MALAY SOCIETY IN THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY: THE BEGINNING OF CHANGEby J. M. GULLICK

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<ul><li><p>MALAY SOCIETY IN THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY: THE BEGINNING OF CHANGE by J.M. GULLICKReview by: Dato Khoo Kay KimJournal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 62, No. 2 (257) (1989), pp.110-111Published by: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41493138 .Accessed: 28/06/2014 10:33</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 193.105.245.90 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 10:33:53 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=mbrashttp://www.jstor.org/stable/41493138?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>BOOK REVIEWS Assembled by the Hon. Review Editor: Datin Patricia Lim Pui Huen </p><p>MALAY SOCIETY IN THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY: THE BEGINNING OF CHANGE </p><p>by J. M. GULLICK </p><p>Published by Oxford University Press , Singapore. </p><p>When Gullick's Indigenous Political Systems of Western Malaya (London, 1958) first appeared, his name was already well known in Malaysian historiography. But he wrote the book as a social anthropologist. Many students of Malaysian history then did not make use of the book. Yet Gullick proved an important point - history can be written very differently. Who it pleases, however, is quite another matter. For many years thereafter, social scientists, writing on Malay society relied heavily on Gullick's work for the historical background. Not a few conventional historians were unhappy with Gullick's book because he dispensed with the details and provided, in- stead, a broad structure of Malay society as it was, more or less, on the eve of British intervention. </p><p>Gullick is now interested in the last 25 years of the 19th century. He covers the same period, generally, as Emily Sadka's The Protected Malay States 1874-1895 (Sin- gapore, 1968) except that his perception of the subject is not confined to administra- tive change and he is not primarily interested in the British but in the Malays. </p><p>But, in this work, Gullick is once more the historian per se. One is simply amazed at the abundance of information that he has been able to gather over the years although he has never functioned as a historian professionally. He has read al- most everything there is to read on the subject. </p><p>This time, the social scientist is likely to be the one to grumble because unless he is diligent he will find the mass of details difficult to digest. If he is diligent, he will be-able to make full use of the rich, and may I add, extremely valuable, data found in this book. </p><p>Because of his training in social anthropology and because he is such a diligent historian, Gullick is confident enough to deal with the subject of change but without falling back almost entirely on theories. In other words, he does not merely assert; he draws his conclusions from contemporary evidence. It is possible, of course, to chal- lenge Gullick's evidence on philosophical grounds. But that will take us neither here nor there. </p><p>For the serious student of history, Gullick's work provides a very useful guide as to how history can be made meaningful without sacrificing the historian's greatest asset - his ability to provide the necessary data to support his interpretation. Writ- ing history is not purely intellectual exercise. And while it is expected that the histo- rian should be imaginative in interpreting his material, there is need for restraint. There are times when the historian does not have the desired evidence; he should not </p><p>110 </p><p>This content downloaded from 193.105.245.90 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 10:33:53 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>use the findings of one society in order to make inferences about another society. It is to Gullick's credit that he does not do that. He is specific. He mentions the state or the territory. He does not use fictitious names so that it is possible for the serious stu- dent of history to check Gullick's data. </p><p>Almost no aspect of Malay society has been neglected by Gullick and I am par- ticularly impressed to find that he has not failed to refer to the rising popularity of soccer among the Malays in the 19th century. This is not to say that Gullick has exhausted the subject. But compared to L. R. Wheeler's The Modern Malay (Lon- don, 1928) which is nothing more than the author's very general perception of the Malays, Gullick's work is really a mine of information complemented by his very keen observation of developments in Malay society. </p><p>Briefly, the book has 15 chapters and Gullick, as in his earlier book, does not fail to deal with each level of Malay society: the ruler, the orang besar and the villa- gers. As mentioned earlier, his view of his subject is very comprehensive. Apart from the economic and social aspects of Malay society, he discusses too education, medicine, Islam and magic. His conclusion is that in the 19th century, under severe external pressure, some traditional societies disintegrated to a greater or lesser ex- tent. Malay society, however, did not do so. He adds: </p><p>One of the main themes of this study is that social change did begin in this period, albeit in a slow, uncertain and uneven fashion. But - even in the western Malay states where the alien impact was strongest - Malay society preserved its essential character and institutions, [p. 363]. Understanding Malay society is a greater challenge than most scholars are wil- </p><p>ling to admit. Gullick's work, by focusing attention on what can be termed the initial phase of change, has paved the way for complementary studies tracing developments from the beginning of the 20th century. Malay society even in the Peninsula was not homogeneous. This adds to the complexity of the subject but unless the scholar realizes this, he is likely to make fundamental errors. Not so long ago one scholar called the Mendeling in 19th century Perak 'Malays' when they were regarded by the local Malays as aliens (placed in the same category as the Chinese). It distorted his perception of his subject which was on Perak Malay society. </p><p>It is my sincere hope that Gullick will continue to make good use of the abun- dance of material he has on Peninsular Malaysian history and he will not hesitate to continue to write the way only historians know how. </p><p>Reviewed by Professor Dato Khoo Kay Kim Professor of History , University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. </p><p>Ill </p><p>This content downloaded from 193.105.245.90 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 10:33:53 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p>Article Contentsp. 110p. 111</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsJournal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 62, No. 2 (257) (1989), pp. 1-118Front MatterANGLO-KEDAH RELATIONS 1688-1765 [pp. 1-17]DR. DAVID KENNETH BASSETT (19311989) [pp. 18-24]ELEPHANTS AND WATER IN THE FEASTING OF SEVENTEENTH CENTURY ACEH [pp. 25-44]KARAYUKI-SAN OF SINGAPORE: 1877 1941 [pp. 45-80]THE KEDAH SUCCESSION CRISIS 1879 1882 [pp. 81-108]BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES about the CONTRIBUTORS to this ISSUE [pp. 109-109]BOOK REVIEWSReview: untitled [pp. 110-111]Review: untitled [pp. 112-114]Review: untitled [pp. 114-117]</p><p>Back Matter</p></li></ul>