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Showing posts from February, 2007

College Students Respond!

Remember back in January I mentioned an article in The Sun in which I got so riled up about because there were a bunch of college students who didn't know about the local writing scene? Well, Joanna Van , the writer of the article, and Ashvini , one of the students mentioned in the article responded to my blogpost. Joanna Van: Actually, the original article had the fellow interviewees state out possible solutions to help the problem. Unfortunately, the 700-word limit got in the way and my editor took that chunk out. So no, they didn't just "whine" about it. They had solutions and ideas (I would be a complete baffoon journalist for not asking such an important question). As for not wanting to be aware, many teens/youths (this article was after all meant for that group) have their heads stuck in books and nothing more. This article was spawned by my personal experience that I wouldn't have known about the writing community if not accidentally. And that accident was

The Inaugural MPH Breakfast Club for LitBloggers.

Thanks to Kenny Mah's mad photoshopping skilz , we have a nifty poster to stick on our blogs and make this event look all hunky dory: And I must say, it does look hunkier and dorier ! Open to everyone, especially if you have a blog. I hope they've got scones there. Been ages since I've had scones for breakfast. See ya there!

After Dark Revealed.

Haruki Murakami's latest book to hit the English-speaking world, After Dark , is set to be released in May. Here are the recently revealed covers (left, UK; right, US): I can't wait!!!

Yet Another Book Meme.

I got this meme from Ed Champion , and it looked interesting to do: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicise the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of. +The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) +To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) +The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) +The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien) +The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) *Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) +Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) +Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) +Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) *A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) +Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) +Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling) *Fall on Your Kne

REVIEW: Elarti: Dissember:06

Now, here's a bad allegory for you: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, our oft-ridiculed Institute of Language and Literature (the English acronym sort of gives it away), is like the 15th Century Catholic Church. Given a mandate to encourage the use of Malay and to nurture local literary talent, it has instead misused its supreme power to crush the masses into obedience. Use the Malay language properly! - Or else . It treats its writers with disdain, refusing to allow them to own their copyright of works. It forces everyone into using a strict, formal and often dull version of the language. It's not a surprise at all that now the public image of the language and anything written in the language is seen as nothing more than a mindless snooze-fest. Enter the guys and gals behind Projek Elarti. Like Martin Luther was to the Catholic Church, Projek Elarti aims to become the thorn in DBP's skin. Last December, they finally published a literary magazine that totally goes against the paroc

Portrait of Ted as a (Very) Young Man.

When I was a little boy, I wanted to be an artist. So I practiced very hard, and every day, and prayed to my Beatles moptop that one day I would become The Greatest Artist That Ever Lived . I even studied from the masters. Today, I still draw like a 5-year-old. Maybe praying to my Beatles moptop was a bad idea.

On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning

A lot of people have told me their favourite Haruki Murakami short story is " On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning ". It's a sweet story and I'm not surprised a lot of people like it the best, but I am surprised someone made a short movie out of it, and seems to have made a good job out of it, transplanting the story from Japan to a small town in Scotland. Enjoy.

REVIEW: The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien.

I've just finished reading Flann O'Brien's Third Policeman , and I've just realised I've never really read any Irish authors before. Now I'm wondering if I've been missing out because The Third Policeman is a wonder to read. It's silly, and there are plentiful amounts of wtf moments, but it's a good kind of silly. The story is narrated by a student of the philosopher, de Selby, who remains nameless throughout the book. After committing a murder, he is thrown into a series of extremely absurd events that include meeting a one-legged man, policemen who are obsessed with bicycles, an explanation of the atomic theory, omnium (you can create anything with Omnium), and a left-turn to Eternity. Strewn in between the narrative are footnotes quoting the ridiculous theories and experiments that de Selby comes up with; for example, the theory that night happens because of darkness particles polluting the air, or how if you reflect enough mirrors together, y

Literary Hypermarts.

I find it extremely embarrassing but two of my favourite sources of cheap books happen to be hypermarkets, to be specific, both Tesco and Giant in Puchong. Both of these hypermarkets happen to have their cheap books sourced by the same distributor, who I sometimes suspect to have shady connections to unscrupulous book warehousers, but that's just irresponsible speculation on my part. In any case, I don't mind, like how I don't mind that Times and Popular and Big Bookstore keep having Book Warehouse Clearance Sales every other month at suspiciously cheap prices. At RM8 or thereabouts, the books are cheap, but this is mostly because the books are horribly creased in the spine or there's a noticeable cutting or printing error. The books are still readable of course, it's just that they're not in pristine condition fit for the bookstore, and are, I suspect, rejects from the publisher that are supposed to have been destroyed. Nevertheless, dig through the pile (and m


"Resume Redone" By Ellen Meister TV bores you; The web is a fright; Your spouse ignores you; And hobbies are trite. Films are offensive; Gardens weed; Shopping's expensive; You might as well read.

Conan Doyle Not Significant.

It's not just us who have politicians who don't respect cultural heritage. Like the ridiculous debacle with Rais Yatim and Bok House , Britain's Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, won't save the mansion where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles . From The Scotsman : ...the Culture Secretary has refused to save Undershaw, where Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, because the Scottish writer "does not occupy a significant enough position in the nation's consciousness". The house was partly designed in 1897 by Conan Doyle himself, along with architect Joseph Henry Hall, and was used by the writer to entertain many literary guests including Bram Stoker and the young Virginia Woolf. "Does not occupy a significant enough position in the nation's consciousness". How dumb can you get? I guess all politicians are cut from the same cloth, no matter where they hail from.

Where to buy Write Out Loud?

Xeus and Tunku Halim mentioned in the comments of a previous post that they were having problems finding Write Out Loud to purchase. To those interested in getting your own copy of Write Out Loud , I recommend paying a visit to Popular Ikano, where they have a stack on the "Recently Arrived" table. For the uninitiated, Write Out Loud is a collection of short stories that contains the bestest short story ever*, "The Secret Operation in the Matriarch's Kitchen". * Opinion may be biased.

Night of the Living Text.

Come on down, you KL-ites! More info can be found at Sharon's blog , as always.

So You Say You Want to Write a Novel...

But you're too damn lazy to actually sit for hours on end writing (or typing, as the case may often be nowadays) 80,000 words. No problem. Those birds at Penguin have come up with a novel idea ( hah! ) of a wiki-based novel. The idea is for people (that's you or me or anybody, folks) to go to The Million Penguins website, and in the spirit of open-sourcing and wiki-editing, to write and edit a novel. Together. Check it out . There's already six chapters up awaiting rewriting and editing, and I suppose you can even add on and write the continuing chapters. I'd have to applaud Penguin for making such an experiment. A crowd-sourced novel - whoda thunk it? As Jeremy Ettinghausen, Penguin's digital publisher, says in The Guardian : "To be honest, we don't know exactly what is going to happen or how this will turn out. We hope people will enter into it in the spirit we intend and leave their egos at the door. It's not about individual work and individual bri