Beyond “Tribalism”: Re-imagining Malaysia in Adibah Amin’s This End of the Rainbow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, I intend to investigate the Malaysian bilingual writer Adibah Amin’s only novel in the English language, This End of the Rainbow (2006). I wish to argue that the author’s primary objective in the novel is to demonstrate how to “detribalize” Malaysia and create a holistic national identity by bringing the various races together, overcoming their historical rivalries and simmering tensions, augmented by the British colonial rule and Japanese Occupation. I wish to further argue that the national identity that Adibah Amin envisions for Malaysia is both inward-looking and outward-looking—taking care of itself as a mutually cooperative society while maintaining friendly relations with other countries, even those who were once the sources of oppression. Finally, I wish to contend that although the novel is set in the pre-independence period and probes the political circumstances of the time, it also indirectly comments on the current fragmented state of Malaysia, as the novel was written and published only in the new millennium.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading Malaysian Literature in English
Subtitle of host publicationEthnicity, Gender, Diaspora, and Nationalism
EditorsMohammad Quayum
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-16-5021-5
ISBN (Print)978-981-16-5020-8 , 978-981-16-5023-9
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameAsia in Transition
ISSN (Print)2364-8252
ISSN (Electronic)2364-8260


  • Malaysian literature
  • Adibah Amin
  • National identity
  • Tribalism


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