Year published :2003

Pages :368 pp.

Size :14.5x21 cm.

Rights :Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar

ISBN: 9789749575055

Short History of Malaysia, A: Linking East and West

by Virginia Matheson Hooker

One of the last British colonies to achieve independence, Malaysia has been developed by its leaders as a model of rapid modernization. From an earlier image as a romantic tropical backwater, it is now a self-conscious, rapidly developing, hi-tech nation-state stretching from Thailand to the sea boundaries of the Philippines. But the past remains a crucial part of Malaysia’s present.

In this concise history, Virginia Matheson Hooker takes the lives of individuals as examples of their times and describes how the peoples of Malaysia became masters of their extremely varied environments—not only by exploiting the rich natural advantages, but by linking into the complex patterns of trade in the region. Many of the skills of diplomacy, alliance and adaptation Malaysians developed over the centuries are used today as the country embraces globalization while still participating in international life in distinctly Malaysian ways.

From the origins of its aboriginal peoples, through the years of Western domination to the forceful culture politics of Dr Mahathir, this is a lively and informative account of Malaysia’s past, the major trends in its contemporary political life and the challenges it faces in the 21st century.

Virginia Matheson Hooker is an internationally recognized authority on traditional Malay literature and historiography and has published widely in those fields. She is currently Professor of Indonesian and Malay in the Faculty of Asian Studies at the Australian National University. In Malaysia she is best know for her research on one of the most authoritative indigenous histories of the Malay world, Raja Ali Haji’s Tuhfat al-Nafis (The Precious Gift). She has also written on lslam in Malaysia and is currently researching the relationship between Islam and social change in Indonesia.