Colony, Nation, and Globalisation: Not at Home in by Eddie Tay

By Eddie Tay

This ebook explores colonial and postcolonial literatures of Singapore and Malaysia. It lines in them a background of hysteria that attends to the suggestion of domestic. the basis is that house is a actual house in addition to a symbolic terrain invested with social, political and cultural meanings.

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As G. K. Hunter points out, the symmetrical structure of the epic is such that while the first two books of Paradise Lost deal with the establishment of the Kingdom of Hell in its fallen state, the last two deal with the future establishment of the kingdoms of the human world (151). Given that it provides Adam with a view of the future kingdoms of humankind, it is a divine prophecy, and Chersonese is the only kingdom without a ruler—and thus awaits colonial conquest. This is all the more significant when we consider that part of Paradise Lost was composed under the regime of Oliver Cromwell, whose interests in furthering the domain of the East India Company led to the first of three Anglo-Dutch Wars in 1652.

I 24) 38 Colony, Nation, and Globalisation At other times, the text takes pains to vouch for the nobility of the Malay character: It seems to be the general impression in England that the Malay nature is ‘treacherous, bloodthirsty, and cruel;’ but I am so far from having found it so … [the] country was far more peaceful than England, and life and property were more secure in it than in London … and I know no ‘civilized’ country where it would be possible to leave your house perfectly open night and day for years as we did, without any serious loss of property.

In his writings, amok as depicted via colonial rationality becomes unhomely in the sense that it is a phenomenon that needs to be eradicated from Malaya. Swettenham’s sketch begins with a hypothesis, to be followed by an exemplum, and ends with the certification of truth. At the beginning, the reader is told that the term “amok” is used to describe the action of an individual who, suddenly and without apparent cause, seizes a weapon and strikes out blindly, killing and wounding all who come in his way, regardless of age or sex, whether they be friends, strangers, or his own nearest relatives.

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