Monday, February 25, 2013

penulisan indie (ke?)

Credit to: RadioBangsarUtama

Even though Tasik Titiwangsa is somewhere near to my office, I never had a chance to participate in Buku Jalanan Titiwangsa. I only managed to participate in Buku Jalanan Seremban which was held at my beloved hometown. However, the effort of having such events was luring me to visit the Facebook pages and tweethandles of of other Buku Jalanan organized elsewhere as I have always been a fan of great determination. 

Following the tweethandles and liking the FB pages has led me to this forum. I was familiar with the names of the panels as those were the names which frequently appeared in my timeline. However, I have never encountered any meeting with @MaryAllanPoe :)

"This is new," I told myself. The forum was something new too. The topic, in my opinion was inevitable. I knew that one day this would be discussed in public.

The difference between this poster and the future posters would be the panels. This evening you saw rising publishers and a blogger. One fine day, I believe you would be seeing language specialist, veteran novelist or even politician. You won't be hearing this from Radio Bangsar Utama like I did but one of the corporate companies would be showing this in talk shows. Trust me.


Because  things in this world were not always objective. Some did not. Art, for example was a delicate subject to discuss. Books were not the first thing which had a title of altenative or "indie".

Music was.

I came from a background of 90s where several ideologies ended and emerged. I loved the 80s, of course. I liked the 70s as that was the era where my parents rocked the world. But things were different between the era of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Fun. The music evolved but the preference would never be anyone's call. Regardless, did you realised that between the time when the trend changed, they were bunch of people who formed alternative bands or indie bands?

Some people enjoyed their music even when the other party called them bunch of copycats back then. Keane, Goo Goo Dolls, Kasabian, No Doubt. Check out Wikipedia for the list, for cryin' out loud! Read!

Have you ever seen people arguing about hiphop and rock - which one was better? Have you ever dwell in a situation where you liked something but it was a bit trashy; the singer wore makeup like Manson or Kiss but you just listened to their music anyway?

But nobody could stopped them from producing music because there was a demand. That was art and art came in various forms including naked men sculptures in European countries. Our parents, especially to those teenagers back in 90s (including mine) had tried their level best to ensure that we listened to appropriate music. The nasyid group was formed like mushrooms after the rain back then but still, several teenagers, I was included, chose to listen to something which never made sense to our uncles and aunties. 

Why was that?

Perspectives. Interest. Understanding. And for me, variations. Options. Choice. Like a colour of a rainbow, you had the freedom to choose whether you liked red, indigo, green. As for me, I chose them all :)

So, that is the music. That is the rainbow. I believe this is also how we should evaluate the books.

Reading is something common and no longer an established skills these days. Unlike the times when this country was resided by our people but was not considered as ours; where somebody who knew how to read and write was considered a hero. My grandfather had that advantage. My grandmother never did. The only thing she knew was the holy verses of Al-Quran.

What choice did she has back then? 
Indie books? Literature? Chick Lits?
We have options, why can't we use ours? Why can't we choose all?

I understand the needs for our beloved languages to develop (see the plural, we are in the country of multiracial) but we have to choose the right field to do so. When we throw an argument or try to be defensive, we must ensure that both ways are solid with examples. At the same time, we also must come out with solutions on how to improve.

This forum has illustrated some of the major issues pertaining to independent/alternative books. Those included:
  1. The standard of language used.
  2. The explicit content of the books
  3.  The responsibility of the authors and publishers towards public
  4. The outcome of the books
  5. The scope of readers
Frankly, in my opinion, the first four items discussed are totally about options and guidance. Why, in the first place do we call the books from Lejen Press, Fixi, Dubook,  Buku Hitam, Sang Freud and etc - the indie books or alternative books?

Get back to the concept of music - the rock bands, the era and the award winning alternative bands. Answer yourself.

Check out your uncles, aunties, cousins, and even your friends - what are their preferences? Is it the same type of music you are listening? Given options, will they listen to Britney Spears? Art categories are a platter of condiments - you can tell a person about what to choose but the hands might not be taking what you preach them to take. This concept applies to the books.

Let's talk about something passe or what you called mainstream : Harry Potter.

There are two publishers which produced the same books - Bloomsbury and Scholastic. I believe avid readers out there can tell that one is British and the other one is American. Some may just buy any as long as it is Harry Potter. I will not. I will still choose Bloomsbury and if I must, I will still wait for the bookstore to provide me with one.

Why is that?

Simple. I shall rather have an English edition instead of the American. Except if there is any auto-correct, I will prefer to use English (U.K) instead of English (U.S). That is my preference. That is my choice. I feel that my bahulu is not tasty if I read with U.S grammar and spelling. I think that this is not my problem. You may want to refer to Wikipedia and  search for the Literary Critisim on the books of Harry Potter.

This also applies to the Chick Lit. Women love this. Young girls adore this. There are thousands of Chick Lits at the bookstore and you could have sworn that OooEeemmmGeee is used in any books. You could have realised that instead of typing "them" they simplified it as "'em" .

I came from a background of English education. Even late my grandfather studied in English school and we spoke English at home. I spent some of my professional years with the people from UK  and I could tell differences between Irish, Scottish, Scouses and other accents. Check out their conversation, their books - didn't you ever thought of correcting their grammar and spelling?

Can somebody ask the Scottish to use yes instead of aye?

Malay language as much as the examples given on the paragraphs above is as colourful as the other languages in this world. We have accents to provide different shades, culture to add the contrast and language specialists to neutralise the differences. Let them do the job.

Writers and publishers must play the role to provide quality books to the public. But I don't think they should standardise their books and become monotonous. They have the responsibility for the language so that it will not be too severely mistreated until it could not be understood at all. That is something that I can't argue much. Yet, this is not a one man show.

