Allow me to introduce the hottest new game you’ve never heard of!
Littleships: small boats fighting modest battles in diminutive bodies of water.
Imagine Battleships but single-player, and each littleship is a single coordinate. You have 15 shots to sink 5 littleships. Can you do it?
I wrote Littleships in Python3 as an in-terminal minigame with around 70 lines of code, as part of a course in computer science at Codecademy. The program is written to be easily adjustable. Only three variables need to be set – pond size, number of shots allowed and number of littleships. Features include randomly generated littleships, a shot tracker to prevent duplicate shots, and a validator to ensure shots are within bounds. Check out the source code on GitHub.
The George Town Literary Festival is underway. The Last Jews of Penang is honored to receive a slot in the program for our official launching. Here is publisher Amir Muhammad, illustrator Arif Rafhan and myself talking about the origins of the project and what it means to us.
Not very long ago, a small but thriving community of Jews called the island of Penang their home.
With a presence spanning across two centuries, this little-known but truly Malaysian community
eventually vanished, but traces remain!
With prose by Zayn Gregory accessible even to goys of all ages, and beautiful illustrations by Arif
Rafhan, The Last Jews of Penang brings to life a poignant moment in Malaysia’s rich multicultural
Literary giant Salleh Ben Joned Salleh Ben Joned passed away a few months ago. His taste in pantuns favored the more … spicy. His short essay “Salacious Pleasures of ‘Pantuns'” on four classic pantuns from the book Kumpulan Pantun Melayu (published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Malaysia) features his loose translations into English and some thoughts about their significance to the Malay Psyche. I was surprised to find I had already translated three of them on separate occasions. Here are all four of Salleh Ben Joned’s Salacious Pantuns, followed by my translation and then his translation.
Salacious Pantun #1: TELUK DAN SIAM
Ke Teluk sudah, ke Siam sudah Ke Mekah saja aku yang belum Berpeluk sudah, bercium sudah Bernikah saja aku yang belum.
My translation: Teluk and Siam are done, off my list, but I haven’t yet reached the Holiest City; I’ve shared an embrace and also a kiss, But I haven’t yet tried holy matrimony.
Salleh Ben Joned’s translation: I’ve been to Thailand, to the Gulf too, Only to Mecca I haven’t been; Kissed them I have, and known them too, Without going through the wedding scene.
Salacious Pantun #2: KUANG BERTELUR
Di mana kuang bertelur? Di atas lata, di celah batu, Di mana sayang nak tidur? Di atas dada, di celah susu.
My translation: “Where does the pheasant lay eggs?” it is said, Above the falls, ‘tween boulders they rest; Where shall my true love lay down his head, Within these arms, between my two breasts.
Salleh Ben Joned’s translation: Where does the dove lay its eggs In the rapids between the rocks Where may I lay my head, my love On the chest between the breasts.
Salacious Pantun #3: KERENGGA DALAM BULUH
Kerengga di dalam buluh, Serahi berisi air mawar, Sampai hasrat di dalam tubuh, Tuan seorang jadi penawar.
My Translation: Vials filled with rosewater treat fire ants within the bamboo; When my body fills with need The only remedy is you.
Salleh Ben Joned’s Translation: Red ants crawling in bamboo shaft Vessel brimming with rose water When my body’s possessed by lust Only you can be the appeaser.
Salacious Pantun #4, a quite randy pantun indeed: BUKIT JERAM
Tanam padi di Bukit Jeram Tanam keduduk atas batu Macam mana hati tak geram Menengok tetek menolak baju
My Translation: Plant your rice in Jeram Hill dust, Senduduk in the rocky dirt; How could my heart not fill with lust, To see her breasts push up her shirt.
Salleh Ben Joned’s Translation: Plant the padi with a thrust Stroke the seedlings with dew It drives you crazy with lust To see the tits tilting the baju (blouse)
His thoughts on the significance of these pantuns in understanding the Malay Psyche are linked here. Me, I just translate ’em.