It’s December! I can’t believe the year is about to end. Last month, I attended Sharpened Word Literary Matinee held at Sepaloh Art Center. I saw the banner during Fixi Novo’s book launch during The Other Festival. I was interested. I’ve been hoping for something related to art and literature to be available in Ipoh so it’s really great to know there’s actually one that’s been going on. They started in October so this one was their second session.
What’s Sharpened Word?
Sharpened Word arranges meetings each month where writers read from their work and participate in a Q & A session,with the audience and facilitator about their process, work and motivation for writing thereafter.
Their purpose is to celebrate all things and literature, and to open the inner workings of the writers mind to a general audience.
Poets, novelists, graphic novelists, short-story writers, bloggers, non-fiction writers, playwrights, TV writers, film writers, all are welcome.
So for the 2nd session, there were 3 panelists – (LtoR) Toby Teh Tze Chien, Bridget Eu Yoke Lin and Sharmini Segari Gunasagaram and the session was hosted by May Foo.
I arrived at about 2.15 pm. I thought I was 15 minutes late, but Toby was a bit late as well so they only started at 2.30 pm. Good thing I didn’t miss anything. Parking was hell in the surrounding area, especially on a Saturday afternoon. I was lucky to get a space (not an official parking spot though) somewhere near Concubine Lane. So yes, I had to walk from there to Sepaloh Art Center. I could only hope it wouldn’t rain heavily and my car wouldn’t get a ticket for illegal parking.
Refer at the end of this post for an alternative parking spot.
Click to enlarge
The session started off with poetry reading by poet Bridget Eu Yoke Lin, who recited her own poems from her collection. Her works are mostly about humanity and also spoke about how her experiences with human suffering as a nurse and her heartfelt empathy for the victims of global humanitarian crises led her to write about hope and humanity in the midst of the most pain-filled of situations.
I love her poem ‘Dancing Jewels‘ (a snippet of it is in the video at the end of the post). She also recited a poem she wrote about the ill-fated MH17 tragedy (I think MH370 as well) which almost brought me to tears. (RIP to the poor souls)
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Next was Sharmini Segari whom I’ve met before during the 2-days short story writing workshop by Fixi during The Other Festival (post coming soon!) the previous month. She read her short story which she wrote for the workshop. We had 24 hours to write a 1000-words short story about Ipoh for the workshop to be presented on the second day. It was really nice to get to hear her story again.
Her story, ‘The Blue Shirt‘, about a young man complaining to a friend at a cafe about his new marriage, only to receive a note which makes him think that his wife is in mortal danger.
Last but not least, Toby Teh Tze Chien read/performed his play with the help of Paul and Charmalee. His play is about a desperate playwright and theater director forced to confront their own prejudices when they find the bold, confident leading lady they’ve been searching for, only to discover that she’s blind. It’s really funny and interesting.
Toby is an English Education lecturer at UTAR, but of course, his passion is in writing. His scripts and plays have been featured at KLPAC’s open-mic event The Platform, the KLPAC Short and Sweet Theatre Festival, and the Sydney edition of Short and Sweet.
After the reading, we had a short break before proceeding to a Q&A session. This is the best part because you get to know more about the panelists, as well as their passion in writing. It’s inspiring to hear what motivates them, and the struggles they face.
There weren’t that many attendees probably because it’s still new (2nd session) and not a lot of people are aware of it. I wouldn’t have known about this if I didn’t attend the Fixi book launch, saw the banner and if I hadn’t spoken to Pak Peter. Hopefully, Sharpened Word will get more exposure it deserves, and that more people will be aware of it because we seriously need to gather those who are interested in writing/literature in Ipoh.
You have no idea how comforting it is to be around people who understands your passion and what you do, instead of calling it a ‘waste of time’ and ridicules you. This is part of the reason why I enjoyed The Other Festival a bit too much for my own good.
After everything is done, they were interviewed by the press. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to talk much with Toby or Bridget. Also, I wanted to get the book by Bridget but I’ve been too broke.
The next session of Sharpened Word will be:
Date : 19th December 2015
Time : 2.30pm – 5.00pm
Venue: Sepaloh Art Centre Ipoh,Perak.
For more information, you can email them at : sharpenedword.kinta [@] gmail.com
I’m really looking forward to this month’s session because of the interesting panel that will be reading/talking:
- Iskandar Al Bakri
- Atikah Abdul Wahid
- Frances Yip
- Kris Williamson
Here’s the poster for the upcoming session (click to enlarge)
As I’ve mentioned earlier, parking is a huge issue and can be hell. There aren’t many parking spaces near Sepaloh and usually, they’re full. But I just found out you could actually park at the mosque area. You have to do a bit of walking, but it’s not far compared to where I had to park last month (near Concubine Lane/Han Chin Pet Soo area).
Actually, there are a lot of space not too far away near the bridge (marked on the map below & also the opposite side) if you’re willing to do some walking.
Here’s the map for the alternative parking.
And here’s a short video I put together from last month’s session. I took the videos for myself and wasn’t planning to upload at all, but I thought hey, maybe I should create a Youtube channel (search: TotallyAwesomeTV) to host & share all the videos I took so I did. The video’s very shaky though, and I hate the vertical clips (only looks good when viewed on the phone, something iPhone users always do) but I don’t have many clips to work with. I also don’t have my iMac & Final Cut Pro to adjust the setting and color and all. My editing skills are rusty now. But hey, at least, there’s something, eh?
Hopefully, for the next session, I could get a better, not-so-shaky video.
If you’re in Ipoh and free on the 19th, do join Sharpened Word. See you there!