On a happier note, the NST is giving away a free facsimile copy of an edition from fifty-years ago with the paper each day in the run up to the celebrations. It's an amazing way to step back into the past, to find out what was in the news (anti-Communist operations, Field Marshall Sir Gerald Templer flying in for the celebrations and longing for a bath, an A-bomb test in South Australia) , what was on at the cinema (Stewart Granger and Rhonda Fleming in Gun Glory, Eleanor Parker and Bill Travers in The Seventh Sin based on Somerset Maugham's The Painted Veil); what goods were being advertised (Brands Essence of Chicken - does nothing change?), what was on TV (oops, there was no TV in Malaya in 1957*. Sorry Tash!).
But of course, what caught my eye was the book page. Two Novelists write on Borneo, Malaya, says one headline, and the reviewer discusses Hugh Hickling's Festival of Hungry Ghosts (which involves the killing of a district officers somewhere in Borneo) and Katherine Sim's Malacca Boy ("the story of a Malacca boy, part Indian, a child of the kamponground whose life she wraps and understanding of the Malay scene").
Both books I'm now curious to read. Hickling's book is available at Abebooks, Sim's I can't trace anywhere.
Malaya and Borneo seen through British eyes ... literature written by the British, for the British.
Remember Burgess' optimism? That one day other races besides the Brits:
... may well themselves contribute to English literature.You've come a long literary way in fifty years, Malaysia!
*TV broadcasts began here in 1963.