Read e-book online A Short History of Malaysia: Linking East and West PDF

By Virginia Matheson Hooker

ISBN-10: 1864489553

ISBN-13: 9781864489552

In guidance for a visit to Malaysia, this helped me comprehend the background and present outlook and matters. not likely a enjoyable learn, however it looks well-written and priceless to figuring out the rustic. yet i am not a professional.

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

Sample text

This way of life is found mainly in the mountain areas of the central parts of the Peninsula. Peoples following this sociocultural pattern include the Temiars, Semais, Jah Huts and Btsisis (or Mah Meris) (see map 3, page xvii). Because swidden farming depends on allowing the land to lie fallow after several seasons it is necessary to move regularly, even if the group returns after many years to lands worked previously. While there are many variations in religious systems among these peoples, the common practice of swidden farming makes it possible to make some very general points about their social systems.

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. It also seems that over time, the concept of power as emanating from only one person—sometimes termed the ‘great man’ or ‘man of prowess’ theory of power—transformed that individual (and their descendants) into sources of spiritual energy.

Tastes may change radically or greater quantities of particular items may be needed. Thus, it was important to encourage diversity in order to meet all eventualities and for middlemen and leaders to be in regular contact with their suppliers. In difficult terrains with sparse populations the most effective way to achieve this would have been through individual contact and ties of personal loyalty to key individuals. If leaders failed to maintain a diversity of links, or encouraged and protected a small group of favourites at the expense of a broader network of alliances, they ran the risk of restricting their options and decreasing their flexibility to respond quickly to new situations.

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A Short History of Malaysia: Linking East and West by Virginia Matheson Hooker


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