Zaobao Literary Festival 2021
(Panel co-organized with Wan Boo Sow Research Centre for Chinese Culture, Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore)
Beyond Representations of Diversity: Vernacular Islands, Multiculturalism, and the Chinese Translation of Malay Sketches
Speaker: Alfian Sa’at (Author), Show Ying Xin (Translator)
Moderator: Chan Cheow Thia (Assistant Professor, NUS Department of Chinese Studies)
In Singapore where English has become the dominant language in everyday life, it is easy for many to assume general reading literacy in English. Why then do translations from English to the vernacular languages still matter? What obscured histories, current predicaments, and possible futures can translations of English literary works evoke?
This session brings together Alfian Sa’at, author of Malay Sketches and Show Ying Xin, who translated the collection of flash fiction—one of Lianhe Zaobao‘s Best Books of 2020—to reflect on issues ranging from personal creative motivations, audience engagement, civic participation, to multicultural community building on and beyond the island-state.
亚非言（前译亚菲言）是野米剧团的驻团剧作家。他的出版作品包括三部诗集《激烈时刻》（One Fierce Hour）、《失忆症史》（A History of Amnesia）、《隐形手稿》（The Invisible Manuscript）；短篇故事集《走廊》（Corridor）；微型小说集《马来素描》（Malay Sketches）；三部剧作集以及已出版的剧作《冷静日》（Cooling Off Day）。2001年，他荣获金笔奖（诗歌组）和国家艺术理事会青年艺术家奖（文学类）。他曾三次获得新加坡文学奖提名，参选作品分别是《走廊》（1999年优异奖）、《失忆症史》和他翻译的小说《鳏夫》（The Widower）。他也曾四次赢得《海峡时报》“生活！戏剧奖” （Life! Theatre Awards）最佳原创剧本奖，得奖作品分别是《地标》（Landmarks）、《娜迪拉》（Nadirah）、《你姐姐的丈夫》（Kakak Kau Punya Laki）和《酒店》（Hotel，与Marcia Vanderstraaten合撰）。
Alfian Sa’at is the Resident Playwright of Wild Rice. His published works include three collections of poetry “One Fierce Hour”, “A History of Amnesia”and “The Invisible Manuscript”; a collection of short stories “Corridor”; a collection of flash fiction “Malay Sketches”; three collections of plays as well as the published play “Cooling Off Day”. In 2001, Alfian won the Golden Point Award for Poetry as well as the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature. He has also been nominated for the Singapore Literature Prize three times, for “Corridor” (1999, Commendation Prize), “A History of Amnesia” and his translation of the novel “The Widower”. Alfian has won Best Original Script at the Life! Theatre Awards four times, for “Landmarks”, “Nadirah”, “Kakak Kau Punya Laki” (Your Sister’s Husband) and “Hotel” (with Marcia Vanderstraaten).
Show Ying Xin is a postdoctoral fellow at the Malaysia Institute, Australian National University and lecturer at ANU’s School of Culture, History & Language. She received a Ph.D. in literature from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is interested in Southeast Asian history and literature, especially the knowledge and cultural productions in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. She is also a translator and co-founder of Rumah Attap Library & Collective in Kuala Lumpur.