Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Public Appeal: Flood Victims

Please help the victims of the recent floods in southern Malaysia. (Via Clarissa).


The Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) is appealing to general public including private sectors, corporate, organisations for generous contributions towards the Malaysian Red Crescent Relief Fund set up to provide financial and relief assistance to people affected by the recent flood.

All cash contributions are tax-exempted and are to be made payable to:

"Malaysian Red Crescent Society" or Maybank A/C No - 5144 2210 3788 or call Tel: +603 - 4257 8726, Fax: +603 - 4257 3537 (Operations Room) for details.

Those who would like to have tax-exemption receipt must fax in your bank-in slip and details (name, address and contact no) to the fax stated.

MRCS is also appealing for items that will be distributed to the various relief centres as follows:

Perishable Food
Rice, Instant Noodle and Milk - Infant Formula and Adult

Can Food
Chicken/Mutton/Beef, Vegetables, Sardines, Sugar, Coffee/Tea (Dust), Biscuits, Salt, Cooking Oil, Mineral Water

Non Perishable Food
Sanitary Pads, Pampers, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Towels, Soap, Detergent, Dettol, Slippers, Rubbish Bag

Metronidazole, C.Penicillin, Ciprofloxacin, Anti-emetic - Metaclopramide, Antidiarrhoeal - Lomotil, Paracetomol tablets/suppository, Voltaran suppository and Antibiotic eye drops.

School Items
School Bags, Uniform, Books, Stationaries and Bicycles.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Short Notice

You are invited to

the launch of Iyari

a chapbook of poems

by Sharanya Manivannan

on Friday December 22nd

at 7pm

Indie Scene Cafe,

Piccolo Galleria, Bukit Bintang

(between Lot 10 and KL Plaza),

Kuala Lumpur

An evening of readings featuring:

Faridah Manaf

Nizam Zakaria

Fairul Nizam

Tshiung Han See

Sharon Bakar

Priya K

Patricia Low


Nicholas Wong

Jasmine Low

and an open mic


Sharanya Manivannan

Notes on the writers:

Fairul Nizam Ablah writes comic and animation scripts, was previously editor of a manga/anime magazine and is in pre-production for two comics. He scripted the animated series Bola Kampung, which aired on RTM1 earlier this year. He would love to get a novel published but he still doesn't know what he wants to write about. His guilty pleasure is watching sport genre movies. In his free time, he daydreams about lying on the beach surrounded by hot chicks.

Born in Singapore in 1974, Nizam Zakaria is a writer of a blog, poetry, fiction, plays and has a keen interest in digital photography. To pay his bills, he is an Editor at a leading R&D organisation and has written reviews for Kakiseni. He has lived and worked in Malaysia, Singapore and the USA. His education in psychology and a professional career that has spanned journalism and copywriting have provided him with a uniquely well-rounded base for the life of an independent writer. A novel, Susuk, is to be published in January 2007 by Marshall-Cavendish.

Tshiung Han See works as the assistant theatre manager at ISKL. Raised in Canada, he has passable French but understands neither Malay nor Chinese nor Tamil. His interests are web surfing, reading, writing, swimming, tai chi and chilling. He reads Sharon Olds, Hart Crane, Walt Whitman, William Blake and Jordan Davis. He majored in English Literature at University of Surrey Roehampton.

Sharon Bakar is British but considers herself to be a 'local foreigner', having lived and worked in Malaysia for the past twenty years. She is particularly interested in the teaching of creative writing and has set up her company, Word Works to provide training in this area. Sharon is also a self-confessed bookaholic, blogger and an organizer of the Kuala Lumpur International Literary Festival. Her fiction has appeared in Silverfish New Writing 1, Men's Review and The Edge. Her articles appear in the Star, MPH's Quill magazine and online at Kakiseni.com. She is also a columnist for men's magazine Chrome and the editor of a collection of short fiction 'Collateral Damage' (Silverfishbooks), which appeared in March 2004 and has acted as 'book doctor' for a number of local writers. An English lecturer and teacher trainer by profession, she has degrees in education from Birmingham and Exeter Universities, as well as a Royal Society of Arts Diploma in the teaching of English.

