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Title: The making of Malaya: on the Malayan Film Unit’s Cold War moving Images
Authors: Hee, Wai Siam
Keywords: Humanities::History::Asia::Malaysia
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Strategic Information and Research Development Centre
Source: Hee, W. S. (2020). The making of Malaya: on the Malayan Film Unit’s Cold War moving Images. Y. X. Show & G. P. Ngoi (Eds.), Revisiting Malaya: Uncovering Historical and Political Thoughts in Nusantara (pp. 185-216). Strategic Information and Research Development Centre.
Project: RG73/17 
Abstract: The article examines the MFU, a film organisation affiliated with the post-war British colonial government, and its multilingual colonial films. The MFU produced a large number of historical and geographical documentaries in support of the British colonial regime and the Singaporean and Malayan autonomous governments. The film unit also directed the production and filming of many propaganda films and feature films accompanied by recordings and commentaries in different languages and Chinese topolects. These films vigorously promoted Cold War ideology to the Malayan people, and all theatres in Malaya were compelled to screen these films. The ultimate goal of the MFU was to interpellate a Malayan identity in order to eradicate the threat posed by communist ideology. This article considers films made by the MFU alongside Cold War archival materials gathered from The British Film Institute, The UK National Archives, Imperial War Museums, The British Library, National Archives of Singapore, the National Film Department of Malaysia, and 1950s–1960s reportage on the MFU in US, UK, and local newspapers in Chinese and English. It will explore how Chinese New Village settlers and Malayan communists were represented in semi-realistic/semi-fictional moving images during the Cold War period. This article aims to reconsider the question of whether the aim of the MFU really was to hasten the end of empire, or if it was an extension of the imperialist machinery of state in S.E. Asia.
ISBN: 9789672165774
Schools: School of Humanities 
Rights: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Strategic Information and Research Development Centre (SIRD) and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. All rights reserved. This book chapter is made available with permission of The Author(s).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Books & Book Chapters

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