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Sporadic Striving amid Echoed Voices

Volume:
Author: T.Wignesan
Binding: Paperback (pp: 244)
ISBN: 978-81-8253-120-8
Availability: In Stock (Ships within 1 to 2 days)
Publisher: Cyberwit.net
Pub. Date: 2008
Condition: New
Price: $20
 
 

The curious thing about my encounter with Malaysian-Singaporean writers and intellectuals is that I was singularly unprepared to assume the roles of critic, academic or anthologist over their productions at a time when their activity was mainly confined to the University of Malaya in Singapore. And yet, paradoxically, I became just that kind of an exegete, owing to a series of "wilful errors" on my part. Instead of choosing to settle for a career by qualifying in Singapore where the region's institutions of learning, such as, the Raffles College for the Arts or the King Edward the VIIth College of Medicine, I opted for Bar Studies at the Inns of Court School of Law in London as an external student. After a series of further "abetted errors", I found myself teaching English (and American) literature at the University of Maryland in Heidelberg in 1960-61. The university offered me a five-year Fullbright to do a Ph.D. in English (while teaching) at College Park in Maryland, but then as usual I knew better, and I quite naïvely accepted a grant from the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an international cultural organisation whose siege social was in Paris, to travel and report during a tour of South and Southeast Asia. It didn't occur to me then that I could have kept both, for the grant was for only a couple of months. To make things even more difficult for myself, I asked the cultural body representatives (to whom I was introduced and recommended by the Thirties poet Stephen Spender), if they couldn't publish an anthology of writing by Malay(si)ans and Singaporeans. They said they would try the Rockefeller Foundation for a subsidy. The reply: no one was interested in such a collection, not sufficiently enough to subsidise such a project. The muddle-head that I was made me insist that I would go it alone and on my own steam. I didn't realise I was heading headlong into mainstream muddled-up Malaysian politics.

 

My published doctoral dissertation: Etude comparée des littératures nationales et/ou officielles de la Malaisie et de Singapour depuis 1941, and the present volume do not therefore constitute areas of research I would have wanted to probe. They are accidental fallout instituted by random circumstances.

 

Curiously, or rather not-surprisingly, no Malaysian or Singaporean has ever acknowledged my contribution to this field of research. And this is as it should be, I concur. 

T. Wignesan - Paris - April 23, 2008

Author BIO
T.Wignesan

T.Wignesan: Born in Kuala Krai, Malaysia. Up to his twenty-first year in Singapore, India, and Malaysia; then in London, Heidelberg, West Berlin, Madrid, and Paris.

Education: After only four years of schooling at Batu Road School and the Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur (1946- 1949: dropped out in 1950); school and higher school certificates (Cambridge University: 1951 (SC: 9 subjects - Grade One) & 1953 (HSC: 1 A-level & 3 O-levels), and London University GCE: 4 A-levels and 1 O-level - 1955); Bar studies at the Inns of Court School of Law, London (1953-56)...


 
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