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60 years of Malaysian poems and 50 poets now in one book

article image book launch

Deputy Minister of Higher Education Malaysia Datuk Dr Mary Yap officially launched a new book entitled Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems edited by Professor Malachi Edwin Vethamani from the School of English, of The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) today.

This book brings together poems of established and emerging Malaysian poets writing in the English language. It is the first volume of poems to cover a period of six decades of Malaysian poetry in English with works from more than 50 poets. The poems range from the works of the early poets like Ee Tiang Hong, Wong Phui Nam, Muhammad Haji Salleh, to Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Salleh ben Joned, and to recent spoken word poets like Melizarani T. Selva and Jamal Raslan. Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems showcases Malaysian poetry from its genesis and suggests what lies ahead for poetry writing in Malaysia.

According to CEO and Provost of UNMC Professor Graham Kendall: “As a university we have a wide range of expertise in areas of sciences, engineering and social sciences and our research and contributions extends in all this areas. Today, at this book launch we are witnessing the diversity and heritage of Malaysian poetry and the history and culture it embodies.

“Professor Edwin has worked very hard to compile some of the best poems of this nation. The School of English, which Edwin is part of, has done tremendous work in the area of arts, theatre, literary and poetry as they are responsible for the burgeoning theatre productions on campus.” Professor Kendall said.

The Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems was initially introduced at the George Town Literary Festival in November.

According to Professor Edwin, Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems is a landmark publication as it has been over 40 years since a volume of Malaysian poetry brought together so many Malaysian poets writing in the English Language. Its title is drawn from a poem by Salleh ben Joned with the same name, reflecting how Malaysians have made the English language a vehicle for their creative expression.

The launch also witnessed renowned poets, Wong Phui Nam, Jamal Raslan, Muhammad Haji Salleh, Murugasu Shanmughalingam and UNMC’s academics Shivani Sivagurunathan, Sheena Baharudin, Chuah Guat Eng and Elizabeth Marshall, who each recited their poems at the event. UNMC students, Michelle Beth Chong, Jonathan Sim and Puteri Yasmin Suraya read the poems of Hilary Tham, Ee Tiang Hong and Omar Mohammad Noor respectively.

Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems is available on Gerakbudaya Bookshop, Petaling Jaya, Silverfish Bookshop, Bangsar, Dubooks Publishers Bookshop, Bangi and Gerakbudaya Bookshop, Penang.

(Article image: from right to left: Elizabeth Marshall, Professor Muhammad Haji Salleh, Dr Chuah Guat Eng, Wong Phui Nam, John Lee, Professor Malachi Edwin Vethamani, Professor Graham Kendall, Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching, Professor Lee Chew Ging, Dr Shivani Sivagurunathan and Datuk Dr. Murugasu Shanmughalingam, and Sheena Baharudin and Jamal Raslan) 

(Thumbnail image: Professor Edwin signing books at the launch)


More information is available from Professor Malachi Edwin Vethamani on or Josephine Dionisappu, PR & Communications Manager on +6 (03) 8924 .

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United KingdomChina and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings. 

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. 

Posted on 16th December 2016

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