受訪人： Charles(張永新老闆書店雇員) 採訪地點：張老闆書店 採訪時間：2016年4月7日 採訪：黃孫權 王岩 影像，整理：甘志雨Can you just introduce yourself and your background?
My name is Charles. I work at Gerak Budaya. I start working here about one year ago. I work as officially the international academic coordinator. But it’s a kind of potential job title. It doesn’t mean really much. I mostly do a lot of books, especially language books. I also organize events and participate in the general company.
I came to Malaysia about May 2015, or March 2015. My partner’s actually a Malaysian. We met in the university. But because of the nature of Immigration Law in the UK. We couldn’t live together. So we decided we want to move to Malaysia together. We came to here, and we came to (place name). I first found Gerak Budaya in a local bookshop. I found books about Malaysia politics and I didn’t expect to find that kind of literature in Malaysia. So I started reading and enjoy the books and so I just emailed, emailed address out of the book and then Chong came and brought me to the Gerak Budaya. He told me all about his past. He told me all about you know the politics of Gerak Budaya and what he was trying to achieve. I was really lucky that he gave me a job. I’m very grateful.
我是2015年5月來馬來西亞的，或者3月份。我的愛人是馬來西亞人，我們倆在大學裡面相識的。但是，因為英國移民法的規定，我們不能一起生活。所以我們決定來馬來西亞。來了這裡以後，我在當地一家書店的時候發現了Gerak Budaya出版的書，發現原來還有關於馬來西亞政治的書籍，我沒想到在馬來西亞可以看到這種作品。於是我開始閱讀，我很喜歡這些書，然後我就給書頁上的連絡人寫了郵件。然後張先生來找我，帶我去了Gerak Budaya書店，他還告訴我他的過去，Gerak Budaya的政治理想，他想要做的事情。我很幸運能得到他提供的這份工作，我非常感激。
I mostly work on books, review books. So I focus on trying to identify the best books, the most important books you need to find. We always try to find some old books, outdate books that really relative to people’s ideas and thinking in Malaysia. We always try to find books that will, kind of, promote progressive messages, better vision of Malaysia. so a lot of time I spend on doing that.
We are trying to (find) something to people’s political understanding, political activity. They are understanding to Malaysia’s place. Malaysia place, somewhere were you can’t it always rely on the official authorities. So the press to give you all these to open views about things. So you rely on the writers, the tinkers, to give you critical views of certain news and aspects. so we are trying to be voicing part. And in Malaysia you have much wide movement of people who were contributing to this. Gerak Budaya is one of the places where you got this kind of key books and literature.
We’ve given quite a lot control. I think every English language books, you can’t only trust your own judgment. So we choose ones we think have good message. They were mean something to people. We always have meetings and discussions. Sometimes we disagree about what is good books. Sometimes we disagree about messages. Because we receive books on so many different issues, some of them are international focus, some on just local. But in the end, we collect the decisions about what we think should to be published or not.
He has an amazing story. You don’t always find out all about it. You sometimes find out a little bit. I think it’s an inspiring way if you being through certain past, he’s kept on going, kept on promote positive message in Malaysia, and kept trying to produce kind of company that can do that. I think it’s very important to that carries on.
Yes, you’ll find them, but not so much. I mean there are still some important ones in certain cities but they are mainly focused on London. When you find them, some of them is doing very well; some of them is being struggling. But if you go to a normal bookstore, you will not find any radical books, you will not find any critical books. You’ll find normal kind of standard books. What interested me when I came to Malaysia is that if you go to the normal bookstores, all of the books you can go and find like critical and political literature. You could read about politics about Malaysia. You could learn something. And then you will find about something like Gerak Budaya, and it’s very very confusing way, because there are lots of countries that still have a lot of radical publishers who survive and who continually put out really good books, some really important books. And here in Malaysia you have this small publisher who is just been doing for now kind of 15 years, and who is successful doing and how to following, and producing books were really important. Malaysia would be Malaysia if don’t have these books published. So I think, yeah, in the UK, you do have big scene for these kind of books but it’s definitely not mainstream. Where’s here, kind of still influence the mainstream, still try to promote these message amongst normal Malaysia.
At least likely. For example, in the newspapers that many people would read. All books will be reviewed. They might be discussed. It was not always easy but still some connection, whereas, for example in the UK, the kind of radical publishers, even like for example VERSO, their books might not be appreciated by, often, the mainstream papers. There’re kind of… there are still some sense which there are on the ground. I just got that opinion. But I can go around in the UK the whole way like city center or something without seeing any interesting books. Here, there’re always something going on. It might be stuff but something about the publishers which people interested in and people want to listen to. I think important because there’s no kind of middle of the road political publisher here. There’s not whole if you writing about politics, you probably write it in an interesting way and informality way, and here probably in a radical because it’s not whole boring load of political books just middle class of people want to read. Actually if you write things about politics, you probably say something interesting and it probably means that people are going to be interested in what you have to say.
