Chinese Whispers: The Literature and Politics of Nanyang Writers

By William Tham

March 2022 FEATURE
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“Man is a restless creature, nomadic at heart.” Tash Aw, Map of the Invisible World.NANYANG, the “South Sea” in the Chinese imagination, is rich in stories – the ones written not just in the Mainland but also by the diaspora. It is not just an entry in the maritime records of the Ming Shi-lu, a point of historical interest. Indeed, the full diversity of Chinese literature from Nanyang, subdivided by languages that are not necessarily mutually intelligible, is difficult to...

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William Tham

His novel, The Last Days, is set in 1981 and covers the continuing legacy of the Malayan Emergency. He is currently an editor-at-large with Wasifiri and also an MA candidate at Universiti Malaya.