Take Nadia Khan and Nami for example. I can read their books because the language is not perfect yet it is acceptable. Aye, there are people out there who says that these two writers are not the best. Not for you, maybe. But for me they are. Well, that is my preference. I read Jane Austen and Mark Twain. I even taste the beautiful languages of Hamka and A. Samad Said. What is wrong with my admiration towards the indie writers?

However I did agree with points stating that some authors need improvement. I agree with the fact that sometimes Twitter IS NOT the right field to throw the argument. Based on my experience, some indie writers are too snobbish to admit their mistakes. Take the example when I gave a feedback of "Amazing Karipap" instead of "Amusing Karipap" to one of the writers from the famous anthology. She got mad, she did not even thanked me for forwarding her the print screen version of the dictionary. She unmentioned me in Twitter to express her frustration instead.

But I moved on. She has never written a full book so I did not have to buy any. By any chance she will be publishing a book, I will think twice before reading. So far, I still read the anthology and just rip off the pages after reading her articles. That way, I just read my own preference from my favourite writers and provided the not-so-sincere donation in a form of royalty to the snobbish writer.

That is easy, isn't it?

People are mad about Lelaki Eksistensial; stating that the content is contagious, too explicit for the delicate mind of Malaysian youngsters. My first question will be, "Have you read the book?"

I read the book and I know the purpose of the book. Why can't you?

Besides, in this modern world, indie books are just options. If you want to keep Lelaki Eksistensial out of your children's reach then go ahead but what will be your guarantee that your children will remain virgin after reading Permata Yang Hilang? Come on. Get real.

There are kissing and make out scenes in Sweet Valley High. Why are you not complaining?

Popular is still selling 50 Shades of Grey trilogy (and the EL James wannabes books) - why were you not contesting the parents who are giving the allowances for their teenage children to buy it?

I am a firm believer that everyone shall read a sentence a day. Get more readers into this world so that everyone has the fair share of number of readers.

I mean, this does not constitutes any books, any language or any specific form of material. It can be anything. Don't talk about voting rights and driving license. Talk about lining out the guidance for the youngsters. Or just put it as at their own risk - if they fail their BM or BI in SPM that will be their fault for not looking for more options.

Sambal belacan is a general condiment taken by most Malaysian with or without sinus. But not all Malaysians take cincalok, budu or even tempoyak. Not all steaks are tasty. Why don't you try all and state your preference?

p/s: nobody sounds stupid if they are trying to speak their native language. Your eyes won't get any bluer if u speak Scottish, lass :)


Remy hazza said...

baru first time dengar..... penulisan indie...ingat music jer .....

4feet8 said...

secara jujurnya, saya pun taktau kewujudan buku2 berunsur zine, atau apa saja yg disebut sebagai alternatif bacaan selain buku2 'formal'. Buku Jalanan pun tahu melalui awk apatah lagi penulisan indie ni. Mengenali awk dan seorg lagi penulis 'bola' tu baru sy sedar berapa lamanya saya tidak membaca dan mencari bahan bacaan dan baru keluar dari gua kot saya nih.. hehe..

err.. cuma apapun saya harap, biarpun masa berubah, zaman bertukar, saya harap sgt, penggunaan ittew, kitteww tak wujud dalam buku bacaan generasi akan datang(eh? ke sebenarnya dah wujud dan hanya sy je taktau?)

err..nak start follow twitter frinjan la..

Rasp said...

u buat mata i terbuka....
ketinggalan sungguh i bab2 genre buku ni...
refreshing! thx...

SiZ said...

Hi there! I admire your opinions in this entry. And I have to admit I kinda laughed when I read the sentence Sweet Valley High... But seriously how many of the young adults readers have read Fifty Shades of Grey?! For goodness sakes. Seriously. More and more Malaysians are well verse and proficient in English. We can't deny that more information are gained when you read books that are in English. I do agree that the publishers and the writers do have room for improvements. But to bash them in public just like that! To talknonsense. I read TESL Minor in English Literature. But I do love our beloved Malaysian authors who are brave enough to write what they really want to write. The be frank, I wanted to write in BM when I was younger, but there were to many restrictions that I decided to just keep it well hidden somewhere in those boxes filled with books. But now, I am more confident to let others read my work as I see that many people out there would just love to read a book that is based on REAL LIFE experiences using the mother tongue freely with all those slangs, yada yada yada. Who says English books don't have explicits words. It is just that you don't understand or even realize that those words have 'lots' of meanings. I read those indie books, but I don't think I am to the extent of being less Malay and a Muslim.This is the problem with our society. Such close minded humans tend to make a fool out of themselves by talking without thinking first. Btw they have they watched Cloud Atlas? Hahahahaha Kudos to you dear Cheryna. You did a good job! I too am brought up where English is the 1st language , as my grandfather was from Pakistan and my grandmother was from China. Sometimes is makes me tickle with fancy when people talk about Bahasa Melayu/Malaysia. That would be a different topic all together. But seriously. If you don't like to watch a horror movie, don't be stupid and buy the ticket to watch it. same goes to books. You don't like, don't buy, don't read it. Come people , be more OPEN MINDED! I taught English for 10 years. I had to tear apart the students' brain in order for them to see that the world does not revolves around them! And for those students who were against being open minded, they ended up suffering and not being able to cope it this big world. Accept everything but not all. Be smart and wise . Choose what is best for you and do not condemn others' effort to express themselves via written media. (Nasib baik tak Ada buku yang penuh dengan illustrasi kamasutra - hahahahaha: I wonder what she has to say about that eh ?) I hope we get to meet in the future dear.. Lots of love - Sizarifalina ( so sorry if I offended some people , I wrote this at 3am)

Sharian Zamrinor said...

aye!!! second that