Friday, December 12, 2008

More Preeta

Now it's Sheila Singam's turn to interview Preeta Samarasan and wax lyrical over Evening is the Whole Day in Options magazine of The Edge. The piece isn't online and I'm grateful to Shirley of MPH for scanning it. (Click on pics to enlarge.)

Nice to see I wasn't the only one who gushed!



13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was it really necessary to slam Rani Manicka and Yang-May Ooi in the opening? Or damn with faint praise Tan Twan Eng and Shariza Hussein? Whatever their deficiencies may be, they were still trailblazers and an inspiration to many.
It does no credit to the writer that she feels one way to highlight how good Preeta Samarasan is is to speak slightly of others.
That opening marred my enjoyment of what would otherwise have been an very enjoyable article (yes, am very grumpy today. That might have something to do with it too).

-Jen

bibliobibuli said...

indeed yes, that made me feel sad too. but i think that writers have to express their honest opinion and we recognise that it is just an opinion not an absolute truth. go by the book pages of any british or american newspaper and you will see strong opinions expressed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but there are ways to express her opinions without negativity.

For example, she could have written that "Preeta Samarasan is the first Malaysian debut writer to ..." and highlight the positive instead of listing the negatives of the other writers. After all, this article is about Preeta Samarasan, not all the other writers mentioned.

However, if this article was about the merits of all the writers mentioned then by all means go ahead and express any and all negative opinions. I just think it is unnecessary when apiece is ostensibly about one writer to drag other writers into it for no reason other than to compare them unfavorably.

-Jen

bibliobibuli said...

valid point.

Yusuf Martin said...

A realistic interview of a very nice person. I am so glad that people take notice of this young lady.

Yusuf Martin said...

"Was it really necessary to slam Rani Manicka and Yang-May Ooi in the opening? Or damn with faint praise Tan Twan Eng and Shariza Hussein?"

Unfortunately Malaysia is not familiar with criticism, but criticism is a useful tool to raise standards.

Too many articles are full or worthless praise. It is high time that Malaysia became more critical.

Anonymous said...

It's actually refreshing to read a Malaysian journalist with an opinion!

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

Yusuf,

I don't think two word throwaway comments qualify as criticism. Sure it is criticism of a sort, but I don't think it would help to raise standards. When I think of constructive criticism (which I assume is what you mean by criticism that helps to raise standards) I think more of thoughtful analysis. Not simply expressing negative opinions, but thoughtful opinions (whether positive or negative) of a piece of work. If doing a comparative analysis, then all works compared need to be given equal time and attention.
Sure we can do without some of the rah-rah-rah that goes on whenever a Malaysian writer gets published regardless of his/her merits. But we can also do without "XXX is the best because the rest are all crappy". How about "XXX is the best because AAA, BBB, CCC ..."

Poppadumdum,
If by any chance when you say it is refreshing to read a Malaysian journalist with an opinion, you are referring to her negative opinions and not her positive opinions, I would like to mention that positive opinions are opinions too. Let's not discriminate against negativity-challenged opinions, ok?

-Jen

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Why all this harping on negative opinions? It's you, Jen, who keeps bringing it up! 98% of the article is very postive and encouraging. The opening, is purely about this Malaysian writer, Preeta, in context with the other Malaysian writers, all groundbreakers but displaying varying nuances as a writer writing about Malaysia.

Comparisions are being made all the time, and as Sharon had pointed out, this merely reflects the interviewer's sole opinion. The byline is clearly stated, so if you wish to take issue with the interviewer, do so! So let's focus on the work of Preeta and let's be glad that Malaysian writers are finally being taken seriously in Malaysia and around the world -- at least by readers, and it's the readers opionions that count far more than reviewers and interviewers (though they help, too), but the bottom line, does the work resonate with the reader? Yes, great!

To stay positive, focus on the positive. Don't ignore the negative, just don't focus on it and keep bringing it up and assuming others are focusing on it too! Enjoy the reading, and an opinion is purely that, an opinion. And this is my opinion! Have a nice day, and I mean this in a positive way...

Christine said...

What a well-wrtitten interview :)

And yes, I hope I'll get Preeta's book for Christmas too...

Anonymous said...

wokay

*zips*

-Jen

Yusuf Martin said...

Well said that man from Borneo!

I reiterate that Malaysia needs less of the glowing affidavits and more actual critique - across the board not just in literature, but in the Fine and Graphic Arts too.

Anonymous said...

Yusuf -

Absolutely right. High school students in some weatern countries can write better than some of the so-called "writers" here (and in Singapore too, how about that.)