Several years ago, an acquaintance who specialises in military fiction was asked during a book signing, “Why don’t you write about May 13?”
At that moment, May 13 was the big thing. It was the topic every writer should aspire to tackle, because it was such a defining moment in Malaysia’s history. At the moment my acquaintance told us the story, we thought it would have been a natural question.
However, I’ve just realised it’s NOT a natural question, especially not for Malaysian writers. There’s so many things for us to write about beyond May 13 that’s much more interesting. A prevailing view is that a Malaysian book is considered to be a Malaysian book only when it’s Malaysiana. That’s a really bullshit view to have when we have so many writers who are capable of writing more than just “another slice of life” novel.
Where am I going with this? Nowhere, really. Just needed to get this rant out of my head (yes, I’m aware that a lot of what I’ve written is something other writers have espoused before, it just didn’t hit me in the gut till today).