Mapping the South Seas: The Communist Fiction of Ng Kim Chew

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the "communist fiction" of Sinophone Malaysian writer Ng Kim Chew who, in his narrative mapping, creates a spatio-temporal place of the Cold War South Seas (Nanyang, or Southeast Asia in today's terms). It studies Ng's artistic representations of the geographical referent—the South Seas—and juxtaposes with it the Cold War's historical temporality. By using a fictional approach to narrate the geopolitical situation, Ng's works not only supplement the history of the Cold War with various psychosocial faces, but also advance aesthetical representations of the event in the South Seas. It argues that Ng creates a fictional Nanyang to illustrate the mobility and fluidity of the Chinese diaspora, and continues to write about the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) as part of the memories of Chinese Malaysians. By means of metafiction, Ng supplements the MCP revolution with "flesh and blood," and connects it with the legacy of Chinese leftist literature. Yet, he harbors a great suspicion over the legitimacy of "revolution"; as can be seen in his stories, revolution loses to human nature and ethnicity in the end. Hence, for him, the communist revolution is more a legacy of the Chinese Left and the Chinese leftist literature.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-116
    JournalSun Yat-sen Journal of Humanities
    Volume41
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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