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<p>Conference on Overcoming Passions: Race, Religion and the Coming Community in Malaysian Literature, organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore on 11 - 12 October 2004 </p> <p>Updated: 22-Sep-04 </p> <p>1</p> <p>PANEL 1 WRITERS ON MALAYSIA(N)/ WRITINGS </p> <p>The Malaysian Dream: The Pessimistic View of a Bilingual Writer </p> <p>Salleh Ben Joned Writer, Malaysia </p> <p> matsolo2003@yahoo.com </p> <p>The paper will be essentially autobiographical, in the sense that I will use my writings both in Malay and English, creative and non-creative, and the reactions to them from the Malay-reading and English-reading publics. The paper will analyse these very different reactions (in the former case a virtual non-reaction), and speculate about what they tell us about Malaysias multi-cultural reality. Ill make the provocative claim that though Malay is the official National Language, English is the virtual national language, certainly among middle class Malaysians. English, now a global language, is very often spoken even by Malays among themselves, thats partly why the overwhelming majority of my readers are the English-educated; this despite the fact that in the first edition of my bi-lingual poetry book Sajak-Sajak Saleh/Poems Sacred and Profane, two thirds of the poems are in BM. The book was not reviewed at all in any Malay publication. I feel that my way of writing poetry in Malay (the use of irony and parody in the satirical or semi-satirical poems, for example) cannot be appreciated by the majority of Malay readers; and the Malay I use, unlike that of the vast majority of Malay poets and writers, is the earthy Malay as spoken in daily life, The fact that in the second edition of the book, I increased to number of English poems so that its now 50/50 bi-lingual suggests something in the context of the multi-cultural reality of Malaysia. This is reinforced by the fact that my next collection, Adams Dream in His, which will be out before the end of the year, is entirely in English. What this means is that I believe English is much better as the medium for cross-ethnic and cross-cultural communication. Ive also been working on a novel, and it is in English. It seems Salleh Ben Joned the bi-lingual poet and writer will perhaps cease to exist before very long. I lament is possibility. I suppose Ill be legitimizing the ultra-nationalists branding of me as a Mat Saleh writer! Biodata Salleh Ben Joned is now a house-husband who writes poetry and is working on his only novel. Until two years ago, he was for many years a freelance feature-writer and columnist with, consecutively, a number of publications. As a columnist he is best known for his provocative As I Please in The New Straits Times (collected in two books, As I Please and Nothing is Sacred). The second enlarged edition of his bilingual poetry collection Poems Sacred &amp; Profane/Sajak-sajak Saleh came out last year. As I Please was reprinted early this year. For obvious reasons Salleh has actually written more than he has published. One of the works he wrote many years ago, a play called The Amok of Mat Solo, will be done as a rehearsed reading for invited guests only by The Actors Studio. The decision to do this is due to the certainty felt by The Actors Studio that the play would be banned if a staging is attempted. Sallehs new collection of poems, Adams Dream, long over-due, will come out sometime before the end of this year. </p> <p>Conference on Overcoming Passions: Race, Religion and the Coming Community in Malaysian Literature, organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore on 11 - 12 October 2004 </p> <p>Updated: 22-Sep-04 </p> <p>2</p> <p>PANEL 1 WRITERS ON MALAYSIA(N)/ WRITINGS </p> <p>Speaking in Tongues: The Kavyan Writers </p> <p>Uthaya Sankar S. B. and S.G. Prabhawathy Malaysia </p> <p> uthayasb@kavyan.cjb.net </p> <p>This paper examines the history of creative writings produced by Malaysian Indian writers in the Malay language from the early twentieth century until the emergence of the Kayvan writers in the late 1990s. In comparison to their precedessors, the majority of Malaysian Indian writers who write in Malay and came onto the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s were educated in the Malay medium and thus have a better command of the language. Some of these writers, however, believe that since they write in Bahasa Melayu (Malay language), they should also write about budaya Melayu (Malay culture) and Islam. They prefer to be known as penulis bukan Melayu (non-Malay writers), as opposed to penulis kaum India (Malaysian Indian writers) because, as one of them put it, this term puts me closer to the Malays. By the late 1990s, a handful of these new writers had come realised that something had to be done to identify themselves in the Malaysian literary scene as Malaysian Indian writers and Malaysian writers not merely Non-Malay writers. The ensuing soulsearching led to the formation of Yayasan Sasterawan Kaum India Malaysia (Malaysian Indian Writers Foundation), better known as Kayvan, and the production of Sastera Kavyan (Kavyan writings). The final section of this paper will examine the stylistics and some of the thematic preoccupation of Kayvan writers in the context of race, religion and community. Biodata Uthaya Sankar S. B. is a lecturer and Bahasa creative writer. He has written a few books and won several literary awards. He is the founding president of Kavyan. S.G. Prabhawathy is an English language teacher and Bahasa Malaysia creative writer. She writes short stories, poem and articles. Prabha is the secretary of Kavyan. She can be contacted at prabha@kavyan.cjb.net </p> <p>Conference on Overcoming Passions: Race, Religion and the Coming Community in Malaysian Literature, organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore on 11 - 12 October 2004 </p> <p>Updated: 22-Sep-04 </p> <p>3</p> <p>PANEL 1 WRITERS ON MALAYSIA(N)/ WRITINGS </p> <p>Roots and Routes: Travel and Identity </p> <p>Beth Yahp Writer </p> <p> b.yahp@tulisan.net &amp; ybeth02@yahoo.co.uk </p> <p>Roots and Routes: Travel and Identity presents a personal perspective on the journeying self referred to by Kaur et al (eds.) in Travel Worlds: Journeys in Contemporary Cultural Politics (Zed Books, London, 1999): a self in which lifes journey and journeys across the globe are conflated; a self manifest in both historical and contemporary Malaysian experience, given our significant im/emigrant population coupled with our ongoing defining of identity (Malaysia as a nation, Malaysians as hyphenated nationals mix-and-matched in colour-coded conceptions of unity). Ill consider family trajectories (the personal reflecting global as well as specifically Malaysian trends of travel due to education, work, love...) as well as my own (Kuala Lumpur-Sydney-Paris-?); how these have affected/informed my creative output: the constant negotiations involved in my explorations of story, home, belonging, voice, language, representation and authenticity. A context of lived cultural hybridity has resulted in a crisscrossing of cultural borders in my prose work and works such as the opera Moon Spirit Feasting by composer Liza Lim-my libretto of which was inspired by the Chinese myth of the Moon Goddess, the Penang Hungry Ghost Festival, a Daoist sex manual in English, Chinese ideography as well as vaudeville, high Beijing opera and Malaysian religious on-the-street rituals: which then travelled in performance to Australia, Europe and Japan. Biodata Beth Yahp was born in Malaysia of Chinese-Thai parents. She went to university in Australia when she was 20, and lived there for 14 years before moving to Paris. She is now based somewhere between Sydney, Kuala Lumpur and Paris. Her novel The Crocodile Fury (Angus &amp; Robertson, 1992; Flamingo, 1996) won the Victorian Premier's Prize for First Fiction and the NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission Award in Australia. It has been published in Singapore and Malaysia (SIRD, 2003) and translated into several European languages. </p> <p>Conference on Overcoming Passions: Race, Religion and the Coming Community in Malaysian Literature, organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore on 11 - 12 October 2004 </p> <p>Updated: 22-Sep-04 </p> <p>4</p> <p>PANEL 2 MALAY-MUSLIM IDENTITIES AND COSMOPOLITANISM </p> <p>Autobiographical Narrative and the Emergence of a Malay Muslim Identity: </p> <p>Che Husna Azharis The Rambutan Orchard </p> <p>Amin Malak Grant MacEwan College, Edmonton </p> <p>Alberta, Canada </p> <p>malaka@macewan.ca </p> <p>As an autobiographical narrative, The Rambutan Orchard (1993) reveals Azharis formative experiences growing up in rural Kelantan, where her Malay milieu is permeated with the ethos of Islam. With an identity-shaping valence, Islam emerges from Azharis five interlinked stories as a tolerant, inclusive matrix, within which identity is not seen as a contrast to the other but as an organic affiliation to an idyllically caring community. The book reveals an attachment to a place, an engagement with an environment, an orchard, which explicitly evokes the concept of Jannah, the Quranic vision of an orchard paradise. Informed by the theoretical insights of Bakhtin, Foucault, and Said, my paper situates Azharis narrative within the context of Muslim women writing in English who often emulate the Shahrazadic model of storytelling. Azhari is thus prompted by the joy of telling stories that are retrieved, reconstructed, or reinvented for the pleasure of the exercise itself. Moreover, the narrative reveals first-hand an aspect about the Malay culture that is seldom articulated in English with such fidelity and intelligence. The blend of humour and compassion gives an added appeal to the work that celebrates rural Malaysias integrative identification with the culture and civilization of Islam. Biodata Dr Amin Malak teaches English and comparative literature at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He has delivered more than twenty conference papers and published more than thirty articles and reviews in books and refereed, international journals. