First of all, a happy new year to all, on behalf of Sharpened Word!
The year 2016 has been a memorable first year for SW as we have managed to present quite a number of notable speakers for our monthly events. Pak Peter, the organizer, has been relentless in persuading people of great minds to grace the SW stage and share their wisdom and knowledge with the Ipoh community.
Midway through 2016, we went through a mild transformation where it was decided that SW should focus on the creative arts as its key theme, while continuing to promote English as a medium of communication.
While we had no activities for December 2016, the few of us were busy helping out with the inaugural Ni Art Week, which is believed to be the first art festival in Ipoh organised by Ipohites. We volunteered for the event because it was in sync with our motives, that is, to promote art and creativity in the state.
Yes, we are fully aware that we may be fighting a losing battle, the battle to celebrate creativity and promote English among the community. Our monthly receipts from audience donations were insufficient to cover our expenses. The Perak Society of Performing Arts (PSPA) has been our lifeline and we are indeed grateful for their generosity in continuing to support our activities. However, our panel of guest speakers are the ones that we are really indebted to. They came to the events at their own expense and expected nothing in return. Most of them were from out of town, and for them to be with us in Ipoh was indeed a blessing. The support from the local fortnightly paper, Ipoh Echo, is also something we cherish, and writer SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has even generously contributed copies of her book – “The Foodie’s Guide to Ipoh’s Best Eats” to invited guests as a token of appreciation.
Honestly, we do not know how long SW can hold on until funds run dry. But until that day comes, all of us in SW shall not give up and will stay committed to putting up intellectually stimulating sessions monthly. We are aware of the shortcomings and are trying our best to overcome them to improve the situation, one of which is to attract a younger and more responsive audience to our monthly gathering. We will try to address these issues come January 21 with our first event for the year. So stay tuned.
We continue to welcome ideas and suggestions from all of you on how to improve SW in all avenues. Lend us your ideas and our hearts and ears will be with you.
Lastly, despite the gloomy ‘weather’ ahead, no thanks to doomsayers who predict another tough year, we wish all a productive and fruitful year ahead, in pursuit of knowledge and wisdom amidst challenging times.
We are not worried if the music stops, but until the curtain drops, we vow to give 100 per cent to SW’s cause. Until then, stay creative and stay sharp!
See you all on January 21!
The Team at Sharpened Word