Malays in Singapore - Notable Malay Singaporeans - Literature and Culture

Literature and Culture

  • Alfian Sa'at (b. 1977 - ) - acclaimed poet and playwright. He has written his works in both English and Malay.
  • Djamal Tukimin (b. 1946 - ) - writer, poet and theatre activist. Winner of the Tun Seri Lanang Award, the highest Malay literary award in Singapore, in 2007. Also the recipient of the Anugerah Warisan Kencana (Golden Legacy Award) given by the Taman Warisan Melayu (Malay Legacy Group) in 2007. He is the writer of the book Arus Teater Melayu (The Direction of The Malay Theatre), which highlights the history of the Malay Theatre in Singapore since the 1970s and also discusses it future.
  • Isa Kamari (b. 1960 - ) – writer, who is known for addressing controversial yet profound issues in his novels. His 1998 novel, Satu Bumi (One Earth), about a Chinese girl adopted into a Malay family, questioned where Malay loyalties lay when Singapore separated from Malaysia in the 1960s. Tawassul (Intercession) (2002) imagined what would happen if someone cloned Prophet Muhammad. Kiswah (Drape of Kaabah) (2002) broke the taboo of discussing the tension between sexuality and spirituality in the generally conservative Malay/Muslim community, while Atas Nama Cinta (In The Name of Love) (2006) centred on the 1950s riots in Singapore triggered by the Muslim-Christian family feud over Dutch girl, Maria Hertogh. Memeluk Gerhana (Embrace The Eclipse) (2007) related the coming of age story of a youth who was caught by the Internal Security Department for his alleged clandestine activities connected with the Iranian revolution in 1979. His latest novel Rawa (2008) revealed the story of the Orang Seletar, the indigenous people of Singapore who lost their homeland. His novels have been translated into English and Chinese. He has written seven novels, two collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, two television scripts and two plays. He received the S.E.A Write Award in Bangkok in 2006 and was awarded the Cultural Medallion by the Singapore Government in 2007. In 2009 he was conferred the highest Malay literary award, the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang by the Malay Language Council of Singapore.
  • Mahmud Ahmad (b. 1906 - d. 1976) – linguist, culturist, social reformer. He helped revitalise the development of the Malay language and culture in Singapore via many social organisations. Was posthumously awarded the Tun Seri Lanang Literary Award upon his death in 1976.
  • Dr. Masuri Salikun (b. 1927 - d. 2005) – poet, writer and playwright who used the nom de plume Masuri S N. He was among the top laureates in the Malay world. His works are read in many universities. Founded the leading Malay literary group, Angkatan Sasterawan 50 (Singapore Writer's Movement '50). His works included poems, short stories, essays and plays. Was a fellow at the Institute of South East Asian Studies and Iowa University as well as a resident writer of the Malaysian Language Institute and the National University of Singapore. Beginning with the poem Ros Kupuja (Rose I Admire) (1941), he had dedicated 60 years of his life to poertry. His notable works include Awan Putih (White Cloud) (1958) and Dalam Merenung Dalam (In Deep Thought) (2006). Recipient of many awards including the Public Service Star in 1963. Was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the Sultan Idris University, Malaysia.
  • Mohamed Latiff Mohamed (b. 1950 - ) – writer and social activist. He is regarded as one of the most influential Malay writers of his time. A firm believer of developing the younger generation, he has mentored numerous youths including Hoirull Amri Tahiran, Fariz Husna Sajani, Arni Johan and Muhammad Jailani. He is widely regarded as a radical poet whose works highlights the life and struggle of the post-independence Malay community in Singapore. Among his outstanding works are the poem Bangsaku di Hari Lahirku (My People on The day I was Born), the short stories Mondok and the novel Batas Langit (The Sky is the Limit). He has also written many essays and criticisms. He received the prestigious the Arts Literary Award (1988) from the Montblanc NUS Centre, SEA Write Award (2002), and Tun Seri Lanang Award (2003) for his outstanding contributions in the world of literature. His works, Bagiku Sepilah Sudah (It's Quiet For Me), an anthology of poetry, and Nostalgia Yang Hilang (Lost Nostalgia), a collection of short stories, as well as Bila Rama-Rama Patah Sayapnya (When the Butterfly Breaks Its Wing), a collections of poetry, all received the Singapore Literature Prize in 2004, 2006 and 2008 respectively.
