Resistance and Protest in Colonial Malaya
Northern Illinois University Press 2015
In Radicals: Resistance and Protest in Colonial Malaya (Northern Illinois University Press, 2015) Khairudin Aljunied tells a neglected story of anticolonial politics in Malaya from the late 1800s to the Emergency. Whereas other scholars working from imperial archives have downplayed the role of radicalism in nationalist resistance and the struggle for Malayan independence, Khairudin “seeks to rescue the Malay radicals from the shadows of nationalist scholarship” and resituate them in accounts of the country’s past, and its present. Concentrating on the period from 1937, with the establishment of the Kesatuan Melayu Muda, Khairudin tells a complex story of resistance, collaboration, anxiety, ferment and experimentation under both British and Japanese occupiers. Through close readings of memoirs, poems, newspapers and polemical tracts, he offers a lively and engaging account of political consciousness and action in the era of late European colonialism, amid intense warfare and heavy repression.
Khairudin Aljunied joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to discuss Malay radicalism and its legacy; warisan and the Malayu Raya; the significance of women for radical anti-British politics on the peninsula; prison stories, and Southeast Asian historiography.