Associate Professor Dr Nor Faridah Abdul Manaf teaches English Literature at the International Islamic University in Gombak. Her areas of specialization are English Renaissance Literature and Malaysian Women's Writing in English. Despite her busy life as an academic, Dr Faridah has also established herself as a creative writer. She writes in both English and Malay and had short stories published by Utusan Melayu Publication, Longman, Silverfishbooks, Deepsouth (New Zealand) and recently featured in anthologies in the United States, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Her first book of poetry on her life as a Muslim woman, The Art of Naming, was published in April 2006 and is on sale in MPH (Midvalley), Pekanbuku (UM) and Silverfishbooks.

Nicholas Wong was a recipient of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2006, Britain's most prestigious poetry prize for young writers between the ages of 11-17. He was awarded the Singapore Young Dramatists Award (SYDA) Third Prize in 2005 for his play Good Morning, Tree, an absurdist piece written in homage to Samuel Beckett and the late local playwright Kuo Pao Kun, and First Prize in 2006 for Death off the Mainland, a contemporary exploration of Singapore-Malaysia relations using the historical context of the merger. He also won First Prize in the National Chinese Essay Writing Competition for Secondary Schools by Singapore Chinese Teachers' Union and Lianhe Zaobao in Secondary 1 and 2. He was Head of Literature Wing at his junior college. His publication credits include the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore and the "Eye on the World" series as part of the Creative Arts Programme (CAP) Mentorship Attachment in Singapore. Recently accepted into Columbia University, he plans to major in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing. He is very happy to be home.

Branded a migrant no matter where she is, Jasmine Low holds close to her heart her Malaysian citizenship and closer her Australian permanent residence while she straddles the fence of identity. Having spent her 'formative' 20s in Sydney, Australia, Jasmine returned to Kuala Lumpur in 1997 at her mother's displeasure to discover what Malaysia could unfold for her in her 30s. Back in Sydney in 2002, she found herself devouring the local music scene at endangered dingy pubs which would soon be converted to trendy snazzy clubs with kitchens serving satay, laksa and barramundi chips. A year later and she's back at the muddy estuary. This time, reborn as event organiser of open mic gigs, disco-lover, publicist, pr & marketing communication consultant and short story writer. She still battles with Mum on living in Kuala Lumpur. Mum insists Sydney offers a better lifestyle, better curry laksa, better cheese and weather. The two share a love-hate relationship until today.

kG was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Other than writing, his interests include playing the sitar, Bharathanatyam and theatre. He received primary tutorage in Sitar under the Malaysian Maestro, Samuel J Dass and afterwards under Cameronian Award Winner, Kumar Karthigesu at The Temple of Fine Arts International. He is also an activist in support of Neurofibromatosis patients. In his writing, he tends to explore themes that are sexual, masochistic or otherwise pain-related in nature. He looks forward to furthering his education in the field of journalism and performing arts.

Priya K is a self-declared selfish, untalented dreamer who wishes she could change the world. An extremely witty, thought-provoking and humourous writer (depending on how you see it) and a part-time poet. Co-founder of Project OMG! (Open Mic Gig).

Patricia Low is an English Literature/Performing Arts undergrad in a local university who writes her best poetry in the dark hours of the morning. Besides trying to rhyme strings of words, she also does songwriting (also in the dark hours of the morning, but with her old trusty acoustic) and writing articles for online publications. She is also a playwright and performer, and her most recent work was The Oral Stage's 'fiftynineminutes' and a musical titled 'The Vacation'. She reads more than the average Malaysian, wishes she could travel more often and bakes cupcakes when depressed. She has a purple paper-mache dinosaur as a pet. Co-founder of Project OMG! (Open Mic Gig).

