By Ahmad Sissoho
GOMBAK, 4 December 2019: Language and literature can be a crucial element in creating unity among people in a multicultural society, Prof. Dr. Mohammad Abdul Quayum said in a recent dialogue with the students.
Prof. Mohammad Abdul Quayum who is a professor of English Literature at IIUM, said that building unity is to see every citizen being treated as equal and not be based on differences of religion, ethnicity, gender and language.
He is also an academic writer, editor and translator and regarded as a leading critic of Malaysian and Singaporean literature in English.
Highlighting the importance of unity in Malaysia, Prof. Quayum said, “Malaysia is a multicultural society, where to live in harmony, accepting and respecting each other’s differences play a crucial role. Accepting other languages, race, culture, is important and not be so rigid about it.”
Prof. Quayum suggested that every Malaysian should be proficient in three languages. “Firstly, the language spoken at home (mother tongue). Secondly, the national language (the country you are currently living in). Thirdly, the world language (international language)”. This is because “if you can understand different languages, you can see different perspectives, you can discover and learn new things.”
A talk on “70 years of Malaysian and Singaporean Literature in English: The Past, Present and Future” was organised by the students of Malaysian and Singaporean Literature in English. It was held last Friday (29 November) at Richiamo Coffee House, in IIUM campus here, from 2.30 p.m until 5.00 p.m.***
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