PORTRAYALS OF POST-INDEPENDENT MALAY MEN IN MALAYSIAN NARRATIVES

Hanita Hanim Ismail, Forough Barani

Abstract

This paper emerged from a personal set of observations on the evolving male gender roles, currently drawing attention in Malaysia. As such, the study adds to the budding literature on Malay men and their gender roles and that of Malaysian literature in English. This comparative study is within its initial exploration on literary portrayals of Malay men’s experiences, as part of performing their gender roles, specifically from Lee Kok Liang’s ‘Ronggeng Ronggeng’ and Che Husna Azhari’s ‘Pak De Samad’s Cinema’. We argue that Malay men’s gender roles as protective entities has not undergone a tremendous change. Since the experiences of these men are narrated by a third person, understanding these men through the use of Chilesiz’s phenomenological model enables us to answer a focused phenomenon – the men’s experience as saviours in order to provide a priori that matches the societal, collective impression, perception and expectation of these men’s gender roles. Situated in an early postindependent Malaysian context, these men are moulded into a courageous lot. Instead of fleeing for safety, readers are implored upon with gutsy men whose sense of survivability are fuelled by untamed courage upon seeing threat (either to themselves or people of affection) while juggling with societal expectations as part of forming their gender identity. Instead of using the conventional phenomenological reading onto these men, these men are viewed to show a possession of quality judgement while performing their role as saviours.

Keywords: Consciousness, gender roles, intentionality, Malay men; Malaysia, literature

Cite as: Ismail, H.H & Barani, F. (2018). Portrayals of post-independent Malay men in
Malaysian narratives. Journal of Nusantara Studies, 3(2),162-175. http://dx.doi.org/10.24200/jonus.vol3iss2pp162-175

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