Malay Literature: Volume 23 Number 2 December 2010

May 9, 2011



Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

History into Fiction: Re-Visioning the Past in Isa Kamari’s Novel, Atas Nama Cinta

Abstract This paper analysis the transformation process involved in the act of converting history into fiction. Macherey’s theory of literary production, which describes the relation between texts, ideology and history, has likened literary writing to a process in a production line where raw materials undergo a transformation process to become a new product. This theory is adapted and utilised as a framework for the analysis of Isa Kamari’s novel, Atas Nama Cinta (2006 – literally “In the Name of Love”, translated into English under the title “Nadra”). Discussion will focus on the strategies used by her to change raw materials into fiction through the application of re-visioning strategies, namely the transformation of historical data into context, the operation of ideology and the utilisation of elements of fiction. The context is a re-visioning of events surrounding the 1950s racial riots in Singapore triggered by the Singapore High Court verdict concerning Maria (Bertha) Hertogh. As a result of the transformation, history not only serves as backdrop for the narrative but, more importantly, offers the writer a re-visioning stance from a local perspective. The re-visioning of history allows the deconstruction of dominant Western perceptions of local history and literature. The deconstructive nature of re-visioning history reveals the politics of power and discourse in society; it exposes the constructs of identity and nation; and re-visioning also re-creates alternative constructs of identity and nation within the context of postcolonialism. The writer’s own position reflects the subjectivity through which history is viewed and authorises the reconstruction and representation of the relevant identities in the narrative.

Keywords history, fiction, re-visioning, Isa Kamari, subjectivity.

Faculty of Modern Language and Communication,
Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Islamic Legal Principal in the Short Anthology “Ujana Rindu”

Abstract The development of Malay Literature in the country has not been confined to producing writers from the fields of education, journalism and the like. There is a tendency for writers from the legal field to produce literary works. The involvement of these is not limited to writing works based on current law but also includes Islamic elements. This can be seen through the emergence of young writers from the legal field such as Siti Hajar Mohd Zaki, Mohd. Asmadi Saiman and others. Therefore, this article seeks to analyse the Islamic legal principles in the short story collection titled Ujana Rindu, written by two graduated from the International Islamic University Malaysia, Siti Hajar Mohd Zaki and Mohd. Asmadi Saiman (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2006). The study clearly shows that both writers’ knowledge of the law is utilized to create literary works in line with the legal principles found in the Qur’an and hadith. Ujana Rindu shows the importance of Islamic law in human society, especially where relationships among people (habl min al-Nas) and the relationship between humans and the Creator (habl min Allah) are concerned. This, in the end, will bring about the values of al-Khayr (goodness), al-Haqq (truth) dan al-Jamal (beauty) in the readers’ analysis of a literary work.

Keywords Islamic Legal Principles, Ujana Rindu, habl min al-Nas, habl min Allah, al-Khayr, al-Haqq and al-Jamal.

Monash University, Australia.

Shahnon Ahmad: Malay Author*  

Abstract Shahnon Ahmad’s recent autobiographical volume, Weltanschauung: Suatu Perjalanan Kreatif (2008), covers many topics in its 748 pages. Interestingly, the word “Malay” is not to be found in its index. Yet Shahnon is often constructed by critics, especially non-Malaysian critics, as the quintessentially “Malay author”. The paper will study “insider” (emic) and “outsider” (etic) views of how Shahnon is perceived as “Malay” by various critics and how his “Malayness” is encoded in other, different ways in his own work.

Keywords emic, etic, Malay author, Shahnon Ahmad, Malayness.

Faculty of Art and Science Social,
Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

Syair Peri Tuan Raffles Pergi ke Minangkabau: A Prelimanary Reading of an Early 19th Century Travelogue

Abstract The essay is an attempt to read a 19th century travel narrative, rendered in the popular syair form and written by a native Malay from Bangkahulu. The narrative by virtue of its genre, described and mapped the arduous journey made by Raffles and his wife Lady Sophia from Padang to the Minangkabau hinterlands, as heard and imagined by a writer who was not only new to the genre, but also not part of the expedition. The reading of the narratives viz the depiction of the journey, its details and reliability therefore has to be contextualised within these authorial constraints.

