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Asas ’50 celebrates 60 years of literary excellence

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60 years is no mean feat. In the new millennium, Angkatan Sasterawan ‘50 (Asas ’50) has entered a brand new era with a younger and more dynamic leadership. Coupled with a myriad of fresh and innovative ideas in bringing the Malay language and literature to the masses in a more relevant, pragmatic yet heartfelt manner, Asas ‘50 has redefined its mission and vision for the future. This was presented during Asas ‘50’s 60th Anniversary Celebration on the 5th of November 2010. While new and established writers remained at the literary forefront, Asas ‘50 aims to continue to innovate and create fresh niches for itself as it aspires to pursue excellence and quality in all that it does for the community.

Held at the Furama City Centre, the event saw the convergence of writers, activists and enthusiasts, young and old. Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts (MICA), Mr Lui Tuck Yew, graced the event as the Guest-of-Honour. In his speech, Mr Lui was impressed with Asas ‘50’s resilience and attributed this to the association’s constant engagement with the youths that had made its movement relevant and in recent times, aligned to the nation’s vision of Singapore as a Renaissance City. In addition, he also paid tribute to the founding fathers of Asas ’50 such as Pendeta Dr. Muhammad Ariff Ahmad (MAS) and the late Dr. Masuri Salikun (Masuri SN) who blazed the trail for the younger generation of writers.

Asas ‘50’s President, Mohamed Pitchay Gani Bin Mohamed Abdul Aziz praised the commitment, dedication and passion of the executive members that have steered Asas ‘50 to new heights in his welcome speech. From the pits of anonymity, Asas ‘50 was revived like a phoenix that rose from the ashes. The year 2003 played a significant role in the development and reintroduction of Asas ‘50 into the youth and literary activism fraternity with the creation of the Asas ‘50 youth wing. The next seven years saw the immediate impact made by the Asas ‘50 youths in shaping the landscape of the Malay language and literature in Singapore via activities and initiatives such as Edu-Heritage, Bibliotherapy and Heartland Poet.

During the celebration, Asas ’50 unveiled its new and improved website as it now serves to become the one stop resource portal for Malay language, literature and culture. The website also launched Asas ’50’s first e-book entitled Pragmatisme Menjana Persuratan Alaf Baru, a collection of literary essays and criticisms. Award winning singer-song writer, Aqmal also generously uploaded his tracks onto the online portal. Mr Pitchay then took the opportunity to thank the associations and organizations such as the National Arts Council (NAC), National Heritage Board (NHB) and National Library Board (NLB) that have supported Asas ’50 in its pursuit of literary excellence all these years.

The event’s climax was the presentation of awards to the deserving recipients for championing Asas ‘50’s cause over the years. The 3 top awards were presented to Pendeta Dr. Muhammad Ariff Ahmad who was conferred the Life Time Achievement Award for Literature while Madam Chan Maw Woh was presented with the Committment to Promoting Literature Award and Muhammad Herwanto Johari was gifted with the Excellence Youth Award for Literature.

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