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Title: Rediscovering the past and reconstructing the future through literature, poetry and drama : identity crisis in Alfian Sa’at’s works.
Authors: Zur Amira Aisha Mohammad Zainudin.
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: The issue of a disjuncture between being Singaporean and being Malay is explored in Alfian Sa’at’s poetic and dramatic literature, and I will be looking at his poetry, namely “Jebat Slays the Dragon” and “Sang Nila by Moonlight” in One Fierce Hour (OFH), “Minority Report” in A History of Amnesia, and his play sex.violence.blood.gore (s.v.b.g). In these works, Alfian wishes to discover a pluralistic and inclusive Malay identity that is independent, rather than one that is subjected to the overwhelming burdens of official history, specifically with regards to the history of Malays in Singapore. Nonetheless, discovering this pluralistic and inclusive Malay identity this does not mean merely revisiting the past and adopting old Malay customs, practices and traditions once more. I propose to examine how Alfian’s literature reflects the desire for a pluralistic Malay identity that is free from traditional notions of being Malay, breaking free from a pre-colonial romanticized notion of the past that existed during the Sultanate period, as well as rising from being downplayed in Singapore’s national narrative, and by extension, in Singapore’s cultural construction as well. This means that multiple identities – encompassing race, nationality, social status, class, and religion – can co-exist in one Malay identity, specifically the Malay-Singaporean/Singaporean-Malay. This will be the overarching argument of this essay, as I will argue and demonstrate how Singapore’s national narrative/official definitions perpetuates the disjuncture between being Malay and being Singaporean, which is reflected in Alfian’s literature.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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