By James C. Scott
This booklet examines a few of the "everyday" methods peasants may possibly withstand their oppressors. in particular, the writer studied a small Malaysian peasant village within the overdue Nineteen Seventies. This electronic version used to be derived from ACLS Humanities E-Book's (http://www.humanitiesebook.org) on-line model of a similar name.
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Extra resources for Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance
Although they stop short of calling Hamzah lazy, they do claim that he is "not very industrious. "16 "That's why," Tok Kasim says, "we don't much want to give him assistance or work all the time. " "He has property; he's like us. " When I ask who, then, is really poor in the village, they manage, after some discussion, to come up with three possible candidates—Pak Yah, Mansur, and Mat ''halus," all of whom, they say, would be "finished" if they fell ill and could not work. The rest, they claim, are either not so badly off or are not resourceful. Warming to the main theme after having been sidetracked momentarily by my question, Haji Kadir returns to the problem of those who ask for work and alms in bad religion. As an exhibit, he offers his nephew Hashim, from Yan. He regularly comes shortly before the harvest, Haji Kadir claims, to announce that he will help thresh and to ask for a portion of his wages in advance. When threshing time comes, however, he often goes to Megat Dewa in the neighboring state of Perlis where the wages and zakat gifts are better. Once, he adds, Hashim told him in the evening, after having been given an advance, to have the coffee ready early next morning as he would be coming to thresh. Early next morning Haji Kadir spied him walking along the canal to the south of Sedaka, but he turned off to work for someone else. He also suspects that the rice he and two other relatives had given Hashim before Hari Raya (Ramadan) was sold rather than eaten, and he once told Hashim that he should beg rice only from those for whom he threshes. Still, he continues, Hashim has come begging every year for the past decade like clockwork. When Haji Kadir offered to rent him nearly 2 relong he owns in Megat Dewa for a couple of years, Hashim declined. "He wasn't that interested," concluded Haji Kadir. 17 Hashim is thus assimilated to the cases of Razak and Hamzah. None of them, by this account, are particularly interested in work; none are particularly resourceful, except perhaps when it comes to asking for alms or for wages in advance. Some, if not all of them, are pretty welloff after all. And certainly none of them, to judge by their conduct and resources, are worthy of the sympathy and help they have gotten. The discourse, at a distance, between Pak Yah and Haji Kadir is as remarkable for what it ignores as for what it includes. The material facts of the present situation— wage rates, the loss of fieldwork, actual loans and charity given and received—are conspicuous by their relative absence. Perhaps this is merely because they are taken for granted as common knowledge. What is emphasized, however, are the social facts, the quality of human relations. Thus Pak Yah, sixteen. Tak berapa rajin. 17. Dia tak beringat sampai la. Page 147 when he talks about the refusal to give loans, focuses not on the material loss but on the attitude of the rich who regard the poor as "despicable. " Thus Haji Kadir, when he speaks of being importuned for loans, is less openly concerned with what it costs him and more concerned with what he sees as the moral lapses of those who ask for help.