E.E.C. Thuraisingham ‒ A Malaysian Patriot is about a leading but relatively lesser known political leader in Malaysia who contributed considerably to nation-building during a formative period of the country’s history. In the writing and documentation of history there is a tendency among scholars and institutions to focus on the top leaders; the presidents, prime ministers, governors and others of such standing. Invariably, many leaders who inﬂuenced the nation- building process quietly through supportive and subordinate roles do not receive adequate attention in the national narratives. They remain mostly footnotes in the texts of time.
The approach to the study and writing of history in recent years, particularly in institutions of higher learning, however, has tried to address this imbalance by researching and documenting the contributions of the many lesser known individuals, sometimes the unsung heroes, who also played signiﬁcant roles in nation-building. This approach is important not merely to document the details of their individual lives but also to provide a deeper insight into a country’s past from different vantage points and levels and offer invaluable perspectives of the past. The lives of these individuals shed much light on a nation’s past that is not always represented in the national narratives often centred on a few leading ﬁgures and political movements.
In this context, one individual who has not received adequate attention in the writings on Malaysian history is Dato’ Sir Ernest Emmanuel Clough Thuraisingham, a leading politician, lawyer and social activist in Malaya who played a prominent role in shaping the political and socio-economic landscape of the Federation of Malaya and, later, the Federation of Malaysia. There is very little discussion in existing historical studies of his political ideas and thoughts and role in Malayan politics as well as his social welfare activities. He merely gets a passing mention in many of these studies. Thuraisingham himself has not written a memoir detailing his activities, thoughts and experiences and this has invariably left a vacuum in the historical writings of his role and inﬂuence in Malaysian politics and society. This book is a modest attempt to record the contributions of this important ﬁgure to nation-building in this country. It is hoped that this biography will provide us a deeper insight into the nation’s history and enable us to understand better an important period of this country’s past from a different vantage point. It is also hoped that this book will add to the historiography on Malaysian history in general and political history in particular.