This blog highlights some of the interesting interviews I have done as a journalist with the Sun newspaper. I really believe what makes these interview interesting is their honest answers to the questions I throw at them. Hope you enjoy reading these interviews as much as I had fun writing them. If the readers of the blog wants to write to me, they can do at this email(email@example.com)
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
kushairi Zuradi & Simptomatik Press
Today theSun published my interview with
the author and publisher Kushairi Zuradi. He is interested to see the growth of
Malay science fiction. The interview took place in Chawan, Bangsar. Here is
the full article.
Headline: The Sci-Fi Advocate By Bissme S
KUSHAIRI ZURADI discovered late last
year that not many publishers were keen to publish Malay science fiction books
when he offered his collection of short stories to them. The 25-year-old author
and medical school graduate recalls: “Some publishers believe the readership
for Malay science fiction is too small [for them] to make a decent profit and
they do not want to take a chance on these novels.”
Realising this, in August last year,
Kushairi decided to found his own publishing company, Simptomatik Press, to
self-publish his first book, Biohazard, featuring 14 of his short stories. All
14 stories dealt with microorganisms.
“In my final year in medical school, I
studied microorganisms and I was fascinated by their life-cycles,” says
Kushairi, who is currently waiting to start his housemanship.
“You cannot see them but they are
everywhere. We have been taught that 90% of [the cells in the human body are
actually] organisms ranging from bacteria to parasites.”
Apart from publishing his own book,
Kushairi has helped other science fiction writers get their works published. To
date, his Simptomatik Press has published Fadli Al-Akiti’s Gugurnya Azazil, Nor
Azida Ishak’s Resesif and Fadzlishah Johanabas’ Faith and the Machine, which
are all available in bookstores.
A fifth book – Suatu Hari Nanti Manusia
Akan Melupakan Tuhan is written by Fahmi Mustaffa – is due out at the end of
the year. This science fiction tale takes place in a post-apocalyptic Kuala
Lumpur where the survivors have created a new human race with the help of a
computer chip. They believe that their creations are better than God’s, and
over time, they forget about their own creator and about religion. However,
there is a small community on the fringes of Kuala Lumpur who still believe in
God, and this sparks a conflict between both factions.
Kushairi says he hopes to encourage more
science fiction writing among the Malay community in Malaysia
“I have a dream where Malaysia will one
day host a science fiction literature festival.”
In fact, Kushairi has plans to create
another company that will publish factual books focusing on science subjects in
Malay such as genetics. He believes one of the reasons why Malay- language
science fiction is not as developed as other genre is because many Malays are
not interested in reading scientific books.
“I am hoping to change this scenario,”
“These scientific books will not be
complicated. In fact, I will be using simple terms to explain the scientific
theories. They will be reader-friendly.
“I want to increase the science
knowledge among Malaysians. I believe once they show interest in science, they
will pick up Malay science fiction novels to read. That way, we will see a
growth in the Malay science fiction readership.”
One wonders if Kushairi, as a Muslim,
feels conflicted in writing and publishing science fiction books?
speaking, I do not have that kind of dilemma,” he says.
“The first word of the Quran that was
revealed to Prophet Muhammad was read. So it shows that Islam encourages us to
read and gain knowledge, including scientific knowledge.
“In fact, history has shown that Muslim
scholars in the past have dabbled in scientific experiments and contributed
vastly to scientific development.
“Whenever I write science fiction, I
always go back to my creator and I never forget my faith.” Kushairi himself
only became an ardent reader in his late teens, when he got hooked by Dan
Brown’s mystery thriller, The Da Vinci Code.
“I was only 17, then,” he recalls.
Another novel that impressed him was
Faisal Tehrani’s 1511, which takes place in a future where a Muslim army takes
over the White House.
“The story was so believable,” he says.
“I love the book so much that I forced
my friends to read it. In fact, I bought a few copies and distributed them to
my close friends for them to read.”