Thursday, December 28, 2006

Elsewhere Blog Things

Somewhere under the sea in Taiwan, a cable got damaged by an earthquake, and the internet in this part of the world became slower than a crawl down the Federal Highway. The problem will take some days to fix. Those of us internet addicted grind our teeth in frustration, though as Shaolin Tiger pointed out on Monster Blog it might be a good time move away from the keyboard and get a life. (Though, I must say that this morning everything is flowing much better.)

In the scale of bad things, an appaulling internet connection doesn't compare at all to the suffering of those caught in the floods in Johor and Amir makes a plea for donations which I'd like to pass on.

Meanwhile, Kaykay, our book club thorn between the roses, is putting up some pretty good book and film reviews on his blog - all guy stuff, of course. The latest novel under scrutiny is Hannibal Rising, which sounds quite tasty!

Another online review I very much enjoyed reading was Zafar's account of Elmo Jayawardena’s debut novel, Sam's Story which I have to read soon. (It's published locally by Marshall Cavendish.) I met Captain Elmo at the Ubud Readers' and Writers' Festival, and he is not only one of the most important Sri Lankan authors, but someone who sets out to change the world through acts of kindness. Deepika has much more about him here.

Eric highlights some of the local books to look out for in 2007. Ted has been posting all kinds of quirky things. I particularly liked his post on why books will never let you down and the amazing tale of the little Malaysian girl who's read 2,000 books (*gasp*).

Glenda gets shortlisted for an Australian Fantasy award ... again. (And since we've been talking about the Johor floods, do read Glenda's account of some of the manmade causes of them ... we're all too quick to blame acts of God, but poor urban planning and deforestation play a large part in many of the disasters we're seeing in this part of the world.)

And Xeus has a very nasty personal experience ... and immediately sees it as material for a story. (Writers are funny people, y'know!) Lydia describes her book launch for Honk If you're Malaysian! Biggest congrats ... and am so sorry I missed the event.

Any more good book stuff I've missed? Do mention it in the comments.

It strikes me that between us, we have a lot more great literary content than any of the newspapers! And doesn't this in itself make a strong statement for the value of blogging here in Malaysia?


Anonymous said...

It's true, blogging has very much seeped into modern culture in most parts of the world I think. I was reading Prospect magazine last night and there was a short article about how even in the UK reading literary blogs is really important for information and forms part of the everyday rituals, like reading the newspaper and having your morning coffee. I guess in the UK it might be a supplement to people who don't want to spend money on literary mags but here blogs can be our most important source of literary content. And of course, the inevitable community that results from literary blogosphere.

YTSL said...

Greetings from a fellow Malaysian reader cum internet addict.

After reading your recent blog entry, I got to wondering the following:
1) Does the amount and kind of reading that Malaysians do on-line compare favorably with that which they do on "hard copy"?
2) How many Malaysians who are avid readers have yet to discover the wonders of the internet?

If anyone has answers or guesses, I'd be most interested in reading them! :)

As for whether there's "any more good book stuff" out there that you've missed: I'm not sure whether a blog entry I recently wrote about "Gweilo: Memoirs of a Hong Kong Childhood" might qualify, but if you think it does, then please go ahead and check it out at:-

Kak Teh said...

sharon, dare i announce this here...during the last few months I have been meeting with a lot of ex-british servicemen who served in malaya/malaysia during the emergency etc. Quite a few of them had written books based on their experience there. Needless to say moi was given copies of the books. Also, I was given a copy of a book - actually from a manuscript written by a former japanese POW - a malay who survived and wrote everything down. I know, i know, in your hands - these would have been reviewed already. I am a slow reader and even a slower reviewer.
one day sharon, like everything else thati have been promising you, these will see the light of day.

bibliobibuli said...

janet - i think the litblogs are still v. different to the literary magazines in UK and even there fufil a real need for unbiased opinion pieces, and discussion of the issues. there is also a very interesting give and take between the print press and blogging community - each taking from and at the same time feeding into the other.

ytsl - you've raised some very interesting questions there and i wouldn't begin to know how to answer them myself, or if the national library took in to account online reading.

we do tend (as tom palmer pointed out the other day) to equate reading as just being about books, but reading online is very important and for many of us a growing part of the reading we do.

i read online more and more - and a whole range of publications that wouldn't previously have been available to me. i spend an hour or two every day just reading online. but while i read as many books as i used to, i read far fewer print magazines and newspapers.

but the internet turns you into a narrow specialist sometimes ... i find i read about books and writers but skip political news for e.g.

thanks a lot for the link to your book review. enjoyed it.

kak teh - am such a slow reviewer! have tons more to review than i seem to get around to. this week am having a blitz on everything to try and catch up with all the articles that need finishing

the books sound so interesting ... am burning to hear more. i do hope they see light of day too. do any of these manuscripts merit publishing here in malaysia? that would be great ...

Kak Teh said...

sharon, most of the novels based on their experience in the malayan jungle are published here. I met a woman who found her husband's journal and i think the ex-servicemen association will compile all unpublished manuscripts.
as for the malay Japanese POW, i met a scholar he actually transliterated the manuscript from jawi to Malay and had it published in malaysia. I have the book but the sad thing is all the notes that he made as a prisoner were lost, but not before he compiled the manuscript. Then he was shot.

bibliobibuli said...

that is so sad, kak teh.

was thinking ... if there are good manuscripts maybe there would be some interest in republishing them here ...

*cosmic freak* said...

nowadays, companies use blogs to get customer feedbacks. I learnt that in some big organisations in european countries, they have their own dept under the marketing wing, to search for customers' feebacks on their products and their rival's products as in to improve their own products.

yes, this is nothing related to literary.

something do relates to literature tho. I made my first attempt in haiku. if you have the time and a great internet connection and the time, do give me your opinion ok. its in my Cosmic Abyss blog.

bibliobibuli said...

cosmic freak it happens here too. a lot of book industry folks read this blog and get useful informationa bout what we all like don't like about bookstores, books, the local publishing industry etc.

thanks will drop by to read your haiku!!

YTSL said...

Hi again Sharon --

"i read online more and more - and a whole range of publications that wouldn't previously have been available to me. i spend an hour or two every day just reading online. but while i read as many books as i used to, i read far fewer print magazines and newspapers."

I, too, am reading online more and more. And ditto with regards to reading fewer print magazines these days. At the same time, the internet has increased the number of newspapers I read -- for I no longer feel limited to local newspapers.

Now if only such on-line newspapers as the Singapore Straits Times and Hong Kong's South China Morning Post would follow the examples of the New York Times and the (U.K.) Guardian in not requiring paid subscriptions...

"...but the internet turns you into a narrow specialist sometimes."

I see where you're coming from with regards to that. At the same time -- and in mitigation -- though, I also think that the internet does increase the depth of your reading and investigations into specialist subjects.

Lastly, I'm glad that you enjoyed my book review. Do please keep on visiting my blog (address:
and I promise to have more book reviews -- along with entries in general -- in the future. :)

bibliobibuli said...

ytsl - sorry i didn't check back here for a few days. agree with yhou entirely about subscriptions. i wish i could read the book news from singapore's straits times for e.g..

agree too about reading more deeply. maybe i'm not such a narrow reader either because i do read or at least skim the local newspapers and some day the herald tribune ...