Writer's Spotlight: Xie Ke 谢克
Born in Singapore in 1931, the ancestry of Xie Ke <谢克>, whose actual name is Seah Khok Chua, could be traced to Chenghai, Guangdong. He began writing in the 1950s, publishing his short story collection For the Next Generation in 1954. His short story collections include Besieged City, Scenes of Singapore, and The Return of Learning. His creative period spanned the campaign against “yellow culture” of the 1950s to the years of Singapore’s self-governance prior to independence in the 1960s; reflecting the social outlook and humanistic view of these pivotal times.
Xie will appear in the dialogue session Aftermath: Navigating post-war Singapore Society through Chinese Literature as part of Luminationon 4 Aug 2018.
Besieged City (excerpt)
Besieged City, the title story of a short story collection, was first published on 29 November 1955
After that labour strike, management at the factory really hated him.
One night, when he left the home of a colleague who was seriously ill, it was already past midnight. He walked home along the quiet red dirt road. The night breeze rustled a banana tree and brushed across his wrinkled face.
The lower portion of the moon was covered by clouds. Only the stars in the western stretch of the sky cast a ghostly glow on his head.
When he was just twenty feet from the door, under the coconut tree, suddenly–
“Stop! Show me your identity card.”
Shocked, he stopped and turned back.
Suddenly, a heavy object fell onto his forehead, then dark shadows fled from behind the tree.
He screamed, covering his face with his hands. His body trembled, his feet went weak, and he fell to the ground.
Poem translated from Chinese by Shelly Bryant