This blog highlights some of the interesting interviews I have done as a journalist with the Sun newspaper. I really believe what makes these interview interesting is their honest answers to the questions I throw at them. Hope you enjoy reading these interviews as much as I had fun writing them. If the readers of the blog wants to write to me, they can do at this email(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Shaz Johar & Sanctuaria
Today theSun highlights an interview with the author Shaz Johar who is promoting his fifth fiction novel that will be selling Pesta Buku Antrabangsa Kuala Lumpur at Putra World Trade Centre ( PWTC) starting today till May 4. Below the is the full article.
Headline Culvating Hard Topics
By Bissme S
Author Shaz Johar tackles the theme of cults in his latest novel,
Sanctuaria (published under Fixi).The 2011 winner of the Selangor Young Talent Award
for best Malay novel, who made his debut
on the local literary scene with Kougar, is no stranger to controversial
subject matters. Kougar explored not only the romance between a much older
woman and a youngerman but also touched on the subject of religion, sex,
passion and friendship.
His current book is a story of the once idealistic Yang Ariff who
builds his version of a utopian community in an isolated commune called
Sanctuaria, where everyone is treated equally. Over time, Sanctuaria grows to
become a 200-member commune and then, the story takes a dark turn when Yang
Ariff becomes consumed by power and his utopia turns into a cult.
“His intentions started out as noble,” said the 36-year-old Shaz whose
real name is Mohd Aswan Md Johar.
“But as his commune grew bigger,Yang Ariff becomes power crazy and
wants everyone in Sanctuaria to obey him at all cost, threatening to kill
anyone who dares to leave.”
Shaz, from Kuala Lumpur,Jones,was inspired by the biopic on Jim an
American religious leader who founded a new religious movement called The
People’s Temple of the Disciples of Christ. On Nov 18, 1978, Jones allegedly
ordered more than 900 cult members, including over 300 children, to commit
suicide by ingesting a cyanide-laced drink, in what is now commonly called
“Jonestown” in Guyana. Jones shot himself.
Sanctuaria is Shaz’s fifth novel. He is currently working on his sixth,
which also tackles a
“I am exploring the subject of paedophilia,” said Shaz, who was rather
tight-lipped over the
outcome of the story, except to say that it’s a story about a woman who
forges a friendship
with a young boy who is being sexually molested by his adoptive father.
The woman herself is an ex convict who was imprisoned for killing her
abusive husband. Shaz started writing at the age of 16. He would show his short
stories to his friends for feedback.
He said: “I always love reading fiction more than non-fiction. In
fiction, writers tell the truth in a more colourful way.”
He has since quit his job in customer service at a bank to focus on
writing. His other works of fiction include Tabu, a story of a plussized Malay
woman falling in love with an African man, and Mental – about a maid who works
for an eccentric family, as well as a compilation of 22 short stories entitled
Cerpen by Shaz Johar.
Shaz is unfazed by the criticisms of those who find his books too raunchy.
“There is nothing wrong in writing about sex because sex is part of
life,” he said.
Sanctuaria will be officially on sale at the Pesta Buku Antrabangsa
Kuala Lumpur at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), which starts from tomorrow
till May 4. Shaz will be on hand for several book signings and talks on the
book during that period. For details on that, visit the Sanctuaria Facebook.