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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Reclaiming Adat

Contemporary Malaysian Film and Literature

In the early 1990s, the animist and Hindu traces in adat, or Malay custom, became contentious for resurgent Islam in Malaysia. Reclaiming Adat focuses on the filmmakers, intellectuals, and writers who reclaimed adat to counter the homogenizing aspects of both Islamic discourse and globalization in this period. They practised their project of recuperation with an emphasis on sexuality and a return to archaic forms such as magic and traditional healing. Using close textual readings of literature and film, Khoo Gaik Cheng reveals the tensions between gender, modernity, and nation. Khoo weaves a wealth of cultural theory into a rare analysis of Malay cinema and the work of new Malaysian anglophone writers. Reclaiming Adat makes an essential contribution to our knowledge of the complexities embedded in modern Malaysian culture, politics, and identity.

272 pages

Table of Contents




1 Reclaiming Adat

2 Malay Myth and Changing Attitudes Towards Nationalism: The Hang Tuah/Hang Jebat Debate

3 DissemiNation of Malay/sia

4 Malay/sian Films: Cinema of Denial

5 Representations of the Modern Malay Woman of the 1990s

6 What Is It To Be A Man? Violence in the Time of Modernity

Appendix A: Cultural Representations of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat

Appendix B: Primary Filmography

Appendix C: Secondary Filmography




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