The Self and the Other: Re-visioning Melaka in Selected Literary Works
By Noraini Md Yusof, Ruzy Suliza Hashim, and Tajul Arifin Muhamad
International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, Vol. 1, No. 1, May 2011
This paper addresses from a New Historicist viewpoint the changing constructs of the identity of Melaka as evident in literary re-visionings of the 16th century Melaka-Portuguese encounters. The deconstructive nature of New Historicism allows us to disclose that the diverse discourses present Melaka in duality; in some texts Melaka is a great empire while in others, a fallen state. Our findings focus on two re-visioning texts to reveal the agenda behind the writers’ constructions and the ways the state attempts to negotiate the freedom, as well as constraints, of the time and space it dwells in. By deconstructing each aspect of Melaka, we foreground the ideology that is operating in the construction of each. This page from the history of Malaysia remains significant today as it foreshadows the subordination of Melaka (and ultimately other parts of the Malay Peninsula) albeit in different time and space. The complexity of the issues implicated in the identity construction of a state and its nation, as reflected by the various images of Melaka in literature, is also prevalent in present-day Malaysia.