Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. And as we’ve seen throughout this month’s posts, xenophobia runs (not so) subtly through The Tale of the Hostage Prince, whether it’s the Bayangans’ inability to fully accept the Tawanan back into society or the way they reject their young “foreign” ruler’s efforts to effect changes in the law.
It comes back down to emigration and exile, and the whole idea of being a foreigner even in your homeland.
In many ways, it also mirrors the complex relationship I have with Malaysia. “What makes one a Malaysian?” is a question that has been explored many, many times, with varying conclusions. Because the obvious one, being born in Malaysia to Malaysian parents, sometimes doesn’t seem to be enough in light of your race or religion. How can one be xenophobic against people you grew up amongst?
And yet, some can. Because we live in our own comfortable bubbles.
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The Tale of the Hostage Prince (Absolution 1.5)
But peace doesn’t come easily, not for a twenty-year-old servant playacting at being king.
With his parents brutally murdered and his uncle bent on revenge, Yosua must decide where his loyalties truly lie. With his only remaining relative and the kingdom he has claimed? Or with his best friend Mikal and the sultanate that raised him as a hostage?