Friday, September 04, 2009

Kam's History

... it's not that I'm not interested in history. I am. But when I start feeling that my history is being claimed by some purely Malay, nationalistic, separate-from-everybody-else's history, then it upsets me, because it's just not true. Our history — the Chinese, the Indians, the different types of Malay [Malaysians] — are all touched by everybody else. And we should be aware of that, and we should give credit for that.
The Nut Graph interviews Confessions of an Old Boy author Kam Raslan about his childhood, his Malay heritage, and the book on Malaysian histories he's currently working on. Says Kam :
It's going to be about people's history, not top-down; I want to ignore the great leaders. I've been spending a lot of time in the archives, reading about everyday people who lived here then. There was this thing called the Selangor Journal, which was the precursor to the Malay Mail; it mentioned a Professor Lawrence, a balloonist who came to town in 1890s, and he asked for money so he could get his balloon up in the air, take people up and get a look at Kuala Lumpur.

So he got money from some towkay, and over at the Chinese Club — I have no idea what the Chinese Club is— he took the balloon up. It struck me that that would have been the first time anyone had had an aerial view of Malaysia then. So I want to write about what they saw, what was beneath them in KL at the time.

It's not going to be the story of sultans; it's the little stories — stories about "nothing" that say plenty.
And I for one can't wait to read it.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't wait either ... it sounds like it's going to be really interesting.

-Jen

Fadz said...

OK...now this is the kind of history book that I would actually look forward to reading.

Anonymous said...

It does sound great! That balloonist -- what a great launching pad he makes!

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

Sod the book- isn't he so cute, the angsty intellectual type? Jane Sunshine