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Take a tour through Malayan literature and history
Through 56 classic pieces of prose showcasing the literary genius of Lu Po-yeh (1923-1961)
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A poet, writer, editor, translator, and expert on the Malay language working in Singapore and Malaya, Lu Po-yeh (1923-1961) wrote the classic Malayan Sketches and its sequel, both of which were published in October 1954 by World Book Company in Singapore.
The two books contained 56 articles and prefaces written by Lu, who grew up in Malaya in Ipoh, Perak, and was forced into exile in Indonesia because of the Second World War, before eventually settling in Singapore.
Presented in the form of sanwen (prose-sketches), each of the pieces is imbued with a poetic tone, presenting the various aspects of Malayan culture, from cultures of various ethnic groups to customs and laws and regulations, from cultural relics and famous deeds to historical sites and events.
The author’s writing is literary in tenor, citing classical texts while narrating the different aspects of Malaya, bringing a comprehensive and detailed understanding of Malayan society and its development to the reader, remaining fascinating and scholarly throughout.
In editing Malayan Sketches (Newly Edited and Annotated), Chou Sing Chu Foundation rearranged and merged the contents of two books into one, while also converting the Traditional Chinese text to Simplified Chinese, presenting the work in six sections: “Histories”, “Chronicles”, “People”, “Panorama”, “Anecdotes”, and “Literature and Art”.
In addition, these new editions have been furnished with 150,000 words in annotations, such that readers 65 years removed from the publication of the original texts are provided with substantial context, helping them to bridge the divide. Further, a new editor’s preface; an overall introduction by Professor Wong Yoon Wah, renowned scholar in the field of Singaporean and Malaysian literature; introductions to each of the sections; a timeline of Lu Po-yeh’s life; and a map along with a table of place names. New images are presented within the text as well. With such rich contents, this is a classic work not to be missed by readers interested in Malaysian literary history and Southeast Asian humanities.
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