1 10 - 11 April 2021 Conference on Taiwan-Malaysia Study on Southeast Asian Chinese Culture
10-11 April 2021 Via Google Meet

A Conference on Taiwan-Malaysia Study on Southeast Asian Chinese Culture (台湾、马来西亚东南亚华人文化学术会议) was organized by UTAR Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), UTAR Centre for Chinese Studies (CChS) and Research Center for Chinese Cultural Subjectivity in Taiwan, National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taiwan. The conference was held as a hybrid conference in which UTAR will involves virtually in the conference while the NCCU’s physically in its campus on 10-11 April 2021.

The two days of conference comprised 8 sessions with 7 scholars from Taiwan and 9 scholars from Malaysia. 6 of ICS staff have been participated as the paper presenter with 1 of doctoral candidate as a co-author. The other 2 presenters from Universiti Malaya which is also one of Malaysia’s MOU partner to the NCCU ini Taiwan.

The opening ceremony has been welcomed by the center director of NCCU, Prof Lin Yuan-Tse, and ICS’ dean, Dr Chong Siou Wei.

The first day of conference schedule consists of 4 sessions of panel, namely, Session 1: Islam and the Chinese in Malaysia (chaired by Dr Chiou, Syuan-Yuan, NCCU, commented by Prof Dr Wong Chin Huat, Sunway University), Session 2: the Spacetime Consciousness of Chinese Malaysian (chaired by Dr Tsai Yuan-Lin, NCCU, commented by Dr Lim Khay Thiong, NCTU, Taiwan), Session 3: Sino-Buddhism in Malaysia (chaired by Dr Lan Shi-Chi, NCCU, and commented by Dr Wong Sien Biang, IPU Kuala Lipis, Pahang), and Session 4: Chinese Christianity in Malaysia (chaired by Dr Wang, Yun, NCCU, and commented Dr Ngu Ik Tien, UM).

The second day of conference comprised 3 sessions with a closing ceremony. The 5th session on Chinese Identity in Southeast Asia (chaired by Dr Yeh, Hsien-Chin, NCCU, and commented by Dr Chen Mei-Hwa, Taiwanese Society for Religious Study), the 6th session on Research Methodology in Chinese Culture and Religion (chaired by Dr Chiam Yam Tuan, Center for Malaysian Chinese Studies, KL, and commented by Dr Lin Ching-Chin, NCCU), and the final 7th session on Literature of Chinese Malaysian (chaired by Dr Lim Choon Bee, UPM, and commented by Dr Fan Pik Hua, UM).

Figure 1: Dr Toh TC and Ven Kai Ti Presenting Kek Lok Si Temple in Pulau Pinang

Figure 2: Dr Lin (NCCU) Commenting Dr Tan AB’s Presentation

The two days of conference have participated by 56 online registered participants from both Taiwan and Malaysia, and the total numbers was 80 including 24 of chairs, presenters and commentators. This was considered as achieving the conference targeted numbers and objectives.

During the closing ceremony session, the organizing committee comprises both NCCU and UTAR has agreed to publish the papers, with a rigorous peer review as a common practice in Taiwan, in two separate series namely humanities and social sciences in Southeast Asian Chinese. In a nutshell, NCCU will take over the editing of book publication as the key of post-conference project.

Figure 3: Dr Tee BC and Dr Tsai YL on Publishing at the Closing Ceremony
21 August 2021International Conference of Sinophone Malaysia Literary Studies
1 August 2021 Via Zoom

The conference attracted participants from local and abroad

UTAR Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS) and Centre for Chinese Studies (CChS) organized an International Conference of Sinophone Malaysian Literary Studies (马华文学研究国际学术研讨会) on 1 August 2021 via Zoom.

Bearing the theme “The Multinational Production of Sinophone Malaysian Literature” (马华文学的多国生产), the bilingual conference (conducted in both English and Chinese) aimed to provide a platform for researchers and scholars from local and abroad to share thoughts on their research findings particularly in the aspects of Sinophone Malaysian Literary Studies.

ICS Dean Assoc Prof Dr Chong Siou Wei was invited to officiate the virtual opening ceremony. Also present at the ceremony were Organising Committee Chairperson Assoc Prof Dr Khor Boon Eng, esteemed keynote speakers, as well as academics and students from local and abroad.

Dr Khor hoping all participants will be enriched greatly from this conference

Dr Khor welcomed all the participants and said, “The committee received more than 240 registrations from both local and abroad, such as the USA, China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore. The theme has reflected well on the latest research trend of the Sinophone Malaysian Literature. Now, the research on Sinophone Malaysian Literary Studies is not only getting attention in Asia, but also in other regions as well, such as the United States. Most importantly, we hope this will be a platform for productive exchanges and fruitful interaction among participants.” He also expressed his appreciation to the University and ICS for the great support; local and international presenters for their sharing, as well as committee members and student helpers for making the event a success.

Dr Chong thanking the participants for their active participation

In his opening speech, Dr Chong thanked the local and international participants for their active participation. He revealed, “The University always actively engages in international academic collaboration, aiming to provide staff and students with opportunities to broaden their horizons and absorb new knowledge. The conference was originally scheduled to be held last year. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to move the conference online. During the pandemic outbreak, we had to move all the teaching and learning, as well as academic activities online, so that teaching and research activities will not be interrupted. Virtual events like today's conference will not be affected by distance and space, everyone can join the conference by just logging into the online platform. Even after the pandemic is over, we can still consider to organize events virtually.”

