What is French Talks?
Welcoming French and Malaysian experts, it aims at creating a space of dialogue, and a bridge between the two countries and their cultures. This is particularly timely in this new Malaysia where people are willing to express their views.
Organised by the Embassy of France in Malaysia and Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur.
Talks conducted in English.
Upcoming French Talks in September
[French Talks] In Conversation With Shih Li-Kow: A Malaysian Book, A Success in France
Talk conducted in English
Free entrance upon RSVP
Monday 23 September, 8pm @ AFKL
A Malaysian writing sensation! Her novel “The Sum of Our Follies” has won a top French literary award in 2018. The prize is called the "Prix du Premier Roman étranger"("First Novel Award, in the foreign category"). Shih-Li Kow came to light with her first book of short stories, “Ripples and other stories”, in 2009, which was immediately shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.
Moderator: JÉRÔME BOUCHAUD
A writer, literary translator and publisher. He has been living in Asia for the past 15 years and made Malaysia home 10 years ago. He founded and curates Lettres de Malaisie, a French-language webzine dedicated to literature from and about Malaysia. In 2015 he launched Editions Jentayu, a publishing venture focusing on pan-Asian literature and literary translation. Its main publication is the eponymous Jentayu review, a biannual literary journal dedicated to writings from Asia translated into French.
The Problem of Rainforest and Elephant Conservation
22 July 2019
Central Africa and South Eastern Asia have experienced considerable deforestation rates following road, plantation and infrastructure developments, often at the expense of natural ecosystems, along with rainfall deficit and temperature increase. By 2020, it will be time to re-evaluate and decide how we can find an acceptable balance between sustainable development and conservation of natural ecosystems. During the talk Professor Pierre-Michel Forget will share his thoughts as a tropical ecologist who studied a natural forest during the last 35 years; Dr. Ee Phin Wong will present the conservation challenges of Asian elephants in human-managed landscapes. They both observed the consequences of conflict between humans and wildlife, forest degradation and +1°C temperature increase across the planet. Ecologists, environmentalists and politics have no other option than to struggle, interact and find a solution to protect forest cover and save biodiversity, the most difficult equation in order to mitigate global warming below 1.5°C.
On Pencak Silat Martial Art in Malaysia Society
24 June 2019
In Malaysia, pencak silat is a martial initiation that counts thousands of schools, as well as regional
associations and a national federation. In many villages and urban neighborhoods, initiation groups are at the core of the sociocultural
life. They gather the local communities during collective rituals, prepare the young men and women for their mundane existence and their
afterlife, and convey a particular ethos to the initiates. Moreover, the schools are connected to political and religious issues. Apart
from the cosmologies, techniques, rituals and modes of transmission, we will describe the pencak silat practice groups’ position towards
state nationalism, regional identities’ tensions as well as political evolutions since the 2000s.
Palm Oil: A French Economist’s View
Journalist/moderator: Julian Ng
13 May 2019
This talk will explore the underlying economic questions in the discussions on palm oil. It will aim at giving a broader picture to answer the questions raised by the development of palm oil production, which has become a key commodity for Malaysia’s economy, a trend powered by the increasing consumption of vegetable oils globally. Who produces palm oil; where and how is it produced? What is the economic and social impact of oil palm cultivation in Malaysia? What is ‘sustainable’ palm oil?
Defending Women’s Rights: Today and Tomorrow
18 March 2019
This month we will have the pleasure of hosting a discussion on the issue of women's rights between Rozana Isa, executive director of Sister in Islam forum, and Anne-Cécile Mailfert, founder of the French foundation "Fondation des femmes". This French Talk will be moderated by Freda Liu, Producer/Presenter for the Enterprise show which airs on BFM. The speakers, both experienced activists, will share their experiences in advocating women's rights in Malaysia and France and reflect on the way ahead for us: what methods can be used most effectively to advocate women's rights today? In the light of the recent #metoo movement and its ripples worldwide, to what extent are women's rights to be understood universally or adapted to specific cultural contexts? How much progress still needs to be done to ensure equal rights between men and women ?
Malaysian Gastronomy: Past, Present and Future.
18 February 2019
A rapid survey of the world restaurant scene shows that there is little presence of Malaysian “gastronomic” restaurants all over the globe. One can be tempted to ponder on the reasons behind such a fact, which implicitly validates the assumption that possessing gastronomy matters. The social functions of gastronomy vary from one country to another: it may serve as tourism pulling factor - as demonstrated by the rise of the culinary tourism phenomenon; or being politically instrumental as a form of soft power in the context of international relations. In Malaysia, gastronomy is often correlated with the quest for a national identity, as well as with a process of cultural decolonization. Literature shows that the term “gastronomy” carries different meanings and may blur the boundaries with competing concepts such as “cuisine” or “fine dining”, with or without nationalistic feature. In this presentation, I wish to segregate the concept of gastronomy from the one of national cuisine. I will also argue that being endowed with a high cuisine produces symbolic capital that may give Malaysia soft power in the realm of international politics. Finally, I will suggest that Malaysian gastronomy can be “invented” in the sociological acceptance of the term, but not without prior in-depth historical and anthropological investigation. I will take the opportunity to dwell a bit in the history of food both in Malaysia and France, using comparative analysis with the French experience. We shall finish our conference with the proposal of a methodology to enable the process of “gastronomisation” for Malaysia.
14 January 2019
This talk will explore the question of whether there is a specifically Malaysian way of thinking Islam. It will be the first of a series of discussions on Islam, which will be programmed later in 2019. These discussions will aim to allow for an exchange of views and experiences between France in Malaysia on religion and the place it occupies in our societies.
Following the discussion between the two speakers, there will be a Q&A session.
What plants talk about
3 December 2018
Plants are actively communicating and interacting with each other for instance to warn specific neighbors
of possible incoming stress.
19 November 2018
This November, we have the pleasure to welcome the world renowned French novelist, Jean-Christophe
Rufin. Historian, writer and former French Ambassador to Senegal, Rufin is also the co-founder of NGO Action Against Hunger and one
of the pioneers of Doctors Without Borders.
22 October 2018
18 September 2018
Present various approaches on the use of data for the development of smart cities in the context of
Malaysia & France, to open a multi-cultural dialogue on those issues.
MORE THAN A BEACH
11 July 2018
A conference by Historian Mr. Law Siak Hong about The Heritage of Pangkor Island and its present.