he poet Wong Phui Nam said the Malaysian poet is ucked. Tatis, the poet has to nd his own voice, and the search alienates himrom the Malaysian reader. Te English language is a poor t orMalaysian experience, Phui Nam says, no matter how deeply the poetexplores it.Tat’s beautiul, yet bullshit. One o the roles o language is toexpress what is unspeakable and the volume o unspeakable things grows atthe edges o language. Here, I’m thinking o how dicult it is to empathizewith someone who speaks a dierent language than you. Tere have beeneorts to t English to the Malaysian experience, like Ee iang Hong’sEngmalchin, but they have died out. And there are even bigger problemswith this claim. Is there any culture English is suited or?Te constant striving to t language to experience is the role o literature. Discussions, critical and public, oster literature. Te governmentbuilt up the National Laureates program and let their works go out o printdecades later.We have lost our appreciation o critical thinking. A piece o writingmust be judged by the ideas it expresses, aer all. I am accustomed toresponding emotionally to the newspapers, but that response has given way to apathy. I suspect I am not the only one.Tese are not problems, they are opportunities. We are a youngcountry and we need to recover a love o critical thought and crasmanship.I we never had it in the rst place, let’s take a shot at loving those things.Tis is why we started New Village.
- Tshiung Han See,Editor