Thursday, June 11, 2009

Daughter Keeps Father's Work Alive

Haslina Usman (left) daughter of the late National Laureate Usman Awang, talks about keeping her father's legacy alive to Bissme S. in The Sun. :
In 2006, she republished his first and only novel, Tulang2 Berserakan, which was first published in 1966. The following year, she compiled 18 of his short stories into a book called Turunnya Sebuah Bendera.

This year, together with Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia (the national translation institute), UA Enterprise has come out with a ­collection of his poems with English translations entitled Jiwa Hamba (Enslave Soul).

With Usman’s Tulang2 Berserakan also having been translated into ­English under the title Scattered Bones, Haslina hopes to reach a new and larger audience that may have heard about him but never read his work because they are not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia.

Haslina is currently working on two collections of her father’s poems. The first is called Sahabat and it will showcase 12 of his poems in the four major languages – Bahasa Malaysia, English, Tamil and Mandarin.
This first collection should be launched on July 12, which was Usman's birthday. The second, Kekasih, is a collection of 50 poems and she is looking for illustrators and photographers to interpret her father's work.

This, I think is sad :
She recalls a painful incident at a book fair last year where she had a booth displaying her father’s books. When a young boy did not know who Usman Awang was, Haslina realised that she has to do more to ensure her father’s works reach the new, younger generation of Malaysians.
I had the pleasure of meeting Haslina at the same book fair and came away with several Of Usman Awang's novels. Am really looking forward to finding a copy of Scattered Bones to read alongside my Malay version ...

Also worth reading about Usman Awang is this piece from way back by Feisal Tehrani.


lyna ua said...

Hi Sharon,
Thanks for your support. Just to let you know, you may get the two books :1) Scattered Bones. 2)Jiwa Hamba/Enslaved Soul at MPH, Midvalley. Do let me know if you can't get it there. Happy reading!

bibliobibuli said...

thanks so much.

and do keep me up to date with news as i am always happy to blog it. good luck.

lyna ua said...

Fyi - I am now finalising the english translations I'm doing for the book "Sahabatku". I hope to do a reading of it and launch it as well on the 12th of July 09, if I have the funds for it! Anyway, my blog is:

Uthaya Sankar SB said...

Dear Sharon, thanks for mentioning about SN Dato' Usman Awang in your blog.

I heard the story of boy-asks-who-is-that-man from Puan Haslina recently and decided to do what I can to make people (young ones especially) say: "Hey! That's Usman Awang!"

bibliobibuli said...

the neglect is terribly sad. there are so many good malaysian works that just don't seem to be available any more ... classics which everyone should be able to read without having to search on the internet for second-hand copies.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the translation for Jiwa Hamba be Enslaved soul and not Enslave soul? Or was it a typo error Sharon?And when will Kekasih be out? i hope its in Malay as i want to have it as a collection...

Penanak NAsik

Uthaya Sankar SB said...

Dear Anonymous, Jiwa Hamba is Enslaved Soul. A typo error in theSun.

Sahabat is actually "Sahabatku" -- 12 poems in 6 languages.

"Kekasih" will carry 50 poems in Bahasa Malaysia. Also, (I'm on the phone with Puan Haslina Usman as I type!) would include drawings and photos by children and teenagers.

Haslina can be contacted at