Script for Pecha KuchaAzlina Abdul Aziz1. I was born 16 years after Malaysia gained her independence from the British, in ...
Exchange, bought the company’s shares, which resulted in 200,000 acres of oil palmplantation returned to Malaysians. (20 s...
rest, the mind to dreamy contemplation rather than to strenuous and persistent toil.”(Alatas, 1977, p. 45). (23 sec)13. Of...
argues, “….. The reach of imperialism into ‘our head’ challenges those who belong tocolonized communities to understand ho...
of colonial capitalism. London: Routledge.
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Script for pecha kucha

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Script for pecha kucha

  1. 1. Script for Pecha KuchaAzlina Abdul Aziz1. I was born 16 years after Malaysia gained her independence from the British, in asmall town off the coast of Peninsula Malaysia where fishing and agriculture were themain preoccupations. (12 sec)2. My childhood memories of this languid town included following my mother to thewet market on weekends; taking walks on the beach at night; being lulled to sleep bythe sound of the gentle waves; catching tadpoles and dragonflies; and wading in theflood water during the monsoon season. (17 sec)3. Learning English for me meant reading English nursery rhymes, Aesop’s Fables, FairyTales, Enid Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five’; and watching programs from the U.K and the U.S.(12 sec)4. Aside from English being spoken in the English classroom, it was not a language ofcommunication for the wider community. The local dialect prevailed over the sounds oflapping waves and falling rains. Learning English for me meant learning other people’shistory and culture, where nothing of myself is reflected in what I read. (19 sec)5. I learned about the value of standard British English as spoken by Professor Higgins,the status it accorded Eliza Doolittle at the expense of her sense of belonging, thelanguage of power and injustice of the colonial and slave masters. As opportunity tospeak in English was fairly limited, learning English for me had been mainly in a cultureof silence. (20 sec)6. English functioned as a tool for gaining control of our own resources. For example,we gained ownership of the company Guthrie, after a raid in 1981 at the London Stock
  2. 2. Exchange, bought the company’s shares, which resulted in 200,000 acres of oil palmplantation returned to Malaysians. (20 sec)7. To be colonized also means that we are aware of our own image as defined throughthe eyes of another more powerful person. No more is this evident than in the writingsof Sir Frank Swettenham the first Resident General of the then Federated Malay States.(15 sec)8. Swettenham was the representative of the British Empire to Malaya from 1896 until1901. He had lived in this palatial residence he had designed, which was equally asfitting for a Malay Sultan. (15 sec)9. He had written a number of books on his experience in Malaya. Two books inparticular, ‘British Malaya’ and ‘Malay Sketches’ were written accounts of the Britishpolitical and economic influence on Malaya and the Malays. (13 sec)10. Of Malaya, he writes, "Malaya, land of the pirate and the amok, your secrets havebeen well guarded, but the enemy has at last passed your gate, and soon the irresistableJuggernaut of Progress will have penetrated to your remotest fastness, slain yourbeasts, cut down your forests, civilised your people, clothed them in strange garments,and stamped them with a seal of a higher morality". (1895, p.x) (27 sec)11. "Education and the contact with Western people must produce the inevitable result.isolated native races whose numbers are few must disappear or conform to the views ofa stronger will and a higher intelligence." (p. xi) (16 sec)12. He describes the Malay man, “The real Malay is a short, thick-set, well-built man,with straight hair, a dark brown complexion, thick nose and lips” (1895, p. 2). He goes onto discuss ‘Malays inherent laziness’ as “...a climate which inclines the body to ease and
  3. 3. rest, the mind to dreamy contemplation rather than to strenuous and persistent toil.”(Alatas, 1977, p. 45). (23 sec)13. Of the Malay girl, he describes her as “ proud of wealth of straight, black hair, of aspotless olive complexion, of the arch of the brow ... of the curl of her eyelashes, and ofthe dimples in cheek or chin” (1895, p.7). (15 sec)14. In reality, there is no singular or real Malay. There are many Malays of mixed racesfrom Chinese, Indian, and Arab descents. There are various Malay ethnic communitieslike Bugis, Javanese, Minangkabaus, and Achinese who had lived in a “history of ... cross-cultural fertilisation and cultural hybridisation” (Noor, 2009, p.69) long beforecolonization. (23 sec)15. Why does this narrative still matter? Why does it still have some strange hold on meas to invoke anger, incredulity, sadness? Why do I continue to speak back to it? Inprivileging the voice of the colonizer, do I continue to acknowledge my subjugatedposition, to nod in agreement with this figure who had lived before my time? (21 sec)16. At times I am uncomfortable with efforts at writing counterstories to colonialdiscourse because in doing so I feel we are acknowledging our subjugated position. If allour efforts are focused on dispelling myths, writing counternarratives then will we everbe in the position to be creators of our own theory and knowledges. (20 sec)17. But it does speak to the harm that European researches have had on the colonized.We are still trying to dislodge the stereotypes that accompany us to this day andunderstand its detrimental effects on the relationships between communities which hadled to the racial riots between the Malays and Chinese in 1969. (21 sec)18. In response to the question on why colonialism is still relevant, Linda Tuhiwai Smith
  4. 4. argues, “….. The reach of imperialism into ‘our head’ challenges those who belong tocolonized communities to understand how this occurred, partly because we perceive aneed to decolonize our minds, to recover ourselves to claim a space in which to developa sense of authentic humanity.” (p.24) (24 sec)19. But amidst the voices of the colonizer and the postcolonial scholars, I wonder whatof the silence of the many colonized locals, whose voices remain irretrievably lost? (14sec)5 min 47 sec347 secsReferences:Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples.London: Zed Books.Swettenham, F. A. (1906). British Malaya.London: John Lane.Swettenham, F. A. (1895). Malay sketches. London: John Lane.Bhabha, Homi. "The Other Question . . . Homi K. Bhabha Reconsiders the StereotypeandColonial Discourse." Screen 24.6 (1983): 18-36.Noor, F. A. (2009). What your teacher didn’t tell you. Petaling Jaya: Matahari Books.Alatas, S. H. (1977). The myth of the lazy native - A study of the image of the Malays,Filipinos and Javanese from the 16th to the 20th century and its function in the ideology
  5. 5. of colonial capitalism. London: Routledge.

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