This article begins by seeking an explanation for the solidarity between Malay inmates and guards in perpetrating abusive and discriminatory treatment towards Malay transvestites. In the course of explaining an empirical phenomenon in the Singapore prison, this article has examined Singapore's history and ethnic demography, the ethnic Malay minority's lack of socio-economic development and modernisation vis-a-vis the ethnic Chinese majority, geo-politics, the ideology and strategic choices of the state's political elite and their implications for inter-ethnic interactions between Malays and Chinese. As this article will argue, prison culture, rather than being divorced from larger society, is in effect able to articulate and elaborate on the processes of social exclusion faced by ethnic Malay minorities and male transvestites in Singapore society. By shifting the conceptual focus from 'prison in society' to prison of society', a new analytical dimension of informal inmate culture and social structure has been realised; one which suggests immense possibilities for prison literature.
Masculinity, Discrimination in criminal justice administration, Prisoners, Sexual behavior, Malays, Singapore
Asian Studies | Law and Race | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies
Current Issues in Criminal Justice
University of Sydney, Institute of Criminology
HANIF, Nafis.(2008). Prison’s spoilt identities: Racially structured realities within and beyond. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 20(2), 243-264.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/2221
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