From Our Archives

Meteorological Report, 1885 (NEW!)

Notes on Names of Places in Singapore and its Vicinity

History of the Translation of the Bible into Malay

The Philippine Claim to Sabah




Date: 28 June (Saturday) 2014

Time: 5 p.m.

Venue: Badan Warisan Malaysia, Jalan Stonor, Kuala Lumpur

The 133rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the MBRAS will be held on Saturday, 28th June 2014 at Badan Warisan Malaysia, 2 Jalan Stonor, Kuala Lumpur, at 5.00 pm. Please download the Minutes of the 132nd AGM, Agenda and the 2013 Annual Report.

The AGM will be followed, as is the usual practice, by the annual MBRAS Lecture, this time to be delivered by Dr Patricia Sloane-White, our new representative for North America, details of which can be seen below.





"Gender at Work: sexualized banter and "polygamy talk" in Malay-Muslim corporate space"


Dr. Patricia Sloane-White

Date: 28 June (Saturday) 2014

Time: 6 p.m.

Venue: Badan Warisan Malaysia, Jalan Stonor, Kuala Lumpur

Does “flirting,” “heckling,” and sexualized banter in public settings suspend gender and power asymmetry between men and women or are these merely examples of how sexual and gender hierarchy is enforced? In the Malaysian corporations where I study the growing role of Islamic and shariah-based management policies, sexualized, ribald cross-gender joking--a common and familiar feature of traditional Malay life--persists, but with significant changes.

In this talk, I argue that joking relations between adult Malay men and women prior to Islamization in Malaysia were symmetrical, and reflected an acknowledgement of women’s sexual and marital powers. Such banter allowed women to publicly diminish male prowess and the male privilege of polygamy. As such, I demonstrate that in the past (and as recently as the mid-1990s), cross-gender sexualized banter in public space provided adult Malay-Muslim women with a context for negotiating and creating gender and sexual equality within Islam’s asymmetrical gender norms.

But gender and power relations and Islamic understanding of marital and sexual politics in Malaysian Islam have significantly changed in the past few decades. This talk demonstrates how these changes have registered in today’s Islamic “public space”--that is, in corporate, office-based joking relations and in public life where sexualized banter (like polygamy itself) is accepted as a male privilege against which women can no longer talk back.

Dr. Patricia Sloane-White is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware where she is also Director of Islamic Studies. In addition, Dr. Sloane-White also oversees several programmes for the College of Arts and Sciences, including the Plastino Scholars, Dean’s Scholars, and the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies programs. For the past twenty years or so, Dr. Sloane-White has been engaged in continuous research on the relationship between Islam and modern capitalism in Malaysia, and is a widely-acknowledged expert in this area. Dr. Sloane-White is also the new MBRAS representative for North America.

The MBRAS lecture is open to the public at no charge. As seats are limited, those interested to attend are advised to confirm their attendance or direct any queries via email: mbrasb@gmail.com or by telephone at +603-2283-5345.



   NEW Featured Article : Meteorological Report for 1885    

  An unusual item from our dusty archives constitutes our second featured article for 2014. Its topic is one that continues to engage our daily interest: the weather. The article by Thomas Irvine Rowell which appeared in the JSBRAS of December 1885 had originally been published in the Straits Settlements Annual Report for 1885 but the editors of the Journal at the time must have thought it sufficiently useful to merit its inclusion in the final JSBRAS issue for that year. Readers who are feeling nostalgic for a time when the weather was more predictable might be interested to find out what general conditions were like in parts of Peninsular Malaysia 129 years ago. Though the temperature was arguably cooler at the time, general patterns of the weather do not appear to have altered very much, especially the prevalence of dry conditions in the early months of the year.

Please click on the title above to get to the relevant page.

As usual, comments and corrections are much sought after. Meanwhile we hope readers will enjoy this rather short article and our brief notes accompanying the article.



   NEW From MBRAS : Biographical Dictionary of    Mercantile Personalities of Penang

  The 200 concise biographies of early Penang mercantile personalities included in this volume offer a rare and invaluable glimpse into their lives. The selection is a veritable cultural cross-section of those who pioneered the growth of Penang in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It highlights not only their contribution to the economic, social, political and cultural development of Penang, but also of Malaysia and Southeast Asia as a whole.

Click on the title of the volume above for more details.

Volume edited by Loh Wei Leng, Badriyah Haji Salleh, Mahani Musa, Wong Yee Tuan and Marcus Langdon
RM 50, inclusive of postage, within Malaysia only
RM 40, if purchased in person from the MBRAS office
RM 36, for authors of the volume
For other postage options, please contact us for details.

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