A defensive psyche is colonialism’s legacy


It has become more and more palpable to scholars that the geography of a place, with the attendant peculiarities of terrain, climate, water supply, transport, flora and fauna, as well as the nature of adjacent regions, goes a long way towards explaining human history. South East Asia – and Penang – is no different.

Continental conditions create polities and mindsets that vary remarkably from those found in maritime and riverine areas. Despite the nation-state straitjacket that territories that make up the Federation of Malaysia are today forced into by historical contingencies, the underlying socio-economic structure and primary acculturating forces instigated by our archipelagic geography shine through quite clearly.

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