Crossroads by Jim Baker

A popular history of Malaysia and Singapore

Jim Baker

Crossroads - a popular history of Malaysia and Singapore

First Edition  (1999)
Second Edition (2008)
Third Edition (2014)


Selected snippets from the book:

defining the terms Malays, Malaya, Malayans, Malaysia and Malaysians:

The Malays are a racial group, and Malay is their language. The Malays make up the majority of the population of the present-day Federation of Malaysia and a minority in the Republic of Singapore. Generally, the term includes a race of people who make up a significant portion of the population of southern Thailand and most of the populations of Indonesia and Brunei, as well as a minority in the southern Philippines. Collectively, they are the Malay people but only referred to in that way by the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand. The Malay language is spoken throughout the area but with significant differences in dialect. For example, Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia are quite similar. Malaya was a British creation and refers to the states formerly controlled by the British on the Malay Peninsula. The formal use of the term came into being after World War II, when the Federation of Malaya was Created and became an independent country in 1957. Prior to this, the area  was often referred to as British Malaya and included Singapore for most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this book, Malaya refers to the Malay Peninsula that eventually became British Malaya. "Malayans" refers to the inhabitants of the peninsula and later on the federation, whether they be Malay, Chinese, Indian or Eurasian. Malaysla was created in 1963 with the merger of the Federation of Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah (formerly known as British North Borneo). Singapore left the federation in 1965.