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Melayu: The Politics, Poetics and Paradoxes of Malayness


NUS Press (First printing, 2012)
410 pages including Bibliography and Index


Out of stock

Melayu: The Politics, Poetics and Paradoxes of Malayness examine the checkered, wavering and changeable understanding of the word Melayu by considering hitherto unexplored case studies dealing with use of the term in connection with origins, nations, minority-majority politics, Filipino Malays, Riau Malays, Orang Asli, Straits Chinese literature, women’s veiling, vernacular television, social dissent, literary women, and modern Sufism. Taken as a whole, this volume offers a creative approach to the study of Malayness while providing new perspectives to the studies of identity formation and politics of ethnicity that have wider implications beyond the Southeast Asian region.

People within the Malay world hold strong but diverse opinions about the meaning of the word Melayu, which can be loosely translated as Malayness. Questions of whether the Filipinos are properly called “Malay”, or the Mon-Khmer speaking Orang Asli in Malaysia, can generate heated debates. So too can the question of whether it is appropriate to speak of a kebangsaan Melayu (Malay as nationality) as the basis of membership within an aspiring postcolonial nation-state, a political rather than a cultural community embracing all residents of the Malay states, including the immigrant Chinese and Indian population.


Maznah Mohamad and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied

Malaysia: Contending Imaginations of Malayness

1. Boundaries of Malayness: “We Have Made Malaysia: Now It is Time to (Re)Make the Malays but Who Interprets the History?”
Judith Nagata

2. Like a Shady Tree Swept by the Windstorm: Malays in Dissent
Maznah Mohamad

3. Malay Racialism and the Sufi Alternative
Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid

4. Malays and Orang Asli: Contesting Indigeneity
Rusaslina Idrus

5. Gender, Islam and the “Malay Nation” in Fatimah Busu’s Salam Maria
Wong Soak Koon

Singapore: Malays as Minorities and the Politics of Identities

6. Malay Identity in Postcolonial Singapore
Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied

7. Tudung Girls: Unveiling Muslim Women’s Identity in Singapore
Suriani Suratman

8. Malayness as Mindset: When Television Producers Imagine Audiences as Malay
Ivan Kwek

Indonesia and the Philippines: Borderland and Forgotten Malays

9. Riau: A Malay Heartland at the Borders
Jan van der Putten

10. Filipinos as Malay: Historicizing an Identity
Rommel A. Curaming

Across Nations: Representing/Rejecting Malayness

11. Absent Presence: The Malay in Straits Chinese Literature
Neil Khor Jin Keong

12. Melayu and Malay — A Story of Appropriate Behavior
Hendrik M.J. Maier


Weight0.575 kg
Dimensions22.9 × 15.2 × 1 cm

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