Abstract

In his essay, ‘Dilemma of a Dog Barking at a Mountain: Pragmatist-Idealist Dialectic and the Writer in Malaysia’, Kee Thuan Chye, Malaysia’s foremost playwright, critic and columnist, evaluates his position as an idealist-writer — one ‘who desires to write without fear or restraint, and to reassess it in relation to (his) willingness as a person to accept the consequences of (his) desire, no matter how adverse these consequences may be’ (67) — and as a pragmatist who also has to consider the ‘harsh realities’ in Malaysia as he is ‘subject to conditions peculiar to (Malaysian) society’. He confesses that this dilemma he is in has begun to raise ‘suspicions of (his) validity and self-worth’ and, as such, the pragmatist in him ‘is getting increasingly circumspect and sweaty under the collar’ (67).

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