EDITED LITERARY WORKS

2021

  • The Best Asian Short Stories 2021 (Singapore: Kitaab International PTE. LTE., 2021)

The Best Asian Short Stories 2021  brings together the work of twenty Asian writers and writers residing in Asia, namely from Canada, India, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, United Kingdom and United States of America. A mix of Asian writing from some familiar names and newcomers are presented in this volume. Among the writers in this collection are Cyril Wong, Sudeep Sen, Elaine Chew, Danton Remoto, Ivy Ngeow, Terence Toh, Bhaswati Gosh, Andrew Innes and Jose Varghese. The broad theme for this collection is the new normal, revolving around the Covid-19 pandemic, with the inclusion of other stories set in the Asian region. The stories on the new normal theme explore how this world-wide pandemic has impinged on private lives and the public world.

  • Malaysian Millennial Voices  (Petaling Jaya: Maya Press, 2021)

In this enterprising collection, new voices, while lamenting the loss of parents and grandparents, also illuminate, to celebrate the ironic ruptures between generations. Their words, original and edgy, splice paradox and heterodoxy, as in a poem’s title, “How to paint the rainbow when you’re colour blind.” Or in declaring to Anglophone readers in an ESL nation, “My mother’s handwriting is neurotic,/ perfectly curved in large loops and small squiggles. /You can tell, English is not her first language – /each letter is painstakingly formed, as if wary of mistake./ [But] My handwriting is intentional, as is my education./ You can tell, English is my first language.” In a multilingual world where so much seems “lost in translation,” “nothing’s lost. Or else: all is translation/ And every bit of us is lost in it./ And in that loss, a self-effacing tree,/ Colour of context – imperceptibly / Rustling with an angel, turning to waste / To shade and fiber, milk and memory.” These poems make Malaysia new again, in imagination, in a monsoon country, where “A man stands by the side of the river / with a fever so hot / that it might run away with him / [and] One family takes in a whole clan /of tortoises, beady eyes reflecting centuries / of cyclical movement.”

– Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Commonwealth Poetry Prize and two American Book Awards winner

After the relative drought during the years since Malaysians first took to the vocation of writing verse in English in the nineteen fifties, we now have in this collection of poems by Malaysian millennials signs of a coming shower. There are more poets of some quality writing today than there were over those years. By their numbers, they show more clearly than before their diversity in communal origins, gender, cultural interests, and regional spread. As Malaysians, they have arrived, making a home here for poetry in English. Gone is the angst of the poets who began publishing in the fifties and sixties over a perceived exilic condition, the proper language to write in, the country’s cultural situation and the lack of literary antecedents. The language in this collection, as may be expected, is very twenty-first century, a toned down speech of conversations about ordinary things and everyday events in an urbanized environment. The collection marks an ongoing evolution of Malaysia poetry. I am optimistic that from the poets represented here, there will emerge at least two or three important voices in the decades ahead.

– Wong Phui Nam, Malaysian Poet

2020

  • Ronggeng-Ronggeng: Malaysian Short-Stories (Petaling Jaya: Maya Press, 2020)

Ronggeng Ronggeng: Malaysian Short Stories is an important collection which brings into focus the hitherto the little recognized variety and richness in Malaysian short story writing. Although of necessity, the writers write from positions in their respective communities, they are never communal, even in the two or three stories of tribal anxiety and the consciousness belonging so elusive to immigrants. In the main, the stories deal with the complex psychological states of people caught up in conflictual individual, family, and intra-communal relationships which transcend purely communal interests. The writing in some of the stories rises to the level of master craftsmanship, especially that of Lee Kok Lian for immediacy of sensuous presentation, and K.S. for subtlety in the telling of the story. In this collection lies part of the makings of a true Malaysian identity.
– Wong Phui Nam 
   Malaysian poet, dramatist and critic

Written by some of Malaysia’s finest writers writing in English. Their sharp observations and unflinching depiction of society’s tensions and fault lines, and human frailties make this collection a great read.
– Suchen Christine Lim
   Novelist and short story writer 
   Southeast Asian Writers Award  & inaugural Singapore Literature Prize

If you want to know about Malaysia deeply, you can read a thick book of history. Or you can read this comprehensive collection of Malaysian short stories from 1958 to the present. The theme of departure and return, the gap between generations and genders, and the slippages between cultures and races are mapped in this book. The stories are carefully curated, and the takeaway is that of a colourful country in the cusp of constant change.
– Danton Remoto
   Novelist, poet essayist and critic
   Winner of the National Achievement Award in Literature
   Writers’ Union of the Philippines

Book reviews on Ronggeng-Ronggeng: Malaysian Short Stories

By: Susan Philip in Asiatic, Vol. 14, No. 1, June, 2020
https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/1875

2017

  • Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems (Petaling Jaya: Maya Press, 2017) 

Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems is an anthology of Malaysian poems in English which introduces and showcases works of Malaysian poets that cover a period of over sixty years, from the beginning of Malaysian literature in English to present day. It brings together voices of over 50 poets from multicultural and multilingual Malaysia appropriating the English language for their own expression. Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems brings together works from various sources, poems from early literary journals and anthologies and from new online sources, besides the traditional published volumes of poetry. 

This volume fills a gap since Edwin Thumboo’s The Second Tongue (1976), a landmark volume on Malaysian and Singaporean poetry in English. Libraries and many courses on Malaysian literature in English will benefit from Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems. A volume of poetry that is essential reading for anyone who has an interest in Malaysian poetry in English.

Ronald Carter, Professor of English, University of Nottingham, UK.

2003

  • In-Sights: Malaysian Poems (Petaling Jaya: Maya Press, 2003)

In-Sights: Malaysian Poems is a compilation of poems by Malaysians which were either written or translated into the English language. It is probably the first volume of poetry that presents work that has been translated from Bahasa Melayu and Chinese into English with poems that were originally written in English. In-Sights: Malaysian Poems reflects the various pictures the poets paint of Malaysian life: its sights, sounds, smells and scenes. In a country where homogeneity is often extolled, In-Sights: Malaysian Poems   is a celebration in diversity. It is a celebration of the many Malaysian voices that enrich Malaysian literature. These writers bring their cultures and individual beliefs into their poems and share them with us, and the rest of the world. These voices give us a variety of Malaysian perspectives and perceptions. 

The collection of poems is thematically organised and is directed at young adults and students in secondary schools and under-graduate programmes.