Sharanya Manivannan was born in India in 1985 and grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. A writer, dancer, painter, actress, photographer, journalist and activist, she has performed extensively at public readings in the last five years, and her work has been published in a number of periodicals and anthologies here and abroad, including Softblow, Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore, Collateral Damage, The2ndRule and Poetika. She is working on her first novel and a full-length collection of poems, and recently published a chapbook of poems, Iyari.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lawyer Out To Stop Temple Demolitions

Today's The Star carries this spirit-rousing story. It's interesting though, how P. Uthayakumar has essentially posited this as a religious struggle but not also a minority one -- a temple demolition has in fact taken place in Penang, but it was a Taoist temple. Churches have also suffered similar fates in the last couple of years. I completely agree that there is a definite anti-Indian agenda under this all, as sheer numbers speak for themselves, but approaching it as minority issue may garner greater solidarity for the issues at stake. And these issues run far, far deeper than the loss of monuments alone.

Tuesday December 19, 2006
Lawyer out to stop demolitions

KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer has filed a notice of motion seeking to halt the demolition of temples in peninsular Malaysia.

P. Uthayakumar filed the notice yesterday against the mentris besar and chief ministers of every state in the peninsula except Kelantan and Penang, as well as the mayors of city councils and presidents of other local authorities.

In his application, he claimed that a nine-month study conducted by the Hindu Rights Action Force from Feb 22 to Nov 31 had found that 74 temples had been demolished or given notice of demolition, burned down or forced to be relocated next to sewage plants or had the statues of their deities removed by force.

The reason he has excluded Kelantan and Penang from his application is because none of these had happened in the two states.

He also named as respondents all the directors and administrators of all the Land and Mines Offices, the Housing and Local Government Ministry's secretary-general, the Federal Territories Minister, the Sentul police chief, the Inspector-General of Police, the Attorney-General, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and the Chief Secretary to the Government.

Uthayakumar filed the application at the registry of the High Court's criminal division here accompanied by counsel M. Manoharan.

Among other things, he is seeking to declare that all the respondents have no power to demolish or order the demolition of temples as well as statues of deities on the contention that such acts are criminal offences defined under the Penal Code.

The lawyer is also seeking to declare that notices issued under the Essential (Clearance of Squatters) Regulations 1969 are not applicable to Hindu temples.

He also wants an order to compel the relevant parties to gazette all Hindu temple grounds as reserve land and for the land titles to be issued to the temple trustees, similar to what is done for mosques and surau nationwide.

Uthayakumar said he had filed the application in his personal capacity on behalf of all Hindu temples and the two million Hindus in Malaysia.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Jana Gana Mana

Found this on Ultrabrown and can't resist posting it up.

A.R. Rahman's visually and musically arresting version of Jana Gana Mana, the Indian national anthem, the lyrics for which were composed by Rabindranath Tagore. In this 2000 video, a long instrumental introduction crescendoes into the voices of several of India's contemporary vocalist luminaries, including Lata Mangeshkar, Hariharan, Asha Bhonsle, S.P. Balasubramaniam and Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan. Did a little Googling, and found the full list of participating performers and some background on the video itself here.

Brings a tear to the eye, no?

Mong Lan in KL

Don't miss this if you write, read, or just love language. (Click to enlarge)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Video: Temple Demolitions

I have a Google Alerts subscription for "temple demolitions Malaysia", but very rarely these days does anything new turn up in my inbox (this doesn't mean it's a good thing by default). This, however, did yesterday.

If I had the time, I would translate the Tamil parts into English, but I just don't right now. Will update this post if I manage to.

Please watch this.

Malaysiakini video on temple demolitions in Malaysia

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sound and Spoken Word

Suddenly, music shows up.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to Laundry Bar for what I had believed to be a mess-around jam session, to see if my poetry could mesh with some music. When I showed Justin, an incredibly talented percussionist with the Aseana Percussion Unit (I swear, after yesterday I pretty much consolidated the theory I had that I just don't really have any interest in percussion that isn't played with the hands), Iyari, he asked if I would be selling copies later that night. "Tonight? What's tonight?" I asked. Turns out it wasn't just an experiment session after all, it was a rehearsal/soundcheck for a show later on.

