The Issue Of Identity Of Malaya: [Essay Example], 839 words GradesFixer
exit-popup-close

Haven't found the right essay?

Get an expert to write your essay!

exit-popup-print

Professional writers and researchers

exit-popup-quotes

Sources and citation are provided

exit-popup-clock

3 hour delivery

exit-popup-persone
exit-popup-close

Haven't found the right essay?

Get an expert to write your essay!

close
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The Issue Of Identity Of Malaya

Print Download now

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.

Any subject. Any type of essay.

We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

Get your price

121 writers online

blank-ico
Download PDF

The explosive advent of radio technology in Malaya was akin to the revolutionary introduction of the Internet in the 21st millennia, and was instrumental to the development of Malaya during the tumultuous 1950s and 60s. The conclusion of World War 2 resulted in the British ceding control of their former colonies, which presented Singapore and Malaya the challenging task of independence and self-governance.

That post-war period was rife with discord and strife, while S. Rajaratnam’s play, “A Nation in the Making”, was able to encapsulate the social, political and cultural environment which shaped the development of the Malayan identity. Presented through multiple perspectives, it tells a compelling tale of the challenges and philosophies that plagued Malaya back then. One of the key socio-cultural issues that emerged after the second World War was the issue of identity. As PM Lee Hsien Loong warned: “The long-term survival of a country, especially a small one, depends in large measure on a strong sense of identity.”

When the Federation of Malaya was granted independence from the British Commonwealth, approximately 49% and 38% of the population were split between Malays and Chinese respectively . There existed a wide gulf between a broad Malayan identity and communal identities of the Chinese, Indian and Malays. To quote the Pessimist in the play, “I see no Malayans. I see men of many worlds and many nations. I see faces of all colours. Faces that look at each other in mute incomprehension. Blank stares. Because they don’t understand each other”.

Part of the reason for this divide was due to the residual influence left behind by the British colonialism. Direct colonial rule had brought European racial theory and constructed a social and economic order structured by “race” ; society and jobs were stratified based on one’s races in the name of labour efficiency. Compounded by the steady influx of migrant workers, there was never really a unifying factor rally the nation together. Even the Optimist acknowledged that nationalism was a relatively new concept, that even globally hadn’t really taken off. The viewpoints presented in the play also highlight the underlying political issues that undermined the nation’s endeavours to achieve self-independence. To quote Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, ““The prerequisite of Malayan independence is the existence of a Malayan society, not Malay, not Malayan Chinese, not Malayan Indian, not Malayan Eurasian, but Malayan, one that embraces the various races already in the country.”

Political parties furiously contested this notion of “Malayan society”. To begin with, there was no easy way to define it. The radio play suggests that the first step that must be taken would be the establishment of a common language, one that people from all races are expected to speak. This was supposed to promote a nationalist mindset, as the population would have something in common to build around. And yet there arose conflict too. As mentioned in Part V of the play, the move by the Federation government was to nominate the Malay language as the official language. This prompted not only great disagreements and feelings of oppression by the other races, but also the Malay people themselves did not fully understand the rationale behind it.

There was a fair amount of alarm with some Malays reacting with protectionist instinct to prevent the erosion/degradation of their language, as they worried that their unique language would be butchered by non-native speakers and “corrupted into some sort of pidgin talk”. A possible extrapolation of this language biasedness would be the promotion of a pro-Malay culture, something that the nationalist UMNO party sought to capitalise on during the formation of Malaysia. The nationalist ideals that UMNO sought to preserve slowly evolved into a point of contention, as other political parties sought to challenge this notion of a “Malay Malaysia”. The counter campaign of a “Malaysian Malaysia” instigated by Singapore’s government was deemed so acrimonious and disruptive that the Malaysia government eventually decided to expel Singapore from the union.

The way the exhibition was laid out provided an interesting backdrop when considering the “Malayan identity”. The running text across the display wall immerses visitors in the experience, as they literally have to take a walk through the evolution of philosophies and viewpoints that surrounded the issue. The first excerpt that is encountered is actually from Part VI of the play, the finale, and yet is the most engaging as it presents a humorous perspective on what to expect from the exhibition, that of deep ideological conflicts which though affect the everyday-man, is not a subject that is of utmost concern to them. All in all, the NUS museum radio exhibition was indeed thought-provoking and insightful, and painted a multivariate perspective of how identity evolved in those founding years.

References:

1. Lee Hsien Loong, “The National Identity — A Direction and Identity for Singapore”, Speeches 13, no. 1 (1989): 29.

2. Hirschman, C. (1986, March). The making of race in colonial Malaya: Political economy and racial ideology. In Sociological Forum (Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 330-361). Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

100% plagiarism free

Sources and citations are provided

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

GradesFixer. (2020, January, 15) The Issue Of Identity Of Malaya. Retrived June 5, 2020, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-issue-of-identity-of-malaya/
"The Issue Of Identity Of Malaya." GradesFixer, 15 Jan. 2020, https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-issue-of-identity-of-malaya/. Accessed 5 June 2020.
GradesFixer. 2020. The Issue Of Identity Of Malaya., viewed 5 June 2020, <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-issue-of-identity-of-malaya/>
GradesFixer. The Issue Of Identity Of Malaya. [Internet]. January 2020. [Accessed June 5, 2020]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-issue-of-identity-of-malaya/
close

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close

Attention! this essay is not unique. You can get 100% plagiarism FREE essay in 30sec

Recieve 100% plagiarism-Free paper just for 4.99$ on email
get unique paper
*Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
download public sample
close

Sorry, we cannot unicalize this essay. You can order Unique paper and our professionals Rewrite it for you

close

Thanks!

Your essay sample has been sent.

Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

thanks-icon Order now
boy

Hi there!

Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

Check it out!
Having trouble finding the perfect essay? We’ve got you covered. Hire a writer

GradesFixer.com uses cookies. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.