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Latest Updates

“Holding Marriage Hostage”: Webinar at Harvard Law School (18 February)

On Thursday, 18 February 2021, I will be presenting a Zoom webinar at Harvard Law School’s Program on Law & Society in the Muslim World, entitled “Holding Marriage Hostage: Male Guardianship in Muslim Women’s Marriage Application in Contemporary Malaysia”. The talk will be chaired by Professor Dominik Müller (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany). Date: Thursday, 18 February …

New Publication in Asian Studies Review

My peer-reviewed article, “Nikah Express: Malay Polygyny and Marriage-Making at the Malaysian-Thai Border”, has just been published in Asian Studies Review. In this article, I show how bureaucratic restrictions to marriage in Malaysia compel many couples to elope to Southern Thailand. As a result, the Malaysian and Thai Islamic authorities must collaborate to streamline the …

New Publication in Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East & the Islamic World

My peer-reviewed article, entitled “Intimacy Under Surveillance: Illicit Sexuality, Moral Policing, and the State in Contemporary Malaysia”, has just been published in Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World. Based on long-term observations in two Syariah Courts in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu), the article discusses the ways in …

Research Themes

Halal Intimacy

The pursuit of love and intimacy “halal” (permissible) in the eyes of God, the state, and Malay adat (culture & traditions).

Cross-Border Marriage

Syariah-compliant elopements across the border to Southern Thailand.

Ethnography of Malaysian Syariah Courts

Marriage, divorce, and inheritance under the Malaysian Islamic Family Law.


n. When a man is married to two or more wives.

Moral Policing

Being intimate within limits: State-led moral surveillance in Malaysia, and the perils of moral transgressions.

The Malaysian Islamic Bureaucracy

The agents behind the nationwide bureaucratization of Islam in Malaysia today.

Love Magic & Sorcery

The politics of the supernatural, and the power struggle for love.

Where I work


From the bustling markets of Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah, to the halls of Kota Bharu’s Syariah Court.

Southern Thailand

Marriage tourism in Hat Yai & Songkhla. And the place for fantastic tom yum.

Kuala Lumpur

The beating heart of Malaysia. A productive site for a comparative fieldwork vis-à-vis Kelantan.

Negeri Sembilan

Up close and personal: The daily life of an anthropologist in a polygamous household.