The Symbolism of Brinjal and Plot Number in Malaysian Tamil Folk Songs

Authors: Kingston Pal Thamburaj (Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia) , Logeswary Arumugum (Teacher)
Speakers: Kingston Pal Thamburaj
Strand: Symbolism
Session Type: General Session


This study aimed to discover the use of certain words and number in Malaysian Tamil folk songs and how they are shown as a symbol of trauma faced by the colonized Tamilians. The representation of these hidden contexts is found throughout the folk songs sung by the Tamil labourers who were brought to Malaya by the British. Qualitative approaches with historical, descriptive and explanatory designs were used for this study. The researcher used historical information from sources on Malaysian Labourers and Malaysian Tamil folk songs to analyze and explore the symbolism. Findings revealed that the symbolism of the Brinjal as one of the frequent sources of food and displacement of young female labourers into a further plot to cut rubber trees reveals the famine and sexual exploitation faced by the colonized labourers in Malaya.

Keywords: Malaysian Tamil folk songs, laborers, Colonization, Brinjal, Plot