Sea and Soil: Translating "Rawa"

Mari Kita Berbual-bual: Forum on Chinese-Malay Intercultural Exchange
24 - 25 Sep

TranslateSingapore 2016 presents a 2-day main forum that looks at the cultural interflows between the two largest language communities in Singapore – Chinese and Malay. The festival shines a light on the lives and contributions of our pioneer Chinese-Malay translators, with participation in the forum from leading practitioners and scholars in the field. The translators have devoted their lives to bridging the two worlds through translating literary works, building dictionaries, compiling journals and publishing scholarly research. Even as English increasingly became the main language of work and social interaction in Singapore, they have remained passionately involved in providing the means for the two cultures to connect more directly.

Panel 4
Sea and Soil: Translating Rawa
Featuring: Chan Maw Woh, Isa Kamari
Moderator: Kok Heng Leun

Pioneer translator Madam Chan Maw Woh has been a long-term translator of Cultural Medallion recipient Isa Kamari’s works. With the latest Chinese translation of his book Rawa coming out soon, the writer and translator sit down for a tête-à-tête to talk about their collaboration, in particular the challenges of translating a specific culture – the Orang Seletar – in Rawa. In English.

TranslateSingapore 2016

TranslateSingapore is back this September to celebrate the cultural and linguistic richness of Singapore! Based on the theme “Mari Kita Berbual-bual” (“Let’s Talk”), the festival will present a full line-up of programmes, including the main forum that looks at the cultural interflows between Chinese and Malay; an opening lecture by Dr Henry Liu, president of the International Federation of Translators; translating Shakespeare workshops; Malay language class; storytelling session for children, book launches and more!

On 30 September, we celebrate International Translation Day with special events and the launch of the October edition of Words Without Borders. Guest-edited by The Select Centre, the respected international literature journal will feature new translations of works by Singapore writers Kanagalatha, KTM Iqbal, Kuo Pao Kun, Masuri S.N., Sa’eda Buang and Wong Koi Tet.

To check out more events under TranslateSingapore, please click here. For more information, please email programmes@selectcentre.org or visit www.selectcentre.org.

About Chan Maw Woh

Chan Maw Woh or Chan Meow Wah is a writer, a Chinese and Malay language translator and was a journalist for
Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese newspaper in Singapore. Chan started her writing career in 1958 when she wrote her first short story “Ah Ngo”, which was published in the literature section of the Nanyang Siang Pao. Chan translated Nyawa Di Hujung Pedang (Life in Danger) into Chinese language and published it in October 1959. It was the first Malay novel translated into Chinese in the history of Singapore Chinese literature. Chan has compiled 16 titles of Malay-Chinese, Malay-Chines-Inggeris and Chinese-Malay, Chinese-Malay-Inggeris dictionaries together with her husband Dr Yang Quee Yee (or Yang Kui Yee). In the 1960s, Chan served as the editor of Majallah Bahasa Kebangsaan (National Language Magazine), a monthly publication, for about eight years. She has also written and translated over 10 titles of books, including Wajah Sasterawan Melayu (Faces of Malay Writers) and Arus Melayu Singapura (Singapore Malay Literature and Culture), and Malay novel Satu Bumi (One Earth) and others. Chan has received several literature awards, including “Sahabat Persuratan” (Literature Friend Award) given by the Malay Language Council of Singapore, “Anugerah Penghargaan” (Honour Award of Literature), and “Anugerah Bakti Persuratan” (Devotion Award of Literature) given by Angkatan Sasterawan ‘50 (Malay Writers Association) for promoting Malay language and literature beyond the Malay community. Now, she is the vice-chairman of Singapore Literature Society, life member of Angkatan Sasterawan ’50, Tropical Literature and Art Club, Singapore Association of Writers.

About Isa Kamari

Isa Kamari has written nine novels in Malay:
Satu Bumi, Kiswah, Tawassul, Menara, Atas Nama Cinta, Memeluk Gerhana, Rawa, Duka Tuan Bertakhta and Selendang Sukma. Eight, except Selendang Sukma were translated into English. Satu Bumi and Rawa have been translated into Mandarin, Tawassul has been translated into Hindi and Urdu, while Menara has also been translated into Turkish. Recently Isa wrote his first novel in English, Tweet. He has also published two collections of poems, Sumur Usia and Munajat Sukma, a collection of short stories, Sketsa Minda, a collection of theatre scripts, Pintu and a book on Singapore Malay poetry, Potret Puisi Melayu Singapura. Isa was conferred the S.E.A. Write Award (2006), the Cultural Medallion (2007), and the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang (2009).

About Kok Heng Leun

Kok Heng Leun is the Artistic Director of Singaporean theatre company Drama Box, and a prominent figure in both the English and Chinese-language theatres in Singapore. Thus far, he has directed over 80 plays, including Kuo Pao Kun's Spirit Play, Forum Theatre Trick or Threat!, and It Won’t Be Too Long (Singapore International Arts Festival, 2015). A respected Forum Theatre practitioner within Asia, Kok is also one of the foremost theatre practitioners in Singapore known for advocating multi-disciplinary applied and engaged arts. Kok supports community engagement in his works to promote critical dialogues about the world we live in. In recent years, Kok has been actively advocating cultural exchanges and dialogues amongst regional and international artists and cultural workers.
Event Timeline
  • The event description was updated. Diff 2016-08-25 08:14:02
Sun Sep 25, 2016
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM SGT
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Glass Room, National Gallery Singapore
Free admission
Venue Address
1 St Andrew's Rd, 178957 Singapore
TranslateSingapore 2016: Mari Kita Berbual-bual