The Year of the Rat & Other Poems

Title: The Year of the Rat and Other Poems

Editor: Malachi Edwin Vethamani

Publisher: Maya Press, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Year of the Rat
Lim Jack Kin

A cell-phone camera on the overpass watched
the fleet of black cars devour the highway below;
Roads were closed today for the minister's entourage.
The city smiled, red cheeks bulging with police sirens.

That night, a shoebox sailed along a storm drain.
Inside it was a shopping receipt with “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,”
scrawled on the blank side, and something that mewled
while scratching at the cardboard.

By morning, it was hot again.
A grey committee gathered at the palace,
and a burst rat saw them walk inside
as it blistered in the parking lot.

Don’t ask me what they talked about.
I’ve never been invited to these things.

A UI/UX Review of You
Allison Jong Chia Ning

If you are a product designed for me 
I wish to highlight the touchpoints of our interaction
As this extraction of data is key to conclude
This user’s interface & experience. 

I now land on the homepage of your lap 
Hold you in my hands and 
Scroll through your eyes 
As I load the imprint of your lips 
On mine

Then I click on the bridge of your nose 
Stream the sound of your laughter
And pause at the scent of your skin 
Wondering where in the world I’ve been

Your search bar eases me to explore
And before I could finish what I was here for 
You took the words right out of my _______
Autofill my thoughts as if they are yours 
Never knew I could be known like this
Never like ever before

Now in discovery mode 
Leaving a cache worth of me 
All over the landing page of your spine 
Bet the codes are running through your mind
You got me hooked
Now I be spending more time 

I’m not sure how many A/B tests you’ve gone through 
But I think I’ve got the best version of you 
I would click to visit again and you would know
For the data don’t lie, even if I try. 

About the Book: Year of the Rat and Other Poems presents the winning poems from the Malaysian Poetry Writing Competition 2021. This collection of poems is made possible by the many submissions that were received; a total of 1,904 poems from 860 poets. From this pool of poems, Year of the Rat and Other Poems contains a total of thirty-one winning poems from twenty-six poets. The majority of the writers in the volume are young and emerging writers. The poems in the anthology touch on various concerns in contemporary Malaysia like identity, home, belonging and political issues. A fine example of Malaysian English is reflected in this collection of poems.

About the Editor: Malachi Edwin Vethamani  is a poet, writer, editor, critic, bibliographer and Emeritus Professor.  His publications include: Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories (2018) and two collections of poems, Life Happens (2017) and Complicated Lives (2016).  His stories and poems have been published in many literary journals. The Year of the Rat and Other Poems is his latest publication. He has previously edited four volumes of Malaysian writings in English. The first volume, In-Sights: Malaysian Poems in 2004, the second and third anthologiescover a period of over 60 years of Malaysian writings in English, Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems (2018) and Ronggeng-Ronggeng: Malaysian Short Stories (Maya Press, 2020). The Malaysian Publishers Association awarded Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems the Anugerah Buku Malaysia 2020, best book award for the English Language category. In 2021, he published Malaysian Millennial Voices (2021), a collection of poems from Malaysian poets under 35 years of age.



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