If there is one major qualification to be made for the post in the post-colonial it is that the political nationalism that took formerly colonised societies into freedom and independence was, as Partha Chateijee has termed it, a 'derivative discourse',^ which relies heavily on the paradigms and frameworks that are bequeathed by colonialism, even while appearing to be anti-colonial. With regard to Malaysia, the area of 'race' is one of the institutionalised political and Uterary discourses which continues to occupy a dominant position in a post/neo-colonial situation. The dream of nineteenth-century European racism with its ideology of a racially coherent and homogenous nationhood is a spectre that continues to haunt the former colonial world. The hegemony of nationalism, especially elite and bourgeois nationahsm emergent in the early independence period, formulates deliverance from colonial oppression as the seizure and transformation of state and society into an ethnocentric expression." Obstacles to this kind of emancipation invariably emerge as racial, reUgious, or linguistic others and thereby produce the basis of social tensions of varying complexities. (Uganda, Kenya, Burma, Sri Lanka, Fiji and Malaysia are some examples.) The roots of 'imagined communities' in the former colonial world tend to mirror models of power that have been set up and left behind by colonialism, especially in its creation of modem bureaucratic structures that organise and articulate society in racial terms.^
Ambikaipaker, Mohan, Knowing the Natives: Racial Formations and Resistance in Early Colonial Narratives of Malaysia, Kunapipi, 22(1), 2000.