The historical discourse on the Malay communists and its limitation
NGOI Guat Peng (Translated by Josh HONG and LIN Chia-Hsuan)
ABSTRACT The voluminous publication of literature and writings on the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) in both Malaysia and Singapore in recent years, coupled with the fact that the academia, civil society and even the CPM itself have begun to explore CPM’s history and thoughts, has not only broken the taboo on many questions, but also exposed the limitation of these discourses. The historical imagination about CPM either remains monolithic, or is placed under the grand narrative of nation-building. Discourses about CPM’s history are ideal mediums to understand how the Chinese and the Malay academia, as well as civil society enter and construct history, and to uncover limitations thereof. Be that as it may, the Chinese academia rarely pays due attention to the Malay regiment within CPM. For this reason, this article seeks to address several key issues in discourses about Malay CPM’s history, using mainly the three memoirs of Abdullah C.D., a leading figure of CPM, while making reference to other writings and literature on the Malay regiment within the party, so as to catch a glimpse into Malay CPM’s principal thought and ethos, and to contemplate further on how the interpretation of CPM’s history and the related knowledge production form various limitations in the Malaysia society.
Keywords: Malay CPM, the Malay Archipelago, limitations of history, national imaginations, independence
Ngoi Guat Peng [魏月萍] is Assistant Professor at the Division of Chinese, School of Humanities of Social Sciences of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She received her PhD degree from the School of Arts and Social Sciences at National University of Singapore. She is currently a researcher of the Inter-Asia School, and her research interest includes Chinese Intellectual History, Neo-Confucianism, and Religion Syncretism. She is also concerned about the knowledge production in Malaysian history, the literature and culture. Her recent publications are “I am not at Home: The Possibility of Building a Sinophone Malaysian Literary Citizenship,” “Youth, Revolution and History: He Jin’s Novel and Singapore Leftist Chinese Literary” and “Ethnic Politics and Religious Violence: The Dilemma of Religious Multiculturalism Discourse Practice in Malaysia.”
Josh Hong received his BA in Cultural Studies from London Metropolitan University and MSc. in International Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He writes for several alternative media in Malaysia including Malaysiakini and The Rocket, and his areas of interests include refugee and migrant worker issues, sexual minorities, ethnic politics and nationalism.
Lin Chia-Hsuan [林家瑄] is managing editor of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. She has also been working as a translator for years.