Rising sun, setting sun

British and Malayan perspectives on the Japanese occupation of Malaya in fiction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The Japanese occupation of British Malaya engendered a dramatic outpouring of writings by British writers and Malaysian writers alike. While this paper is not intended to cover the entire corpus, it will, however, examine selected works that are representative of both British and Malaysian writers while making a comparative study of their collective perspectives on this particular part of Malaysian history. A preliminary study revealed that Malay fiction on the Occupation was filled with accounts of suffering and inhuman physical tortures borne by the Malays but that the period, in restrospect, was also seen by the Malays as a trigger for a dramatic burst of Malay nationalism, an energy set free by a new awareness of British fallibility. English-language fiction by non-Malay Malayan/Malaysian writers also recorded the same horrors. However, what mostly moved the plot of their novels was the burning desire for personal revenge by the protagonist. This narrow preoccupation seemed to have eclipsed larger issues of social and national dimensions. Unlike the Malaysian version of the Occupation, British writings had conceived the war as a military drama unfolding for themselves and seemed to be oblivious of its political implications to the 'natives'. However, some enlightened post-war writers did show some attempt to come to terms with realities on the ground, though this was always accompanied by feelings of bitterness and betrayal directed at an incompetent and arrogant metropolis and a weak military leadership that had undermined the best efforts of the colonial empire-builders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRepresentations of War in Films and Novels
PublisherPeter Lang AG
Pages201-210
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783653060928, 9783631669662
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2015

Fingerprint

Sun
Writer
Fiction
Military
Protagonist
Betrayal
British Writer
Builders
Novel
Drama
Plot
Trigger
Fallibility
Colonial Empire
Metropolis
Energy
Comparative Study
Physical
Nationalism
History

Keywords

  • British Malaya
  • Fiction
  • Japanese occupation
  • Malay
  • Pacific War

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Rising sun, setting sun : British and Malayan perspectives on the Japanese occupation of Malaya in fiction. / Yahya, Zawiah.

Representations of War in Films and Novels. Peter Lang AG, 2015. p. 201-210.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Yahya, Zawiah. / Rising sun, setting sun : British and Malayan perspectives on the Japanese occupation of Malaya in fiction. Representations of War in Films and Novels. Peter Lang AG, 2015. pp. 201-210
@inbook{ce9617fdb45c469582614fe787ff7ce5,
title = "Rising sun, setting sun: British and Malayan perspectives on the Japanese occupation of Malaya in fiction",
abstract = "The Japanese occupation of British Malaya engendered a dramatic outpouring of writings by British writers and Malaysian writers alike. While this paper is not intended to cover the entire corpus, it will, however, examine selected works that are representative of both British and Malaysian writers while making a comparative study of their collective perspectives on this particular part of Malaysian history. A preliminary study revealed that Malay fiction on the Occupation was filled with accounts of suffering and inhuman physical tortures borne by the Malays but that the period, in restrospect, was also seen by the Malays as a trigger for a dramatic burst of Malay nationalism, an energy set free by a new awareness of British fallibility. English-language fiction by non-Malay Malayan/Malaysian writers also recorded the same horrors. However, what mostly moved the plot of their novels was the burning desire for personal revenge by the protagonist. This narrow preoccupation seemed to have eclipsed larger issues of social and national dimensions. Unlike the Malaysian version of the Occupation, British writings had conceived the war as a military drama unfolding for themselves and seemed to be oblivious of its political implications to the 'natives'. However, some enlightened post-war writers did show some attempt to come to terms with realities on the ground, though this was always accompanied by feelings of bitterness and betrayal directed at an incompetent and arrogant metropolis and a weak military leadership that had undermined the best efforts of the colonial empire-builders.",
keywords = "British Malaya, Fiction, Japanese occupation, Malay, Pacific War",
author = "Zawiah Yahya",
year = "2015",
month = "10",
day = "9",
doi = "10.3726/978-3-653-06092-8",
language = "English",
isbn = "9783653060928",
pages = "201--210",
booktitle = "Representations of War in Films and Novels",
publisher = "Peter Lang AG",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - Rising sun, setting sun

T2 - British and Malayan perspectives on the Japanese occupation of Malaya in fiction

AU - Yahya, Zawiah

PY - 2015/10/9

Y1 - 2015/10/9

N2 - The Japanese occupation of British Malaya engendered a dramatic outpouring of writings by British writers and Malaysian writers alike. While this paper is not intended to cover the entire corpus, it will, however, examine selected works that are representative of both British and Malaysian writers while making a comparative study of their collective perspectives on this particular part of Malaysian history. A preliminary study revealed that Malay fiction on the Occupation was filled with accounts of suffering and inhuman physical tortures borne by the Malays but that the period, in restrospect, was also seen by the Malays as a trigger for a dramatic burst of Malay nationalism, an energy set free by a new awareness of British fallibility. English-language fiction by non-Malay Malayan/Malaysian writers also recorded the same horrors. However, what mostly moved the plot of their novels was the burning desire for personal revenge by the protagonist. This narrow preoccupation seemed to have eclipsed larger issues of social and national dimensions. Unlike the Malaysian version of the Occupation, British writings had conceived the war as a military drama unfolding for themselves and seemed to be oblivious of its political implications to the 'natives'. However, some enlightened post-war writers did show some attempt to come to terms with realities on the ground, though this was always accompanied by feelings of bitterness and betrayal directed at an incompetent and arrogant metropolis and a weak military leadership that had undermined the best efforts of the colonial empire-builders.

AB - The Japanese occupation of British Malaya engendered a dramatic outpouring of writings by British writers and Malaysian writers alike. While this paper is not intended to cover the entire corpus, it will, however, examine selected works that are representative of both British and Malaysian writers while making a comparative study of their collective perspectives on this particular part of Malaysian history. A preliminary study revealed that Malay fiction on the Occupation was filled with accounts of suffering and inhuman physical tortures borne by the Malays but that the period, in restrospect, was also seen by the Malays as a trigger for a dramatic burst of Malay nationalism, an energy set free by a new awareness of British fallibility. English-language fiction by non-Malay Malayan/Malaysian writers also recorded the same horrors. However, what mostly moved the plot of their novels was the burning desire for personal revenge by the protagonist. This narrow preoccupation seemed to have eclipsed larger issues of social and national dimensions. Unlike the Malaysian version of the Occupation, British writings had conceived the war as a military drama unfolding for themselves and seemed to be oblivious of its political implications to the 'natives'. However, some enlightened post-war writers did show some attempt to come to terms with realities on the ground, though this was always accompanied by feelings of bitterness and betrayal directed at an incompetent and arrogant metropolis and a weak military leadership that had undermined the best efforts of the colonial empire-builders.

KW - British Malaya

KW - Fiction

KW - Japanese occupation

KW - Malay

KW - Pacific War

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84967214477&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84967214477&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3726/978-3-653-06092-8

DO - 10.3726/978-3-653-06092-8

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9783653060928

SN - 9783631669662

SP - 201

EP - 210

BT - Representations of War in Films and Novels

PB - Peter Lang AG

ER -