Malaysian P.M. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi launches a fantasy novel written by 13 year old Adam Umemoto who happens to be his nephew.
Of course the occasion was used to get in a political soundbite ... Resolve the Language Issue Before it Gets Out of Hand. (We learn nothing here about the young author or his book which is a pity.)
Out of hand the language issue has already got, methinks, and I agree with the Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein* : why bring up the issue 6 years after the policy was formulated? - after teachers have been trained and are working hard to make it a success, after textbooks have been written, and after the kids have proved they are coping with it?
I've seen this effort at the ground level (in teacher-training, in schools across the country) and it makes me very sad indeed that there are those intent on pulling it apart again.
National Laureate A. Samad Said was among those handing over a memorandum to the palace. (You can also watch a video at ChannelNews Asia - and there is some very good comment at Another Brick in the Wall.)
Let me move on to things much happier.
It's International Women's Day today and in Starmag Amy de Kanter offers an eclectic list of women writers who :
write about loving, laughing and living large ...A bilingual book of Malaysian/German fairytales, is to be launched at the KL International bookfair in August, tentatively titled Kisah Dongeng dan Cerita Rakyat Malaysia dan German. It will be the fourth collaboration between the National Translation Institute (ITNMB) and Goethe-Institut Malaysia.
Also, the National Library currently has an exhibition promoting the literary works of Finland, which features the book covers of Finnish literary works that have been translated. The photo (right) shows deputy head of mission of the Finnish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Henna Knuuttila, handing a copy of Kalevala, a national epic which has been translated into 60 languages to National Library director-general Raslin Abu Bakar at the launch.
Featured are literary works which feature current issues and daily life, there are children’s books, poems and fantasy stories. The literary works depict contemporary culture and recent times including the works of author Sofi Oksanen, who wrote about Estonia after World War II.
Said Knuuttila :
Finnish works have been translated to languages like French, German, Russian, Chinese and English. With this exhibition, people will get an idea of the works, get interested and look for more information. Finnish is not widely spoken so the translations are very important for us.The exhibition will be held until March 31 at the library. Shall we organise a Bibliobibuli field-trip?
(* Oh goodness, what's happening to me? I am agreeing with government policy. Checks forehead for signs of fever.)
Have been caught up reading other views on the subject - Rocky links some very good posts. I also like what Ungku Aziz has to say about bilingual education.