Monday, September 29, 2008

Singapore Literary Award

The shortlists for the Singapore Literary prize have been announced by the National Book Development Council (and many thanks to Philip Tatham for forwarding it) :

English category :

1. Last Boy Ng Yi-Sheng
2. The Lies that Build a Marriage - Suchen Christine Lim
3. Lions in Winter: Stories - Wena Poon
4. Rainbows in Braille - Elmo Jayawardena
5. Five Right Angles - Aaron Lee Soon Yong

Malay category :

1. Bila Rama-Rama Patah Sayapnya - Mohamed Latiff Mohamed
2. Anugerah Bulan Buat Bonda - Muhammad Salihin Sulaiman
3. Langau Menyerang Masjid dan Cerita-cerita Lainnya - Suratman Markasan
4. Cetusan Kalbu Seorang Penyair Peter Augustine Goh
5. Perahu Melayu Di Lautan Khulzum Johar Buang
6. Sekeras Waja Selembut Sutera Manaf Hamzah

Tamil books :

1. Pin Seat Sankar Jayanthi
2. Aayul Thandanai J M Sali
3. Naan Kolai Seyum Penkal K Kanagalatha
4. Ouyir Ourugum Sabtham Palanisamy Subramanian

(There is also a Chinese category but I did not know how to deal with the Chinese characters so please email me if you would like to see the original PDF. Sadly I can't find anything online about the prize - the most recent info is two years out of date, the last time the biennial prize was awarded!)

The award is worth SGD 10,000 for the winner in each category and is open to Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents and is for published works of fiction (novels and short stories) and poetry published between January 2006 and December 2007.

A total of 70 titles were submitted for the four languages: 18 English titles, 18 Chinese titles, 13 Malay titles and 21 Tamil titles. The winners will be announced in an award ceremony in late November or early December 2008.


dreamer idiot said...

Though I've known about Singapore Liteature's Prize and its awarding to the literature in each language, it's still good to point out the cultural recognition given to these four languages individually really points to a sense of multiculturalism, while things are different here. Some filmmakers are not given due recognition here as Malaysian, and Yasmin Ahmad gets criticised for being 'pengkhianat'.

On a different note, I am pleasantly surprised to see Cetusan Kalbu Seorang Penyair by a Peter Augustine Goh. Isn't this wonderful? Somewhat sad then to think that there's a Malaysian poet who writes in Malay, whose name I can't remember that i read about some time back, who though recognised, isn't given more of the recognition he deserves, because he's not malay.

Anonymous said...

Singapore's doing everything right. A shining example of a meritocratic society.

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's good to see all four languages recognised *in this award,* but I'd be cautious of extending the praise to Singaporean society or the Singaporean government in general, becase no, I don't think they do *everything* right, lah! This award makes a real effort towards multiculturalism, and that should be recognised and commended. Like Dreamer Idiot, I'm glad to see a Chinese writer working in Malay and being recognised for it. Bernice Chauly also writes in both BM and English -- but I'd venture to say that both Bernice and Peter Augustine Goh are in the minority in their respective countries. A quorum of writers working freely in national languages that are not their own "mother tongue" would really be fine evidence of a "Bangsa Malaysia."

I'm just not sure that Singaporean society as a whole is quite so evenly multicultural (but then which society is, really?), and don't they have just as many, if not more, controls on free speech?

-- Preeta

Amir said...

The fact that Dreamer Idiot can't recall the poet's name probably means the poet is not that good.

bibliobibuli said...

wong phui nam?

Sufian said...

This guy?

Lim Swee Tin pernah memenangi Hadiah Sastera Malaysia 1982/83, 1986/87, 1988/89, Hadiah Penghargaan Anugerah Puisi Putra 2, 1983 melalui antologi "Akrab", hadiah kedua Peraduan menulis Cerpen dan Puisi 100 Tahun Kuala Lumpur, Hadiah Sastera Utusan Melayu - Public Bank, Hadiah Cerpen DBP-Maybank dan banyak lagi.

Yup. He's ignored.

Damn Malays.

Anonymous said...

Singapore seems more tolerant of minority rights than many of its neighbours.
- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

It's true, Poppadumdum, whatever happens in practice, Singapore is a meritocracy *on paper* and I have always been one to argue that what's on paper *does* matter. I still maintain it does. It's at least a first step, even if the practice doesn't match up (does it? I have no personal experience to bring to bear on this because I've never lived in Singapore). In Malaysia, inequality is the law; in Singapore it's against the law. I'm just wary of granting it Perfect Nation status, that's all.

-- Preeta

Damyanti said...

I've lived in Singapore, and it is not a perfect nation.
But I agree, equality as the law is much better than inequality as the law.

dreamer idiot said...

Sufian, thanks for correcting me, I am most sorry, and must apologise to both you and amir and the others here, but I heard form a colleague of his that he was not given more due recognition as an academic, though he probably would not acknowledge it publicly. Then again, I may be mistaken for taking one person's word for it. but somehow I keep having that sense the establishment, ok, at least the government, see other Malaysians as being somewhat less Malaysian, or being outsiders and nonrepresentative of Malaysian. Again, I do apologise, because my own sentiments cloud my better judgment in making insensitive, careless comments like that. I'm glad that I'm mistaken on this count, that the literary establishment is less influenced by the narrow 'policy' of the government. I am just 'dying' to see us celebrating ourselves s Malaysians, rather that hearing people drawing a line of separation, saying that is a Malay thing, or Chinese, or Indian, as if we cannot learn to respect and appreciate what is good and beautiful of others and make it a part of us. Personally, when I was young, or rather in school, I enjoyed reading Malay literature, and stuff from Dewan sastera (last I bought was a year back, I think). It's been quite a long time and hope to be reacquainted again, but so much to catch up on my reading. I'm actually trying to collect Malay literature, and so far picked up one book, and hoping to add more. Sad though that I either hear or overhear comments like why read malay literature, or that is chinese or indian only. So, meanwhile I am waiting and dreaming of the day to come....

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir and Batin.