KUALA LUMPUR: The Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, is now available in Bahasa Malaysia.
Known as Mimpi Di Mahligai Merah, the six-volume hardbound set was revealed to guests at a launch in Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka yesterday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in a speech read out by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, said it was part of efforts to strengthen the long-standing literary and cultural relations between the Malay and Chinese civilisations.
“The translated version highlights the universal values that can be practised by Malaysians in order to maintain a harmonious environment here,” he said.
The translated text is jointly published by Yayasan Karyawan and the Alumni Association of the Department of Chinese Studies of Universiti Malaya (Pejati) in collaboration with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
The decade-long translation project began back in 2007.
Najib expressed his appreciation to Universiti Malaya’s (UM) Department of Chinese Studies senior lecturer Dr Seng Yan Chuan and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Department of Chinese Studies Assoc Prof Dr Khoo Boon Eng for their efforts in translating the text.
“They provided an invaluable contribution to the bilateral relationship between both nations and our civilisations,” he said.
Najib also called for more translations of both Chinese and Malaysian literary texts.
Authored by Cao Xueqin in the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty, Dream of the Red Chamber provided a detailed account of the decline of the wealthy Jia family.
The tragic love triangle between main protagonist Jia Baoyu and his cousins Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai has tugged at the heartstrings of readers for the past few centuries.
In July, former Transport Minister and ex-MCA deputy president Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy donated over 6,000 Dream of the Red Chamber items to the UM library, making it the biggest Dream of the Red Chamber collection outside of China.
in a brief opening speech yesterday, Chan thanked the business community leaders who gladly contributed to sponsor the book for libraries and cultural centres nationwide.
“Redology is a field of study dedicated to this epic, which covers every aspect of Chinese culture, so it was a real challenge for us to get it translated into Bahasa Malaysia,” he said.