Kafez

Literary

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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Sunday, 5 October 2008

October 6, 2008

In writing my book of short stories with its purely Asian theme, I suddenly became confident of my Malaysian heritage in Europe, rallied through a route of ease and while shouldering my gift of peace. I am a child of the Indian diaspora in a rather roundabout way. My mother came from the Punjab and my father not once wanting to part with his Indian citizenship still lives in Kerala, South India. I was born in Malaysia and raised for a few years in Singapore.


When I first went abroad, I lived for five years in Australia and then like a Dick Whittington with his mixed bag of dreams, came to Europe. If I wanted to enjoy one of my more extraordinary hobbies made up of of wildlife expeditions, I would go to my friends in East Africa. How does one even begin to unravel that kind of yarn to make it sound convincing that through travel I would happen upon a legitimate source of identity? Travel made things worse, I think today, not better. It made one greedy for the adoption of culture, for the yearning of a different people , for the eruption of extraordinary lifestyles and for the expanding spectrum of a wide range of philosophies that snubbed international barriers with a smirk.

I always saw myself as a child of Malaysia by default. However as I have become older, I do think more of my ancestral roots in India's north and south regions. I do appreciate both my race and nationality in different ways and wouldn't shun one over the other.

If I had questioned the complicated procedures of my own heritage, before I no longer did in recent weeks.

In choosing to publish my book in the States, I was now in Dublin, over the phone and through countless emails engaged with personnel in America; sometimes two at a time, and that appeared to be fascinating in itself. I thought of nothing... only of the book that had to be completed and the fact that I can get lazy. While the communication still spins heavily forwards and backwards, I found my status as an Asian in Europe suddenly defined with meticulous ease.

The fact that I could be accepted by any country without question and that I now began to feel completely at home in such a closed country as Ireland. Yes, Ireland is still a closed nation as compared to England. It is as fragile as a bubble, beautiful in an etheral way, quiet and self-contained. It is a nation only just getting used to the idea of opening its doors to a multicultural society.

And yet where I never realized before but I do now with this powerful confidence that has overtaken my thoughts; to have found my place in the world without worry or fear. Not one inherited culture or experience can be separated from the other. Every episode is deftly woven into history. As I write this now in the present, the reader would read the lines, already nestled in my past. And yet, even this mild record of introspection serves subtly to live out the threads of my existence.

What my book with its Malaysian theme offered, was merely to confirm the surety of a myriad of cultures that rested within me, to make my personality and my destiny definite and whole.
Yet I wrote my stories spontaneously without any planned caution but for inner pleasures sought and then appropriately and tenderly recovered.

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