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The Mesmerisings of Tunku Halim

Talk on Minimalism

I gave a talk at Sunway College a couple of weeks back.

My topic was: The Minimalism Journey.

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It was a pleasure to present it to these intelligent, young people, mostly 16 and 17 year-olds, who were receptive to the ideas and had many questions on the topic.

Some people think Minimalism is a fad, because of its sudden popularity. But Minimalism, which is about common sense and essentially about focusing what is important in life, is here to stay. Good ideas don’t just disappear.

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I’ve just finished writing a book on the subject and I hope that it’ll find its way to the shops soon!

Scream Talk!

I’ll be launching my new retrospective collection Scream to the Shadows this weekend. It’s being published by international publishing house, Penguin. It’s the first time a Malaysian horror writer (although I don’t really like that term ‘horror’) is being published by a global publisher, so it’s a bit of a milestone for me!

Scream Talks

Anyway, I’ll be doing not one, but FIVE talks in the Klang valley this weekend. So I hope you get to go to at least one of them!

Children’s Encyclopedia Book Talk

Although I’ve done a few talks at schools, this is the first time that I’m talking at a children’s event in a bookshop. The post is a bit last minute …

I hope to see you today!

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Scream to the Shadows!

I’m delighted to say that international publishing house, Penguin, have just published my retrospective collection of 20 short stories. It’s exciting news for me and I hope you get to enjoy the book.

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It’s a really nice cover too. And no, the screaming man, is not modelled on me … although we do have the same rather fetching hair style!

Oh yes, I’ll be doing 5 book talks in the Klang Valley in the next couple of weeks. That’s a lot of talking and I hope I’ll see you there. I’ll update you on where and when!

Debate Challenge

I was a judge at the 2nd Tunku Abdullah Debate Challenge which is held and organised by St John’s International School. I judged both the Under-15 and Under-18 Categories.

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With Tunku Zain Al’Abidin and Tony Collinridge

The teams were extremely good and I was most impressed. They worked well as a team, were articulate and had researched their material well. The only area for improvement is for the teams to speak at a slower rate so as to fully engage the audience. This is, of course, quite understandable because of the youthful energy and urge to win on both sides.

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Flanked by Dato’ Steve Day and Datin Raja Mazuin

I felt a bit conflicted was one of the topics of the debate was whether vegetarianism is beneficial to human health. I think you know where I stand on that issue!

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience.

Speaker: Kiwanis Club of Klang

I spoke to the good members of the Kiwanis Club of Klang recently on my new topic of Horror, Health and History: A Writer’s Journey.  It was, I believe, well received and I enjoyed giving it.

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The members were kind enough to provide lots of delicious seafood as they knew that I didn’t eat meat. They were also a very friendly bunch.

Do email me at tunkuhalim@gmail.com should you like me to give a talk at your club.

Goodbye Mama

My mother passed away yesterday at the age of 88.

She has not recognised any of us, her children, for the past 7 or 8 years. She has been in hospital for the last 2 years where the doctors monitored her daily and could fix any complications. She has been there in a semi-conscious state where the only sound we could hear was of her pitiful breathing.

So it is a relief that she is now gone. If she was conscious at all of her existence she would have been suffering terribly in her incapacity. I had always hoped that this was not the case and preferred her to be in a vegetative state where she was unaware of anything.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease. It slowly robs you of your memory. You unlearn everything. It then robs you of your dignity. They call it the “long goodbye”. I’ve been saying farewell to my mother for many years as she’s had the disease for almost 20 of them.

But her passing is still a full stop. One at the end of a long sentence.

She always wanted her own story written but I never got a chance to hear it all properly. The one I particularly remember though is that how as a little girl during the war she used to take the train to another town to buy bags of sugar. She would take them home and re-pack it into small packets to sell. She was a good businesswoman.

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Mama and I

She was hardworking too. Other than the stockmarket, which was one of her passions, she loved gardening. We had lots of fruit trees. She liked property too and I’m typing this in a house in KL, one of six which now sits on a piece of land she had bought almost 50 years ago.

There were 13 children in her family, from 2 mothers. There were 5 kids from her own mother, who passed away when my mother was still a small girl. Her father than re-married. She told me that it was no happy childhood.

I’m not able to write her biography. But I did write fragments of her life on bits of paper which I can no longer find, but you may find traces of her in some of my stories.

All stories, all life, comes to an end.

So let’s make our stories good ones.

A Prince Called “Charlie”

Just wanted to let you know that the 20th anniversary edition of my father’s biography has just been published and is out in the shops. It has a new, much-friendlier, name: A Prince Called “Charlie” which I’m sure my father would have liked.

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The book is mosly unchanged but does cover the last decade of his life. There’s also a new introduction from me and a Foreword by Dina Zaman.

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As you can see, the book has received several great endorsements. My father did live a remarkable life and, by writing it and republishing it, I want to share his story as widely as possible. I do hope you get to read it.

For as Tun Mahathir says:  “Not to record his riotious life would be a pity.”

The Rape of Nancy Ng : 13 Nightmares

On Saturday, I launched my 5th collection of short stories at the Georgetown Literary festival: The Rape of Nancy Ng: 13 Nightmares.

Unfortunately, because Anwar Ibrahim arrived an hour late for his talk (due to his flight being delayed) my book launch was moved to 6.30 pm instead of 5.45 pm.

Because of the late hour, we kept the launch short but sweet.

I was fortunate that both my son and daughter was also there this time, so it was bit of a family occasion. Although, from the book’s dramatic title, you may well guess that its contents can hardly be called family friendly.

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Amir, my publisher, pointed out that technology or, rather, the dangers of technology appear to be a theme in this collection. I agreed with him. As he also mentioned, religious fundamentalism was another presence in the book. But to know for sure, I suppose you just have to read the stories.

My first short story collection, The Rape of Martha Teoh and Other Chilling Stories came out 21 years ago. This collection is, in a way, a sequel to that collection.

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It took me 3 years to write the thing with most of the stories being tapped away in Chiang Mai where I was living at the time.

It includes the novella, Lodger. For David Bowie fans, you might recall his album of the same name. One of my stories written 21 years ago also took its name from a Bowie song. I also quoted him at the beginning of my novel, Dark Demon Rising. So, I suppose you can guess, that I’m a fan.

I do hope you enjoy these tales. I enjoyed writing them although the writing process took a lot longer than usual.

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