Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Changing Face of the Malay Author

New Malay Literature
The Changing Face of the Malay Author
Date: 22 June 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 11.00 am – 12.00 pm
Venue: Black Box, MAP @ Publika
 
Talking Points: Uthaya Sankar SB (click photo to enlarge)
* Kindly take note that these notes were prepared on 21 June 2012 and published automatically in my blog on 22 June 2013 at 11:00 am. The content of the actual topics discussed during the event might vary.
 
Munsyi Abdullah, the father of modern Malay literature (sastera Melayu moden), is an Indian (Muslim).
 
1932: Nagalingam’s “Cerita Orang Yang Tiada Menerima Syukur” (17 & 24 May 1932, Bahtera) – but he could have been a Malay writer after all.
 
More about Malaysian Indian writers writing in Bahasa Malaysia/Malay in my blog. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
 
Kavyan Writers (Sasterawan Kavyan): a small group (minority) of Malaysian Indian writers writing primarily in Bahasa Malaysia. [NAME LIST]
 
Kavyan Writers’ Group (Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan): 22 August 1999.
 
Since long ago, “Malay literature” has been – and still is – about the Malays, by the Malays, for the Malays (tentang Melayu, oleh Melayu, untuk Melayu).
 
Some Malaysian Indian writers (NOT in Kavyan) still believe that they have to write about the Malays, for the Malays (tentang Melayu, untuk Melayu); and how they wish they could also say “by the Malays” (oleh Melayu).
 
We don’t have to change the face of any Malay author. We don’t have to change the face of any “Non-Malay” author writing in Bahasa Malaysia (“Malay”). Let us be what we are. That is the uniqueness which needs to be maintained.
 
Bahasa Malaysia: national language, official language, language of communication, language of/for unity etc. So, every Malaysian – yes, you too – has the right to write – and to write well – in Bahasa Malaysia. [MORE HERE]
 
We in Kavyan use the term “Bahasa Malaysia Literature” (Sastera Bahasa Malaysia); not “Malay Literature” (Sastera Melayu). Go figure.
 
Kavyan Writers and other “Non-Malay” writers – like Gina Yap – have overcome the challenges, mockery, racism, discrimination, barrier, prejudice, boycott etc to become “Malaysian Writers” (Penulis Malaysia); not merely “Non-Malay” writers (Penulis Bukan Melayu).
 
A point to ponder: How many “Non-Malay” Malaysians are reading what these group of minority writers (penulis minoriti) are writing in Bahasa Malaysia?
 
About the panelist:
 
Name             : Uthaya Sankar SB
E-mail            : uthayasb@yahoo.com.my
Blog                : www.uthayasb.blogspot.com
Facebook       : Uthaya Sankar SB (www.facebook.com/uthaya)
Twitter          : Uthaya Sankar SB (www.twitter.com/uthayasb)
Books             : Rudra Avatara (2008), Kathakali (2009), Panchayat: Edisi Khas (2012), Kisah dari Siru Kambam (2013), Hanuman: Suara Hati (2013)
 
“It is a known fact that Uthaya Sankar SB is one of the few active non-Malay writers known in the Malay literary circle.” – Bissme S, The Sun, 13 March 1999
 
“His works are meant for the thinking reader.” – Dina Zaman, New Straits Times, 4 July 2001
 
“He is one of our brightest literary stars.” – Amir Muhammad, The Edge, 19 November 2001
 
“He’s an excellent tale-weaver.” – www.klue.com.my, July 2010
 
“... the elusive, almost inconspicuous Uthaya Sankar SB, a man small in frame, large in intellect and conspicuous in his humility. ... gem of an authority on Malaysia’s national language.” – Cine Fashion, April 2011
 
“He would do well as a stand-up comedian.” – Daphne Lee, The Star, 19 June 2011
 
Uthaya Sankar SB is a Malaysian writer who writes in Bahasa Malaysia which he regards as his first language. Of course, many hate him for that very reason.
 
People usually assume he grew up in a Malay village, thus his ability to write and speak Bahasa Malaysia. But that is far from the truth. He grew up in a village (Aulong Lama in Taiping, Perak) where the majority were Indians and there were only two Malay families (theSun, 16 July 2009) .
 
Dina Zaman calls him “honestly blunt” in an article she wrote in New Straits Times (4 July 2001) while Amir Muhammad refers to Uthaya as “a local Haruki Murakami” in News Straits Times (28 January 2005).
 
“Uthaya’s particular gifts lie in his narrative skill and playful deconstructions of the story form. He easily ranks among the finest writers in this country because his seriousness of purpose is wedded to an admirable lightness of touch. He has fun with the stories, and the fun is infectious” says Amir Muhammad in New Straits Times (13 February 2002) and “He has been one of our most prolific and consistent creative writers for over a decade” in Malay Mail (23 July 2008).
 
He is also known as “a writer who does not fail to capture the attention of his audience with his outspokenness and, not to forget, provocative introductions” as mentioned by Cheah Phaik Kin in New Straits Times (2 December 1998).
 
In Rachael Philip’s opinion, Uthaya is “Swaggeringly arrogant. Impudently bold. Undeniably talented. ... a regular bloke; no mood swings and eccentricities that regularly surround an author” as mentioned in New Straits Times (28 August 2005). – COMPLETE BIODATA HERE