Welcome to Another Malaysia

By the OtherMalaysia.org team

Welcome, dear readers, to www.othermalaysia.org!

This site was set up by a number of Malaysian scholar-activists and volunteers with the simple aim of providing other sources of information for those who are interested in unearthing aspects of Malaysian history, politics and culture that have thus far been sidelined, marginalised or erased in the official historiography of the post-colonial state. This is not a blog, nor a forum, but rather a resource site that will continue to post articles, columns, travelogues and samples of creative writing by the members of the othermalaysia team and readers of the site. Its aim is to construct a database for those who wish to learn more about Malaysia’s complex and plural history, and to offer a space for young researchers, scholars and activists who wish to contribute to the store of subaltern knowledge in the country.

Othermalaysia.org is a site with a mission: We aim to stir up debate on and about a variety of issues and themes, ranging from the politics of history to the workings of racialised capitalism in the country. We are committed to an academic culture that is democratic, progressive, pluralist, multicultural, anti-racist, anti-sectarian and anti-communalist. We take as our starting point the premise that Malaysia is and has always been a plural society where respect for alterity and difference has to be made a priority. But for pluralism to be defended and cherished, a society like ours requires a common national narrative and imaginary that is inclusive rather than exclusive, acommodating rather than reactionary.

Othermalaysia.org will therefore attempt to highlight aspects of Malaysia’s past and present that have been systematically downplayed or relegated to the background of the national imaginary. We cherish the nation’s multifaceted past, our long historical legacy that dates back to the Hindu-Buddhist and animist era; the rich and diverse contributions made by the coming of Modernity, Islam and other Asian and Western civilisational influences. We hold that ‘Malaysia’ as a concept is too complex to be quarantined within neat ideological or epistemic boundaries, and that we as a nation should celebrate our diversity rather than deny it.

Having said that, we also insist that the writing and foregrounding of subaltern histories is not, and should not be, seen as an attempt to merely replace the official historiography of the state with yet another ideological dogma that is equally static. Malaysia’s story is a complex one with many parallel histories often moving side-by-side, at times together and at times against each other. Yet it is in this apparent tumult of criss-crossing histories that the dynamics of a nation takes place and rather than denying the process of change, we ought to acknowledge its necessity and promote it.

How to use this site:

Othermalaysia.org is committed to an academic culture that is free, open and democratic. Readers are encouraged to use the materials found in this site and all that we ask is that proper acknowledgement is given when articles or other data are accessed and reproduced elsewhere. In the months to come this site will host several galleries and pages where photos, maps, important research papers and documents will be posted. Readers are invited to use these materials in their own research and writing, and are only asked to acknowledge the source, www.othermalaysia.org.

Readers are also invited to contribute articles and research work to the site: Othermalaysia.org welcomes articles on issues of politics, religion, gender, culture, economics et. al. that focus in particular on the subaltern aspects of Malaysian culture and all things Malaysian. We will endeavour to accommodate as many queries, comments and suggestions as humanly possible, and hope that this will serve as a site for all Malaysians and friends of Malaysia who wish to see the emergence of a nation that celebrates its pluralism and diversity.

As we are committed to an academic and research culture that is free, open and democratic we insist that all contributions to the site be made openly and with accountability and academic responsibility in mind. To that end, we insist that all contributions be made publicly and not anonymously. Contributors to the site should know that Othermalaysia.org operates on the basis of transparency – a value we wish to see put to work in our own political culture – and therefore will not publish articles or comments by those who write behind the cloak of pseudonyms.

Let us claim our right to speak, write and think freely as Malaysians, who have the same rights to public space and public representation as the political elite of this country of ours. This is our country, the country of and for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or gender. Writing the complex history of Malaysia can only be an effort that is collective and driven by the political will to see the birth of a nation-state that reflects, rather than denies, this diversity.

The Othermalaysia.org team welcomes you to this site and we hope to hear from you.


The Othermalaysia.org team