Prof. Anthony Milner, who is with UKM’s International Studies department, categorizes Interlok as being “a bit of a historical novel” that provides an insight into the lives of the Chinese and Indian communities and their relationship with the Malay community.
The Australian academic is likely unaware that his proposal is every bit as controversial as Abdullah Hussain’s contentious novel. Interlok has elicited the firestorm it did precisely because its sympathy quotient is no more than if a third-rate author were to attempt to copy Alex Haley’s acclaimed Roots (about the origins of the African-Americans) but narrating from a white slave owner’s supremacist point of view.
An analogy would be if Milner – who incidentally has admitted to reading Interlok only in its truncated English translation – were to put forward the idea of including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the German school syllabus as a model to teach sympathetic history.
If one were to take Milner at his word, what would a reader derive from the novel regarding the portrayal of Indian and Chinese immigrants historically?
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