Monday, May 01, 2006

We Are Beatniks!

Dear Mr. Raman has his latest installment of his litmag up, and a couple of pieces will look familiar to readers of this blog 'cos I donated 'em.

He writes about Amir Mohmamad (left) writing again, with a new column in the NST (certainly the best reason to buy the paper!).

But look at this paragraph and examine the sheer bitchery of Mr. Raman's comment:
What I like about Amir Muhammad is that he does not think it's necessary to do the 'reading' circuit. He simply writes. He does not see the need to pout and pose like a leftover 70's New York City beatnik, reading stuff he wrote ten years ago. And he hasn't threatened to write his definitive novel for the past fifteen years. Nor does he attempt to write 'poetry'.
Beatniks? He means us, of course. Hopeless cases like Bernice and Ruhayat X and Raja Ahmad and Kam Raslan and Fahmi Fadzil and Zedeck Siew and Dina Zaman and Sharanya etc. etc. And me.

Pose and Pout???? Aiyoh!

I think I irked him last time I was in the shop and he started his - you-people-never-complete-novels spiel by telling him that one of his Silverfish writers has his novel finished, it's really good, and he is hoping to publish overseas. (Not to mention that another is on the UEA course and is bound to have a manuscript tucked about her person somewhere, while others are beavering away on writing projects.)

If you want to know what's really going on and who is getting good work written, I said, you should come along to the readings and just talk to people. Touché!

But of course he won't. Not even when the readings are held a few steps away from his shop.

(I shall say nothing of the way he talked loudly through the readings at Maya Gallery that night.)

Now Mr. Raman can be relied on to step on toes and that's much of the fun of reading his website and fair criticism is good for us all ... but who needs the spiteful of spirit?

I can't think that it can be too good for business either when you rely very much on the goodwill of others ...

Talking about the readings - nothing has been happening for a while apart from KLue's events. Bernice says that Sek Sen's place has now become so popular for arts events of all kinds that it's hard to find a free slot. And she has been busy with other projects including a photography exhibition.

But it does need to happen.

Related Posts:

More about the readings here.


The Visitor said...


Chet said...

I can almost season a bowl of shark's fin soup with that comment of his. Vinegar!

Sharanya Manivannan said...

Frankly, Sharon, I don't give a damn whether Mr. R or anyone else wants to tag me a beatnik or a refusenik or Sata-nik, for all I care.

But what does irk me about his comment is that "poetry" is in quotation marks. Anyone who thinks that poetry cannot be savoured as sound, that the experience of it is not heightened when read or heard aloud, and negates the act of performance as an attempt to write "poetry" is sadly mistaken. His whole point seems to be that just because we perform it (aka pose and pout), it's no longer poetry.

By the way... I'm sure you've heard Pramoedya Ananta Toer has passed away?

lil ms d said...

uh. dont worry sharon. we'll get there someday. the thing is to be happy doing it. the journey is as important as the destination, yes?

btw - kid sis who teaches at hartamas told me that her 15 year old students don't read enid blyton/classics etc - they read the shopaholic series, the devil wears prada. sign of the times!

Eternal Wanderer said...

*tsk tsk*

Do I detect a sourpuss or does Mr R think he's so high up in the echelons of the local literary scene that anything that does not match up to his standards will be treated with such soury disdain?

Anyways, Sharon, tried to email you my story for tomorrow but the mail kept bouncing back - looks like you've overloaded your inbox! ^_^

bibliobibuli said...

chet - poetically said

sharanya - yes, left the poetry bit to you!

Pramoedya Ananta Toer's death - yes i heard and will blog it tomorrow - 'tis news i can't ignore

ms d - yes, sure we will get there in the end ...

interesting note about the shopaholic etc.

eternal wanderer - sorry about the bouncing mail - i have a problem and must go into webmail and delete some stuff - getting so much spam these days - porn posing as extracts from the wizard of oz mostly - someone knows i love books

Anonymous said...

Actually, Mr. Thilagadurai (wonder why he never uses that last name) _does_ look somewhat like a beatnik. :)

Sharanya said...

LOL! Am I that predictable? :P

Anyway, who's Mr. Thilagadurai?

Seth Gecko said...

Thilagadurai was Amir Muhammad's surname before he jettisoned it in later articles.

And good on you Sharon.That pompous ass deserves to be taken down a peg or two!Have met him less than 5 times and have already decided that whatever Silverfish's charms are,he sure ain't one of them!The odor of snobbery that permeates the shop whenever he's in it is pungent,to say the least.
Someone should tell him that owning a bookstore doesn't make you an expert on books and the literary scene anymore than running a restaurant makes you a culinary authority.