The two-part volume Heteroglossia was published in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) Women Section. Within the sphere of Chinese-language publications, there is little work which specifically focuses upon gender issues and women’s
history. In the first part of Heteroglossia, KLSCAH looks back at the tight-knit relations between the Women Section and society, with 30 testimonials telling the evolution of women in recent years, from issues of ‘gynocentrism’ to the topic of ‘civil society’. Heteroglossia also looks toward the future with invitations to 11 different specialists and authors to contribute texts ranging from public policy analysis to in-depth theses. Together, they tell the life stories of six different strata of women in society.
The first section, “It’s not only her issue”, aims to reflect upon the possibilities of social practice by bringing together actual local conditions with academic analysis and research. By addressing various issues, such as the sexual violence that has long been a concern of the women’s movement, pregnancy, public participation, questions of care, as well as issues of marginalisation among comfort women, LGBTQ, foreign workers and others, Heteroglossia hopes to draw out a wholly different map of gender politics.
The second volume, “Her shadow”, asks us to think again: What does history mean? What is there beyond the macro-scale language of historical narrative, where individual life story and memory are regularly neglected for ‘objective’ historical evidence? And what is absent from social memory? Women s experiences are often regarded as private affairs. But if women speak of their history, then we must enter the micro-scale of herstory in order to redress the women in history. The title of the book seeks to overturn the stereotypical view that women’s speak = gossip in favour of the view that women’s matters are also ‘national matters’. Only when we move towards a heteroglossic society can we also push
forward the ongoing revolution.