Book Review: Singa-Pura-Pura is Present, Plural and Problematises Tradition

Singa-Pura-Pura is necessary reading for anyone remotely interested in any given configuration of ‘Singapore’, ‘Malay’ and ‘literature’. From academics more accustomed to poring over manuscripts to even non-Malay neophytes, there is something for everyone to chew on in this especially colourful anthology of short stories. Responding to the dearth of Singaporean Malay authors writing in English, the project as spearheaded by Nazry Bahrawi is said to lay the seeds for a loose, non-organised aliran (movement), anticipating an imminent flood of more bilingually proficient writers.

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Book Review: The Primordial Modernity of Malay Nationality by Humairah Zainal and Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir

In 1994, Stuart Hall spoke of the “fateful triangle” between race, ethnicity, and the nation. “Identity is not a matter of essence but of positioning, and hence, there is always a politics of identity, a politics of position,” Hall provoked[1]. In 2010, Charles Mills, a contemporary of Hall, reminded his audience that race is socially constructed, built for particular political projects rather than an intrinsic reality of biology.

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Book Review: Hidayah Amin’s Sang Nila Utama & Tun Seri Lanang: Singapore’s Last Malay Schools

Sang Nila Utama & Tun Seri Lanang: Singapore’s Last Malay Schools by Hidayah Amin is a narrative about Singapore’s last Malay schools, Sang Nila Utama Secondary School (SNU) and Tun Seri Lanang Secondary School (TSL). The book shares more than just the history of the two schools. It includes the experiences, feelings and stories of students who had attended the schools and how their time there had shaped them to become who they are today, including the challenges that the schools faced. Both of the schools obtained their names from Southeast Asia’s historical personalities.

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Book Review: Islam in a Secular State: Muslim Activism in Singapore by Walid Jumblatt Abdullah

The Muslims in Singapore have always been attached to having the highest level of religiosity compared to followers of the other religions of the state. This religiosity was observed in the 1989 National Survey on Religion[1] and again in 2017, where 93 percent of Malays perceived being Muslims as important to their identity in comparison to 70.6 percent of the Indians and 37.4 percent of the Chinese[2]. In a more recent survey[3], Muslim respondents (38.3 per cent) were the most likely to identify as very or extremely religious.

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Book Review: The Years of Forgetting by Sofia Abdullah

I have always been interested in the issue of gender inequality in the Malay/Muslim community but had not delved deeply into the issue of child abuse in the community. Reading Sofia Abdullah’s The Years of Forgetting is definitely a big step for me, as it is a way for me to learn, unlearn and relearn issues like child and sexual abuse in the community. Sofia’s memoir has enabled me to realise the trauma that the victims go through, and how they navigate their lives while trying to move on from the traumatic experiences.

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