Archive for January 5th, 2017

Conversations and Explorations: Pauline Fan an Exciting Time for Malaysian Literature

By Gareth Richards
Penang Monthly
January 2017

Translation matters. It always has, but perhaps now more than ever. It is a paradox that globalisation offers the technological means of communication and conversation across borders, and yet politics (including the culture wars) seems to be driven by small-mindedness, xenophobia and enmity. It is these “moments in time when the world is changing” that “bring out the best and the worst in people,” as Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng puts it. If literature possesses an emancipatory potential – if it can open up spaces for critical thinking and be a flame in the darkness – then the act of translating fiction and poetry surely lies somewhere near its centre.

The recent edition of the George Town Literary Festival offered a clear focus on the potential of literary translation. In general terms, the thematic core of the festival – captured by the Welsh word hiraeth, the longing for a homeland that is no longer there – necessarily explored the ways in which literatures travel, across time and space. In addition, there were also dedicated panels that discussed the subtle arts of reading, reimagining and translating foreign fiction and poetry across many different languages. One thing was made clear: no one will ever read an author’s work as closely as her translator does.

We caught up with a number of respected literary translators at the festival to reflect on the process, products and prospects for this work in Malaysia and beyond. Here we feature the KL-based poet Pauline Fan, who is also co-editor of NARATIF | Kisah, a bilingual literary journal that features work by both Malaysian and international authors. For her, translation is a “confluence” of literary traditions where important connections are made. And this work is nested within an ongoing moment of “encounter, engagement and critical contemplation”. Read the rest of this entry »

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As world closes doors to refugee surge, Aceh aid expert urges Japan to open up, play lead role

The Japan Times
JAN 2, 2017

The global refugee crisis is stoking anti-immigration sentiment in Europe and the United States, but Japan could take the initiative to become a leading voice to protect those who are displaced, an expert on assistance to such people in Asia has said.

“I’m not very confident that the West can play a lead in being that voice,” said Lilianne Fan, co-founder of Geutanyoe Foundation, a nongovernmental organization based in Aceh, Indonesia.

“I think we need actors from our regions — from Asia — and I think Japan is the best candidate to be the leading voice in trying to champion peace,” Fan said in a recent interview with The Japan Times. Fan was visiting to discuss refugee issues with Japanese stakeholders.

Fan has worked for more than 16 years to support refugee and other displaced people in Asia and other parts of the world, particularly in Aceh, Myanmar, Haiti and Jordan. Having received a master’s degree from Columbia University in 2004, Fan, who concurrently works as a research associate at the London-based Overseas Development Institute, has served as an adviser for the United Nations, the World Bank and the Red Cross. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nur Jazlan should produce the papers to prove that Najib is entitled to use government jet to gallivant around the world with his family

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed has claimed that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is entitled to use the government jet to gallivant around the world with his family.

I am not convinced and I challenge Nur Jazlan to produce the papers and documents to prove Najib has such entitlements as Prime Minister.
Let Malaysians have a full accounting of the Australian end-of-the-year holiday trip of the Prime Minister, his family and whoever were on the junket, the destinations and the costs of the jet-abouts involved.

Since the Prime Minister had the use of the government jet before the Australian trip, as he was in Kuantan, Kuching and Tawau attending the Pahang Federation of Chinese Association dinner in Kuantan, the Batang Sadong bridge launch in Kuching and the launching of the Sabah section of the Pan-Borneo Highway in Tawau, Najib should explain why he could not slot into his itinerary to attend the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) Christmas High-Tea so that he would not be absent from such a significant function in a multi-religious Malaysia for three consecutive years in a row. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who is Najib’s Goebbels? Is he prepared to emerge from the darkness and come into the light to identify himself and explain why he is masterminding so many “fake news” and “false stories” about critics and the Opposition?

It is indeed supreme irony that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should kick off the new year warning about “fake news” and “false stories” as a grave problem in the country, when it is the UMNO leaders, propagandists and cybertroopers and the country’s mainstream media like New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia which are the worst culprits in concocting and disseminating fake news and false stories about critics and the Opposition.

Their action befits the Chinese saying about “Thief shouting thief” which basically means to divert the attention of others so as to cover up one’s misdoings

In the fifth day of the new year, we already have several examples of such “fake news” and “false stories” perpetrated by UMNO leaders, propagandists, cyberbtroopers and sycophants and I shudder to think of the mountain of lies, “fake news” and “false stories” that will be concocted this year in the run-up to the 14th General Election, which can be held anytime between May and October.

Najib gave the “official launch” for the UMNO/BN campaign of “fake news” and “false stories” – a classic “thief shouting thief” act reminiscent of the Nazi “Big Lies” propaganda offensive – in his UMNO Presidential Speech on Nov. 30, telling three “Big Lies”, viz:

1. That the 14th General Elections will be a contest between UMNO and DAP;

2. That the DAP is anti-Malay or anti-Islam.

3. The “nightmares” Malay will suffer if UMNO loses power in the next general elections.

Najib’s three “Big Lies” would make Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, green with envy as it was Goebbels who gave the following definition of Nazi’s Big Lies offensive: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”.

There no need to repeat my rebuttal of Najib’s Three Nazi-style “Big Lies” which the Prime Minister and his propaganda team had not been able to refute. Read the rest of this entry »


Liow Tiong Lai, Mah Siew Keong and Subramaniam must not be afraid of Pensiangan Formula, but learn to understand it and present it to the Cabinet as the best way to address political and constitutional stalemate caused by UMNO support for Hadi’s private member’s bill

After MCA’s degeneration into a “7/11 political party”, very few Malaysians paid much attention to sayings and doings of MCA leaders, including Ministers – and I am one of them.

But the Malaysiakini headline yesterday “MCA slams ‘amnesiac’ Kit Siang over hudud bill” aroused my curiosity, for there is some mental life left if one can use words like “amnesiac”!

This led me to read the report but I was bound for a disappointment.

I was accused of having lost my memory and advised to immediately consult a doctor for forgetting that “on Dec 30, 2016, MCA president Liow Tiong Lai had declared that ‘regardless of any bill tabled by the opposition or Umno, if it is against the constitution, MCA will oppose it to the end’.”

I did not forget. I just did not know.

In utter humility, I searched the website of MCA’s official mouthpiece, the Star. It was not there.

For the first time, I visited the MCA website, and it was also not there.

Liow might have told the Chinese media, but that is exactly the point about MCA Ministers and leaders – they say one thing to the Chinese media but a very different thing to UMNO leaders! Read the rest of this entry »

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