  • Mohamed Pitchay Gani BMAA (b. 1967 - ) – writer, lecturer, researcher, editor, critique and social activist. Lifetime member of 'Golden Key National Honor Society' in America. He is one of the key leaders in shaping contemporary trends in cultural and language initiatives. Under his keen supervision and leadership, he has managed to revive Angkatan Sasterawan '50 (Asas '50), one of the oldest literary organisations in the region, to excellence. In 2009, he was elected to be the president of Asas '50. Among his most notable contributions to the society was through his landmark research of the evolution of the Malay language over 2000 years. He also received the young laureate award in 2006. His field of expertise includes Malay literature and language. In 2009, his research paper on the language situation in Singapore was awarded the "Best Research Paper Award" at the Conference for Academic Discipline in Toronto, Canada.
  • Mohd Eunos Abdullah (b. 1876 - d. 1934) – writer and social activist. He was a member of the Johore royal family. Ran the first Utusan Melayu (1912–1914) which was a translation of the English paper, the Singapore Free Press. His progressive ideas in his writings lead some scholars to hail him as the ‘father of Malay journalism’. The first Malay to serve in Legislative Assembly and was awarded the Justice of Peace. A champion of Malay rights, he was the founder of the Malay Union Singapore in 1926, the first quasi-political body in the Malay world. Today, a road called Jalan Eunos is named after him.
  • Dr. Muhammad Ariff Ahmad (b. 1924 - ) – writer and culturist. Responsible for the formation of several Malay literary and cultural organisations like the Malay Educational Council and Central Council of Malay Cultural Organisations. Regarded as the beacon of Malay literature and culture in Singapore and even the region, he has been honoured with many awards including the Tun Seri Lanang Literary Award (1993), Cultural Medallion (1993) and Public Service Star (2000).
  • Muhammad Jailani Abu Talib (b. 1985 - ) – writer, poet, art, social and cultural critique and activist. He created history in 2009 by being the first foreign student to be elected as president of Persatuan Bahasa Melayu Universiti Malaya (PBMUM), a post previously held by notable leaders, ministers and academics from Malaysia. His poems and critiques are regularly published in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. His expertise, views and thoughts are regularly sought by various institutions. He has also given a talk on contemporary Malay culture and art to various educational institutes in the region. In 2008, he introduced a new literary genre of which he termed as Graftera. Among the honours that he has received include being selected as the Youth Activist Icon (2009) by the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University Malay Language Society and being awarded the National Arts Council Bursary Scholarship Award (2009).
  • Nongchik Ghani (b. 1928 - d. 2006) – writer and culturist. His name was synonymous with the development of Malay arts in Singapore. Supervisor of the former National Theatre. Was active with the Anglo-Malay Evening School, Malay Youth Literary Association (4PM), and founded the Malay cultural body, Sriwana, in 1955 and served as its secretary for 40 years. He wrote several stage plays and choreographed several musicals such as Todak (Garfish Attack on Singapore). After Singapore’s separation from Malaysia, he was instrumental in reviving the Malay arts especially with the Drama Festival that showcased many drama talents. Was awarded the Sriwana Meritorious Service Medal (2000) and the Public Service Star (1965).

Read more about this topic:  Malays In Singapore, Notable Malay Singaporeans

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Famous quotes containing the words culture and/or literature:

    The problem of culture is seldom grasped correctly. The goal of a culture is not the greatest possible happiness of a people, nor is it the unhindered development of all their talents; instead, culture shows itself in the correct proportion of these developments. Its aim points beyond earthly happiness: the production of great works is the aim of culture.
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    Many writers who choose to be active in the world lose not virtue but time, and that stillness without which literature cannot be made.
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