Southeast Asia's Literature Figures Aims to Unite Before Taking on the World

Southeast Asia's Literature Figures Aims to Unite Before Taking on the World

Southeast Asia's Literature Figures Aims to Unite Before Taking on the World

Terbit 25 March 2014, 16:36 AEDT

Literature is flourishing in South East Asia, but not many are familiar with the region's works in that field. Not even those within that region, save for, perhaps, works of writers from their own countries. The ASEAN Literary Festival was recently held in Indonesia to promote Southeast Asia's written gems to the world.

Unlike their counterparts from Japan, China and India, writers in Southeast Asia are yet to win a nobel prize in Literature.

Before taking on the world, however, it might be noted that their works are yet to spread and be embraced by readers in their home region.

One of the figures voicing that concern is Indonesian writer Richard Oh.

“Our works of literature are rarely published overseas in English. Aside from Pramoedya Ananta Toer's books, which have been published in 45 languages, rarely do our writers' works are published abroad. Recently,  works of Andrea Hirata and Eka Kurniawan were translated as well. But there are so many other writers with great works as well," he said.

According to him, many writers in Southeast Asia are feeling the frustration of not being recognized globally.

“Karya Sastra kita jarang diterbitkan di luar negeri dalam bahasa  Inggris, contohnya saja selain karya Pramudya Ananta Toer yang diterbitkan dalam  45 bahasa  sangat sedikit karya penulis kita yang juga diterbitkan di luar negeri. Andre Hirata dan Eka Kurniawan baru-baru ini. Padahal ada banyak penulis-penulis lain yang karyanya hebat,”  kata Richard Oh. - See more at: http://australiaplus.com/indonesian/2014-03-23/memperkenalkan-sastra-asia-tenggara-ke-pentas-dunia/1283600#sthash.6pVMSsIh.dpuf
“Karya Sastra kita jarang diterbitkan di luar negeri dalam bahasa  Inggris, contohnya saja selain karya Pramudya Ananta Toer yang diterbitkan dalam  45 bahasa  sangat sedikit karya penulis kita yang juga diterbitkan di luar negeri. Andre Hirata dan Eka Kurniawan baru-baru ini. Padahal ada banyak penulis-penulis lain yang karyanya hebat,”  kata Richard Oh. - See more at: http://australiaplus.com/indonesian/2014-03-23/memperkenalkan-sastra-asia-tenggara-ke-pentas-dunia/1283600#sthash.6pVMSsIh.dpuf

Other writers from that region expressed similar sentiment during a panel discussion about ASEAN contemporary literature, held as part of the 2014 ASEAN Literary Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, last Saturday (22/03).

One of the causes behind lack of recognition towards Southeast Asia's literary works is the sparse promotional effort to promote these works internationally, Oh said.

According to Pete Lacaba, a poet and moviemaker from the Philippines, the situation calls for collective efforts among the region's writers.

Moreover, he noted that the writers should be more familiar with each other and the region's works. Lacaba added that it was just recently that he discovered the prolific field of Indonesian literature.

Lacaba praised the festival as a medium through which Southeast Asian writers can make acquaintance with each other, as well as each other's works.

Festival organizer Abdul Khalik said that the inaugural festival is held as a platform for young ASEAN writers to discuss their works and their identity as ASEAN citizens.

Dozens of writers, artists and literature buffs from ASEAN countries, aside from Laos and Cambodia participated in this event. 

The 2014 ASEAN Lliterary Festival (ALF)  honors Indonesian poet Wiji Tukul with an award. 

Wiji had been one of the activists kidnapped in the 1990s. His fate is unknown to this day. He is recognized as a young figure with the courage to defend human rights and fight injustice through his writing.

Kontributor

Iffah Nur Arifah

Iffah Nur Arifah

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Iffah adalah jurnalis Radio Australia pertama yang berbasis di Jakarta. Liputannya mencakup berbagai peristiwa politik, ekonomi dan sosial yang terjadi di Indonesia.