From <em>1984</em> to <em>Birch</em>: The Politics of Cultural and Traditional Arts/Games in the Plays of Kee Thuan Chye

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David Tneh

Abstract

Malaysian playwright Kee Thuan Chye's plays such as 1984 Here and Now, The Big Purge and We Could **** You, Mr. Birch have always placed Malaysian politics as their centre stage discourse. Through his plays, Kee provides an intimate glimpse of Malaysian politics and the individual who struggles to make meaning out of the drudgery of the power struggle between the state and the individual. While Kee's focus, as Gilbert and Lo suggest in their 'Introduction to 1984 Here and Now', has been on how 'existing hegemonic power structures perpetuate gross inequalities in the Malaysian society', he has also touched on the social relations between communal groups that were discriminated against by race-based policies of the National Economic Policy (NEP). This paper takes a deeper look at the meaning of cultural/traditional recreational activities depicted in three of Kee's political plays, arguing that activities are not mere social activities but a manifestation of a deeper network of symbolisms and the politics of representation and dissent against the hegemony of the political state.

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How to Cite
TNEH, David. From 1984 to Birch: The Politics of Cultural and Traditional Arts/Games in the Plays of Kee Thuan Chye. SARE: Southeast Asian Review of English, [S.l.], v. 52, n. 1, p. 122-138, may 2017. ISSN 0127-046X. Available at: <https://sare.um.edu.my/article/view/3263>. Date accessed: 07 aug. 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.22452/sare.vol52no1.9.
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Articles