Writer Shirley Geok-lin Lim discusses the Malaysian Chinese dilemma

Shirley Geok-lin Lim was in IIUM yesterday to give a lecture titled ‘A Malaysian Imagination: Ethnicity, Gender and Nationalism’.

The talk was organised by the English Language and Literature department and was attended by students from all levels.

Shirley Lim is a renowned Malaysian poet, author and professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Her works have garnered her various recognitions from all over the world including the prestigious Commonwealth Poetry Prize which she received in 1980.

This was Shirley’s third visit to IIUM.

In her lecture yesterday, Shirley spoke of her experience in writing the novel ‘Joss and Gold’ and reflected how it took her nearly 20 years to get it completed.

Shirley spent some time in the session, reading and quoting lines from her book. One that stood out was a statement made by the protagonist of the novel where she said, “I’m not Chinese, I’m Malaysian.”

This very much captures the dilemma that is portrayed in many of her works.

Third year student, Zur Hanis Hamim said that it was an honour to have Shirley in IIUM. Her presence was definitely inspiring.

She said students are now excited at the prospect of engaging further into Malaysian literature and to one day emulate her success in the literary field. ***

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