Women Writers of Malaysia and Singapore

By Woodward, Nancy Hatch | Hecate, October 1993 | Go to article overview

Women Writers of Malaysia and Singapore


Woodward, Nancy Hatch, Hecate


PART ONE: POETRY IN ENGLISH

The fact that it is possible to publish a bibliography of women's poetry and fiction in English from Malaysia and Singapore signifies two major shifts in literary production there which have developed over the last quarter of a century: 1) the acknowledgment and inclusion of women poets and authors; and 2) the quite widespread use for creative writing of English along with native languages.

Both of these changes are due to educational reforms which took place after Malaysian independence when Singapore was still a part of the Federation of Malaysia. When they became two separate countries, both continued to emphasise the importance of education and both opened their classroom doors to girls. Because of this commitment to educating all their citizens, the literacy rate for females in both countries jumped dramatically.

The schools also included instructional training in English, and today more and more writers in both countries are at ease using that language. However, there has been a growing concern that by writing in English, many of the countries' authors and poets are losing the nuances that their own native tongues provide. English was brought to Singapore and Malaysia by the British, and it is seen more as the oppressor language. Therefore, it is argued, it cannot adequately describe the genuine experiences of the people. On the other hand, some argue that the use of English makes work accessible to people outside Southeast Asia who might never otherwise have been exposed to such writings.

This bibliography is, therefore, an attempt to identify the current pieces of literature available to an English reading audience. The first section covers poetry, and the next issue of Hecate will include women's works of fiction. The majority of these poems and short stories were originally written in English, but some have been translated from Chinese, Tamil, and Malay.

DAN YING

Born in 1943, her real name is Madame Lew Poo Chan. She is known as one of the best women poets writing in Chinese.

-----. "The Fragments of a Cliff." Wong Meng Voon. 34-36.

The poet identifies herself as a cliff, dependent on another to appeciate its worth.

-----. "Poems of Taiji," Wong Meng Voon. 31-33.

She searches for the true meaning of Tai-ji or the Supreme Ultimate by examining Buddhist symbols and their meaning in her life.

HENG, GERALDINE

-----. "For Anais Nin." Thumboo. 34.

She is so much a "wispy, tiny" woman that she disappears if not treated gently enough.

-----. "Images of Love." Thumboo. 50-51.

Her lover is like a clear pool untouched by those around him, and it is too easy for her to see him this way, forgetting the stones that lurk beneath the surface.

-----. "Little Things." Thumboo. 76.

Written during the Chinese Moon-cake and Lantern Festival, the poet speaks as a child lit up by the colors, sounds and lanterns of the festival, as a child whose glow remains as long as she is young.

-----. White Dreams. Singapore: Woodrose Publications, 1976.

LAM, AGNES

-----. "Comsie." Commentary. 7.4 (1987): 47-48.

-----. "Concert." Singa. 17 (1988): 78.

-----. "The Echo of Your Footsteps." Singa. 17 (1988): 48.

-----. "Holiday at Home." Singa. 17 (1988): 61-67.

-----. "Smiling Eyes." Singa. 17 (1988): 49.

-----. "Woman to Woman." Commentary. 7.2 and 3 (1987): 121.

-----. "Yuppy Water." Commentary. 7.4 (1987): 47-48.

LEE GEOK LAN

This poet was born in 1939 and educated at the University of Malaya.

-----. "Batu Road." Wignesan. 46.

A marketplace for envy and complaints and the selling of bodies.

-----. "Credo (To-)." Wignesan. 44.

An attempt at understand the use of prayers and songs and the "pulse-beat" of her faith.

-----. "Cross-Roads. Wignesan. 45.

The poet does not find comforting worship in the preacher's words, but in her own awaiting of fate. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Women Writers of Malaysia and Singapore
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.