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A Case Of Mistaken Identities? Retelling Malaysia’s National Story

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Chapter Summary

At the centre of Chuah Guat Eng?s Echoes of Silence, A Malaysian Novel, is a mystery, the mystery of national identity. This chapter uses Echoes of Silence as a springboard for a series of questions about the vocabularies, forms and modalities through which what I call 'multiethnicity' can be represented. It uses the term ?multiethnicity? to signify the irreducibly mixed and intertwined racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious histories that characterise, in particular, certain parts of South and Southeast Asia. Processes of multiethnicity are distinct from state multiculturalisms? scripting of national time and space. The chapter then explores the limits and possibilities of the text's writing of multiethnic histories through the device of shared lineages, mixed inheritances and hidden histories of biological hybridity.

Keywords: A Malaysian Novel; Echoes of Silence; Malaysia; multiethnicity; National Story



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