Student Activism in Malaysia
Crucible, Mirror, Sideshow
Cornell SEAP/NUS Press 2011
Think of student activism in Asia and what comes to mind? The democracy movement in China during 1989? Or Burma the year before? The tumultuous student politics of Thailand in the mid 70s? Perhaps the 2014 protests in Hong Kong. For most of us, student politics in Malaysia probably isn’t the first thing we’d think of. But not Meredith Weiss, author of Student Activism in Malaysia: Crucible, Mirror, Sideshow (Cornell SEAP & NUS Press, 2011), who provides a definitive account of student politics and university life in this Southeast Asian country, from the colonial period to the present.
The number of scholarly monographs on Malaysia is relatively small, and few are as meticulously researched and referenced as this book. For these reasons alone, Student Activism in Malaysia deserves close attention. Weiss writes to recover lost history, and she does so with keen insight and nuance. At the same time, she pushes the reader to rethink what the categories of “student” and “activist” mean–not only in Malaysia or Southeast Asia, but also in the modern world.