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Negotiating Identity in Malaysia: Multi-Cultural Society, Islam, Theatre and Tourism

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Identity is something quite stable but is also malleable and flexible. Although it is often defended, it is also continuously contested and negotiated. This is even more so for communities in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural countries emerging from colonial experiences. This essay will focus on the negotiation of identity in Malaysia, involving historical and present-day relations between the Malay-Muslim majority and the rest of the citizens of the country. The discussion will be made with specific reference to Islam, multi-cultural society, literature/theatre and tourism. It will show that up to the present, national identity, as more or less an assemblage of a set of markers and values, is still an elusive notion. It is still being negotiated in different domains of life, including literature, theatre and tourism, and probably will continue to be negotiated for sometime to come. The process of negotiation is a painful one. Negotiation among ethnic groups requires a degree of openness and tolerance. It involves the authorities on the one hand, and the people of various ethnic groups on the other in the difficult search for a commonly accepted parameter or basic constituents.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853105775013625
2005-09-01
2016-12-09

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