The Mysterious Ali of the ‘Malay Archipelago’

Tom McLaughlin holds a Masters in Political Science and International Affairs and currently resides in Sarawak. Together with his wife, Suriani binti Sahari, they conducted an oral history and archival investigation of the enigmatic persona "Ali" in the classic text on Borneo's natural history, Malay Archipelago by Alfred Wallace. This essay explores the oral history … Continue reading The Mysterious Ali of the ‘Malay Archipelago’

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An Erased History of Pulau Belakang Mati

The modern polity of Singapore is now better known as a concrete jungle, constantly entangled in the discourse of political freedoms and the leadership of the late Lee Kuan Yew. When it comes to tourism, the fun-filled Sentosa Island often springs into our minds. Yet, little do we know about the quaint story of a people before the invention of Sentosa. Yeo Tze Yang, a visual artist and student of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore takes us on a trip down her family's memory lane to reveal the forgotten history of a place once known as Pulau Belakang Mati.

Between Tradition and Revolution: Nationalism in Malaya and Indonesia

"National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. Self-determination is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action”, said Woodrow Wilson in 1918 (GWPDA, 1997). In the case of Malaya and Indonesia, this would become a normative impetus to how its native intellectuals propagated the principle of national self-determination to its own people. Due to this, the language of nationalism can be seen as a positive force because it helped articulate the anticolonial struggle of Malayans and Indonesians. However, a comparative analysis shows how differently these two nationalisms are based on its leadership and representation in mass politics. Netusha Naidu explores the withstanding tensions between the traditionalism of the ascending ruling class and revolutionary streak of left-leaning groups in formulating national identities reveal the inherent complexities of anticolonial nationalism (Click title to read more).