Reading Japanese Occupation in Malaya in The Rice Mother through the lens of social memory

Nurul Atiqah Amran, Ruzy Suliza Hashim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper examines the reconstruction of social memory as portrayed in The Rice Mother, a historical fiction of the 21st century which appropriates the history of Japanese Occupation in Malaya from 1941 to 1945. Social memory is defined as a unifying force that envisions the past through which cultural and communal influences are derived and handed down through generations. The studies on social memory raise questions about the transmission of the system, preservation of experience and knowledge, and alteration of culture during the historical period in which based on these premises, we emphasise on the small unit of a Ceylonese family. We discuss the process of commemorating history within individual identity and communal relations in the novel which takes on a dark history as the setting of the stories of a Ceylonese immigrant family and the generations that make Malaysia their homeland. Unlike No Dram of Mercy, a memoir by Sybil Kathigasu, a survivor of the occupation, Manicka's novel is based on remnants of history as creative background to a tale that runs several generations. We shall identify the ways in which the history of Japanese Occupation in Malaya is being represented through the lens of social memory to show how a contemporary Malaysian writer still remembers afresh the traumatic memory of our war in our history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-150
Number of pages7
JournalAsian Social Science
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013

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history
Homelands
Malaysia
History
Social Memory
occupation
reconstruction
writer
immigrant
experience

Keywords

  • History
  • Literature
  • Re-visioning
  • Social memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

Cite this

Reading Japanese Occupation in Malaya in The Rice Mother through the lens of social memory. / Amran, Nurul Atiqah; Hashim, Ruzy Suliza.

In: Asian Social Science, Vol. 9, No. 7, 01.06.2013, p. 144-150.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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