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Tamils and the Haunting of JusticeHistory and Recognition in Malaysia's Plantations$
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Andrew C. Willford

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838942

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838942.001.0001

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Tapping Memories

Tapping Memories

Plantations Are Not a Workplace

(p.79) 4 Tapping Memories
Tamils and the Haunting of Justice

Andrew C. Willford

S. Nagarajan

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on a growing sense of victimization among Tamils. It addresses how a sense of community, nostalgically formed in the shadow of the Other and framed in the terms of victimhood, seeks to reconstitute itself through a struggle for compensation. Methods of civil disobedience, aided by NGO activists and legal counsel, are witnessed in some cases. However, given the choice of employment elsewhere, cash, and/or the preservation of “community” through collective relocation, groups and individuals will be seen to often act against utilitarian interests. The chapter then looks at the case of a Tamil “mystic” in a plantation, seeing through his story of spiritual transcendence the gradual interpolation of ethnic politics into the lives of plantation workers, as well as the important role that religion plays in mediating politics.

Keywords:   victimization, Tamils, victimhood, compensation, civil disobedience, ethnic politics, plantation workers, religion

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