Dominic Puthuceary and Jomo K.S. (eds) (2010) No Cowardly Past: James
Puthucheary: Writings, Poems, Commentaries, 2nd ed., Petaling Jaya: SIRD.
‘Time past and time future are both contained in time present’, wrote James Puthucheary in an
honest and provocative letter from prison more than fifty years ago. Informed by a profound understanding of
history and convinced by the need to construct a sustainable future for his country, Puthucheary spent a
lifetime engaged with the most pressing problems of the day. The new edition of No Cowardly Past brings
together some of his most important essays on political economy, the struggle for a progressive politics and the
character of university education, as well as his lyrical and pungent poetry. The essays are written in a
forthright style that makes his work so accessible and with an unusual candour about the difficulties of
transforming a rapidly changing society. Together with half a dozen commentaries that throw light on his
personal life, political career, intellectual impact and literary output, No Cowardly Past offers the
most comprehensive introduction to one of Malaysia’s greatest public intellectuals. In doing so, it provides
compelling evidence of the continuing relevance of Puthucheary’s ideas for a new generation.
‘The scholarly and political issues raised by Puthucheary … continue to generate considerable
interest’ – Charles Hirschman
‘James Puthucheary is a Malaysian intellectual whose lifelong passion has been the pursuit of
social justice …. A prolific writer and always a clear thinker,[he] has had a tremendous influence of the design
and content of Malaysian economic development strategy’ – Ozay Mehmet
‘When one looks at scholarship in and on Malaya at that time, and for years thereafter,
Puthucheary’s achievement seems even more awesome’ – Jomo K. S.
Dominic Puthucheary is a leading lawyer and has had a distinguished political
career. Jomo K.S. is Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development in the United
Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
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