Paracosm is an anthology of prose and poetry by a young gifted writer, known simply as Arina. It is a collection of works she has meticulously penned over her last few years at a premier boarding school for girls, the Tunku Kurshiah College in Seremban, Negri Sembilan. Her poems beg to be read with love and understanding. For some, her poems are reminiscent of the Cambodian award winning author, Lang Leav in style and themes. Lang Leav was born in a Thai Refugee Camp after her parents escaped from the brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime and subsequently migrated to Australia. Lang Leav’s work has been described as “between the whimsical and the woeful, expressing a complexity beneath its childlike façade.” Arina does not share a devastating past. Brought up in the material comfort of an upper middle class home, with parents and grandparents as lawyers, she describes an inner struggle to ﬁnd her true self against that which her parents and society have moulded for her. Thus, the unveiling of Paracosm is timely towards Arina’s hope not only to follow the footsteps of her parents and serve humankind as a human rights lawyer but at the same time carve a niche for herself in the literary world that beckons an enthusiastic and proliﬁc writer that she promises to be.
Her words trickle down effortlessly, woven with style and finesse, emptying into our consciousness, at times burrowing into our guilt and self-pity, at other times with thudding awareness of the dark reality around her and us. At her age, she is a shining example of what a young mind can do creatively. — Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar, journalist, editor and author of Jejak Seni: Dari Pentas Bangsawan Ke Media Prima Berhad, chronicling his 50-year incredible journey as actor, playwright, director and chairman of the country’s largest media company.