Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Book of the week

Reclaiming Adat by Khoo Gaik Cheng (RM 95.00)

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 in Malaysia.

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.

(KHOO GAIK CHENG is Associate Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts, Australian National University, Canberra.)

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