'Diaspora' republished in 'Straits Eclectic'
Close to two years after I first began work on it, my essay 'Diaspora' has been republished in Gerakbudaya's 'Straits Eclectic'. It is lovely to be published by an institution that takes great pride in continuing to bring important writing to Malaysian readers despite the uphill challenges and risks associated with being an outspoken publisher. 'Straits Eclectic' features works by young Malaysians and their relationship to a country that can seem hostile and frightening despite the fact that it remains a beautiful place to call home. It derives its title from an architectural style common in the former Straits Settlements, thus reflecting Malaysia's complex history and intersecting cultures.
'Diaspora' is interesting because it remains relevant to me despite the two years that have gone past. I wrote it as a memoir of sorts, during which I reflected on the changes that I had been through since leaving Kuala Lumpur for Vancouver, and how it changed my relationship to how I viewed myself. It covers a lot of ground, including the year that I spent away from the Lower Mainland and drifted from Edmonton to the Okanagan Valley and finally to Jiangsu Province in China, charting out a course that took me back to the country that my ancestors called home, where ultimately I ended up feeling like a foreigner. If you look closely you can see how this essay outlines the themes that I deal with in much of my writing, and for that reason it remains among my favorite pieces of writing.
It was first published in Fixi Novo's The Little Basket 2016, and was featured at the London Book Fair. An excerpt of it was then featured on Ricepaper's revamped website. And I'm glad that it has now found a third home in this collection.
Last but not least, many thanks to my editor, Nine, for her tireless work.