Saudara (1928-1941) : its contribution to the debate on issues in Malay society and the development of a Malay world-view
This thesis attempts to contribute to the social history of Malaya, and of the Malay community within Malaya, in the all-important decade before the Second World War. The major source that it uses for this purpose is the Malay periodical Saudara, which was published in the Straits Settlement of Penang between 1928 and 1941. The thesis will show that, through the period of its publication, Saudara discussed at length within its pages the issues of Malay identity; the role of Islam, globally and within Malay society; the relationship between Malay adat and Islam; the role of Islamic scholars in Malay society; the question of the educational advancement of the Malays; race relations in Malaya; the establishment of the first Malay national association - Persaudaraan Sahabat Pena Malaya (Brotherhood of Pen Friends); the question of the implementation of Islamic law; the status of women; and the developing world-crisis of the pre-war period, and its implications for Malaya. It will, in other words, help to illuminate the development of Malay social, political and religious thinking in a crucial period of transition in Malay society, and will strengthen the argument that Malay nationalism did not 'suddenly' emerge as a consequence of the stresses of the Second World War, but was already taking shape in the inter-war period. It will furthermore show that parts of the Malay elite, at least, had an ambiguous attitude towards the British role as 'protector' of the Malay community in Malaya, and that a 'loyalist' attitude towards Britain need not conflict with a fundamentally nationalist perspective. The thesis is an extension in depth of an area of Malay intellectual and social history that was initially opened up by W. R. Roff. Post-Roff scholarship has tended to concentrate on the earlier Malay-Islamic periodicals, and on the mainly Islamic issues raised in these periodicals. This thesis concentrates on a later Islamic periodical which had a longer run, and concerned itself with all aspects of Malay life at the time.