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Hamsad Rangkuti Releases Short Story Collection LIPS IN THE CHAMBER POT

FRANKFURT, GERMANY(Marketwired - Oct 6, 2015) - Hamsad Rangkuti's stories are carefully crafted, humorous, and often carry an unexpected twist. Overall, they deal lovingly with the diverse cultures of the disparate Indonesian Republic and with its turbulent history. - The ebook can be downloaded for free between the 6th and 9th of October 2015:

The characters in Hamsad's stories are simple persons, subject to the wry judgment of the narrator, for better and for worse. For better, because rural folk maintain an innocence and a resilience in a changing world; for worse, because local pride and affectation, concern for social status, and the pressures of rapid social dislocation, all lead to the potential destruction of that innocence and resilience.

The narrator sees these dimensions from a distance; Hamsad has lived in Jakarta since 1966, but never fully adjusted to the vastness and indifference of modern life. His extensive involvement in the literary life of the national capital has taught him that some writers are sincere and pious human beings, others self-centered frauds. "I am a hopeless dreamer," he admits in the Afterword to this book. The stories translated here, honored in Indonesia and abroad, offer readers a chance to share in his dreams. Being located at an indefinite point between "fiction and lies", they are universal in their appeal.


Hasyim ("Hamsad") Rangkuti was born in Titikuning, Medan, North Sumatra, on 7th May 1943, and raised in Kisaran, Asahan, about 200 kilometers to the south. His father was a night watchman and Koranic chanting master; his mother sold fruits in the market and worked as a laborer in a tobacco plantation. He published his first short story in 1959, while still in junior high school. After failing to finish senior high school (he dropped out in 1961), Hamsad worked as a clerk for the Army Headquarters in Medan and then as an editor for the local newspapers Patriot (1963-1965) and Sinar Masyarakat (1965). His political views may have cost him his appointment with the Patriot. Hamsad attended the liberal All-Indonesia Writers Conference in Jakarta in March 1964 as part of a delegation from North Sumatra and was a supporter of the anti-socialist "Cultural Manifesto", which was banned in May 1964 by President Sukarno.

After the emergence of the New Order of General Suharto, Hamsad moved to Jakarta, firstly to work for the film organization Persatuan Produsen Film Indonesia (1966-1968), and later on the literary magazines Sastra (1968) and Horison (1969-2010), where he eventually rose from caretaker (sleeping overnight in the magazine's offices) to Chief Editor. He undertook his first formal writing course in 1975.

Hamsad has published three novels: Ketika Lampu Berwarna Merah (When the Lights Shine Red, 2001), which was highly commended in the Jakarta Novel Writing Competition 1981 and carried as a serial in the newspaper Kompas in the same year; the children's book Kereta Pagi Jam 5 (The 5am Train, 1992); and Klamono (1985) on oil exploration in Irian Jaya. He is the author of four collections of short stories: Lukisan Perkawinan (Portrait of a Marriage, 1982), Cemara (Pine Trees, 1982), Sampah Bulan Desember (December Rubbish, 2000) and Bibir Dalam Pispot (Lips in the Chamber Pot, 2003).

Among his many prizes are the Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2003 and the SEA Write Award (Thailand), 2008. Both of these awards were made in recognition of Lips in the Chamber Pot.


Harry Aveling (Monash and La Trobe Universities, Melbourne) has translated extensively from Indonesian and Malay literatures. His most recent translations include Testimony by Rendra (translated with Burton Raffel and John McGlynn, Lontar, Jakarta 2015), and A Borrowed Body by Joko Pinurbo (Lontar, Jakarta 2015). He was Visiting Professor of English in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland during the Fall Semester 2014.

Hamsad Rangkuti: Lips in the Chamber Pot. Translated by Harry Aveling. Angkor Verlag 2015. Kindle ebook. $ 11.99.

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