The S.E.A.Write Award, in collaboration with Asia Pacific Writers & Translators Association (AP Writers), and the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, recently staged for the first time in Bangkok an international writers’ and translators’ forum entitled “Reaching the World”.
Activities included a series of talks, panel discussions, and author showcases, participated in by renowned writers and translators from some 22 countries.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra hosted the event with a poetry reading session by some renowned ASEAN poets including Dr Edwin Thumboo, a leading Singaporean poet and the 1979 inaugural S.E.A. Write awardee, and Thailand’s 2010 S.E.A. Write awardee Zakariya Amataya.
Deputy Dean for International Affairs of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Arts Assoc Prof Surapeepan Chatraporn said the event was named ‘Reaching the World’, for it was the first international summit for writers, poets, translators, and also publishers from ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific region, where they could express their ideas and share their opinions in order to enhance the literary climate in Bangkok, while it was to create better understanding among people of these countries.
Deputy Dean Surapeepan said the forum was aimed to bring larger numbers of people to awareness that literature was part of life.
“It is life and soul in itself, and people need to see this aesthetic aspect of life to uplift their spirits,” she said.
With the imminent coming of the ASEAN Community, the deputy dean said she thinks Thai people are still at a great disadvantage regarding use of the English language, as they don’t speak English as much and don’t use English as much, and there are few Thais as literate in English compared to other countries, such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Myanmar.
She pointed out some obstacles faced in preparation for the event was that qualified translators were scarce to beautify writers’ valuable works to be known internationally.
Nonetheless, somehow she said Thai writers and poets are no fewer and no less significant than those from other nations, but language barriers remain a big problem. Thais have to try to overcome these barriers, she said.