So that's how I ended up reading half of "Linea Negra" (with a line changed to "And This Is The Deep Laundry Project!") alongside the beats and mixes of DJ Jungle Jerry, Rabbit, Justin Lim and the rest of their crew last night. Short, sliced (poem, that is) and most certainly very sudden, but so worth it. Thanks to Trina of Laundry Bar for the opp.

A few days ago, I was emailed by a Desi band in the US, contacting me to find out if we could collaborate. By a gorgeous synchronicity, one of their members shares a name with a mythical character I love so much I stole for myself, and I'm really excited about the possibilities of working with them. And I'll be collaborating with a local Carnatic vocalist at my chapbook launch (yes, how poyo of me, launching a bunch of stapled pages, cloth and glue!).

I'm very curious and very excited to learn, to find out how I and my work can grow, to explore aspects that come out in performance when music enters the picture. I like the challenge of leaving my comfort zone, the familiar and fairly easy me + a mic formula. I'm still developing my solo production, which should happen in 2007, so I'm absorbing what I can, feeling around and finding what fits.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Five Minutes Ago, I Literally Jumped Out of My Chair and Ran Out To Tell People

Michael Ondaatje (sometimes known as God) has a new novel coming out!

Oh be still my heart! I'm so excited! :) x 100


for 7 to 12 year olds
conducted by Sharanya Manivannan


DECEMBER 27th-28th 2006 (Wednesday, Thursday)
2.00 pm - 6.00 pm
with a small presentation on
DECEMBER 28th 2006 at 7.00 pm

Indie Scene Café,
Piccolo Galleria, Bukit Bintang
(between Lot 10 and KL Plaza)

This workshop is a fun yet challenging introduction to the creative possibilities of poetry and has been developed in the hopes of fostering an enduring interest in writing in its many forms. An artistic interest is a life-enriching pursuit, and children who are encouraged to experience and explore their imagination can benefit from it greatly both now and later in life.

The course is centred around three main areas: appreciation, writing and performance. The appreciation module focuses on discussion and dialogue about sample poems, finding out what makes a poem work and what doesn’t, as well as some basic technical discussion of poetic history and forms. The writing module focuses on finding inspiration, then discovering how best to express oneself. The performance module focuses on overcoming stage fright and understanding how reading aloud changes the dynamics of a poem. By the end of this workshop, participants can expect to take home with them a heightened curiosity about storytelling and reading, the satisfaction of having performed at a public presentation, as well as greater confidence in their own creativity.

A small presentation of their new original work on December 28th is so as to encourage participants to share their creativity, and to hone their confidence.

The content of the course has been developed so as to remain child-friendly, with all materials used selected especially for this age range. Sample poems have been chosen so as to represent writers both classic and contemporary. This workshop will be conducted in English. Please note that parents are not allowed to sit in during the workshop so as to encourage as focused and free an environment for creativity as possible.

The Coordinator
Sharanya Manivannan was born in India and grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Although she is very much a multihypenate with a myriad of passions – she is also a dancer, painter, actress, photographer, journalist and activist – writing is by far her greatest love. She began to write at the age of seven, beginning with poetry and then moving on to long and short fiction and other written forms. She has performed extensively at public readings in the last five years, and her work has been published in a variety of periodicals and anthologies here and abroad, garnering critical acclaim from writers and performance artists including Francesca Beard (Chinese Whispers tour) Leah-Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Consensual Genocide), Shreekumar Varma (The Lament of Mohini), Malika Booker (of the Malika’s Kitchen collective) and the Paterson Prize winner Indran Amirthanayagam (The Elephants of Reckoning). She is working on her first novel and a collection of poems, and recently published a chapbook of poems, Iyari.

RM100 per child (snacks and materials included)

Sharanya Manivannan

Jasmine Low

Deadline for application: December 25th 2006
Places are limited so don’t disappoint your child, apply early!