Author: Vandana Saxena
Year: 2019, Volume 19 Number 2
This paper examines the constructions of “Indian-ness” in Malaysia and the way these constructions shape the interactions between Indian expatriate professionals and the local Malaysian workforce in the ICT sector. The paper uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to analyze the “texts” on Indians and Indian-ness produced in interviews with the professionals—both Indians and Malaysians—in the ICT sector, a sector driven by the transnational workforce. The analysis will be structured along three questions: What defines and categorizes Indian-ness in Malaysia and how are these constructions of Indian-ness a product of the socio-political ideologies borne out of Malaysia’s colonial legacy? How do these discourses of Indian-ness influence the behavior and perceptions towards expatriate Indian professionals, especially from the ICT sector? What is the potential for cross-cultural hybridity (if any) underlying these representations of Indian-ness? By posing these questions, the paper explores cultural nuances that shape the interactions between local population and the Indian expatriates in Malaysian workforce in order to understand how the presence of Indians from India or Mainland Indians (as they are referred to in the common parlance) fit into, challenge, and modify the notions of Indian-ness.
Keywords: Malaysia, India, Indian-ness, discourse, colonialism, expatriate, Information Technology