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De(con)structing Merdeka and the Media

The buildings of Malaya’s independence are very different from those that define Kuala Lumpur’s landscape today. How different are its storytellers?

The Merdeka Interviews : Architects, Engineers and Artists of Malaysia’s Independence
by Lai Chee Kien and Ang Chee Cheong

It’s difficult to write something both original and interesting on a subject that’s already been covered extensively in an almost 700-page book, a dozen media interviews and a handful of talks.

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What We Think 3#: Colonialism in the eyes of economists

by Phuong Nguyen Thai Hoai and Samantha Ho

Imagined Malaysia currently has its own column space on a newly established local news portal. The purpose of this column is to provide a platform to our members and supporters to speak their mind on issues that are pertaining to society, politics and history. We also welcome our patrons to speak their mind through this platform, and spread information on the cause for improving historical education in Malaysia!

I, Phuong, was enrolled in a French language course back in Vietnam years ago, and decided to drop out after the second class. The reason for this was irrelevant to my initial goal of improving my skills in the language I love. It was because the teacher, who was very much senior in age and claimed to have had a French education under colonial Vietnam, expressed condescendingly his wish for Vietnam to still be under the protectorate of the mother country. Those kinds of sentiments were not unpopular among the people I’ve been acquainted with.

I have, since then, never stopped pondering over the nature of colonialism – whether it was as benign as the colonisers themselves claimed to have been, of civilising and uplifting the lives of the uncivilised. 

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What We Think 2#: Ecocide and Prejudice – A Malaysian Emergency

Imagined Malaysia currently has its own column space on a newly established local news portal. The purpose of this column is to provide a platform to our members and supporters to speak their mind on issues that are pertaining to society, politics and history. We also welcome our patrons to speak their mind through this platform, and spread information on the cause for improving historical education in Malaysia!

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What We Think 1#: A textbook problem of what’s wrong with our education

Imagined Malaysia currently has its own column space on a newly established local news portal. The purpose of this column is to provide a platform to our members and supporters to speak their mind on issues that are pertaining to society, politics and history. We also welcome our patrons to speak their mind through this platform, and spread information on the cause for improving historical education in Malaysia! 

We know all too well the perils of studying – or rather memorising – for Sejarah exam in our secondary school days but that was the case for almost every subject. An instance in my schooling days that struck me most was when a Form 1 student, my history teacher called a predominantly Chinese class ‘pendatang’.

She went into an exposition on how this country did not belong to us and how we should be grateful for being in this country, pointed to the textbook and said “You can read through this, there is no mention of how you contributed to the struggle of the nation.”

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Remembering and reimagining May 13: 50 years later

50 years. That’s how long Dr Lim Teck Ghee has kept his experiences of May 13, 1969 out of the public eye. Though his voice was calm and his words measured, they were underscored by a grave and profound terror that silenced the crowded hall of Gerakbudaya that night. He was one of three panelists at the screening of The Star R.AGE’s documentary May 13: 50 Years Later and discussion hosted by Imagined Malaysia.

“Tonight is the first time that I’m publicly speaking about my memories from that day – from those days of shame and infamy. May 13 not only scarred our national psyche to the core, but it has, for me, recurred frequently in my dreams and my nightmares,” he said.

An acclaimed writer and academician who has worked with the World Bank and United Nations, Lim was working as a graduate student at the National Archives in Petaling Jaya Old Town at the time, staying near Jalan Gasing with his wife. The couple would typically go out for supper together near University Malaya or at Satellite Restaurant.

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IM Review Open Meeting #1: Invented Tradition

Hey! So you’ve probably already heard that the first issue of Imagined Malaysia Review a.k.a IM Review is going to be released very soon.  👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻 

In case you need a refresher. Here is the baseline.

Imagined Malaysia Review (IM Review) is one of our latest initiatives in pushing the rigid boundaries of historical discourses in Malaysia. We at Imagined Malaysia are dedicated to work on a series of magazines that will bring together fascinating and insightful essays covering multifaceted themes in the existing historical scholarship, particularly pertaining to Southeast Asian historical landscape. These essays are meant to provoke critical evaluation on the given narratives of the past as well as to raise interesting hitherto undervalued suspicions on some of the theories and concepts that regulate much of the discursive framework in mainstream discussions on history.   

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Happy 2019! 🎆🎉We have important updates for you. 📅

Happy New Year, everyone! Time really does fly by quickly. Where did 2018 go?? We apologize for being a little quiet lately.😅 We have been working pretty hard on some major stuff to make 2019 a very fulfilling year for Imagined Malaysia.

Here are some super important highlights that we want to share with our supporters. After all, it is because of YOU that 2018 allowed Imagined Malaysia to keep going. Check it out!

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Discussion Notes: Researching riots and processions in the 19th century

As part of our efforts to encourage research for the upcoming blogging initiative, O for Other, we recently organised a reading seminar on ‘Riots and Processions in 19th Century Straits Settlement’. The reading seminar was facilitated by Simon Soon (Malaysia Design Archive and the Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya) together with Syukri Shairi (Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia).

19th-century colonial Straits Settlements were port cities that attracted people from different parts of the world. As a result, cities were also sites of constant negotiations and contestations over many different understandings of space. This seminar will explore riots and processions as cultural events that characterized the colonial port city’s sensorial modernity. This will be discussed principally in relation to the ‘Taboot’ or ‘Tabut’. 

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53 days to go! RM1,182 supported out RM2,000.

We are HALFWAY there, fellow followers and patrons!

Help us make Imagined Malaysia (IM) Review happen in January 2019. This bi-annual publication is already in the works. All we need is a way to cover printing costs.

In case you missed the whole story about what has been going on, here’s a quick recap:

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We need help to self-publish Imagined Malaysia Review. We need You.

Hello friends, followers and patrons!

 If you’ve been following this page, you must know that a big (well, more like yyyyuuuuuuuuuuge) dream of ours has always been venturing into publication. We want to be able to share more about the lesser known stories about history in the Southeast Asian region.

In fact this is not just a collective dream of Imagined Malaysia, it is the brainchild of Imran Rasid, our papa bear and incredibly dedicated mover.