A Malay Frontier: Unity and Duality in a Sumatran Kingdom.
Jane Drakard. Ithaca, New York: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1990
The strength of an ideology might be best seen in the way it solves its internal crises and responds to external challenges. The unity of a cultural world is, perhaps, better viewed from the perspective of its frontier zones. This is what Jane Drakard attempts in A Malay Frontier. Instead of looking at the notion of the "Malay world" from its presumed centers, the Palembang-Malaka-Johor axis, she takes the history and the traditional historiographies of Barus as the focus of her study. Barus (now a small town on the northern west coast of Sumatra) is a genuine frontier cultural zone. A coastal town, Barus had, from as early as the tenth century, been involved in the long-distance trade of the maritime "Malay world."