Bc #49: Thongchai

In terms of most communication theories and common sense, a map is a scientific abstraction of reality. A map merely represents something which already exists objectively ‘there.’ [Within Indonesian history], this relationship was reversed. A map anticipated spatial reality, not vice versa. In other words, a map was a model for, rather than a model of, what it purported to represent. … It had become a real instrument to concretize projections on the earth’s surface. A map was now necessary for the new administrative mechanisms and for the troops to back up their claims. … The discourse of mapping was the paradigm which both administrative and military operations worked within and served.

(Uit: Thongchai, ‘Siam Mapped’, 110, in: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Londen/New York: Verso, 1991, 173-4)

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