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Muslim Narratives and the Discourse of English, published in November 2004 by the State University of New York Press. </p> <p>Conference on Overcoming Passions: Race, Religion and the Coming Community in Malaysian Literature, organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore on 11 - 12 October 2004 </p> <p>Updated: 22-Sep-04 </p> <p>5</p> <p>PANEL 2 MALAY-MUSLIM IDENTITIES AND COSMOPOLITANISM </p> <p>The Representation of Women in Selected Fiction in English by Three Contemporary Malay Muslim Women Writers </p> <p>Mazni Binti Muslim &amp; Nasirin Bin Abdillah Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia, Dungun </p> <p> maznimus@tganu.uitm.edu.my &amp; nasirin@tganu.uitm.edu.my </p> <p>This paper investigates and analyses the representation of women characters in contemporary Anglophone womens writing in Malaysia by three Malay Muslim writers: Che Husna Azhari, Dina Zaman and Ellina Abdul Majid. The approach used in the study is based on an Islamic theoretical framework, focusing on Islamic principles found in the Quran, Prophetic Hadith and Sunnah and Muslim writers scholarly writings. The discussion of the writers works in terms of Islamic message and articulation shows that Islamic mores and values are still embedded in their writings. They are consciously aware of their identities as Muslim writers despite exposure to Western education and years of living abroad. In relation to the characterization of women, predominant themes and women-centred topics, the paper also suggests that the writers are writing as women, conscious of their female identities while depicting various portraits of women who faced all kinds of problems and heartaches in facing challenges in the dynamic changing of Malaysias coming community. Biodata Nasirin B. Abdillah is a Malaysian Lecturer of English Language at Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia, Terengganu Branch, Dungun Campus. He is currently pursuing his Masters in English Literature at University of Malaya, Malaysia. Mazni Muslim is a Malaysian Lecturer of English Language at Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia of Terengganu Branch, Dungun Campus. She has completed her MHSc in Literary Studies at International Islamic University Malaysia. </p> <p>Conference on Overcoming Passions: Race, Religion and the Coming Community in Malaysian Literature, organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore on 11 - 12 October 2004 </p> <p>Updated: 22-Sep-04 </p> <p>6</p> <p>PANEL 2 MALAY-MUSLIM IDENTITIES AND COSMOPOLITANISM </p> <p>Of Kopitiams and Mamak Stalls: Cosmopolitan Representational Spaces in Malaysian Film and Television </p> <p>Khoo Gaik Cheng Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore </p> <p> arikgc@nus.edu.sg </p> <p>Independent Malaysian films offer a notion of subjectivity that is (in)formed by and performed through geographical and temporal space. The post-1969 generation of independent Chinese Malaysian filmmakers who grew up during the developmentalist era of the 1990s is not necessarily interested in representing multiethnicity, racial tolerance or inter-racial relationships. While cross-ethnic alliances figure in the film credits, race is not foregrounded. Rather, racial/ethnic diversity is a given, and sensitive cross-ethnic representations result from the cosmopolitan perspectives of these filmmakers. Working from a combination of rooted cosmopolitanism and spatial theory, this paper offers a possible alternative route to think outside of racial pluralism in Malaysia by focusing on the coffeeshop (kopitiam in hokkien) as a potential iconic cosmopolitan space. As a cosmopolitan space that welcomes diversity and cross-racial and -religious critical discourse, kopitiam has become a generic signifier of Malaysian cultural diversity used by Malaysian restaurants abroad as well as to form internet forums that open up spaces for civil society. An integral part of the daily Malaysian landscape, the kopitiam becomes a kind of representational space (Lefebvre) for young independent filmmakers: a timeless space filled with nostalgia and imbued with imaginary and imagined qualities of community. I will focus on two independent animation shorts, Coffeeshop and Dont Play Play, and the television series, Kopitiam (which began in 1998). Simultaneously, I will also root these representations to the real-text of coffeeshops in order to explore further race, religion and the coming community and to theorise: if public spaces like the kopitiam were once historically cosmopolitan (demonstrating an openness to diversity without fear of food pollution), or still are in certain places, or that such cosmopolitan spheres have shifted to mamak stalls in order to accommodate Muslim friends, perhaps the coming community always already existed and still exists in exceptional quarters. Thus, perhaps i...</p>

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