Rafidah Aziz, first Malaysian women Minister
It isn’t a new thing! The concept of Bangsa Malaysia is already in the discussion poll in August 1983, after 22 years of Malaysia’s independence. And the discussions is still going until now. So far, how much efforts did we all make in order to make it happen? Or do Malaysian just love to keep the discussions on the ball as parts of the political agenda. If we maps the discussions that been published in the newspaper and other publications, I think it is much more possibilities for us to learn and understand the concept of Bangsa Malaysia then going through discourse about it again and again.
I am not sure if you are aware of this poster, but I am assuming that you do because this is the poster that managed to gather trust of many nations, and responsible in many ways in inserting the nationalism in many people around the world. The poster began its journey in United State for the war between United States of America and British empire in 1812. The poster that was stamped around the country, is known and later become famous as ‘Uncle Sam’. The image of a white elderly man with white hair, a goatee beard and wearing some kind of army uniform with American flaggs color, pointing his finger to the spactators asked for help, to save the country by joining the United States of America’s army.
Well, believe it or not, Uncle Sam had been in Malaya/Malaysia in 1951, not that he had left. But he disguised himself in a Malay man farmer’s style. A man wearing white shirt and kain pelekat ( a casual sarong that man used to wear at home or when working in the farm in early days of Malaysia) with a cloth on covering his head (like a scarf) holding a Malaysian flags. Interesting to see if you start to compare about Malaysia and America, there is not much thing that we did not have in common. The Malaysian flag for examples is created based on the spirits of United States of America, the courage that many states in America fight for to be united as a country. Can we said that Malaysia glorify American’s spirit and managed to create one on its own? I am not going to say much here, but let’s the posters tell the story. Look around and you’ll see..
This poster was published and used for promotion in 1951 with the Malay text written in Arabic scripts ‘Berkhidmat Untuk Tanah Air dan Masuk Polis’ (Serve the motherland and join the police). It is a collection of Malaysian National Archieve (Arkib Negara Malaysia).
Thanks to my mother’s collections of WANITA, Malaysian most popular and oldest women magazine, I am able to conduct this PhD research based on WANITA magazine. WANITA stands for women in Malay language, first published in August 1969 by Utusan Group Malaysia Berhad for women in Malaysia, in Malay language. Nowadays WANTA are competed with many other Malaysia malay language popular women magazines such as Majalah Mingguan Wanita (womens weekly), UMI (mother), NONA (young lady) and many more.
For me personally, it interesting to be able to read not only the cover’s layout, style, images, typo but also the discussions in the content of the magazine. Some of the articles provides the missing piece of puzzle that we all might try to complete. I guess many Malaysian have faced these issues, each one of us carry puzzles and constantly search for the missing pieces of the puzzles. My missing puzzle are found through the old print media. Reading these old prints informed my practices. It is not only the modern glamorous products that contributes to the practices but also the older version because it shows the history of it. These artifacts are my precious, because it hold the key that will allow me to unlock the time tunnel to visit the past lifestyle of many Malaysian. Unfortunately not many of us gets to hold this key, mainly because this key are not available in many officials institutions. They are lost, perhaps in boxes, hidden in warehouse, kept in some safe hands of personal collectors or secondhand book shops. But without them, we are lost and confuse. History informed and shaped the future. Constructed history will shaped constructed future. We need resources, the more the better so we could choose, weight and follow the future we want to be in.
Look at the past Malaysian women… beautiful, modern and intelligent!
I found this Singapore/Malaya stamp in one of Penrose Annual publication in 1957. Isn’t it interesting. Makes me wonder how many new generation in Malaysia knows this stamp. Yet I found this stamp published in a book that has been published nearly 41 years in United Kingdom. In this articles the discussion is about the photogravure technique and process. Apparently it was the lastest printing technique at that time. There are others sample and discussion in these book, which I intend to upload soon.