• Hanita Hanim binti Ismail
  • Mohammad Nusr Al-Subaihi


Background and Purpose: The development of scholarship on Malaysian Literature in English (MLiE) continuously receives attention, especially on one particular direction, which is the studies of the Malays. Inspired by the Malay proverb “Diluah mati mak, ditelan mati bapa” (Malay for ‘between the devil and the deep sea), this study looked into local literature in relation to powerlessness and its social complexity where we argue that the Malays are often caught in-between entanglements that prohibit individualism, as due to societal prejudice.


Methodology: This study employed thematic analysis where upon familiarizing with Azhari’s short stories, namely Mariah and of Bunga Telur and Bally shoes, the researchers identified themes that help understand the types and causes of powerlessness as illustrated in the short stories before associating the Malays’ state of powerlessness and their emotional suppression.


Findings: Findings revealed that both genders suffer from the Malay prejudice and their own lack of emotional strength, causing both to be powerless captives in different contexts, unlike the Western societies where similar situations might lead to alienation.


Contributions: The study contributed towards the understanding of social phenomenon, namely issues regarding powerlessness among the Malays. Such contribution is significant at developing potentials within building national talent, especially those regarding family and spiritual values.    


Keywords: Che Husna Azhari, emotional suppression, Malays, Malaysian literature in English, powerlessness.


Cite as: Ismail, H. H., & Al-Subaihi, M. N. (2020). States of Malay powerlessness in the works of Che Husna Azhari. Journal of Nusantara Studies, 5(1), 211-233.

Author Biographies

Hanita Hanim binti Ismail

Centre of English Language Studies, Faculty of Languages and Communication, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Gong Badak Campus, 21300 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, Malaysia

Mohammad Nusr Al-Subaihi

Mohammad Mahmoud Najem School, Jaber Al-Ahmad, Kuwait.

How to Cite
binti Ismail, H. H., & Al-Subaihi, M. N. (2020). STATES OF MALAY POWERLESSNESS IN THE WORKS OF CHE HUSNA AZHARI. Journal of Nusantara Studies (JONUS), 5(1), 211-233.