By dr. Hamzah Bin Muzaini - This project seeks to undertake some work towards producing journal articles and/or book chapters out of my PhD thesis on ‘Postcolonial Memoryscapes and the Memorialisation of the Second World War in Perak, Malaysia’, completed in 2009.
This (PhD) thesis is concerned with how the Second World War is memorialised in Perak, Malaysia. It considers memoryscapes (or memory practices and sites) within the state dedicated to the war, established not only by state agencies but also grassroots actors. In terms of findings, (1) the thesis first highlights how the Perak state has sought to ‘postcolonialise’ (read: ‘nationalise’) public representations of what was an event that took place when Malaysia was still part of ‘colonial’ Malaya, and the issues associated with it, particularly how, despite efforts to make the war (and its attendant memoryscapes) something its people could identify with, the state has been criticised as exclusionary of ‘local’ war stories and partial to a ‘foreign’ audience, thus alienating its population and reproducing much of how war commemoration in Perak was when Malaysia was under British rule before. (2) The second concern of the thesis is on the ways in which war narratives of the war that are marginalized within official representations may still survive in other forms and on other sub-national scales (3) Lastly, the thesis touches upon the ways in which ‘the material’ may be appropriated towards forgetting the war, not only officially by the state but also by those who went through the war as ordinary civilians.