The British Presence in the Malay World: A Meeting of Civilizational Traditions
 
CAROLINA LÓPEZ C.
 
ABSTRACT
 
This article examines points of convergence and divergence in values, assumptions
and interpretations underlying historical encounters between the British
and the Melayu traditions in colonial Malaya. It proposes that in addition
to examining power relations between them, it is necessary to uncover the
largely unconscious paradigmatic assumptions causing them to view and value
the same phenomena in radically different ways. The basic proposition of the
study is that the British colonizers and the Melayu brought different internalized
filters within themselves to the critical junctures – or the actual encounters
occurring between the two groups. These differences in interpretative
mechanisms, held largely below the level of consciousness, constitute an often
unexamined source of tension and misunderstanding among groups from diverse
traditions. It is the author’s hope that attention given to convergence
and divergence in underlying values and interpretative mechanisms may be of
use in resolving conflict between different traditions, which presently pose a
grave challenge to the world today.
 
Key Words: dualat, piracy, revenue, hamba, internalized belief system
 
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