e name “New Village” is perti-nent to this issue in many ways.Historically, we know that the new villages were settlements borneout of forced relocation, the resultof British policies against Malay-sian communism. But how didthe inhabitants feel? We can only imagine the alienation thataccompanies any forced move-ment (something that has by nomeans ended today), its psycho-logical eects stretching past themoment of relocation.In 1968, Lloyd Fernando wrotethat there may be some forms of alienation which have yet to beexplored. In that sense, alienationis nothing new. In another sense,though, alienation arises precisely out of the new, the movement of modernity that grants its subjectsa sense of vertigo, and dislocation.Locally, one may trace this back tothe new villages, their construc-tion being a crucial moment of themodern invention of Malaysia.A way of reading this issue,then, is as an exploration of theimpact of the new. Here are rep-resentations and expressions of the current Malaysian moment,which poses questions amidst theurry of modern signs (e.g. theshopping mall), and symbols of the “traditional” (e.g. rural repre-sentations, nature). As the name“New Village” implies, we feel thatthere is an unresolved mingling of the modern with the traditional,which does not fall into the usualdichotomies of modernity versustradition, the urban and therural—a central paradox (andsource of creative potential) of Malaysian existence today. In oth-er words, the new is in the village,the village in the new. Alienationpersists, regardless of its locationand form; history, too, reaches outto today’s moment, regardless of our perception of its eects.Fanon wrote in
Te Wretched of the Earth
, “Each generationmust discover its mission, fulllit or betray it, in relative opacity.”e writer, theorist, and artist un-derstand this existential question,and it is their attunement to thedri of Malaysia today that drivesa publication like New Village.If there is something new to besaid around here, it will be foundin the opacities of reection andexpression, away from the usualheadline-grabbing rhetoric andpartisan confrontation, whichpasses for cultural discussion here.