Walking towards Red House Canteen at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Dr Ariffin Omar recounts to me his time as both a student and lecturer on and beyond the campus. His constant desire for knowledge and understanding of the world he grew up in decided his academic endeavours into studies on race, politics and nationalism in Indonesia and Malaysia.
These were issues he pursued through his PhD studies at the Australian National University (ANU). Today, Ariffin is still deeply involved in research and politics as a fellow at Penang Institute and as senator for Penang. His book, Bangsa Melayu: Concepts of Democracy and Community, 1945–1950, which was first published in 1985, has recently been reprinted in a second edition by Strategic Information and Research Development Center (SIRD) and Penang Institute, and has been translated into Malay for the first time.
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