Thursday, April 5, 2012

Confirmed—“Home for Hari Raya” and “Only in Malaysia” both being taught at Ohio University

“Home for Hari Raya” and “Only in Malaysia” from Lovers and Strangers Revisited are both being taught at Ohio University this semester.  Two weeks ago I blogged about “Only in Malaysia”and also being invited to Skype with the students in a “Exploring Malaysia's Diversity through Film and Fiction" taught by Habibah Ashari PhD, Tun Abdul Razak Chair at the Center for International Studies. 

Now it’s on, this coming Monday (as a trial) and on Wednesday live, both public holidays here in Sarawak, so being wide awake and coherent at 6:30am will be an even bigger challenge.  On school days my wife gets me out of bed at 5:30ish to help with the boys. But first she must help me set up a Skype account and help me practice this weekend.  I know, about time!

This is the second “Home for Hari Raya”-Ohio University connection.  In December 2011, I was informed by Frederick Lewis, a professor of film/video at Ohio University that he and his students will be adapting my short story “Home for Hari Raya” into a film

Just realized that this is the fourth university where I’ve been invited to meet with students who are studying at least one of my short stories—three in Malaysia, and now one in the US via Skype.  One was informal, class room settings, mostly answering questions, another I gave a lecture about the symbolism in "Smooth Stones", which I later turned into a blog for the blog series The Story Behind the Story.  

The first, however, was rather daunting, in a theater set up for over 100 students plus other staff who came, including one who was psychoanalyzing me (in front of all these students!) and jumping to wild conclusions, finding so-called phallic symbols in everything, from a dead cockroach in "Symmetry" to the umbrella in "On Fridays".  I told him, it was a rainy day!  Later, he presented his paper at a short story conference in the UK (he refused to show me the working paper until after he presented it) and then eventually he had it published, first online through his university, and then in journal.  When I finally read it, I thought, oh my god!  They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Then again my story "Neighbours" from the same collection has been discussed to death having been taught throughout Malaysia in secondary schools, private colleges and public universities. 

So now I must mentally prepare myself for these students from Ohio University, most of whom probably have never been to Malaysia or read anything set there prior to reading my two stories.  Should be an adventure.

2012: New adventures—new opportunities.  And 18 days to go to see if my novel The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady advances to the semi-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012.  Should be an exciting month of April, with taxes due and website makeover way overdo, my tenth wedding anniversary, and the Faulkner-Wisdom Novel Award deadline, and the list keeps getting longer and we're only into the first week...  
   —Borneo Expat Writer

*Update: Ohio University posted HHR on YouTube 

**Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited

Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I 


ranjan said...

A very well-written post. I read and liked the post and have also bookmarked you. All the best for future endeavors
IT Company India

Borneo Expat Writer said...

Thanks! Just expanded it, added a paragraph about my other university visits along with a couple more links, including my being psychoanalyzed in front of 100 students!