Keywords factual narratives, transitional genres, travelogue, selfnarrative, biography, auto-biography, oriental enlightenment.

School of Humanities,
Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Re-Visiting the Slogan “Asia for Asians” and the “Look East” Policy: A Study of Malay Short Stories*

Abstract Japan has a great influence on the the South-East Asian countries from the Second World War to this day. The aim of this essay is to study and compare the short stories in modern Malay literature which discuss about the Japanese. This study is based on the thematic approach in the field of comparative literature. Thematic approach compares the short stories based on a subject-matter and in this study the subjectmatter is the images of the Japanese in two different contexts, Japan under the slogan “Asia for Asians” and under the policy called “Look East Policy.” The study discovers that during the Japanese occupation in Malaya in the Second World War, short stories produced tells about the Japanese cruelty toward the people. Nevertheless there are also short stories which explicate the Japanese as the hero for saving Asians from Western colonialism. Then when the “Look East” Policy was implemented in the 1980s, in which the Japanese became a model of the Malaysian economic development, there are short stories discuss about the Japanese as an economic model to follow especially in seeking higher education in the field of science and technology. However, the image of the ruthless Japanese army during the war is still haunting some of the authors as explicated in the short stories studied.

Keywords Malay short stories, “Asia for Asians” slogan, “Look East” policy, Malay nasionalism, comparative literature, history of Malaysia.


Faculty of Modern Language and Media Communication,
Universiti Putra Malaysia.

The Signification of Flora in the Poems of Zurinah Hassan, According to the Malay Theory of Methodology   

Abstract Flora is God’s unique creation. According to the Qur’an, its life processes and beauty maintain the right balance and prove the power of Allah SWT. However, for a poet, observing and studying nature becomes more interesting when viewed through analogy or metaphor and through interpretation and meaning. In this study, the signification of flora in five collections of poems by Zurinah Hasan, Sesayup Jalan (1974), Di Sini Tiada Perhentian (1977), Keberangkatan (1985), Pujangga Tidak Bernama (1994), and Kumpulan Puisi Salasilah (2005), will be examined. Signification and thought are found in all aspects of life. Flora can be classified as jungle or rice plants, and as trees and branches, flowers and fruits. These explain phenomena that represent human life such as poverty, character, behaviour, love, femininity, national identity, politics, leadership, and the strength and resilience of the will to live, centred around life in the past and present, as well as historical remains. The analysis in this paper is done using the Malay Theory of Methodology, which places importance on goodness and usefulness, justice in society, beauty in art, symbols (signs) and their meaning, and, most importantly, increasing one’s love for and belief in Allah.

Keywords Flora, Malay Methodology, Premonition, Functional, Animism, Connotation, Figurative, Analogy, Introspection, Ideology.


Academy of Malay Studies,
Universiti Malaya.

From Awan Putih to Suasana Senja: A Textdealism Approach Towards Masuri S.N.’s Poetry   

Abstract Masuri S.N. was one of the most important figures in the development of modern Malay poetry. However, his importance is rarely discussed in a scholarly environment. This research discusses Masuri S.N.’s entire body of poetic work produced throughout his life, in doing so it uses the Textdealism Theory established by Mana Sikana. The researchers describe the excellence of Masuri S.N’s poems, which simultaneously solidifies his authority as the father of modern Malay poetry. Research has found that during his life as a poet, he consistently altered his poetic style to  improve the quality of his work. In line with the Textdealism Theory, those alterations followed the guidelines and principles of presence, strengthening, collision and individualism. This study, among other things, provides a rationale for Masuri S.N to be considered one of the best poets in the field of Malay literature.

Keywords Masuri S.N., ASAS 50, Textdealism, poetry, presence, collision, strengthening, Individualism, excellence.