Politicizing Power Between the Imperial Female and the Malay Other in Emily Innes’s The Chersonese With The Gilding Off

Hanita Hanim bt Ismail, Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya


The autobiographical writing by Emily Innes’s The Chersonese with the Gliding offer corded experiences and turbulence underwent by a White officer’s wife to Malaya with an underlying western perspectives and impression on the country during pre-Independence period and its people. By using narrative data, this article examines existing power relations, framed within interactions between the white lady (representing the Self) and her Malay male servants (as the Other). The use of Michel Foucault’s Technology of Power enables an analysis of power strategies that represent both binary opposites in order to also trace the existence of gender power. More specifically, it allows a proto- conceptualisation of types among Malay men that are identifiable during the pre-Independence period. Further understanding the Malay men, especially of their ego, is important in the growing interest over Postcolonial subject where it explores forms of resistance, portrayed by the Other in his daily power relation with the Self. Findings reveal that while power play exists within these interactions, it is a one-sided discourse which sanctions fair play as well as equality of power distribution.  

Keywords: Malaya, Foucault’s Technologies of Power, Masculinity, Malay Man’s Ego, Malayness

Full Text:



Ahmad, S. N., Pillai, S., & Yusof, N. M. (2011). “Rehabilitating Eden: archetypal images of Malaya in European travel writing”. Journeys, 12(1): pp.22-45.

Al_Ogaili, T. A. J. & Ruzbeh, B. “Ambivalent Colonial Relations inOctavia Butler’s Wild Seed”. International Journal of Human Sciences, 13(1) Jan 2016: 22-31.

Anderson, C. (2008) On the Contrary: Counter-Narratives of British Women Travellers, 1882-1885.Doctoral Thesis. University of Western Australia.

Balan, S. “M. Foucault’s View on Power Relation”. Cogito- Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 2(1): pp. 193-198.

Clifford, M. L. (1968). The Land and People of Malaysia. Philadelphia &New York.

Doran, C. (1998). “Golden Marvels and Gilded Monsters: Two Women’s Accounts of Colonial Malaya”. Asian Studies Review, 22(2), pp. 184-185.

Duineveld, M. & Dix, G. (2011). “Power and Discipline in Transitions: Michel Foucault.” Ed. SietzeVellema. Transformation and Sustainability in Agriculture. Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Foucault, M. (1980). Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977, Ed. Colin Gordon, New York & London.

-- (1982). “The Subject and Power”. Critical Inquiry,8(4), pp. 777-795. Hall, S. (1964). A History of South East Asia. 2nd ed. London

Hobbes, T. (1651). Levianthan, Or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill. Andrew Crooke: London.

Holquist, M. (1990). Dialogism: Bakhtin and his World. 2nd ed. Routledge: London & New York.

Hull, S. P., &MohdPakri, M. R. (2015). “A colonial by acquisition: ambivalent subjectivity in Agnes Keith's Land Below the Wind.” Studies in Travel Writing, 19(4): pp. 371-399.

Jedamski, D. (1995). Images, Self-Images and the Perception of the Other: Women Travellers in the Malay Archipelago. Occasional Paper No. 26. Uni. of Hull: Hull, 1995.

Lewandorski, J. (1995). "Rethinking Power and Subjectivity after Foucault". Symplokē, 3(2):pp. 213-243

Mills, S. (1991). Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing and Colonialism. London: Routledge.

Nagata, J. (1974). “Adat in the city: Some perceptions and practices among urban Malays”. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- enVolkenkunde,130(1), pp. 91-109.

Noor, F. A. (1997). “Innocents abroad? The erasure of the question of race and power in contemporary feminist and 'nostalgic' travelogues.” South East Asia Research: pp. 57-88.

Said, E. (1979).Orientalism, New York.

Shamsul A.B. (2001). “A History of an Identity, an Identity of a History: The Idea and Practice of ‘Malayness’ in Malaysia Reconsidered”. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 32(3), pp. 355-366.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.