Amok, one of the few Malay words commonly appearing in English, names a syndrome of unpredictable and indiscriminate homicidal behavior with suicidal intent. In tracing the development of this behavioral pattern, Spores examines historical data, including frequently colorful colonialist accounts of such episodes, from British Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies during the period 1800–1925.
Spores presents a basic etiological distinction between reactive-motivated and a spontaneous, unmotivated amok; the one an intentional act capable of establishing or restoring dignity and self-respect; the other a result of organic disturbance. He also explores the social-psychological dynamics of engagement in the two types of solitary amok and suggests possible behavioral chains. Further, his study demonstrates the impact of social forces and processes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century which significantly altered factors in traditional Malay society important in generating expressions of solitary amok.
Running amok demonstrates the utility of bringing historical data to bear on the examination of specific social phenomena, particularly suggesting that the understanding of some present-day forms of mental disorder or other aberrant or deviant behavior can be facilitated and enriched through such analysis.
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This translation of Ibrahim Syukri’s Sejarah Kerajaan Melayu Patani (SKMP) makes available a little known but important manuscript published privately ca. 1950 and printed in jawi (Malay written in a modified Arabic script). Shortly after its publication, the book was banned in both Thailand and Malaysia. It appears that a few copies of the original printing survived.
China has been an important player in the international economy for two thousand years and has historically exerted enormous influence over the development and nature of political and economic affairs in the regions beyond its borders, especially its neighbors.
One of the major processes in modern Southeast Asian history has been the development of ethnically heterogeneous towns and cities. Kucing, an intermediate-sized urban center in Sarawak, Malaysia, is today an institutionally complex, predominantly Chinese city of 100,000 led by modern political leaders. Lockard’s account of the development and growth of Kucing over 150 years devotes particular attention to the remarkable absence of ethnic conflict in the mixed society of Kucing.