Arts & CultureLIFESTYLE

Second Sharpened Word Flourishes

In the Sepaloh Art Centre on Saturday, November 21, it suddenly dawned on me how fortunate the attendees of the second Sharpened Word session were, to be able to glimpse into three writers’ world, each outstanding in their own right.

During the three-hour literary matinee, Ipoh Echo talked to the three featured writers whose literary labour of love had brought the audience on a journey of emotions.

Sixty-year-old poet Bridget Eu Yoke Lin, a peace-loving Ipohite, told Ipoh Echo, “My poetry is meant to make people happy and give hope to people’s dreams. Hence, it focuses on love, peace, nature and brotherhood.” Being a journalist was her childhood dream but being in the profession of caring, she sees the positive side of life and puts it into words. Currently, the life member of the World Congress of Poets is fully involved in the writing of poetry and has published a total of two books besides having given readings in Japan, San Francisco, USA and Singapore. Following is her advice for other poets out there: “Write with your heart. Poetry is the gateway to your heart and nothing is better than inspiring people.”

Bridget’s first book, “When Footsteps Merge” which was launched last year, is sold out in all major bookstores. Meanwhile, her second book, “A Horizon of Jewels” which is launched this year is available in local bookstores. Both priced at RM20, interested readers may contact her at bridgeteu@yahoo.com to get copies of her book.

Kuching-born writer-in-progress, Sharmini Segari Gunasagaram has lived in Ipoh for the last 26 years. The mother of a 12-year-old completed the first draft of her first novel, “Stolen Plots” last year. The short story she read that day entitled “The Blue Shirt”, was done in 24 hours! “My interest in writing started during my teenage years. I started by writing complaint letters to major newspapers, which I have kept till now!” she shared. Citing Sophie Kinsella’s “Can You Keep a Secret” which she has read five times as her favourite, writing funny stories is what she likes to do. “To make people laugh and forget their problems,” she added.

Meanwhile, Penang-born 33-year-old playwright Toby Teh Tze Chien told Ipoh Echo what keeps him doing what he is doing since the age of 7: “It’s like my heart beating, a part of who I am. When I write, it just comes out, there is no consciousness to it”. Toby’s scripts and plays have been featured at KLPAC’s open-mic event The Platform, KLPAC Short and Sweet Theatre Festival and the Sydney edition of Short and Sweet. He is currently working on producing full-length plays, a few short film projects adapted from his plays and a young adult novel. For beginner writers, he advised, “Ask and accept criticism from good critics. A lot of junior writers tend to get a bit sensitive when they get criticised.”

Reuniting with my former school teacher, May Foo, whose involvement in language and literary education spans three decades, was an added joy. The warm-hearted educator was the facilitator of the day.

Everyone is welcomed to Sharpened Word’s next gathering which will be held on Saturday, December 19 from 2.30pm-5pm at Sepaloh Art Centre.  There is ample parking along Jalan Bijeh Timah, around the mosque and directly opposite the Sepaloh Art Centre. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/sharpenedword.kinta or email its coordinator, Peter J. Bucher at sharpenedword.kinta@gmail.com.

Mei Kuan

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Tan Mei Kuan

Tan Mei Kuan graduated with first-class honours and book prize from University of Malaya majoring in languages and linguistics (English). She is proficient in both written and spoken English and Malay. She is also conversant in Mandarin and has knowledge of Japanese and Korean languages. Mei Kuan has been on the Dean’s List for three years running. Having written for the campus newspaper and residential college magazine, joining Ipoh Echo has helped utilise her writing and language skills. In her spare time she enjoys running (races).

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