Asian Voices in English
Publication Year: 1991
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
Title Page, Copyright
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In December 1988, as part of the British Council's celebration of forty years' work in Hong Kong, Dr Han Suyin gave a public lecture entitled 'Asian Writers in English'. It was on that occasion that the idea of a meeting of Asian writers currently publishing in English was first mooted. The British Council felt that the...
The Study The Study of 'New Literatures in English' at University Level: Current Problems and Trends
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Our world has indeed become a global village. Mass air transport makes it possible to reach almost any capital on our globe within one day (often faster than the airport of the city we are departing from) and mass communication allows us to watch 'live' on TV what is happening on the other side of the world (so that we...
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Words imprison and divide; unite and release. Words are dangerous and fulfilling, molding concepts and systems of thought which destroy and reshape our mental universe. The writer, through words, mediates between ideas and reality. Hence comes the awe, the dread, the adoration and hatred which nimbus-like surrounds his vulnerable humanity. When both ideas and reality are foreign to his audience, the writer has an...
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The writer writing in English in multiethnic Singapore in the present time faces a problem that is far more complex than the widely understood one of the native voice afraid to lose its true tones in a foreign tongue. The complexity lies in the unique role of the English language in Singapore, a role not seen in other post-colonial...
Plenary Lecture: The Writer Writing in English in Multiethnic Singapore: A Cultural Peril, A Cultural Promise
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The writer writing in English in multiethnic Singapore in the present time faces a problem that is far more complex than the widely understood one of the native voice afraid to lose its true tones in a foreign tongue. The complexity lies in the unique role of the English language in Singapore, a role not seen in other postcolonial countries. Here, through a combination of historical and geo-political...
Plenary Lecture: The Filipino Writer in English as Storyteller and Translator
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I am honored to be part of this distinguished gathering of Asian writers in English. The invitation from the British Council was irresistible. I was going to see Hongkong again, the first spot of foreign soil where I landed when I went abroad in my youth, innocent and ignorant as well. This was in September, 1941, three months before the outbreak of the Pacific war and I was on my way to the United States on ...
The Experience of Writing in an Expatriate Situation
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The very title of this workshop, 'The experience of writing in an expatriate situation', would seem to imply from the beginning that those of us who work in this situation are dealing with something others writers are not. If we look up the word expatriate in the dictionary, we read 'exiled' and also 'banished'. The prefix ex-alone means 'outside of'. The writer is by nature and the circumstances of his work a...
Scaling Daragang Magayon: The Bilingual Poet Translating Herself
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She is the terrible beauty of Bicol Region, south of Luzon. In her peace, she buries the awed viewer dumb. In her fire, more burning than the sun, she entombs everything at her feet. Years ago, she buried a whole town, saving only the belfry. In her recent eruptions, she has been slowly burying another town. It is only the...
'Listen, Mom, I'm a Banana': Mother and Daughter in Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior and Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club
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Chinese American writers have their own set of preoccupations and interests. And the authors of Asian American literature offer a perspective that is neither entirely Eastern nor Western: their focus is not just on 'Chinese-ness' but Chinese-ness in an American context. Dennis Bloodworth has this to say about 'Westernized...
Publishing Asian Writers in English
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I first became aware in the early 1960s of the I African Writers Series' published by Heinemann Education Books Ltd., London, although the Series had been started well before that. I was then the Southeast Asian Representative of Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. based in Singapore. I thought it would be a splendid idea...
English versus Islam: the Asian Voice of Salman Rushdie
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The title of this paper, English versus Islam: the Asian Voice of Salman Rushdie, achieved the dubious distinction, unique in its writer's experience, of becoming a topic of controversy before the paper itself had even been finished, let alone delivered. That this should have happened is symptomatic of the tenor of debate which still continues over Rushdie's most recent book. The debate in question has been...
Comments on Professor Harris' paper
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Professor Harris's refreshingly lucid paper expresses admiration for what he calls Mill's I great principle': the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community . . . is to prevent harm to others. This principle, Professor Harris says, requires us 'to distinguish between behaviour which gives...
Response to Mr New's comments by ROY HARRIS
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My admiration for Mill does not mean that I see no difficulty in applying his offence vs. harm distinction in particular cases. (An earlier version of the paper had raised the point; but I cut it out - in retrospect, I think wisely.) Nevertheless, whatever the difficulties of application may be, I find Mill's distinction itself...
The Echoing of Quiet Voices
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Some years ago, it became fashic.>nable to speak at cultural seminars and symposiums of the writer in various states of exile. While most exiled writers lamented the loss of language, landscape and live debate with an audience, speaking of the pain that led them to write and address/redress this loss, others held that this very loss...
Caliban in the Andes: Figures of Enchantment as Post-colonial Text
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Ghose's ongoing preoccupation with the thematics of exile and native-alien experience, the ambiguities that underline the relation between text and reality, and with the problematic status of language as a vehicle for consciousness. becomes increasingly evident in his most recent work Figures of Enchantment. A moment that...
David Henry Hwang and the Revenge of Madame Butterfly
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One of the best-known of all Asian voices sings in Italian. I dare say that Madame Butterfly is the most recognisable image in all of Western opera, and one that comes freighted with meaning even for those who have never seen or heard the opera, and have the vaguest idea of the story. One such was the American playwright David Henry Hwang, who, one afternoon in 1986 while driving down...
A Case of (Mis)taken Identity: Politics and Aesthetics in Some Recent Singaporean Novels
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The argument of this paper proceeds on the principle of Chinese boxes - with, I hope, some sense of appropriateness to the occasion. The main contentions are simple enough: that, in exploring the problem of national identity in Singapore, three novelists who may have thought they were adventuring into the sensitive...
The Poems of Su Tung P'o: Catches and Losses in the Net of Translation
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The following represents a work of scholarship or criticism not so much as an experiment, an attempt anyway, at rendering the poems of Su Tung-p'o as poems in English. The project was initiated in the winter of 1986-87 while I was teaching as an exchange professor at Huazhong Normal University in Wuhan, Hubei...
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In the third and most recent of Kazuo Ishiguro's novels, The Remains of the Day, published last year, the narrator is an elderly butler who has spent a lifetime employed in an English country house and who looks back from the vantagepoint of 1956 to a period that begins just after the end of the First World War. It...
The Chinese Margin in Philippine Literature in English
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For the Chinese, being a minority group in the Philippines has never been easy. They have often been the object of merciless derision not only because of their alien ways but also because of the Filipinos' distrust of their ability to survive in the direst of circumstances and their incredible talent at accumulating wealth...
The Social Context of English-Language Drama in Malaysia
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Modern drama in Malaysia has been written in all four of the country's major language streams: Bahasa Malaysia or Malay (the national language), Chinese, Tamil, and English. Most of the research done on modern Malaysian theatre has so far focussed on plays in Malay which do, in fact, constitute the dominant theatre...
Spontaneous Impressions of Asian Voices
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Preceding the 'Closing Address' by Professor Wang Gungwu (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong), my contribution to the final session of the Symposium was optimistically - but in the event misleadingly - entitled 'Academic Summary'. Belatedly I realised that two indispensable qualifications for undertaking such an assignment were omniscience and the capacity to write a public address in a few minutes. Accordingly, I began with an unscripted apologia for...
Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 1991