »

1975: The Balibo Five, a group of Australian-based television journalists based in the town of Balibo in the then Portuguese Timor (now East Timor), are killed by Indonesian troops

2003: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad tells a summit of Islamic leaders that « Jews rule the world by proxy » and the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims should unite, using nonviolent means for a « final victory. »

2012: Myanmar’s reformist President Thein Sein is re-appointed as head of the ruling party at a key meeting aimed at reviving its flagging political fortunes against a resurgent opposition.

On 15 October in Southeast Asian history



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Updated on October 15, 2019

1914: Birth of Lim Yew Hock, second chief minister of Singapore (1956-1959) who died on November 30, 1984


1965: The National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam stages the first public burning of a draft card in the United States to result in arrest under a new law

1969: Millions march in US to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam

1990: United Nations General Assembly approves the Peace plan for Cambodia

1999: In Indonesia thousands of anti-Habibie demonstrators fought police and pressured the official assembly to go forward with reforms

2004: Indonesian prosecutors formally charged militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir with ordering his followers to launch a suicide attack on the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta last year.

2008: A Vietnamese court sentenced journalist Nguyen Viet Chien (56) to two years in prison, accusing him of writing inaccurate stories about one of the country’s most high-profile corruption cases. Fellow reporter Nguyen Van Hai (33) was sentenced on the charges to two years of « re-education without detention

2009: A Philippine military tribunal acquits 11 officers of plotting a foiled Feb, 2006, coup against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

2012: Cambodia former king Norodom Sihanouk dies aged 89

2012: The Philippines sign a framework peace plan with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The deal follows lengthy negotiations aimed at ending a 40-year conflict that has cost an estimated 120,000 lives.

On 14 October in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on October 14, 2019

1911: Birth of Le Duc Tho, Vietnamese Foreign minister and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize

1942: Birth of Evelio Javier, Filipino politician, lawyer and civil servant, gunned down on February 11, 1986

1943: After Japan declared Philippines independence, José Laurel is elected president up to August 14, 1945


1946: Netherland and Indonesia sign cease fire

1968: 27 soldiers are arrested at the Presidio in San Francisco for their peaceful protest of stockade conditions and the Vietnam War

1968:The United States Department of Defense announces that the United States Army and United States Marines will be sending about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours

1973: Thailand’s University Students protest for a democratic government. 77 are killed and 857 injured

1991: The Norwegian Nobel Committee decides to award the Nobel Price to Aung San Suu Kyi for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights

1996: Death of Tan Chee Khoon, Malaysian politician, born on March 4, 1919

2001: Giving in to political parties and Muslim associations, Indonesia president Megawati Sukarnoputri condemns US strikes on Afghanistan

2004: In Cambodia, Prince Sihamoni is unanimously selected by the throne Council as the next king (coronation on October 29)

2007: In Cambodia, Prince Ranariddh, former leader of the royalist party, is sentenced in absentia to 18 months in prison


2011: Burma law to allow labour unions and strikes forbidden since 1962

2013: According to a Malaysian court: ‘Allah’ is Muslim-only word. The Court says the Catholic Herald newspaper is banned from using Islamic term, in ruling that affects other publications.,-Christians-banned-from-using-Allah-.-Catholics-announce-appeal-29266.html

2016: The Sultan of Kelantan Muhammed V is named new Malaysian king for five years