Ahmed, Sibgha (2021) MAN’S BURDEN : A Creative Social Critique of Inequalities and Genocide in Contemporary Asia. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

‘Man’s Burden’ is a creative project consisting of three short stories: ‘Karoshi’, ‘Expensive Sorrow’, and ‘No New China’. These stories were produced to offer a creative exploration and criticism of various inequalities and genocide in contemporary Asia. ‘Karoshi’ explores the issues related to the overworking culture in Japan where workers are burdened with so much work that their mental and physical health is depleting leading to a growing trend of suicide amongst employees known as death by overwork (karoshi). ‘Expensive Sorrow’ highlights the gap between the rich and poor by exposing the dire conditions the poor must endure. At the same time it emphasises a certain kind of privilege brought about by wealth. ‘No New China’ focuses on the ethnic genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China where a concerning number of people are being put into internment camps to be “re-educated”. Whilst each story is connected through united themes of oppression, masculinity and fear, they are all very different from each other in the way they are told offering readers a unique reading experience. Thus, whilst the project aims to provide a social critique of inequalities and genocide in East Asia, it also aims to show readers what short fiction is capable of achieving and the creative boundaries it can push despite the limited word count. In this sense, ‘Man’s Burden’ immerses itself into socio politics as well as creative writing.

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