In this volume we present six writers (five from Malaysia, and one from the Maldives), from different Silverfish Writing Programmes, who not only show signs of talent but, more importantly, stamina.
With Tan Yet Mee, I discovered a tango club, ala Argentina, in the heart of KL city, and learned some words of their special vocabulary. I saw too vignettes of life in the notorious ‘commie-hotbed’ concentration camps, euphemistically called new villages, of the sixties, that I hope will not remain in our dark unmentioned/unmentionable past. We need to speak about them more.
Shazwani Abdul Kabur tested the limits of my hypocrisy with Albinism, and made me laugh aloud at our follies with Cockroach, Teh Tarik and The Hero.
Chin Ai-May deals with obsessions and losers with much humour in Pigeons, while exploring the painful fissures that exist in families in Faultlines and Madame Happiness Police. Appearance is everything.
Jenny Ng, too, examines the faultlines that run through us in Reunion and The Homecoming, and homophobia in Friday Afternoon Specials.
Shazra Aishath shows us that our concerns are not confined to Malaysia, but are universal in Day in the Park, Lines in the Sand and Sounds in the Night.
Finally, Teja Sallehuddin Tan, shows us what storytelling is all about: a lot of fun. Maybe, too many of us take ourselves too seriously, or try too hard. She shows no silly sentimentality in A Faithful Friend or Kasut Manek. And certainly no mawkish morality either. In Ikan Puyu she reminds us what it is like to be young again, and who won’t enjoy her little tale about her ballroom-dancing grandfather in One Two Three Four?