Brian Friel’s Translations presents cultural identity as an ongoing discourse. Set in 1833, the play deals with the cultural effects of the English colonising mission in Ireland — namely, the systemic dismantling and erasure of Gaelic culture via (i) the replacement of Irish hedge-schools by English language schools and (ii) the Ordnance Survey, which sought to ‘standardise’ Gaelic maps through the anglicisation of local Gaelic place-names. In response to the inevitability of ‘cartographic violence’, Friel argues for the ‘renewing of images’ as a way for victims of colonialism to reclaim their cultural identity from the English (Howard 2010, 145; Friel…

^ The Pro-white Bangkok Post article by Palis Pisuttisarun

On 8 June 2020, Bangkok Post published a PRO-WHITE opinion piece on Black Lives Matter that was written by a Harvard-going ‘teenage social activist’, Palis Pisuttisarun. It showcases a much bigger issue of a very specific pro-white mentality amongst the English-speaking Thai elites who have had a white-centric education in their private ‘international schools’; I used to be amongst them.

The Bangkok Post article is very PROBLEMATIC and PRO-WHITE. Here is why:

The author vilifies Buddhist people for their complacency and hands-off approach to life, but fails to acknowledge, or indeed even notice, his own “Farang Ja” (pro-white) mentality informed…

Ode to Psyche (1819) presents the identity of the poet-speaker as formulated through an ongoing discourse between the natural world and the poet’s mental landscape. By appealing to the antiquity of ‘pagan worship’, John Keats points to the relatively ‘modern’ propensity to confuse the genius for the scribe which inadvertently proves to be the root of creative neurosis. Whereas the ending of the ode points to a cure to this mental affliction which has come to be regarded as part and parcel of great artistry.

By calling into question, right at the start, the reliability of the persona’s immediate senses…

In ‘Black Coat’, Ted Hughes poignantly portrays himself as failing to become a ‘blank slate’ upon which Sylvia Plath projects her father. Through a series of meaningful juxtapositions and philosophical allusions — such as tabula rasa and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s beetle in the box — Hughes effectively emphasises the multiplicity of truths and the imperviousness of the human mind.

Written as a response to Plath’s ‘Man In Black’, ‘Black Coat’ is a four-stanza poem which contains no distinguishable rhyme scheme. Through the use of structural contradictions and juxtaposing imageries, the poet enables readers to easily empathise with the persona — Hughes…

The 1,000-Year-Old Boy by Ross Welford is an upper middle-grade fantasy with a historical undertone, spanning a millennia’s worth of English history. The protagonist, Alfie Monk, is like any other nearly teenage boys except he is a thousand years old. He has lived through the last Viking invasion and two world wars. When his mother dies in a house fire and the 21st century comes crashing in, Alfie must set out on a mission to restart his ageing process and ultimately regain the ability to die.

Although largely set in the modern-day, Welford manages to concretise the novel’s historical undertone…

Image source: shakespeare.org.uk

In The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare illustrates moral inconsistency in human nature through the many forms of dichotomy. The trial scene in The Merchant of Venice portrays the Christian characters as self-serving individuals under pious pretences, as opposed to their Jewish counterpart, who even while blinded by revenge adheres unwaveringly to the law. By juxtaposing words and actions, mercy and justice, Judaism and Christianity, the play showcases the religious bias that underpins the flawed legal system.

In Act IV, Scene I, Shakespeare has Portia dichotomise mercy and justice to the same hypocritical ends as Shylock’s reconciliation of the Jews…

Bruce Frederick Cummings (MS Trust)

‘And so you read Pragmatism,’ he mused, ‘while the fate of the Empire stands in the balance.’

‘Yes,’ said I, ‘and the Paris Academy of Sciences were discussing the functions of θ and the Polymorphism of Antarctic diatoms last September when the Germans stood almost at the gates of Paris.’ (1948, p.199)

Armed with the flippancy and intellectual conceit which were second to none, W. N. P. Barbellion recorded a future ceaselessly spurned by sickness and circumstance. Born in 1889 in Barnstaple, he aspired to be a naturalist and began keeping a diary at the age of thirteen. …

In The Signalman, Charles Dickens demonstrates the powerlessness of humanity in the face of technological advancement by interconnecting the supernatural to the mundanity of life during the industrial era. By attributing human qualities to the paranormal, Dickens effectively emphasises the unforgiving brutality of industrial machinery. The Signalman follows an unnamed narrator’s attempt to befriend a solitary rail worker who is plagued by a ghostly apparition whose continuous warnings lead to the rail worker’s death.

Ghosts in Dickens’ stories are almost like the light of morality which appear before those who have lost their way, such is the case for The…

Absence is our form of normalcy.

The absence of people that are supposed to stay, the absence of warmth that should have been arms, the vacancy of hearts, the unmade conversations falling onto deaf ears. Routines, murmurs, nods. How do we fill the spaces between spaces?

By stashing in whatever we can — with urgency — to occupy, to blind an eye from what is truly missing. To it exists a sad beauty in which no one can quite pinpoint.

We are the shadow of normalcy — mortality, a plague that follows every man. …

I used to be a quitter. A loser who would readily go down without a fight. I remember a time where an unconscious slight would make me burst into tears. Even as I grew up, I stayed that way. Every fight and tension that involved me during my younger years would end up with me losing and crying.

At fifteen years old, my schoolmates called me Crybaby. Bullies would make fun of me for this trait that I couldn’t seem to shake off no matter how hard I tried.

It’s still the same now.

Only, I no longer berate myself…

Boo Sujiwaro

Writer. Illustrator. Born in Bangkok. Based in Keele, England.

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