The Politics, Poetics and Rituals of Translation

Stories are never ‘just’ stories. Each is a home for every human, a sense of belonging with a bigger purpose, driven by imagination and tamed by discipline. Stories gather ecosystems of thought, perception and importantly, imagination. They travel across space and time, via word of mouth or the visceral mind of a translator.

Maka seperti kulit yang pejal sifatnya, stories will be assigned a new form, roh dan nyawa baharu, that will surface upon translator’s politics, poetics and rituals, seperti benih yang tumbuh mekar setelah tanah terbaja dan hujan menumpang tumpah. This is a session tentang memecahkan terjemahan towards a new realm of how story travels dan bagaimana ia direkayasa so humans will have a home to go back to dan mencerap setiap kejadian alam; because translations adalah sebuah pintu menuju kemungkinan.

Al-Mustaqeem M Radhi is a Kuala Lumpur-based translator, writer and editor. As a translator from English into Malay, he has published some 30 books, including George Orwell’s Animal Farm (as Politik Kandang, 2014) and Ibn Rusyd’s (Averroes’) Decisive Treatise and Epistle Dedicatory (as Makalah Penentu Hubungan antara Syariah dan Falsafah, 2006). He is currently translating T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Nikola Madzirov’s Remnants of Another Age. He is also the chief editor at IBDE Ilham, a publishing house based in Selangor, Malaysia.

Chiew Ruoh Peng is a poet born in Malaysia. He has won several literary awards including the Hua Zong Literary Award (Malaysia), Hai-O Literary Award (Malaysia) and Outstanding Young Poet Award (Taiwan). Three of his compilations have been published under the titles Lovesick, Speedread, and Vanilla. He is a columnist for China Press (Malaysia). Apart from writing, he is also a regular spoken word performer. His translation work includes English, Malay and Chinese.

Adriana Nordin Manan is a writer, playwright, translator and researcher. Born, raised and based in Kuala Lumpur, she is fascinated by the expanse of stories as mirrors to society and monuments to the human condition. In 2019, her translation of Pengap by Lokman Hakim was shortlisted for The Commonwealth Short Story Prize, a first for Malay language submissions in the history of the Prize. Adriana is currently completing her debut full-length play, which grapples with issues of diaspora, cultural psyche and belonging. She is also a pioneer cohort member of the CENDANA-ASWARA Arts Writing Mentorship Programme. She is fluent in Malay, English and Spanish.

Jo Kukathas, actor, writer, director of The Instant Café Theatre best known for its satirical political theatre which has also staged everything from Shakespeare to contemporary plays to new Malaysian writing. ICT’s writing platform FIRSTWoRKs supports new writing, while Almost True Stories explores more personal storytelling. Jo’s newer plays, inspired by her minority Sri Lankan community, explore migration stories. Selected past work as a director/writer include The Island in Between, Hotel Grand Asia, Break-Ing, M! Opera, and international environmental theatre, Beautiful Water (Japan/Malaysia/Indonesia). Current projects: And Then Came Spring, a collaboration with Afghan refugee theatre company, Parastoo; The Bronze Lion, an oral history project; and Zoom Parah. She has directed in Singapore and run workshops in Brazil, Japan, Australia, Germany and Taiwan.

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