A Samad Said

Topics: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Pages: 3 (643 words) Published: October 1, 2010
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Profile: A Samad Said
A Samad Said (born 9th April 1935; also known as Hilmy, Isa Dahmuri, Jamil Kelana, Manja, Mesra, and Shamsir) is a unique voice in the realm of Malay-language literature. From poems, short stories and novels, to plays and critical essays, his contributions to each genre stand apart from the rest in their creativity and innovation -- bridging the work of those in the ASAS 50 movement and heralding the arrival of a next generation of writers. Samad was born in Kampung Belimbing Dalam, Durian Tunggal, Malacca. His family moved to Singapore six months later, where he attended Sekolah Melayu Kota Raja, then the Victoria Institution. Through self-study, he acquired the Senior Cambridge Certificate in 1956. From an early age, Samad was a voracious reader, traversing the worlds presented by local Singaporean writers like Asraf, Usman Awang and Han Suyin; works by Ajip Rosidi, Rendra, Pramoedya, Achdiat, Hamzah and Wijaya Mala inspired him -- aside from the usual Western classics. Samad would collect clippings of short stories from local papers and analyse these works, before writing his own. Samad’s newspaper career included writing for Fikiran Rakyat (when it was headed by Ahmad Boestaman), Utusan Zaman (with Usman Awang), serving as Editor for Berita Harian, and as Special Assistant to the Group Editor of the New Straits Times. Samad was a member of Angkatan Sasterawan 50 -- ASAS 50, a movement of writers that championed both the Malay language and nationalist causes. However, while the writers of ASAS 50 used literature as a means in the rally for Independence, Samad -- though sympathetic to the cause -- had a different style, and differing aims. In 1978, a growing realisation that his true calling was with literature had him applying to be released from his full-time duties at Berita Harian. After that, he remained one of six Special Assistants contributing articles and features to the paper. In late 1981, he was...
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