Opening Worlds through Translation


It was, for the most part, translations that brought me to become a keen social and cultural observer, and a full-time fanatic of modern classic English literature as well as Malay literary history and development. I remember reading the renowned Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s Keluarga Gerilya (Guerrilla Family) – which he had written in 1950 while imprisoned by the Dutch – during my starting years of undergraduate study.

An Indonesian friend told me, “We were jealous of Malaysians who were very fortunate to get the chance to read the novel before Indonesians were able to get their hands on it. The Dutch went crazy with the novel.”

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