Imagining hybrid cosmopolitan Malaysia through Chinese kung fu comedies: Nasi Lemak 2.0 (2011) and Petaling Street Warriors (2011)

Gaik Khoo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article focuses on two Malaysian nonsensical kung fu comedies, Nasi Lemak 2.0 (Namewee, 2011) and Petaling Street Warriors (James Lee, 2011), that might be regarded as quirky, slightly off-kilter Chinese genre films for their multilingual and multi-ethnic casting. But these films are culturally and geographically rooted in the specificities of contemporary Malaysian politics. Using Bakhtin's concept of heteroglossia to enable a richer reading of these films that deploy an ostensibly 'Chinese' genre made universal by Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, I demonstrate how the 'imagined community' envisioned in these two films is hybrid, cosmopolitan and subverts racialized Malaysian identities. Such a reading serves to counter certain expectations of a monologic global style of kung fu film. By emphasizing such localized particularities and difference, these Malaysian Chinese films provide instances of 'accented cinema' that constantly problematize the homogenizing tendency of perceiving them as universal products.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-72pp.
    JournalJournal of Chinese Cinemas
    Volume8
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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