By Eddie Tay
This e-book explores colonial and postcolonial literatures of Singapore and Malaysia. It lines in them a historical past of tension that attends to the suggestion of domestic. the basis is that house is a actual area in addition to a symbolic terrain invested with social, political and cultural meanings.
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Extra resources for Colony, Nation, and Globalisation: Not at Home in Singaporean and Malaysian Literature
The real Malay, according to Swettenham, is a “good imitative learner”, “makes a good mechanic”, “lazy to a degree, is without method or order of any kind, knows no regularity … and considers time as of no importance. His house is untidy, even dirty” (Malay Sketches 3). We are told that A Malay is intolerant of insult or slight; it is something that to him should be wiped out in blood. He will brood over a real or fancied stain on his honour until he is possessed by the desire for revenge. If he cannot wreck it on the offender, he will strike out at the first Amok and Arrogation 23 human being that comes in his way, male or female, old or young.
Here, the scene is rendered through the point of view of the isolated European. ) Here, amok is a source of anxiety for European colonisers: [The Europeans] would telephone to the nearest city, only to have it confirmed that nothing unusual had happened in the country. The European became aware of the fact that the life he had built on the agony of the colonized people was losing its assurance. (A Dying Colonialism 61–62) What is interesting about this section of A Dying Colonialism, occurring in a chapter that examines the radio as an instrument of colonial rule and propaganda, is its suggestion that the psychopathology of the ruled engenders the psychopathology of their rulers: These hysterical cases were sometimes … given over to the police for questioning.
In Hikayat Hang Tuah (The Adventures of Hang Tuah), a work of Malay literature set in the fifteenth century, an outbreak of amok becomes an occasion for heroism on the part of several youths who subdued the pengamok (Sheppard 30–34). Amok as depicted in indigenous narrative is a functional phenomenon that can be contained by heroic members of Malay society. For Swettenham, however, amok becomes a justification for colonial governance. In his writings, amok as depicted via colonial rationality becomes unhomely in the sense that it is a phenomenon that needs to be eradicated from Malaya.
Colony, Nation, and Globalisation: Not at Home in Singaporean and Malaysian Literature by Eddie Tay