AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 16

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Session 16: Sout and Southeast Asian Literature

Crafting the Nation: Tran Huy Lieu’s Heartfelt Concern
Allison Truitt, Tulane University, USA

In the 1920s, Vietnamese intellectuals were developing political critiques that depended on new forms of literary expression. One of these intellectuals was Tran Huy Lieu, a journalist and a founding member of the Youth Party (Dang Thanh Nien). In “A Heartfelt Concern,” (Mot Bao Tam Su) a treatise written in 1927 but subsequently banned from circulation, Tran Huy Lieu crafted a remarkable portrayal of both traditional Vietnamese society as well as a modern one to explain the “loss of the country." In this paper, I examine how the structure of his treatise constructs the modern nation-state as a break with the past through literary forms of expression, including his lexical style, modes of address, and lyrical expressions. While the first half of the treatise relies on allegorical language to critique traditional beliefs and practices, the second half shifts to first-person narration to condemn the “buying and selling” power and status in the colonial regime. I argue that Tran Huy Lieu’s writings were instrumental in the translation, interpretation, and dissemination of emergent political ideologies, including key-terms associated with modernity such as “people” and the territorial nation-state.

Teenlit: Reflection of Teenagers Language
Agung Prasetia, University of Indonesia, Indonesia

abstract Teenlit: Reflection of Teenagers Language Agung Prasetia Teenlit is a type of reading targeted for teenagers aged 12—17 years old (junior high school—high school). The term teenlit was introduced by Gramedia Publisher as reading written by teenager and for teenager. Some people view teenlit as a literature work, but there are people view the opposite. The later argue that teenlit is not a literature work because of the language used in those books. Stories in teenlit are told in tight and straight to the point language style, like in personal diary or everyday conversation. One of typical form of teenager language style is simplified common language (Indonesian language), like abbreviation sound phoneme elimination. This kind of style is used in teenlits, thus language in teenlit is a reflection of teenagers language. Indonesian language used in teenlits get many influences from English, local language, slang terms, and Jakarta dialect of Indonesian language. Influences from English can be seen in the use of English words mixed with Indonesian language words in a sentence. Further more, the use of local language, slang terms, and Jakarta dialect of Indonesian language gives a unique specification of language used in teenlit, that is teenagers language.

Stereotyping of Tionghoa Community in Cau-Bau-Kan
Sukojati Prasnowo, University of Indonesia, Indonesia

Sukojati Prasnowo. Stereotyping of Tionghoa Community in Cau-Bau-Kan. Faculty of Humanities, University of Indonesia. This paper is a result of research on socio-cultural aspect of Cau-Bau-Kan novel (1999). The problem formulations for this research are: 1. What kinds of stereotype of Thionghoa community are revealed in the Cau-Bau-Kan novel and what are the impacts of those stereotypes to the character’s action? 2. Do the researcher’s hypothesis are true that stereotypes of Tionghoa community in the novel are as similar to stereotypes developed in the real society? Based on the problem formulations above, this research is proposed to describe stereotypes of Tionghoa community in the novel and its impacts on the character’s action. This research is also conducted for hypothesis testing, whether or not the stereotypes of Tionghoa community in the novel is as similar to stereotypes developed in the real society. Correspond to the problem formulations and research aims, this research is using the socio-cultural paradigm. By using the socio-cultural paradigm, this research involves extrinsic and intrinsic factor from the novel. The intrinsic factors involved are character and setting. Analysis through those intrinsic factors is supported by usage of social interaction concept (from Sociology) and multicultural studies based on multiculturalism. Through the method mentioned above, this research would gain some achievements that could be concluded as follows: First, there are 8 stereotypes of Thionghoa community on the Cau-Bau-Kan story, which are: 1. Faithfulness of Thionghoa community to upholds their customs and faiths. 2. Tionghoa man love to prostitute and implement concubinage system. 3. Tionghoa community despise other ethnics. 4. Status of Hau-Kiau people is higher than Kiau-Seng people. 5. A lot of Tionghoa community in Java island believe in takhayul pesugihan (a kind of superstition which believe in sacrificing closest person in order to get wealthy) 6. The prestigious status for women as a wife in the Tionghoa community is depend on her ability to birth children 7. Kwung-Fu ethnic (one of Tionghoa sub-ethnic) is known as household goods seller and is considered to be untalented as a seller. 8. Tionghoa community get across Japanese. Those stereotypes have the impact on character’s action because those stereotypes are used in the early process of social interaction. Furthermore, the stereotypes would also determine attitude taken by the characters. The stereotypes show its impact through the attitude of the people involved in the interaction activities. The attitudes have an opportunity to build some conflicts. Secondly, as a whole, the stereotypes on Tionghoa community in Cau-Bau-Kan can be assumed as explanation of present stereotypes of Tionghoa community in Indonesian society. Not all the stereotypes exist amongst present Indonesian society are indisputable by the Cau-Bau-Kan story. However, Cau-Bau-Kan reveals its reality in the action of the characters.

Demystifying the Chinese in the Philippines in the Novels of Charlson Ong
Luisa L. Gomez, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Philippines

Charlson Ong's novels, "An Embarrassment of Riches" and "Banyaga (Foreigner)," may be seen as attempts of resolving the identity crises that confront many Chinese-Filipinos, or the Chinese in the Philippines, generally speaking. Using a methodology derived from the works of Mikhail Bakhtin on narratology, the paper looks into how the text is an orchestration of multiple contending utterances, as perceived by its author, attributed primarily from those with Chinese lineage residing in the Philippines. The paper focuses on what appears to be a contradiction depicted in the novels: generations of those who identify themselves with the Chinese in the Philippines seek to construct a Filipino-Chinese subculture, distinct from a seemingly homogenized, single-voiced Filipino "Other," while wanting none of the discrimination attendant to such self-segregation. The novels overtly "solve" this problem by depicting historically inevitable hybridization leading to cultural estrangement, as many other works have done. Is "solution" disparaged or championed in the texts? Do these texts manage to comprehensively depict the consequences of various agents endeavoring to overstep the predefined bounds of historically tied cultures more successfully than other "grand family narratives?" Or are there efforts in the text to give none of the contending voices dominance over the others, implying that the fate of Chinese in the Philippines is subject more to "the will of history" than to individualized efforts at pinpointing the place of these people in the Philippines?

Colonial Modernity in South East Asian Literature in English
Reed W. Dasenbrock, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA

My paper will examine two recent novels written in English set in South-East Asia, Timothy Mo’s The Redundancy of Courage (1991) and Tan Twan Eng’s The Gift of Rain (2007). I would not assert any influence of one on the other, but they make an interesting pair, since both novels are about situations in which a colonized society, British Malaya in 1939 and a lightly fictionalized East Timor in the 1980s, experience imperial domination, not at the hands of Western powers (Britain or Portugal) but rather at the hands of Asian powers (Japan and Indonesia). The simple dichotomy colonizer—colonized is complicated in the course of each novel, though in very different ways, and the net result of that complication does a couple of things. First, it shows how the legacy of colonization has created a syncretic, not Manichaean, cultural space, in which colonizer and colonized have blurred in terms of cultural identities in ways that are profoundly importantly, particularly in postcolonial contexts in which the Western model of a nation-state is less than the reality than a multiethnic and multilingual polity. Second, this doesn’t efface the reality of imperial domination that helped create that syncretic reality, but as the setting of the novels reminds us, this reality is itself not univocal or simple. A theme of both novels is the relation between culture and power, but the two novelists adopt very different attitudes towards the relation.