Hugh Clifford’s position as both colonial official and writer sets him apart from such contemporaries. His career as colonial administrator in the Malaya and Straits Settlements spanned five decades, and his Malayan short stories, novels and sketches draw an elaborate series of parallels between the act of governing the colony and the discipline of writing a literary text. In Modern Subjects/Colonial Texts Philip Holden places Clifford’s writing in the context of the British "Forward Movement" in the Malay Peninsula, the evolving strategies of colonial governance, and their reception and reinscription by colonial elites. What makes Holden’s study especially interesting is his careful analysis not only of Clifford’s unique role as administrator and writer, but his probing of Clifford’s doubts about the colonial enterprise. The central contradiction of colonialism pervades his fiction. In its late nineteenth-century guise colonialism promised improvement and the uplifting of subject peoples, yet it could not admit them to a position of social equality since at that moment the basis for colonialism would vanish. Holden reveals how the experience as a colonial administrator made Clifford suspicious of the economic expediency which often underlies the rhetoric of mission and duty. Clifford also comes to have doubts about the success of masculinity as a practice of the regulation of the self. As the last chapter of Holden's study shows, such doubts and contradictions were exploited in the reception of Clifford's texts by colonial elites such as the Straits Chinese.