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Archive for the ‘14 “Yang Tersirat”’ Category

“Yang Tersirat”

 Fadli Fawzi and Khairulanwar Zaini

As an ideological apparatus, state multiracialism in Singapore brackets our cultural identities into the neat and static categories of the CMIO framework. This development of what Michael Barr has termed ‘ethnic silos’ has significant repercussions on issues of identity and representation. In tandem with the limited spaces for cultural autonomy and articulation, state multiracialism tends to reify dominant representations and obscure the internal heterogeneity of each cultural community.

As such, we are pleased to embark on exploring the latent narratives within Malay society, to uncover and recover different threads of identities, memories, stories, beliefs, and orientations that were hitherto hidden beneath the M of CMIO. (more…)

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“Sebutan Baku and the need to redefine the limits of culture”

Annaliza Bakri 

Efforts to standardize the Malay language have generally revolved around the introduction of standardized pronunciation, commonly referred to as sebutan baku. Operating on the phonemic principle, sebutan baku prescribes that words be pronounced according to how it has been spelt. In 1992, the Singapore government decided that standard Malay (bahasa Melayu baku or in short, bahasa baku) would serve as the official vernacular language for Malay language users. Furthermore, sebutan baku became the standard pronounciation for several domains such as formal educational institutions, formal public speeches, lectures and seminars, formal modes of communication and discussion in the public sphere, including the media. This essay however argues that the fixation with sebutan baku reflects a narrow understanding of culture that unnecessarily privileges uniformity and homogeneity. (more…)

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“Living the lives of Hanyut”: The Construction of Malay Youth Delinquency in Singapore

Siti Hazirah Binte Mohamad[1]

 

Introduction

In the 2005 National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong dedicated the Malay-language portion of his speech to addressing the rising problems of teenage pregnancy and dysfunctional families within the Malay community. Expressing his concern about the vicious cycle which these dysfunctional families get mired in, he stressed that although the issue also afflicts the Chinese and the Indian communities,  the Malays have a greater incidence of couples marrying and divorcing young.[2] The severity of this issue was later underlined by articles in Berita Harian (BH) and Berita Minggu (BM), scapegoating a highly sexualized and/or deviant youth demographic who are unable to control their physical desires. Concurrently,  a documentary titled Hanyut (“Adrift”) was screened on the Malay TV channel Suria, claiming to expose “the shocking reality of the Malay community” (“realiti mengejutkan”)

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“Ideology and Utopia in Al Imam”

Fairoz Ahmad

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Al-Imam was the first reformist Islamic periodical to appear in Southeast Asia. Published on a monthly basis, it ran from July 1906 to December 1908. That the periodical appeared in Singapore instead of Malaysia or Indonesia was due to Singapore’s strategic position as “a hub in the movement of people and cultural-religious ideas” (Houben 2003:156) and Singapore’s position as a “major staging point of the Hajj” (Laffan 2003:161). Singapore has long enjoyed this position even prior to Raffles’ claim on the island. In the Tuhfat al-Nafis (The Precious Gift), written in 1885 and chronicling the history and rise of the Bugis aristocracy in the Riau-Lingga Sultanate, Singapore served as a ‘centralized’ meeting place for the various Bugis princes where they hatched various intrigues and plans. In early 20th century, however, Singapore’s strategic location in the Malaccan Straits meant that items like paper, ink, lithography and foreign periodicals (that served as the sources of new ideas) were easily available, and the island became the heart of Malay publishing in the 1900s to the 1920s (Hamedi 2002:2). (more…)

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API, AWAS, GERAM: Shamsiah Fakeh’s struggle for Malaya’s independence”

Nurhaizatul Jamil

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“The nation’s independence is the first step toward women’s liberation.”[1]

 

“Who is the terrorist? The British colonizers accused those who went into the jungle to engage in armed resistance of being “Communist Terrorists.” Indeed, that was the tactic of colonizers who wanted to taint the efforts of our freedom fighters that dared to challenge their domination. In addition to a large military, the colonizers had sophisticated weaponry to battle the people’s forces, including the ability to drop bombs and shoot with machine guns. In reality, the British were the real terrorists.”[2]

 

“I have never regretted. I do not regret fighting the British, do not regret entering into the jungle, and becoming Communist.”[3]

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“Remembering the Malay Left”

Fadli Fawzi

A tale of three citizens

In October of 2014, in conjunction with state’s re-printing of Lee Kuan Yew’s Battle for Merger (1962) in order to reconfirm its narrative of the PAP triumph over the dark forces of communism, the name ‘Laniaz’ was resurrected by the local Malay paper, Berita Harian.[1] Laniaz (which was Zainal spelled backwards) was used to identify the enigmatic Samad Ismail, first brought into public consciousness by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. In a series of radio broadcasts in 1961, he revealed how this renowned anticolonial fighter drifted into the tide of the communist movement. Despite being a founder-member and pro-tem chairman of the People’s Action Party and a respected newspaper editor on both sides of the straits, memory of Samad has been configured to highlight only how pervasive and insidious the communist threat was.

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 Photo from: http://www.rmaf.org.ph/newrmaf/main/awardees/awardee/profile/157

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“Reading Resistance in the Malay Heritage Centre”

Khairulanwar Zaini

As the institutional custodian of Malay heritage in Singapore,[1] the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) negotiates between the imperatives of group memory and national consciousness. This positioning play is however not peculiar to the MHC: most ethnographic museums situated in plural societies confront a similar challenge. The politics of diversity compel such museums to honour their respective group identities while simultaneously buttressing (or at least avoid undermining) the super-arching personality of the nation-state. This situation is made more acute for the MHC given the hegemonic nature of the state and the museum’s reliance on that very same state for funding.[2]

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“The Absent Mother: Malay Cinema, Cultural Memory and Mediated Spectatorship”

Alfian Bin Sa’at

Resisting Multiracial Scripting

In the year 2006, the National Museum of Singapore Film Gallery commissioned Singaporean filmmaker Royston Tan to produce a montage sequence from archived footage of Malay films produced during what was known as the Shaw-Cathay-Keris studio era. This sequence would form the centrepiece of the Film Gallery, one in a series of four ‘Living Galleries’.

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Photo from http://www.gsmprjct.com/en/projects/singapore-living-galleries

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