Vol. 5, No. 2 (2009): 43–63.
Multiculturalism, or the plurality of ethnicity and culture, a colonial legacy, is still a contested issue in present day postcolonial Malaysia. The lack of ethnic interaction in plural Malaya has had repercussions on various spheres of society. This paper considers the impact of Malaysia’s management of diversity on the country’s literary scene. The paper addresses how multiculturalism presents a challenge for Malaysian writers in English both in their choice of language and in their representation of society. The conclusion drawn from the discussion highlights that through their ‘authorial-defined’ social reality, Malaysian writers in English take distinct yet constructive efforts at representing the personal, communal and national needs of the people.
Raihanah Mohd. Mydin is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia. Her doctoral thesis is entitled “Constructs of Identity in Multiculturalism: Personhood, Ethnicity and Nationhood in Malaysian Literature”. She teaches Malaysian Literature in English both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her area of research includes Multiculturalism and Literary Studies. Some of her recent publications include “Multiculturalism and the politics of Expression: An Appraisal”, European Journal of Social Sciences, 7, 3 (2009): 63-70; and “The Other Within: The Malaysian Experience”, Embracing the Other. Addressing Xenophobia in the New Literatures in English ASNEL Papers 11, edited by D. M. Mohr (Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2008), pp.193-204.