1999

Land beneath the Wind
Writing from Malaysia

Series Editor Frank Stewart
Guest Editors K.S. Maniam and
Daizal Rafeek Samart

K.S. Maniam and Daizal Rafeek Samad
K.S. Maniam and Daizal Rafeek Samad
K.S. Maniam and Daizal Rafeek Samad
K.S. Maniam and Daizal Rafeek Samad

The Wounded Season
Writing from Korea

Series Editor Frank Stewart
Guest Editor Susie Jie Young Kim

The summer 1999 issue features a collection of new writing in English from Malaysia, guest-edited by K.S. Maniam and Daizal Rafeek Samad.

Focusing on Malaysia, this feature includes poetry by Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Dina Zaman, Salleh Ben Joned, Ee Tiang Hong, and Wong Phui Nam; fiction by K. S. Maniam, Mulaika Hijjas, Lloyd Fernando, and Lee Kok Liang; and an interview with Wong Phui Nam.

Also in this issue is “Searching for Che and the Perfect Buddha,” a symposium on travel and writing that includes Terry Caesar, Diane Ackerman, Thomas Farber, Edward Hoagland, James D. Houston, Marilyn Krysl, Christopher Merrill, Charlotte Painter, Tom Montgomery-Fate, Nancy Lord, David Rains Wallace, and Tony Whedon.

Additional piecees include essays by Leonard Nathan, Phil Choi, Steve Heller, and Hawai‘i writer D. Mahealani Dudoit; fiction by Sharon May Brown and Jerry Whitus; reviews of such books as Let’s Eat Starsby Nanao Sakaki, Luzonby Malcolm Champlin and Steven Goldsberry, and The Shores of a Dream: Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s Early Work in Americaby Jane Myers and Tom Wolf; and a portfolio of photographs by Linda Connor.

About the guest editors: K. S. Maniam is the author of the novels The Return and In a Far Country and the short-story collections Arriving and Other Stories and Haunting the Tiger: Contemporary Stories from Malaysia. He has also written two plays: The Cord and The Sandpit. "We Make It to the Capital" is from Haunting the Tiger; and "All I Had" is from Delayed Passage, a novel in progress.

Daizal Rafeek Samad has written many scholarly articles on world literature, and last year was commissioned to write a book on Malaysian literature in English. He is also working on a book of short stories and a novel. Whisper Stars, a book of poems, is forthcoming.

Extracts

“The waves, grown enormous in the dark, struck the boat. The machinery of effort and fear fell into an unresisting drift. A steady rain wet us; we remained a loose knot at the bow. Nothing was visible beyond the prow; the sea was a seething white. Phosphorescent gleams leered at us like crab eyes and then subsided, only to rise again. We, unwilled, were trapped within perfect riot: rain, dismantling haze, swinging indirection. Zain and Ahmad looked at us for a moment, frightened, then lay down under the loose oars. The boat swung from darkness to darkness like an unmothered cradle.

   Sallahudin retched violently. ‘I can’t take this!’ he gasped.

   ‘Let’s do something,’ Donald said.

   But he only rocked the boat more—a spill of water froze us—when he groped towards the oars.

    ‘Mamma mia!’Uncle Tom cried.

   We sat still, wearing out the fear.

   Zain and Ahmad talked in Malay under the oars as if safe in the womb of their home.

   ‘Have you been to Kuala Lumpur?’ Zain asked.

   ‘You know I haven’t even gone to Alor Setar,’ Ahmad replied.

   ‘You’ve got to go on a train. It moves, chuk-chuk, chuk-chuk, through many stations. Cuts through day and night. And then the capital!’

   ‘Have you been there?’

   ‘Seen only fish, boat, sand, and sea. But we can go.’

   ‘When?’

   ‘Anytime you want.’

