Exmine how Dato' Hamid's self-position has influenced the discourse in "Confessions of an Old Boy" especially in his representation of the other?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dato' Hamid's self- position influences the discourse especially with regards to "the other" because he, himself, is "the other."  Dato' Hamid represents a time in the Malaysian experience that has passed.  He is no longer in the position of established power.  As a consequence, what he speaks is more on the peripheral than anything else.  For example, when he describes how his professional world has changed, it becomes clear that his influence on the discourse is to articulate "the other" because it represents a silenced voice:

I had the misfortune of returning to The Ministry recently and  was shocked to see that the place looked like a cross between a gynaecologist’s waiting room and a hostel. Everyone was either pregnant or asleep. But it was in this very ministry where I began my working life back in the 1950s. I remember those capacious rooms, ceiling fans whirring, paperweights on all the desks,  civil servants in starched white shirts, and even a few starched white civil servants.

Dato' speaks from the position of "the other."  His impressions of the modern workplace setting of The Ministry are vastly and fundamentally different from his own.  This can be seen in his letter to the newspaper and his contention that Malaysian discourse is more fixated on "youth," making his position that of "the other:"

Although I’m retired now I still think about Malaysia and could
be of invaluable service to the nation. Unfortunately, everyone
is so fixated with youth that we people with experience become
ignored. And I have seen everything.

Dato' Hamid's position is that of the outsider, the voice on the periphery.  He speaks of a Malaysia that is no longer in existence.  Like his voice, it, too, is on the margins of discourse.  Dato' sees himself on the outside looking in.  This position influences the discourse because it embodies "the other," demanding the normative voice to acknowledge something in existence on the outside.  

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