Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore

Friday, April 8, 2011

Southeast Asia Torrents Hand Selected by Our Staff

Hey, we don't know if these are legal (probably not), but they are out there. If you are planning a trip, living in Southeast Asia or just looking for some local cinema or local dishes, we have put together our top Southeast Asia torrents. These hyperlinked titles should open the torrent file directly using whatever torrent program you use like BitTorrent.  

We suggest, of course, that if you really like what you download you purchase it although some of the resources herein are in the public domain like the FSI language course materials.  And finally, be aware of the dangers of downloading and piracy, although a visit to any DVD shop throughout most of Asia will leave you grinning at what certainly seems an uphill battle to retain control over digital media.

  • MOVIES
There just aren't very many good, informational films out there about Southeast Asia.  Sure, there are some Thai action movies you can find torrents for and the occasional art-house film that we dig.  Both of these handpicked selections, though, come from a single director, Cambodian Rithy Panh, a neo-Realist whose documentaries are power and films mirror life as it is.

S-21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine: This documentary by the Paris-trained filmmaker Rithy Panh is a must-see for any who want to engage from afar with the human disaster that has continued to leave Cambodia a scarred country in the wakes of the Khmer Rouge trials.

One Evening After the War (Un soir apr├Ęs la guerre): A second film by Rithy Pahn, this has our endorsement as the best and most realistic Khmer movie ever.  Set in post-war Cambodia during the UN-backed elections, it is the story of two young people's struggle in an unforgiving time.

  • LANGUAGES
There are plenty of public domain resources out there.  For example, the Foreign Service Institute's Cambodian Course is freely available and in the public domain. For additional free Southeast Asian language learning resources, please refer to our earlier entry on materials available and in the public domain and available for direct download that covers more languages that what are available over the torrent networks. The Foreign Service Institute's Thai language course is also available as a torrent. These courses include a textbook in .pdf file format and a large library of accompanying .mp3 files.

What is doubtless a copy right violation is the Pimsleur Vietnamese course. Consisting of 30 lessons, this is a fast way to learn. The course is the Hanoi dialect and includes audio files and a pdf of the reading. Refer back to our free Asian language resources for the FSI's course that focuses on the Saigon dialect. Other torrents for learning Vietnamese include the Elementary Vietnamese (by Dr. Binh Nhu Ngo) course, available as Vietnamese audio files and Vietnamese textbook in separate torrents.

  • COOKBOOKS
We love to cook, and while there are many excellent cookbooks available out there, so popular ones have made it onto the P2P networks.  We are actually glad one of our favorites, Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, has not yet been pirated and made it on these yet.

Cooking the Vietnamese Way is a .pdf file of this excellent Southeast Asian recipe book series. In case fiery fare is more your style, leapfrog over Cambodia to discover the chili-laden joys of Thai cooking in a second book in the series. In case you want to learn Indonesian cooking, Cooking the Indonesian Way is again an excellent introduction. In case you want Malaysian cooking, though, check out that torrent.

  • OTHER SOUTHEAST ASIAN BOOKS
Again, there is a dearth of freely available resources out there and online about this part of the world.  However, there are a few valuable ones we are aware of.

The Encyclopedia of Modern Asia covers the entire continent, but this six massive volume set is an incredible resource with contemporary and well written articles, many of which are related to Southeast Asia. 
The Vietnam War Reader offers a number of essays and perspectives on this conflict that did so much to shape the modern history of Southeast Asia. In our opinion the best book written on the Cambodian genocide, and this by an anthropogist, not a historian, Why Did They Kill: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide is an incredible book that is also available as a torrent. We highly suggest readers purchase this text, however, to help further the author's research.  


We hope that you have found our selections helpful, and hope you enjoy some of them.  If there are others you would like us and our readers to know about, please let us know.  In the meantime, "Arg, ye maties"

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