By Dennis Abrams
In 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, gave his famous “We go to the moon” speech, announcing that, “We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win .”
And now the government of Malaysia has set its eyes on a similarly lofty goal … albeit one for the literary world.
The New Straits Times Online reports that Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has challenged his nation’s authors to “produce and publish award-winning materials” worthy of international recognition.
The goal? “Clinching” the Nobel Prize for Literature by 2057, the year that Malaysia celebrates its 100th Merdeka celebration.”
In a speech to the National Book Award and Scholars appreciation ceremony, he said:
“I challenge myself and fiction writers to work with publishers and go beyond your comfort zone and be recognized globally … Local publishers need to set a target of winning the Nobel Prize by 2057 … If we do not make the first step now, it will be impossible for us to reach what we aim for successfully in the next 50 years.”