Friday, February 29, 2008

Prof. Dr. LLoyd Fernando - 1926-2008. Novelist, playwright and humanitarian.

I received a text from a former colleague Kee Thuan Chye who informed me of the passing of Prof Dr Lloyd Fernando today. Those in the literary circles would know of Lloyd and those who studied literature would also be familiar with his works. I may be mistaken but I think Lloyd's The Scorpion Orchid (1976) was, once upon a time, made a required reading.
According to Kee, Dr Fernando passed away in UH around 6 in the evening (28th February). The funeral services will be held on Tuesday (4th March) (will reconfirm this bit).
I don't claim to be close friends with him but I do consider him to be one of my teachers. When Kee and I were selected to attend a Young Asian Writer's Workshop in Quezon City, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, in 1990, we had the great opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts, and get acquainted with many other young and established writers from the region. Lloyd Fernando was one of the moderators and it was there that I first met him. His mild mannered and very cultured personality endeared him to me to this day.
AJ and Lloyd Fernando at the Young Asian Writers Workshop in Quezon City
Born in 1926 in Sri Lanka, he followed his family to Singapore in 1936. He was an academician in his early career having got his doctorate from the University of Leeds in 1963. He returned to University of Malaya in the late 60s where he was elevated to Professor and headed the English Department until 1979.
Surprisingly, he started writing late in life - his first novel was Scorpion's Orchid written in 1976 and the literary world had to wait another 17 years for his next novel Green Is The Color. He also turned his first novel into a play in 1998 (only ten years ago).
Rest In Peace, Lloyd Fernando. His funeral will be held on Monday at St Francis Xavier's Church in Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya at 11 am.

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." - Clyde Campbell

1 comment:

Isnor Dzulkarnain Jaafar said...

Hi.. I'm doing a research on Jalan Ampas studios and i stumbled upon your blog. My name is Isnor Dzulkarnain Jaafar, 27. I am the founder of facebook group 'Singapore Malay Film Society', One of our mission is to revive back the golden era of Malay Films in Singapore. The so ever sad state of the Jalan Ampas studios make me want to rebuilding and do sumthing with my own bare hands. That is why this year, our group would like to conduct a small tour around jalan ampas studios. We want to show everyone.. if the pple 40 years ago can do it.. y can't us now in this modern day of age?

Insyallah, my group and I will do what I can to revive/rebuild it and bring back its glory. This is our mission. Our goal.

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