Video of Swifty at KL's Writer's Circle, Meeting Author Lim May Zhee and Sharon Bakar
I attended the KL's Writer's Circle today that was held at the MPH bookshop in 1-Utama shopping mall. I learnt about this event from the blog of Lim May Zhee, a 15-year-old girl who self-published her novel, Vanity Bee this year and made some news. However, as I was still in Perth back then, I was entirely unaware of her until I recently detected a link to this blog from this entry of hers after I came back, where I was credited for inspiring her to make this wacky little webcomic. So, that was how I found out about her, who apparently, is becoming a rising star in both the literary scene and the blogosphere since dear old Kenny Sia himself had mentioned her in one of his magazine columns, calling her, I paraphrase 'Malaysia's answer to (Singapore blog queen) Xiaxue (it's all right, Dawn, you're still my queen), but without broccoli for brains'.
Anyway, I hadn't actually planned to go for this until this morning when my friend, Peng Shien, and I decided to catch a movie today (I'll review that in my next entry). So I thought, well, why not go to this event too? I'm pretty curious how the arts and culture scene is faring during my absence, anyway.
So I ended up there, and to my pleasant surprise, realized that it was facilitated by long-time The Great Swifty Speaketh! reader and highly-respected literary blogger Sharon Bakar AKA Bibliobibuli. I sat there and listened, whilst filming the ongoing discussion with my trusty camcorder.
The whole thing got, ah, interesting when a guy, John, who was very outspoken throughout the whole thing (he's the guy in light blue shirt in the video), asked me "Are you a teenager?" and I replied with a smug "Nope." Guy was an aspiring writer intending to get his book published, was confident that he was a very good writer who had read more than enough to make him absolutely versatile, just that the friends and relatives he showed his manuscript to, despite saying that his manuscript was good, felt that his work wouldn't appeal the local audiences, because it's about the British Colonial period, some time during 1890s. John was VERY eager to know what was everyone's opinion about that particular time period, I personally don't really care about the when or where of a book, the locations and settings had always been secondary to me, I was more interested to know the actual STORY he had written, the plot, what was going on, etc etc. Alas, that was something John didn't divulge.
May Zhee's book (a fantasy of sorts where the heroine happens to know magic or something, not sure, I was just flipping through it) wasn't set in Malaysia, which I liked as I've always been rather cynical when it came to authors who deliberately exoticize their own cultures and traditions for mass consumption, focusing more on their exoticism as a selling point than actually concentrating on, well, telling a good story and completing disregarding the actual artistic merits of their creative works (be it films or books). Many of my previous entries had actually spoken about my personal opinions in this issue, so I'm not going to elaborate anymore.
(To the uninitiated: Swifty believes that a good story is universal and can take place anywhere and be appreciated by all regardless of where and when it's set, that's why I cited to John literary masterpieces like Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love In The Time Of Cholera as examples of stories that wouldn't be restricted by their settings. Swifty believes that no matter what, a sincere artist will always put a part of him or herself into his or her creative works. For example: there is no need to try so hard to make your creative work seem more Asian if you're already an Asian since your Asian-ness WILL be discerned from the end product... something like that. Those who try TOO hard annoy me, just a personal philosophy).
Well, the thing was fun, I'll probably attend more of these if I have the opportunity. Haha.
The video's relatively rougher than my usual stuff cos' I put them together rather hurriedly, so some parts of the audio MIGHT be out of sync. Many apologies for that. Music used in the video by Claude Debussy because ever since Girl Disconnected, I've made a point to use classical music more in my future films or videos.
It makes things more... timeless, you see. :D
UPDATE ((17th of December, 2006): May Zhee had posted about me (... and the event). Sharon Bakar had posted about me (... and the event) as well.