The Life in the Writing: Syed Hussein Alatas

MASTURAH ALATAS is the youngest child of the late Syed Hussein Alatas. She teaches English at the University of Macerata, in Italy, where she has been living since 1992.

Gerakbudaya (New Edition, 2024)
xxviii + 239 pages including References and Index


In stock

ISBN: 9789670076225 Product ID: 40525 Subject: Sub-subjects: , ,

The Life in the Writing: Syed Hussein Alatas is the first comprehensive exploration of Syed Hussein Alatas’s life, uniquely focuses on the very essence that brought his knowledge to the world: his writings. Readers will embarks on an intimate journey into the life and intellect of Syed Hussein Alatas, the esteemed Malaysian scholar and former academician, with Masturah Alatas’s groundbreaking biography. Originally published in 2010 and now presented in a new edition, this biography is a treasure trove of previously unpublished material, rare photographs, and exclusive new content. Masturah delves into the private and public facets of Alatas’s life, revealing intriguing details about his famous work, The Myth of the Lazy Native, its publication journey, and his connections to intellectual luminaries like Edward W. Said and Virginia Woolf.

In this edition, readers will discover Alatas’s perspectives on diverse topics, from his thoughts on May 13, censorship, and UFO sightings to his contributions to the Rukunegara. Unearth previously unpublished samples of Alatas’s poetry and letters, providing a richer understanding of the man behind the scholarly achievements. Masturah Alatas skillfully paints a vivid picture of her father, showcasing touching details that only a family member can offer. Through rare photos and personal anecdotes, readers witness Alatas’s enduring love for literature, even during his visits to the Amcorp Mall Sunday flea market in search of abandoned books, a testament to his lifelong dedication to the intellectual life.

The Life in the Writing is not just a biography; it’s a testament to a man who, beyond his roles as a sociologist, and scholar, was a writer at heart. Masturah captures the essence of Alatas’s progressive mindset, his battle against extremist thinking, and his objective assessment of Western influence. As you navigate the pages, you’ll encounter the bearded Alatas in sarong and shirt, fervently writing past midnight—an image that becomes a symbolic representation of a man devoted entirely to the intellectual life. The biography takes you beyond the academic corridors, to the Amcorp Mall Sunday flea market, where even in illness, Alatas sought solace among abandoned books.

Introduction to the New Edition

1. Work in Progress
2. The Publishing of The Myth of the Lazy Native
3. Because Said Said So
4. The Choice of a Word
5. ‘Refute a Book with Another Book’
6. My Father and Virginia Woolf
7. Young Editorialist
8. Portrait of a Malaysian Writer
9. Writer in Residence
10. Literary Influences
11. Sergio Leone, Captive Minds and Spaghetti Westernisation
12. The Death of Syed Hussein Alatas

– Islam and Literary Tradition in Malaysia
– Malaysia, A Place for Everyone? Syed Hussein Alatas’ Contributions to the Rukun Negara
– Watching the World Cup with My Father
– Malaysian Fidel
– The Library of the Possible
– The German-Malaysian Connection in Sociology. Notes on the Work of Syed Hussein Alatas
– Plastic Glass
– Pantun by Syed Hussein Alatas
– Syed Hussein Alatas the Songwriter
– Damansara Lights Incident
– Syed Hussein Alatas, Italy, and the Ideal of Excellence
– No Hero
– Syed Hussein Alatas and Censorship
Changkul, or How to Critique One’s Father
– Review of Syed Hussein Alatas’ Biarkan Buta by Amir Muhammad
– Excerpt from The Myth of the Lazy Native

Index of Personal Names

Weight0.36 kg
Dimensions21.5 × 13.9 × 1.5 cm





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