Making health public : English language newspapers and the medical sciences in colonial Malaya (1840s–1941)
Liew, Kai Khiun
Date of Issue2009
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
The print and broadcast media are traditionally vital vehicles for both the transmission of information and framing of discussion on health, medicine, and diseases. However, their roles have been largely peripheral in medical historiography. In this respect, this paper explores the position of English language newspapers in colonial Malaya in identifying and disseminating epidemiological data as well as commentaries on public health issues and policies. These discussions provided a crucial platform in linking public health discourses to a more literate and influential lay public and adding to broader debates on the governance of the colony. Collectively, the articles and editorials of the print media in British Malaya were not only indicative of the extent of involvement of colonial civil society in public health. Their narratives also reflected underlying tensions between state and society in addition to sociocultural anxieties over the fluid labor and capital flows of the colonial political economy.
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal
© 2009 National Science Council. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in East Asian science, technology and society: an international journal, published by Springer Netherlands on behalf of National Science Council. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12280-009-9097-2].