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This issue of LONTAR presents speculative writing from and about Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos.
Inside these pages, you’ll find:
- the high cost of cheap footwear by celebrated novelist and translator Ken Liu;
- the consequence of domesticating mythical beasts by rising star Eka Kurniawan (translated by Tiffany Tsao);
- a mind-bending familial space opera by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo;
- the connection between a talented girl and the toys she brings to life by JY Yang;
- a break-up that descends into artistic oblivion by Jennifer Anne Champion;
- an academic examination into the legend of Bukit Merah by award-winner Ng Yi-Sheng;
- a comic on the consuming danger of the manananggal by Budjette Tan, Alex Arellano & Kajo Baldisimo;
- and speculative poetry by Jonel Abellanosa, Ang Si Min, Russ Hoe, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Christina Sng, Sokunthary Svay, Krishna Udayasankar, Brendan Walsh and Marco Yan.
Eka Kurniawan (trans. Tiffany Tsao)
See It Coming
Jennifer Anne Champion
Her Majesty’s Lamborghini and the Girl With the Fish Tank
Brother to Space, Sister to Time
Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
I See Clouds
10 Days in the Gardens
When It Happened
quaere :: seek and ask
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
Ang Si Min
Candle Rite for Life / Laos
At Stoney Creek Beach, Thinking of Si Phan Don, Laos
Objects of Revolution
The Boy, the Swordfish, the Bleeding Island
Budjette Tan, Alex Arellano & Kajo Baldisimo
Extract from “Running Shoes”
Giang wished that she could run away from Vuong and the factory. She imagined herself wearing the shoes that she made: sneakers that felt as light as air but were as strong as steel boots. She often admired them, thought they would protect her feet against the roughest ground, but of course she couldn’t afford such shoes.
Running in them probably feels like flying, she thought. Wouldn’t it be nice to run all the way into the sky and become friends with the birds?
But Vuong’s foul curses brought her back to earth, back to the present.
It was getting harder and harder to lift her legs. Her feet hurt as they struck against the ground. She couldn’t catch her breath. The sun was so hot and bright.
“If you don’t run faster, you can leave right now and never come back. And don’t ever expect to find any work in any other factory in this town either. I know all the foremen.”
Giang was ready to give up. She wanted to stop and just walk away. She wanted to go home, where she would be able to cry in the warm embrace of her mother and fall asleep against her shoulders.
But then she imagined the scene around the bedroom after she would have fallen asleep. There would be her father, confined to his bed after he lost the use of his legs because of that construction accident; he would stare hopelessly at the ceiling, biting his lips and trying not to moan from the pain. Next to him would be her mother, who would have to get up before the sun was out to walk to the shirt factory on the other side of the city; the money she earned there paid for her father’s medicine. Giang’s wages paid for their food, and allowed her brother to continue in high school at the provincial capital. But with Giang fired, what would they do?