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Azmi Sharom’s Brave New World

S Thayaparan  |  Published:  |  Modified:

“A great writer creates a world of his own and his readers are proud to live in it. A lesser writer may entice them in for a moment, but soon he will watch them filing out.”

― Cyril Connolly

COMMENT I have often wondered why Azmi Sharom chose ‘Brave New World’ from the Aldous Huxley novel of the same name as the title of his column for the Star . As one critic observed, Huxley’s novel was a rejection of the ‘Age of Utopias’. Anyone reading Azmi’s columns would note the undisguised optimism permeating from his writings even when he is engaged in dissecting the foibles of the authorities. This last part in my experience has been a rancorous endeavour.

Some readers perhaps unaware of the pedigree of the title would assume that Azmi is writing about a possible new world of hope. What Malaysia could be instead of what it is? I do not subscribe to this point of view.

Perhaps the title is a sly reference to the propaganda that infects every aspect of our beloved country. Perhaps, Malaysia as a post-colonial construct with its social contract, Petronas ads, National Harmony Act, Bangsa Malaysia and the host of other dystopian tropes is the so-called Utopia we are told we are living in but in reality a dystopia ripe for mockery by men and women driven by conscience...

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