Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Eileen Chang - inspirasi


"I'm filled with joy and lightheartedness when I'm alone. But I can hardly release myself from the tangle of the nibbling trivial vexations. To me, life is just like a magnificent garment, which is covered with lice." — Eileen Chang

Chang’s style is crisp and explicit, her choice of words sharp and sensual, her subject matter contemporary. Considered progressive in her days, Chang boldly dealt with the dichotomies of eastern and western cultures, tradition and modernity, and inevitably, male and female power relations, love and betrayal.

In her defence of the brevity of description in her story, Eileen Chang wrote, ”I never underestimate the critical thinking skill of my readers.”

"She was a rarity," said Dominic Cheung, a poet and professor of East Asian languages at the University of Southern California.

Had it not been for the political division between the Nationalist and Communist Chinese, he said, she would have almost certainly won a Nobel Prize.

As it was, until recently her works had been suppressed in mainland China, largely because two of her most widely known novels, "Rice Sprout Song" (1954) and "The Naked Earth" (1956), both of which appeared in both Chinese and English, were unsparing in their criticism of Communists.

For all that, Miss Chang was largely apolitical in her life and in her works, many of them bitter love stories that captivated readers in Taiwan and Hong Kong, where several of her books and stories were made into movies. The films included "Love in a Fallen City" (1990), "The Rouge of the North" (1991) and "Red Rose, White Rose" (1995).

As for me, I'm obsessed with Perempuan Paling Cantik, latest work in progress. Tiananmen Massacre, Communist Party, a woman with a heart of stone that bleeds with tears, and a man hopelessly idealistic beneath the facade of his romantism. And some slightly deviant explorations of the less puritanical romances. Ah, the joys of writing!


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