Tuesday 18 March 2008

Bring back the 'Lazy Native!'

When Malaysian intellectual (no, not necessarily an oxymoron) Syed Hussein Alatas died a few months ago, there were many obituaries and musings, such as Farish's here.

Curiously, none of them seemed to mention that his most famous book, The Myth of the Lazy Native, has been out of print here for years. Your best chance of getting it (unless you have cheaper alternatives that you'd be kind enough to share with me) is to pay fifty US bucks for a paperback.

Would an intrepid local publisher please bring it back into print?

While we're at it, there are several other local or local-set books that deserve a new lease of life, no? Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

Would an intrepid local publisher please bring it back into print?

Why can't you do it? Would it be too expensive?

Obefiend Weiland said...

Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan - Shanon Ahmad

i have been looking for this book for ages. the movie adaptation is also nowhere to be seen. that movie left an indelible mark on me as a child. especially the maggot infested leg scene. gave me a new meaning on "pengorbanan seorang ibu"

come to think about it amir. dont you think it's about time we have classic malay movies on DVD ( with extras and director's commentary). who should i write to so i can get this dream of mine off the ground. its easier to get pre 1960's Hollywood movies at Speedy than getting 80's malay movies.


Burhan said...

his brother's phd thesis on hamzah fansuri. the ones that i've found in libraries are falling apart.

syed hussein started off during a time when being in the humanities (i.e. sastera) was respected and stood on par with the sciences, when doing sociology and philosophy was just as difficult as doing quantum field theory and solid state physics. it is amazing how good and deep the scholarship was at the time. his work might have been controversial, but he was the true sociologist, before people started changing its name to social 'science' and tried to make it less philosophical.

Amir Muhammad said...

Obefiend – I was in Kinokuniya KLCC just a few hours ago (just before watching, erm, Duyung) and I saw a whole pile of Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan (the book).

True, classic Malay movies deserve to be restored and put on DVD. Ananda Krishnan owns the rights to the Shaw titles and Cathay still has the Cathay titles. I think this will happen eventually, it's a question of demand.

Yusseri – yes, it would cost a bit, alas. But honestly, this sort of thing should be done by institutions that have the backing & the reach to do it justice. But if, a year from now, no one else has still done it ... I might just be mad enough to try.

Obefiend Weiland said...

thanks for the heads up.

kino. why didn't i think of that? might be because when i first started looking for the book Shanon was in the gohmen Sh!t list. most book sellers told me all his books are banned from the shelves. i might be popping up at kino this weekend. no to get 'em while it is available.

bibliobibuli said...

i think that since demand would not be enormous, print-on-demand would be the best way to go and there are now places here that provide that service

i want the english version of shanon's book, "no harvest but a thorn" (translated by adibah amin). i read it years ago and thought it wonderful - and it makes me very sad that a generation has grown up here who haven't read it.

don't think shanon's books are blacklisted but many books published in malay and their translations have disappeared.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this comes a little late

Anyway, you can get the online copy of the book by requesting to Multiversity Library for free of charge! The link- http://www.multiversitylibrary.com/index.jsp
You will receive the book through your email rather soon after applying for it.

Also, you can just go to this website;
Free online copy!

Amir Muhammad said...

no it is not too late. thanks mucho, Muhammad Ibrahim!