'Of lost fathers and broken sons’: Farish Noor on the politics of love and the new thought in Malaysia
This paper addresses the polemical and intimate writings of one of Malaysia's leading public intellectuals, Farish Noor. Straddling secularism and Islamism, Noor's ideas are informed by a compassion that seeks to bypass monotheism and an ethnically informed nationalism. An advocate of a multiethnic and plural society, Noor does not merely reject Islamism; rather, his thinking seeks to reconcile and transcend what he perceives as a false dichotomy between a system of reason and a system of belief. The achievement of this transcendence is a fraught one for it sometimes seems that Noor involuntarily contradicts himself. To resolve this contradiction I turn to Gille Deleuze's work, Pure Immanence, which, I argue, provides a key in-road into understanding the complexivity of Noor's thought, in particular his valorization of love and his canny and novel attempts to interpret what he calls an 'other Malaysia.'
Ashraf Jamal is a cultural analyst and fiction writer. He has taught at universities in South Africa, Malaysia, and the eastern Mediterranean. He is the author of Predicaments of Culture in South Africa (Unisa/Brill, 2005). He is also the co-editor of a forthcoming volume on Indian Ocean Cultural Studies, to be published by Routledge.