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Literature of Malaysia Week10. BBL4306. Shirley Geok -Lin Lim & Muhammad haji salleh. Biography. Shirley Geok -Lin Lim. Epigraph.

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The dominant imprint I have carried with me since birth was of a Malaysian homeland. It has been an imperative for me a longer time to leave home than most immigrants.

To give up the struggle for a memoralised homeland may be the most forgiving act I can do…

In California, I am beginning to write stories about America, as well as about Malaysia. Listening and telling my own stories, I am moving home. – Shirley Lim Geok-lin, Among the White Moon Faces (1996, 347-348)


Shirley Lim was born in December in 1944 in Malacca, Malaysia into a middle-class family of an English-educated father in colonial Malaya.

  • Lim was exposed to the English language and literature from an early age through the rigorous Catholic Convent schooling, and the English literature programme at the University of Malaya.
  • She graduated with first class honours in 1967.

Lim left Malaysia for the USA on a Fulbright scholarship .

  • She earned her M.A. in 1971, and obtained her PhD in 1973 from Brandeis University.
  • Lim is now an American citizen.
  • Academic work, creative writing, marriage and motherhood, feminism and the community of the Chinese diaspora in America have all contributed to Lim’s professional and personal development.

Revision then, is renewal, the adjustment of perspective, senses given their edges and language tasted in its more profound salt.

-Muhammad Haji Salleh’sforewardin Time and Its People



Muhammad Haji Salleh was born in a small rubber plantation village called Termerloh, which is close to Taiping, in 1942, during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya.

  • When went to Malay College Kuala Kangsar and pursued his teacher-training certificate at the Malayan Teachers’ College in Brinsford Lodge, England.
  • Later, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Malaya (then in Singapore).

In 1970, he completed his Master’s degree from University of Malaya, Malaysia and three years later received his PhD from the University of Michigan on a comparative reading of Malay and Indonesian poetry.

  • As a poet, he uses personal experiences to speak of more universal themes.
  • “My poetry is ‘communally-centred’ in as much as I write about myself, a Malay and the community I know best my own” (FadillahMerican, p.15)