The following is a response to the article Creation of award for authors of children’s books published on 14 Nov in The Nut Graph.
In anticipation of the above, I’d like to propose a first draft of:
Guidelines for the Malaysian Excellence in Literature Award for Youth Unity (Melayu) Submissions
Submissions to Melayu must comply with the following:
SECTION 1: Bumiputera Ownership
In line with the spirit of the NEP, there must be a minimum 51% bumiputera ownership of the works, and involvement in the creation of the works at all stages, i.e.: conception of idea, authorship and typing. If you are an individual, non-bumiputera writer, you MUST partner 2 (two) bumiputera individuals or companies, incorporate a writing body and register with Melayu.
In the creation process of the work, at least 51% of the woolgathering/writing/typing MUST be done by your bumiputera partners. At the end of the writing project, you must submit a report describing how many words were typed by each author. At least 30% of the complex/big words need to be attributed to the bumiputera writers. e.g., somnambulist, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, etc.
In addition to that, at least 51% of the characters in the work MUST be bumiputera. Special consideration shall be given to stories with bumiputera protagonists.
MELAYU 2009 Application
Title of Book:
6th Form Girls College Adventures (Book IX): Laundry Day Surprise from Seremban Prison
|Xue Ming Suan (non)||125,765|
|Aminah bt Razak (bumi)||65,451|
|Valve anak Piping (bumi)||65,450|
Total No Words Used:
The Girls College outsources laundry to the nearby correctional facility. Mimi, a Lower 6 student from the Girls College, (chastely) falls in love with Bob, an escaped convict, who she finds hidden in a laundry basket. Mimi manages to put Bob on a path to salvation without coming into physical contact with or looking directly at him.
List of main characters:
Protagonist: Siti Nur Aminah Natasha bt Ahmad Abdullah Syahril (Mimi)
Love interest: Mohd Abdul Khairul Amarul Amir bin Datuk Naquib Hamzah Kamrul Mubarak Suleiman (Bob)
Supporting characters: Siti Salmah, Mazratul Aminiza, Cikgu Ameeenaaah Khaaaleeefaaa
Others: Muthu (gardener), Mei Wah (DVD pirate and local secret society leader’s daughter)
Longest word used: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
Longest word credited to: Aminah bt Razak
SECTION 2: Religious and Cultural Considerations
Please be aware that Malaysia is a multiracial, multireligious state. Hence, the following guidelines are applicable for all works of fiction to ensure that no religious or racial segment is offended or sidelined.
2.a Official Religion
The official religion of all fictional stories shall be Islam. However, fictional characters that were not born Muslim are free to practice any fictional religion of their choice, as long as they respect the official religion, and their chosen fictional religion is deemed acceptable by the fictional authorities.
2.b Animal characters or companions
Many children’s stories may feature an animal as a protagonist or companion. Most western infidels’ stories depict unclean animals, e.g., Charlotte’s Web (swine), Five Find-Outers and Dog (dog). Melayu selection committee does not recognise these types of stories and finds them offensive.
Referring to any of the following unclean animals will immediately disqualify your entry.
Dogs: This covers all canine species, poodles, huskies, greyhounds, etc. This also covers animals with any sort of dog-like reference like prairie DOGS and seals (ANJING laut) — as they may cause confusion to the reader.
Pigs: As per canine reference guidelines, all porcine references are forbidden, swine, hogs, wild boars, HAMsters, and guinea PIGS, etc.
The following (clean) Malaysian animals are highly recommended protagonists/companions as they will serve to promote our fauna to a global audience:
1.Tapir (you can use this instead of a pig, they’re about the same size and shape)
2.Kancil (mouse deer)
5.Crab (ketam bunga only, not ketam batu)
All the above animals must be depicted as happy and carefree. There must be no reference to any of them being endangered or under threat from logging or encroachment.
2.c Tomboys and Gender Issues (blanket guideline)
The depiction of short haired, tree climbing tomboy characters, like Georgina/George from colonial infidel author Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, girls who listen to Suzanne Vega, or boys who listen to Erasure or Bronski Beat are strictly prohibited.
Boys are to have short hair, dress in pants and shirts, and engage in boyish activities, like, climbing trees, catching spiders, and jumping off trains.
Girls are to have long hair (at least shoulder length), dress in conservative skirts/blouses and should engage in girlish activities, like fainting.
All fictional Muslim characters are forbidden to practice yoga — which has Hindu roots. They are also not allowed to contort themselves, in case this is interpreted as yoga. Please check on the status of this fatwa before submitting your entry. Fictional infidels are prohibited from commenting on this possible fatwa.
In addition to the above, please be aware that the vocalisations “um” and “oh” are not allowed in Muslim character dialog as it’s too close to the Hindu “Om”.
Use “ahh” or “like” instead.
“Oh, Mimi… I’m ….um, amphibious,” said Bob.
Should be expressed:
“Ahh, Mimi… I’m … like, amphibious,” said Bob.
2.f Bersanding and Tepung Tawar
However, marriage ceremonies depicting bersanding and menepung tawar, which have Hindu roots, are permissible. Yes, it’s confusing, but if everything were black and white, we wouldn’t need to have HD colour TVs.
Despite the Harry Potter series being used as an example of a successful children’s book, the story and characters are considered blasphemous or syirik, featuring depictions of witches, wizards, unicorns and Gary Oldman in a role which was nowhere as cool as his lead role in Sid and Nancy.
It should be noted that blasphemous or syirik works shall be rejected — with the exception of a few categories (please refer to Mastika, Utusan Melayu, Harian Metro for examples of “syirik-but-OK scenarios/characters”). Again, if you find this confusing, think of HD colour TVs and why we need them.
Section 3: Sex
These are children’s books!!! All references to sex or any sexually provocative scenes are prohibited, unless they involve the Pussycat Dolls.
Section 4: Politics
Politicians are people too. Hence, it’s important to ensure that no politician is ever slighted or offended.
That concludes our first draft of the Melayu submission guidelines.
These guidelines may arbitrarily be changed from time to time.
Please check our website frequently for any changes/additions/modifications.
We look forward to your submission to Melayu.