Thursday, March 26, 2009


About the writer.
Born in 1951, Rahmat Haroun was brought up in Butterworth, a harbour town in the northern part of Malaysia. Surrounded by urban poverty, he survived with ten other siblings on his father’s mere income of two hundred sixty ringgit per month. To suffice end meet, besides his crane-driver father had to toil overtime almost every night, he assisted his mother selling Malay delicacy after school. Despite being ridden by frank poverty and loss his medically boarded father at the age of 18, he managed to secure a JPA scholarship in 1971 to do medicine in Indonesia after doing pre-U at SMSAH, Jitra, Kedah.
As a medical doctor by profession, he could still find space to write in spite of busy schedule at his general practice’s clinic. His passion for creative writing started during his school’s days. But only at the age of 38, he published his first a medical sci-fi novel ‘Di.Ar.Ti.’ (1989). In the following year, he wrote two novels ‘Terang Bulan’ (Full Moon) and another sci-fi novel, ‘Manuklon’ (Human Clones, DBP 1990). In 1991, he published his fourth novel, a sci-fi called, ‘Sentuhan Oedipus’ (The Oedipus Touch). After a long respite, in 2003 he wrote a Malay novel called ‘Hikayat Neogenesis’ as a kind of literary protest. In the same year, he wrote the English version of ‘Hikayat Neogenesis’ called ‘The New Book of Genesis’.In 2006, he wrote “Fitrah Kimiawi”. Currently, he had finished writing “Panggil Aku Melaju” another medical sci-fi novel. (The novel "Panggil Aku Melaju" has been published and released in January 2009).
Though he is not known in Malay literary fraternity as a poet but he does sporadically write mainly of protest poetry. ‘Sarkas Hukum’ or ‘The Legal Circus’ is an example of his poem, which was written in 1989, following a judiciary crisis in Malaysia. When Malay literature was infested with vulgarism, he wrote a poem ‘Mencarutlah Sastera’ or ‘Let swear in literature’ in 2000. As a medical doctor, he is committed to disseminate awareness campaign of the risks and danger of diabetes through Malaysian Diabetes Association in which he is a local chairperson, he expresses in poetry to communicate with his targeted audience through ‘Gurindam Diabetes’ or ‘The Couplets of Diabetes’ during the World Diabetes Day’s Celebration in 2003.
Apart from novels and poetry, he also writes short stories. Many remain unpublished. Among short stories published are ‘Kudusnya Mimpi Tisa,” ‘Genesis Tatakala’ and ‘Anugerah’. His short story, ‘Kimiawi Cinta’ was presented in a literary workshop organised by DBP in 2002. In his spare time, he writes medical-related articles in local daily, mosque’s bulletin and NGO newsletter.
Though Rahmat Haroun has been writing novels for many years but through ‘The New Book of Genesis’, he takes the challenge to write his first novel in English as a kind of constructive protest against the Ministry of Education’s policy to implement English as a medium of instruction to teach Mathematics and Science in Malaysian Schools and Higher Institutions.

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