Home is Not Here
- About the Author
As someone who has studied history for much of my life, I have found the past fascinating. But it has always been some grand and even intimidating universe that I wanted to unpick and explain to myself.
Wang Gungwu is one of Asia’s most important public intellectuals. He is best-known for his explorations of Chinese history in the long view, and for his writings on the Chinese diaspora. With Home is Not Here, the historian of grand themes turns to a single life history: his own.
In this volume, Wang talks about his multicultural upbringing and life under British rule. He was born in Surabaya, Java, but his parents’ orientation was always to China. Wang grew up in the plural, multi-ethnic town of Ipoh, Malaya (now Malaysia). He learned English in colonial schools and was taught the Confucian classics at home. After the end of WWII and Japanese occupation, he left for the National Central University in Nanjing to study alongside some of the finest of his generation of Chinese undergraduates. The victory of Mao Zedong’s Communist Party interrupted his education, and he ends this volume with his return to Malaya.
Wise and moving, this is a fascinating reflection on family, identity, and belonging, and on the ability of the individual to find a place amid the historical currents that have shaped Asia and the world.
“A wonderful, rich tapestry of the Malay(si)an life of Southeast Asia’s great cosmopolitan, at the centre of Asia’s mid-century intellectual upheaval."
– Anthony Reid, ANU
“Recording Professor Wang Gungwu’s intellectual journey as he navigated often unsettling questions regarding cultural identity, and his obligations as a citizen-scholar, it also chronicles the individuals and influences that shaped his academic direction. At the same time, the book is a testimony to the support and commitment he received from Margaret Wang, whose own memories, skilfully incorporated into the narrative, highlight the strength of their long partnership.”
– Barbara Watson Andaya, University of Hawaii
“Wang’s memoir provides insight into what shaped the scholarship and world-view of this greatly admired historian. But the most compelling reading here is Wang’s learning where home really is....”
– Lee Kam Hing, New Era
Wang Gungwu, formerly vice chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, is emeritus professor at Australian National University and university professor at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of some 20 books, including Home is Where We Are, published by NUS Press.
Cover Type: Hardback
Page Count: 219
Year Published: 2018
Size: 229mm x 152mm