Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Conference on gender,ethnicity and nationalism in Malaysian postcolonial literature

It's going to be on January 6, 2007 (conference fee for students RM25, public RM50). It's going to be exciting cos' we have all the choice scholars in town to update us on changes in their respective areas (Malaysian Lit in English/Malay/Chinese and we hope Dr Krishanan will respond to our invitation to speak on Tamil Lit in Malaysia)

Prof Khoo Kay Kim will also be there to speak on the changing notion of the meaning of 'nationalism' (Malaysian context)

Writers include: Wong Phui Nam, Kee Thuan Chye.

Beep Sheena at mpclseminar2007@gmail.com if you are keen on attending. Venue is at the Experimental Hall, IIUM Gombak (Jan 6 from 8.30 am to 5 pm)

We will have exhibitions, performances all week (in conjuction with our English Literary Week). The folklores of 5 countries will be staged Jan 10 and 11. Don't miss them!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another fun evening at Indie Scene Cafe

Sharanya Manivannan is a new poet friend I met at the British Council workshops I attended. She's born in India but grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia.Very2 talented and artistic.She handcrafted her own book of poetry called Iyari.She reads (or performs) well too.
Find out more about this inspiring young lady at http://sharanyamanivannan.blogspot.com/

Sharanya has kindly invited me to read at her book launch on Friday (Dec 22).It will be at the Indie Scene Cafe in the Piccolo Galleria (between Lot 10 and the KL Plaza, she says). It will begin at 7 pm.I guess I will do my Maghrib therelah before the 'readings' (by right we should be 'performing poetry')

For those who have read my Art of Naming: A Muslim Woman's Journey (2006), can you suggest which poems you'd like me to read/perform? I had done 'Balancing Acts in Hanoi' and 'The Death of a Great Man' (cos' they were favourites with a few people). I know Sharan likes 'My Veil,My Body' piece which got anthologised in Sarah Hussain's edited book Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality (2006, published by Seal Press, USA). Sharan said she saw the book at Kino at RM60.The copies Sarah mailed out never reached me (she said when we meet in NYC, she'd pass them to me). Kotlah kena rampas by the kastam cos' some of the writers tulis dgn bold-nya pasal their sexual experiences as Muslims living in their various locations.I pun terkejut juga bila baca reviewnya dalam amazon.com.Kat US, Muslim writers ni berbagai.I will write about my findings from there later, InsyaAllah.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Iqra' website is up!

Finally, the Iqra' project is done (it is almost 6 years old!). I had encountered so many setbacks and difficulties and finally it is up! All praise to Allah.I am also grateful that my relationship with the web designer ended well. We had one difficult year in which there was no communication between us that would lead us to somewhere, just anywhere.

One day, pressured by a letter sent by the Research Centre, I text messaged him, just trying my luck, not expecting anything. Lo and behold!He responded promptly, saying everything was done, when could we meet. By that he meant a new design was ready and could I please submit the leftover materials (writers from some 9 countries, I think) to him to download.

And the result is this http://www.iiu.edu.my/irkhs/iqra/index.html

I dedicate this project to my web designer who kept true to his word, former ENGL 4820 students and a few postgraduates who had been with me through highs and lows, trying to complete this project.I am grateful to Allah for the completion of this work (I had many projects done over the 6 years but none as exciting and trying as this)

This is a reason to celebrate big time. Anyone who wishes to launch/sponsor this website, please email me: Faridah[dot]Manaf[at]gmail[dot]com
Anyone who wishes to send more articles, please email me too.

My soul is now at peace.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Half-day seminar on Indian and Malay diasporas to South Africa

Sometimes things just happen.We never plan but things just happen.

On Saturday, it was like that.The small round table discussion to be attended by a handful of people became a half-day seminar and a very,very good session at that too.

Karthi was away the week when things got real busy. To make it worse, she got stranded in Langkawi the day she was supposed to meet me and finalise things. I jumped from one meeting, missing another on Friday and rushed to have dinner with the guest speaker and GOPIO members (our seminar co-organiser) . If I were 10 years younger, the anxiety would not have been as bad as now! Told Ridhwan (the guest speaker, just out of South Africa and finishing his term at Jawharlal Nehru Uni. in Delhi) to be ready at 7.45 am on Sat cos' I'd be picking him up (to ensure he'd arrive early at the seminar).Then at 6 am Sat, I rang him up asking if he could be ready by 7 am (so that we could arrive by 8.30 am).Poor chap! But he was good.By 7 am we were already on our way to Gombak.

Alhamdullilah, I think the event went well.RC was so good with EVERYTHING.The foods...the registration, the sound and visual system.Oh wow..I loved working with the RC staff. And Q and the two moderators were fantastic too. I should have videoed everything but I was too busy with the little2 things behind the scene.

So what of the diasporas? Ridhwan highlighted how things are now, Rahim thought there's not much improvement where the Cape Muslims are concerned.Racism of a different kind rears its ugly head NOW then ever.

I'd say give them time to heal and sort out things. What's there for centuries cannot be undone overnight.But it's nice to see more and more South Africans travelling this way.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Reunion of old friends

The year is coming to an end. What a year it has been (to date).

Today's good news is that Evan got back in touch with me after almost 6 years! And he wrote of another great news: he just got married in Sept and will be having a reception in June next year.Will we come, he asked.

The invitation could not have been more timely! Nik and I plan to celebrate our 20th anniversary in the US in June.Let's hope Evan's reception (in Columbus?) coincides with ours on June 14.It would be so cool!!! Otherwise, we will just need to see Enid and him before we fly back to KL.I will need to start shopping now.What would be a wonderful wedding gift? (one which is light to carry?)

Also growing is my Mahmud High School list.We have close to 45 names now.And one friend after another sent their latest pic (after 26 years!). It's amazing how we can still hold on to this f/ship despite us being of different race and religion. There's so much love in us to flaunt to the ailing world and I hope our Reunion party in 2008 will be (in the words of Andrew Leong aka Peng Onn) the mother of all reunions. :)))