   Ahmad laughed, a tiny piping sound against the massed roar of the waves. He could not control himself; Zain joined him. The boat struck the waves as the two rolled from side to side, utterly defiant. Our grim, frustration-set faces relaxed. The furious waves might have been bunched, cascading paper, swirling under a freak wind.”
—from “We Make It to the Capital” by K. S. Maniam

This issue features a selection of Korean stories that focus on the power of memory and history in post-war Korea. The authors are Yi Ch’ongjun, Im Cheol Woo, Choi In Hoon, Kong Sonok.

The issue also includes Min Soo Kang’s provocative essay on the demolition of the Korean National Museum Building as a symbol of Japanese imperialism; North American and Pacific fiction, poetry, and essays; “The Poem behind the Poem: Literary Translation As American Poetry,” a symposium on translating Asian poetry into English, featuring Tony Barnstone, John Balaban, Sam Hamill, Susie Jie Young Kim, W. S. Merwin, Hiroaki Sato, Andrew Schelling, and Arthur Sze; reviews of current books; and art by Horace Bristol, Tom Haar, and Paul Kodama.

About the guest editor: Susie Jie Young Kim is a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at the University of California–Los Angeles. Born in Seoul, Kim is among the leaders of the younger generation of Korean translators; the other translators for the feature are Jennifer Lee and Theodore Hughes.

Extracts

“The vision begins with Myongbu staggering through the fading, indigo darkness. His outline is unclear, his feet are moving frantically, anxiously, and he’s gasping for breath. Daybreak’s layers of murky darkness surround his body, making it seem as if he’s struggling to swim up through the waters of an immense ocean. Tu-tu-tu-tu-tu. . . From somewhere I can hear the ominous, metallic rattle of automatic weapons being fired, gradually coming closer, a noise like rocks being churned on a beach, or like waves crashing against the shore. With his back pressed against the alley walls and desperate to evade his pursuers, Myongbu edges toward Sangju’s house. Before long, he reaches Sangju’s front gate, quickly looks around, and in a muted voice calls out: Sangju… Sangju… it’s me, I’m here.”
—from “Spring Day” by Im Cheol Woo,
translated by Susie Jie Young Kim

“The drunken men keep up their lewd taunting to the end. The woman, feigning that she doesn’t hear, descends the steps. She pauses on the last step and turns around sharply. Her voice rings out.

   ‘Sons of bitches—dogs! All of you!’ she cries, barely able to leap off the bus as it starts to pull away.
   Loaded with dogs, the bus hesitates for a moment as if confused, then picks up speed. Driven by a dog, filled with dogs—some of the dogs with their paws up on the windows and barking—the bus barrels down the state highway like a dog that’s been kicked in the balls. It disappears into the distance.”

—from “The End of the State Highway” by Choi 
In Hoon, translated by Theodore Hughes

“Homesick and lonely, I take my bath, crawl into bed. Last night the whole family sat in front of the TV set. It was the first time in years we’d all talked about one topic. Though he had been a soldier, my father never spoke to us about war. He had fought in battles for at least twenty years. But he was a defeated soldier. When the war ended, he went to a reeducation camp for six years. During those hard times, my elder brother joined the Young Pioneers because his law school had been dissolved. Later, he fought in Cambodia. He returned on one foot, with eighteen scars on his body and lots of medals and citations. Perhaps it was thanks to those citations and medals that he got to go to the university. Four months later, my father also came back home.
       All three men in my house drink. My father drinks with old friends. My elder brother drinks with young comrades. My younger brother drinks with his office chief and colleagues. All those years and they had never talked about the war. If war just means fighting, then I know nothing about it, even though I was born and grew up during the war. But if war means women’s sorrow, misfortune, helplessness . . . these things were absorbed directly into my bloodstream when I was in my mother’s womb.”
—from “The Ghost” by Ly Lan

216 pp., summer 1999 (11:1), $20
ISBN 978-0-8248-2200-5

240 pp., winter 1999 (11:2), $20
ISBN 978-0-8248-2249-8