RELIEF: A Quarterly Christian Expression

I take my heart into my mouth when I write. Now some of my work is to be published in the February 2007 issue of a new Christian literary magazine, called Relief. I hope the readers of my blog will pick up a subscription for this magazine, read my work, and engage with all the other writers as well.

My published work in Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression, Issue # 2 will answer some of your questions about the kind of writer I am and why I take my heart into my mouth when I write. The work that has been accepted by this literary journal are:

Creative Non-Fiction (a new genre of literary journalism)- Place of Birth: fill that in
1. I’d Leave The Motherland
2. I Ought – for Margaret Hassan

I write mainly to make sense of the world/truth for myself and in the hopes of heralding a future for us as men,women and children of a complex new world. I refuse to accept the predetermined scripts written for women (and men) by the media or where necessary reject even medical texts and journals. Coming out of the Hindu tradition and Islamist Malaysia, I am only too aware of how women are misdiagnosed with depression and madness when what we experience has a rational basis for correct diagnosis and treatment. Women are an important consideration in my poetry, fiction, art, non-fiction and editorial writing because we are receptacles of ‘culture‘. As a woman, I am of course, personally biased and inclined to dislike and sometimes detest, what I am told a woman ought to be. So, I write to be read and reflected on. If I am popular and marketable, good. good. good.

In writing my creative non- fiction piece of journalism, I struggled, as I am loath to condemn completely any culture/religion/language/people. But the reality is that I have escaped – through sheer grace – ‘diagnosis’ & ‘treatment’ in Malaysia and it is my firm belief that evils such as murder, rape, witchcraft, lies and astrology are to be condemned.

In order to write my story, I wrestle down the heightened fear that caused me to leave the motherland. As a Christian woman in America, I am attempting to do this with integrity and a sense of humor. My Hindu-Tamil Malaysian mother, Ariyathaletchumee, had an amazing sense of humor that she has, among other things, passed on – I hope!- to me. I have virtues, vices and a voice of my own of course but I hope to share with you the joy, the intelligence, wit and wisdom of being, and the love and compassion that my mother possessed and tried to bequeath as a ‘dowry.’ Mum could read, write and think fluently in English, Malay and Tamil and tried to get me to the same level of proficency in Tamil that she acheived. Unfortunately, I had and still have a strong preference for the English Language and think and write in it much better.

I have a high degree of respect for scholarship and insist on adding lengthy footnotes for the sake of making my work accessible to an international audience. This insistance comes after some amicable and not so amicable altercations with my American friends, fellow writers and professors. One thing, you may find yourself crediting me with, even if you are angered/frustrated by me, I subscribe to this :
to thine ownself be true. I try. So please, forgive me if I offend you. Sometimes, I offend myself. Then I sulk for lengthy periods alone or with anyone who will indulge me – and eventually…. come around to reason. So, do not give up hope! If you are right….and I am wrong ….sooooo wrong….come back, on another blog, or another day, we might reconcile.


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