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By Virginia Matheson Hooker

In instruction for a visit to Malaysia, this helped me comprehend the heritage and present outlook and matters. probably not a enjoyable learn, however it appears well-written and helpful to figuring out the rustic. yet i am not a professional.

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Extra info for A Short History of Malaysia: Linking East and West

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Traces of these older beliefs and practices survive in traditional agricultural rites and at celebrations to mark specific life-stages as well as at times of misfortune (such as disasters and illness). They usually take the form of acts of propitiation to spirits and ancestors conducted by experts who are skilled in dealing with the supernatural. Turning to the remaining three sociocultural patterns, the peoples who were already living in parts of the Peninsula before the Austronesian speakers settled there in large numbers are known by the generic name of Orang Asli, the ‘Original Peoples’.

Population numbers were small and evidence of ‘industry’ or organised labour were not apparent to foreign eyes. For Europeans, accustomed to measuring levels of civilisation by monumental architecture and orderly fields of grain crops, before the 19th century the evidence in Malaysia for civilisation is scanty. It is only with the West’s recent preoccupation with sustainable development that systems such as those practised by the ‘undeveloped’ inhabitants of Malaysia have been recognised as meriting further investigation.

This, in crude terms, was the concept of power in most traditional Malay societies. These are just two ways of expressing and understanding power in the territories that now comprise Malaysia. The only commonality is that neither involves possession of territory. The distinguishing feature is focus. One system acknowledges that a number of individuals in the one community can have ‘power’ (in the sense of special skills) while the other system can exist only if members of the community acknowledge the possession of power by one individual, who becomes a revered figure.

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