State of writers in Malaysia

So you believe fewer youth will develop the reading habit as a result of the move?

Yes. With the help of the Education Ministry, this will happen. Just think of these students two decades from now. They are not exposed to good literature.

If you start saying the work of Sasterawan Negara are difficult at school level, then don’t expect them to touch these books when they leave school. You are sending out a clear message – do not read the work of Sasterawan Negara. Everything should start in school. We are not creating a situation where people will read good literature.

In America the students are studying To Kill A Mocking Bird, and in England they go for Lord Of The Flies. All are difficult books. If you want simple books, then just read ABC all the time.

Article: The State of Malay Lit

Above was an interview with National Laureate Abdul Samad Muhammad Said, better known as A. Samad Said, who has 65 books to his credit, from short stories to poetry. It was an honest assessment of the mountain writers have to face in Malaysia. There is talent in Malaysia but the support mechanisms for such talents is close to none.

Though there are various government initiatives to champion reading among the populous, it merely is lip service and does not really contribute to a greater good. Instead, the art of reading itself is a dying art among young Malaysians. Sad to say, the education ministry is helping to push the extinction of reading. Readers among school children are an endangered species.

I’m worried about this. It seems the only place Malaysian writers get due recognition is outside their own country. A.Samad’s work has been translated for use in Bangladesh. Considering the fact that his books have been deem too difficult to read in Malaysian schools and thus, would be taken off the shelves. It is sad when your own country considers your work not suitable for use in teaching it’s children.

So would that stop me from writing? No. I will continue to write for the love of the craft. Someone has to write and continue writing. Besides, writing is the only thing that seems to be the only thing that I am good at.

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