The six sub-topics that were discussed at the conference included the nature and characteristics of Sinophone Malaysian Literature, comparative perspectives on Sinophone Malaysian Literature with global and local literature, the multinational production of Sinophone Malaysian Literature, the rethinking and retrospection on the historical and socio-political contexts, the forms and styles of Sinophone Malaysian Literature, and the prominent authors and works.

Clockwise, from top left: Dr Tan, Prof Carlos Rojas, Dr Brian Bernards and Prof Andrea Bachner

The first panel session was conducted by academics from the US. Dr Brian Bernards from the University of Southern California presented on “Sinophone Malaysian Literary Studies in the US and Canada”; Prof Dr Andrea Bachner from Cornell University presented on “Global Jungle Fever: Sinophone Malaysian Narrative and World-Literary Ecologies" and Prof Dr Carlos Rojas from the Duke University presented on “History, Counter-history, and Narrative in the work of Ng Kim Chew”. The moderator was Dr E.K. Tan from Stony Brook University. Their discussions focused on the Sinophone Malaysian Literature, authors and works from the western perspective.

Clockwise, from top left: Dr Brian Bernards, Dr Tan, Dr Khor and Dr Lim

The topics “Deconstructing the Sinophone”, “Sinophone Literature as a Third Cultural Space in the case of Malaysia” and “Rethinking Indigeneity in Sinophone Malaysian Literature'' were presented by Dr Lim Kien Ket from the National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, Dr Khor and Dr Tan respectively during the second panel session. The moderator for the session was Dr Brian Bernards. The discussions provided the participants with a deeper understanding of Sinophone Malaysian Literature as one of the tributaries of Sinophone Literature.

The following session saw speakers from UTAR presenting their respective topics. CChS Modern Chinese Literature Studies Unit Head Dr Wong Lih Lih presented on “The Intertextuality of Literature and History: On the ‘May 13’ Narrative in Malaysian Chinese and Malay Literature”; ICS academic Dr Chou Wen Loong presented on “‘New Village’ in Sinophone Malaysian Literature: The Passing of A Collective Memory” and Dr Lee Soo Chee presented on “A Contemplative Chinese Malaysian Poet of the 1980s Generation: Zhou Tianpai and His Writing Skills of Structures and Image - Themes”.

Dr Wong, Dr Chou and Dr Lee (from top to bottom) presenting their researches

Dr Alison Groppe sharing her research on the prominent Malaysian Chinese author, Li Zishu

Other speakers included Dr Alison Groppe from the University of Oregon, who presented on “Memory, Metafictionality and 'Malaysian Chineseness' in the Fiction of Li Zishu”; Prof Dr Wong Yoon Wa from the Southern University College, who presented on “Reflection and Reconstruction: The Diverse and Complex System of Sinophone Literature in Singapore and Malaysia”; Prof Dr Wang Yanfang from Jiangsu Normal University, who presented on “Critical Discourse·Subject Theory·Research Paradigm - Research on Malaysian Chinese Literature in Mainland China in the past 40 years”; Dr Seng Yan Chuan and Seng Jing Fei from the University of Malaya, who presented on “An Analysis of the Ecological Consciousness of Sinophone Malaysian Writers”; Dr Kao Chia-li from the National Chung Hsing University, who presented on “The Cross-cultural Aesthetics in the Historical Memory of The Garden of Evening Mists”; Dr Ch’ng Ee Cheik from Yancheng Teachers University, who presented on “The Mechanism of Speeches: Discourse Construction of Inter-ethnic Narrative in Malaysian Literature in Malay, English and Chinese” and Dr Sim Kok Meng from the Performance Art Theatre (心向太阳剧坊), who presented on “Who is Dubian (杜边)? ——A Preliminary Study on the Creative Writing of Sinophone Malaysian Dramatists”.

Prof Wong (right) presented his research on the Sinophone Literature in Singapore and Malaysia, while Dr Lim moderated the session

Dr Kao elaborating her research based on the The Garden of Evening Mists, a story that took place in Cameron Highland

A research involving the comparison between the Malay Literature, Malay-English Literature and Malay-Chinese Literary

Performance Art Theatre Chairperson Dr Sim Kok Meng has been invited by the committee to present the research on the Sinophone Malaysian Dramatists - Dubian

30 October 2021

2021 China and Southeast Asian Chinese Studies Forum 2021
30 October 2021 Via Zoom

The 2021 China and Southeast Asian Chinese Studies Forum (2021年中国与东南亚华人研究论坛) was organized by UTAR Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), UTAR Centre for Chinese Studies (CChS), UTAR Postgraduate Chinese Studies Society and College of International Relations, Huaqiao University (HQU) on 30 October 2021 via Zoom.

The objective of the forum is to promote international academic exchange and encourage thesis or dissertation writing among postgraduate students. A total of 6 lecturers and 13 postgraduate students presented their papers during the forum. The forum attracted more than 50 audiences, including lecturers and students from UTAR and HQU.

Group photo