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Posts Tagged ‘The Gatekeeper’

More on our home-grown “Animal Farm”

In Uncategorized on 11/01/2018 at 1:37 pm

After posting “The Gatekeeper”: Our home-grown “Animal Farm”, I came across an interview the author gave about a yr ago to ST.

Reading the interview, it’s clear that she wasn’t setting out to write satirise multiculturalism and multiracism as practiced by the PAP here. Whatever her intention, that’s my reading of the book. And books can have meanings that the authors never intended. Btw, an Oppo leader read the book on my recommendation. He found it hard going because of the fantasy element. Will have to email him to find out if it gave him ideas on how to pak the PAP.

Coming back to the author, maybe she’s very cunning and KS, trying to avoid getting made into an anti-PAP icon, thus avoiding the anti-PAP label, even if it helps sell books.

Look at the trouble M Ravi D-Day for M Ravi and Amos Triple confirm, Amos is really history/ Silence of the usual suspects got into as anti-PAP icons, only to be discarded by them after they served their purpose. Has any of the usual human rights suspects, local or foreign, spoken out against M Ravi’s MTO? Even the cybernuts are silent. Their silence is deafening.

I’m sure they’ll justify their silence by saying M Ravi said the MTO is a “fair resolution” which he hopes will help him get back on his feet.

“The Gatekeeper”: Our home-grown “Animal Farm”

In Political governance, Public Administration on 03/01/2018 at 11:21 am

But sales are lousy, really lousy.

Our anti-PAP types especially the cybernuts like Tan Kin Lian and his pals from TRELand love to compare S’pore to Animal Farm, the PAP to the pigs and the 70% who vote PAP to the sheep.

But when an award-winning, home-grown book by a local author, satirises S’pore the way Animal Farm satirised the Soviet Union and communism, these people don’t buy the book and use its ideas against the PAP.

With enemies like these, the PAP doesn’t need friends to maintain its hegemony.

Sorry for the digression. Back to the book.

Edmund Wee ( Quiet activist looking at his bank statement and smiling) in late 2016 published Nuraliah Norasid’s The Gatekeeper which on one reading satirises multiculturalism and multiracism as practiced by the PAP.

In an article titled “Recognising Racism: Nuraliah Norasid’s “The Gatekeeper” Wong Wen Pu wrote:

Winner of Epigram Book Prize 2016, The Gatekeeper is set in the fictional country of Manticura, where humans and non/part-humans have come to live uneasily together. Ria is a medusa that lives with her sister in the outskirts of a human town in Manticura. One day, after she methodically petrifies the entire village, Ria and her sister flee to and take up residence in an underground ghetto, Nelroote. Time passes, and Ria becomes gatekeeper to the enclave, where her deadly ability is a valuable asset against encroachers. In this way, the sisters and Nelroote live in relative peace until one Eedric Shuen seduces Ria, with disastrous consequences, back into the sunlit world.

The fantastic premises of The Gatekeeper might seem wildly inventive, yet when we set the cosmetic differences aside, many of the social dynamics portrayed in the novel between human and non/part-human species bear similarities to Singapore’s racial dynamics.

First, there is the self-loathing of the social other that we find in both Singaporean and Manticurian society, generated by the societal affirmation of racial/species hierarchy. Despite Manticura being a multi-species country, dominant social discourse drives those who fall outside the boundaries of human normalcy to self-loathing. Reminders to the other that they are intrinsically worth less are everywhere: Eedric’s part human mother was casually put down “like a sick pet” because she was unable to control her Changer form, while Eedric’s girlfriend views the non-humans as “people not like [herself], but as mutant[s and] social outcast[s]”. … Analogously, what sort of racial narratives has Singapore nursed so that Singaporean Indians would jump to defend the casual racism of insensitive casting directors, or for Malays to laugh when jokes are told, upon the opening of a new cornerless building in Singapore, about the place having nowhere for them to lepak(loiter)?

And then there is the comparable language politics of Singapore and Manticura. In Singapore, English, ostensibly racially neutral, is deployed as our administrative language, as a way of reassuring Singaporeans of our racial equality. After all, if everyone has to learn a “foreign” language, no race is particularly advantaged. However, Singapore has always been unabashedly described by our political leaders as a society of Asian (read: Confucian) values. While Singaporeans might speak in the same language, the cultural direction we gravitate towards is often Chinese. Therefore, English usage in Singapore creates the illusion of social cohesion and glosses over our racial differences, while hegemonic discourse quietly imposes Chinese culture onto the Singaporean racial minority.

In Manticura, a similar project is attempted: “Sce’ ‘dal, the lingua franca of the Layeptic region,” has been largely replaced by Ro’ ‘dal, the colonial tongue used by the classy, educated, big city dwellers of Jankett Town. Remnant speakers of Sce’ ‘dal, as we find amongst the Nelroote dwellers, have been literally driven underground, and those that want to leave Nelroote for the outside world are forced give up Sce’ ‘dal for Ro’ ‘dal. Like in Singapore, the ability to speak in the common tongue confers the right to assimilate in the cultural mainstream. Yet this belonging would, as Ria’s Cikgu astutely points out, lead to minorities “dying out of their traditions.” Like Singapore’s deployment of English as a way of co-opting minorities in the eradication of their own culture, Manticura’s Ro’ ‘dal aims at homogenising the Manticurian populace by eradicating species differences, and bringing what it sees as racial aberrance to heel through the implementation of a common language policy.

http://www.asiancha.com/content/view/2873/630/

Despite this storyline and relevance to S’pore, I understand the book is not selling well. In fact until Christmas Eve, there was a 20% discount available online for this book.

With enemies like the anti-PAPpists, the PAP doesn’t need friends to maintain its hegemony.

But to be fair, Epigram has not marketed this book as S’pore’s “Animal Farm”. Edmund, like Homer, must have nodded off. Look at how a children’s book was marketed to the cybernut mob in TOCLand (They not as cheap skate as their TRE counterparts).

But Edmund has another winner. Edmund is also behind “The Phantom of Oxley Castle” which sold 800 odd copies (Print run of 2,000) before its launch because of a TOC story that got the anti-PAP mob rushing to buy the book online. And then feeling cheated when TOC had to retract the claim that PM was going to sue the publisher. Read the twists in the plot at https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/11/13/tocs-account-on-the-potential-legal-actions-surrounding-the-phantom-of-oxley-castle/

The Gatekeeper” was marketed as a “horror” tale, a genre which has an honourable local tradition here (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/lifestyle/mythology-merlion-pontianak-singapore-writers-festival-9399102). 
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A minister in the first PAP cabinet wrote horror stories in the 50s.
Singapore :  Heinemann Asia,  1991

Malayan horror :  macabre tales of Singapore and Malaysia in the 50’s /  Othman Wok ; stories compiled by Lily Othman.

It’s a new year, so time to rebrand the book as our very own-home grown Animal Farm?
Hopefully Nuraliah Norasid’s “The Gatekeeper” will be marketed properly this year as “Our very own Animal Farm”.

Whatever, if you want to show yr unhappiness with the PAP’s policies and personnel,  buy the book to cock a snook at PM and his PAP administration.

 Walk the Talk TRE cybernuts, don’t be like Lim Tean