Monday, March 12, 2007

Justifying Malaysian Ways

I thought Elizabeth Wong's editorial piece for the latest edition of online magazine for young writers Inky Hands, raises a whole lot of interesting questions about who do, or who should, Malaysian writers write for.
How much should we expect of our readers? How much should we pander to other people's demands, especially when we are trying to reach across cultures? How much should we water down our uniqueness? Should we try to justify the distinctive elements of our culture?
Please do go read the whole thing, and give Elizabeth your comments. There's a new batch of fiction up to enjoy and I think this is an initiative well worth supporting.

9 comments:

dreamer idiot said...

I've read a few pieces there. Pretty good, I must say. Hope they won't overstretch themselves by attempting to do ir monthly, tri-annnually would be very good... and hope they extend the contribution to all other age groups as well, to not only have a broader appeal, but to establish themselves as a literary journal of note…. Come to think of it, maybe I should drop them a note.

lil ms d said...

read it sharon! interesting stuff there.

Rob Spence said...

Sharon - is your streamyx email still operating? I have a feeling my email to you didn't get through, and I can't work out your yahoo address from the profile.

bibliobibuli said...

hi rob. i've been having a few problems am still having actually) and i think i may have accidentally deleted the stuff in my inbox ... can you send again to the streamyx? the other address is sharonbakar at yahoo dot com

Rob Spence said...

OK, will do, when I get home. It was your latest Guardian mention.

Tunku Halim said...

Sharon, I wonder if we are trying too hard to write that "great Malaysian novel" or even write a piece that reflects the true Malaysia.

I've always believed that a writer should write from the heart and whatever comes out should bring meaning and satisfaction to him or her. That is the essence and joy of writing.

bibliobibuli said...

rob - i got mentioned ... again? i don't know how to cope with the fame haha. what was it this time? and please please scan it for me

tunku halim - yes, writers MUST write from the heart. and the "the great ... novel" idea is very much an american preoccupation. but at the same time i think that many readers here are totally hungry for the novel that hasn't happened yet - contemporary, beautifully written, multi-racial, with its finger on the pulse of the times.

Anonymous said...

elizabeth said we shouldn't draw what we write from what we watch(tv) or read(books). the tv part i get, but i find it incredibly difficult to not link what i write with what i read.

bibliobibuli said...

anon - i stopped watching films and tv for a long time because i was scared of being influenced ...

but the honest truth is that it is impossible not to be influenced and that is a mighty good think. all you need to watch out for is that you read a whole range of things and in large quantities.

every author draws on what he/she has read

for instance hari kunzru couldn't have written "the impressionist" without rushdie's "midnight's children"

rushdie obviously read marquez

marquez was influenced by Borges and Kafka

so all writers owe literary debts

the answer read read read read and let all those voices cancel each other out so that you are influenced and not derivative