The New Village

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The poems in The New Village were written in 1996 and 1997 in Iowa City, the University of Wisconsin – where Wong did his doctorate – and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Wong’s childhood and adolescence were spent in turbulent times: the Japanese Occupation and the Malayan Emergency, the armed struggle mounted by the MCP. Their histories generated a significant part of the substance of his poetry, organised under the six parts of The New Village. The poems depict life in Malaya’s tropical rainforest and a British colony – whether a plant, prawn crackers, being issued with an Identity Card when he turned 12, or a hand grenade lying among fruits in a basket.

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The New Village

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Wong Yoon Wah


Ho Lian Geok, Ng Yi-Sheng