“There is nothing like trouble to get you writing” -Marie Arana says in her introduction to OFF THE PAGE, a book on writers talking about their beginnings and endings.
There is also nothing like writing to get one into trouble , I’d say. Given Malaysia’s arbitrarily implemented ISA and Sedition laws, and Malay-Muslim supremacist government, any private citizen can get picked on and subjected to police brutality, harassment and intimidation. One grows up in Malaysia with the knowledge that it is dangerous to be a woman (or minority)who thinks or seeks the freedom to speak and act on her Conscience.
I chose the title, ‘Please ,God, Don’t Let Me Write Like A Woman,” (a prayer prayed by the American wit and poet, Dorothy Parker) for my first published chapbook because a woman who seeks to speak her mind, exercise her conscience and desires the truth in every circumstance of her life is denied that right and violently suppressed.
I do not wish to live a life of fear and intimidation, silence and suffering imposed upon me by the laws of an unjust culture, false religion or evil government. Above all, I desire, for myself, and others, freedom of conscience.
The fate of the Mongolian national, Altantuya is a public example, of the exercise of evil, abhorrent and arbitrary power over a woman in Malaysia. Before I committed my thoughts to paper I feared, all the while through the search for a public forum I feared, and after publication as well, and now, but those poems that are to be read at the International Heroines Exhibition at the Glasgow Women’s Library launch are inspired and would not be suppressed by fear.
My regret is that it is an event I am not able to attend. However I take comfort in the knowledge that my poems will find a home in the hearts and minds of those who love justice and truth, God and their fellow-man.
Poetry is for me not the genteel art that flatters the poet and the subject. I hope that my poems inspire you to love justice, express anger to the right degree, in the right forums, take wise action and believe. For in the words of Lord Alfred Tennyson, often quoted even by one who sought, vainly to make an example of me….
“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
International Heroines Exhibition Launch
Glasgow Women’s Library has partnered with Amnesty International to bring their International Heroines Exhibition to the library. Eight remarkable women from around the world are profiled in this celebration of freedom of expression and the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Each has dared to speak out against human rights abuses in the face of repression and they are presented here as an inspiration to us all.
Exhibition Launch at 81 Parnie Street, Thursday, 2 July – 7pm to 9pm.
The launch of the exhibition sees the well known local writer A L Kennedy perform readings from the work of the featured women: Anna Politkovskaya, Lydia Cacho, Anushka Anastasia Solomon, Shirin Ebadi, Arundhati Roy, Wangari Maathai, Aung San Suu Kyi and Woeser.