Because I mean the idea of having book of critic of your life for example. In some of the societies is not so popular, it may be sitting down there for free peeking. But if you are own start of life, past, history of societies, it means critic think you are in the pack of the global scene, this kind of thing. Most European people nowadays quite middle class, quite happy to be self-satisfied of their life, they are not looking to that kind of radically challenge, the system. Of course there’re tons of radical people but they are actually sparsely people asking especially critical questions because they are often relatively comfortable and they have certainly interest in not changing things too much. In a country like Malaysia. I think people have to consider all the alternatives what can you do. So I think the certain way that drives asking critical questions like looking for different perspectives in the way that in the UK, not necessarily. UK is a country of nearly like some 10 million people, and of course how’s radical publishers, how’s aggressive publishers. But it’s no great to, example, here. As a population, I don’t know if there is anymore significant. I think sometimes I…sometimes English societies, does it great in freedom? But people don’t use that freedom. They use that freedom to set back, relax too much. I think people here with kind of positive stuff have been force actually write and think and act in a way some people don’t have to.
Mostly, it’s very fun. Every day is a challenge. We come from very different places. Sometimes we have very different understandings of things. But he is usually very open-mined to different ways to doing things. He likes different ideas. He is not always gonna get in his ways. He is not conceptive personality. So he is always looking for something to be done differently or ideas to be challenged. So that’s interesting.
Yes, sometimes I think, but we have rare argument, and we have free speech completely. So we can be very honest, sometime he has different perspectives on something. obviously he has been here for so much longer he has much stronger grass sometimes Malaysia public grounds but also the importance of certain books, historical of Malaysia, like Office Being Struggle, He knows the importance of this book to certain fields, to certain people, in a way that if you just come to this country, you might not. So sometimes he would put down and says this should be published.
有時候是這樣的，我想，因為我們之間爭論並不多，而且我們的言論是自由的，所以我們十分誠懇地（提出意見），有時候他跟我們有不同的看法。當然了，他在這裡這麼長時間，對馬來西亞的瞭解很深刻，基礎也很深厚，他知道哪本書，比如《Office Being Struggle》這本書，對特定受眾、特定領域的重要性，而如果你剛來，可能就不知道了。所以有時候他會堅持己見，說這本書應該出版。
I think it becomes harder and harder because I think increasingly you have people who were looking for, looking for more material gain, looking for jobs in industries which are renowned, like lawyer, doctor, that kind of thing. Running this kind of company is going to be a risk because it’s a kind of place you have to survive continuously based on a smallish group of people who always support you. And something you do would be success, but a lot of academic books you publish, we publish, because they won’t do really really well do a lot of copies but really important to publish in themselves, and the nature of this kind of publisher is that you take risks and you are going to, sometimes, make tons of losses. You have to be ready to know, you are not gonna make a lot of money and selling kind of left wing, progressive books. so it’s not an attractive proposition for lots of young people nowadays. But actually there are also lots of people in Malaysia who doing their own things. There are a lot of people setting their own magazines, their own small bookstore. I think increasingly people want to be doing their own thing, they have their own ideas about what things should be done. so I think find it not to find lots of people want to take this job. There are a lot of people who in this kind of arena, who are trying to do some of the things. so I think progressive books would carry on no matter what… it might be hard to find people who want take a huge company and say we want all the responsibility because there’s probably quite scary.
I think mainly what we do is…… We’re still go through this kind of establish channels. We’re still go through book stores and newspapers this kind of thing. I think from what I’ve seen, there is a whole youth movement, which is kind of rejecting, that kind of thing. They don’t go through bookstores. They don’t rely on corporations. They don’t rely on like media organizations to do that job for them. They are utilizing social media. They are really good at finding their own people to write things. They have like very low production cost because they do things on the very kind of simple bases. But they are really able to spread messages among other young people. And you find like in these stuff, Nine’s involved in, but you also find other small publishers who publishing simple small books, trying to promote messages which spread on the community very quickly, and in Malaysia you have different racial communities, different language communities, so sometimes if you just be in English, you are only speaking to a certain kind of maybe like urban middle class who to appreciate your books. But as a huge, like Malay speaking population in the rest of the country. We also receipt these ideas, receipt these books. If you can do them in a very cheap, accessible way. There are really interested them as well. So this is the whole kind of Malay speaking or Malay language press which is developing and they produce really cool stuff. I really sad that I don’t speak Malay because I can’t appreciate it. But those things are really radical really cool. That’s the kind of future. That’s the way things moving. That’s really good.
Yes, people are advance so they came here buy books. I mean, this is a connection. They rely on some of the things you publish, because, you know, it is important to them, but they have their own way of doing things. They have their own ideas about how things should be done. And I think you know, inside the books, knowledge and stuff, it gives you the power to be able to realize your own project, so you don’t have to rely on certain things anymore. You could do things yourselves. I think people are realizing that.
You are welcome.