Marginalized Minorities in Malaysia? A Case Study of a Demolished Estate Hindu Temple in Penang

Authors

  • Sue Ann Teo Victoria University of Wellington

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-0053

Keywords:

Penang, Malaysia, Hindu temple demolition, Hindus, religious minority

Abstract

In the literature, Malaysian Indians, as minorities, are marginalized and discriminated against, while their agency is either conspicuously lacking or one-dimensional. As a result, the mainstream discourse concerning Malaysian Indians is discursive and renders them subordinate. I argue that despite the marginalization and discrimination, grassroots Malaysian Indian Hindus are not powerless. With a case study of a demolished estate Hindu temple in Penang, I unpack their agential compliance and lack of confrontation when the state government destroyed their community temple. Their agential responses reflect their diverse political and social experiences as minorities and the myriad ways of interpreting the political rivalry between the ruling federal and opposition-led state government. Analysis of the case study is derived from ethnography and in-depth interviews with the estate Hindus.

Author Biography

Sue Ann Teo, Victoria University of Wellington

Teo Sue Ann received her doctorate in Religious Studies from the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research interests in the fields of anthropology and sociology include (Hindu) minorities, gender, and politics. She also works as a researcher in the localisation of Sustainable Development Goals in Malaysia for All-Party Parliamentarian Groups and as a liaison officer for the Northern Region. Her current focus lies on intra-communal relations among Malaysian Indian Hindu communities and casteism. 

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Published

2021-06-28

How to Cite

Teo, S. A. (2021). Marginalized Minorities in Malaysia? A Case Study of a Demolished Estate Hindu Temple in Penang. Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 14(1), 81–98. https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-0053

Issue

Section

Current Research on Southeast Asia