Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144884
Title: LIMINALITIES OF COLONIAL UNDERSTANDINGS TOWARDS MALAYAN COMMUNISM, 1919-1941
Authors: JAMES MAH YI HONG
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2018
Citation: JAMES MAH YI HONG (2018-04-23). LIMINALITIES OF COLONIAL UNDERSTANDINGS TOWARDS MALAYAN COMMUNISM, 1919-1941. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Colonial understandings of pre-war Malayan Communism entail more contestations, anxieties and idiosyncrasies than the scholarship would care to concede. The Special Branch’s bravado, glimpsed only perfunctorily in the colonial record, conceal a far more contingent process from which the colonial establishment and various institutions and individuals under its ambit contended, arrested but never arrived at an unequivocal appreciation of the Communist threat in its midst. In this sense, the British and their formative encounters with Communism in the aftermath of the Great War are meritorious of scholarly attention. Colonial officials came face-to-face with a revolutionary ideology still revelling in its newfound, post-war international prestige and understandably, located its insidious influence in the local Chinese diaspora. That set the stage for the British and their showdown with their pro-Communist Hainanese subordinates at Kreta Ayer. The colonial government was disgraced there, and only then was anti-Communist policy placed firmly under the Special Branch’s purview. Yet, the rot did not stop there. The Special Branch consistently agonised in the early 1930s over the fledgling Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and its international affiliations and only through due diligence, emasculated it. The rest of the colonial government, on the other hand, was increasingly privy to Malayan Communism and its local grievances. The sheer complexity of local problems in the run-up to the Second World War, of which Communism was integral, finally threw into sharp relief these differences in appraisal of the Communist threat within the colonial government. The story of the British and their rendezvous with pre-war Malayan Communism, indeed, was one of liminalities and ambiguities, directed not only towards the Communist follower but at the heart of the colonial edifice as well.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144884
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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