Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James
Noraini Md. Yusof - Connecting Historical Dots. World War I and British Malaya
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Noraini Md. Yusof
Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Connecting Historical Dots. World War I and British Malaya
Abstract: 2014 marks the centennial anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. The four years of altercation (1914–1918) have been given much rhetorical and visual space; the depiction of war in fiction and films fixated on both the Allied powers and the Central powers. The polemics of heroes and villains resulted from the ideology operating in the production of the fiction and films. In Malaysia too, war films have influenced popular perceptions regarding World War I. This paper revisits this historical juncture by looking at evidence of artifacts associated with the war in what was then British Malaya, and now Malaysia, from a literary perspective. Many Malaysians are more familiar with World War II because the Japanese Occupation of Malaya has not only entered the collective memory of those who survived the period, but it has also been passed down to their descendants. That period is mentioned in contemporary Malaysian literature as well as popular culture. Significantly, World War I is absent. A search reveals that World War I artifacts that are still in existence today: these include cenotaphs; a roll of honor in Melaka; as well as a plaque in Penang and the War Memorial which marks what is now known as The Battle of Penang. Besides the artifacts found, remembering can also be achieved through...
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