I conducted a Creative Writing Workshop at the Per-University and Foundation School at Taylor’s College.
The students were entering a short story competition. Well, a very short story competition of only 500 words. Being a Halloween themed competition, I was, of course, considered the most suitable person to run the workshop!
Such a short story limit was coincidental as my piece of very short fiction called “Three Dead Chickens” was recently published in Horror Without Borders.
We covered almost all aspects of creative writing including point-of-view, description, dialogue, setting, plot and character. I spoke of my experience as a writer and where I got my ideas from. I hope my seminar was of help and I wish the best of luck to all of those who entered the competition.
Writing is not easy. Writing a short piece is not any easier and can actually be tougher.
But writing is fulfilling and I truly recommend it whether to students, grown-ups and those in between!
I was at KDU University attending their Malaysiana 2019 event on 18 August 2019.
There were two other speakers, Peggy Loh and E.S. Shankar. Mr Shankar very kindly gave me a copy of his book, Tiger Isle. Peggy Loh is the author of My Johor Stories.
I like talking to young people for their views aren’t yet tarnished by life’s experience. Their cup is only half full and it is still possible to provide meaningful guidance.
Covering the topic to be discussed, I spoked about my experience about first getting published and my experience as a writer. I went off topic when I noticed three young ladies who were fully focussed on their phones. So I said:
“Sometimes we are so addicted to our screens, like those three ladies staring at their phones when they should be looking at this handsome looking guy here talking on stage!”
That got their attention and they put away their devices … but only for awhile.
I enjoyed sharing the stage at KDU University and I wish all the best to the students there.
P.S The above photos were taken from Peggy Loh’s blog. Hope she doesn’t mind!
I gave a talk at Sunway College a couple of weeks back.
My topic was: The Minimalism Journey.
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.
I’ve just finished writing a book on the subject and I hope that it’ll find its way to the shops soon!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.