Saturday, February 19, 2011

Livin' La Vida London

I am in London right now completing my three-month course at The London School of Journalism. It's been 4 weeks now and I have to say that so far, it has been awesome. One of our assignments had us set up a blog, in case any of us are interested in the so-called future of journalism - web writing or blogging. So here's a link to the wordpress blog which I named "Livin' La Vida London" (Living the crazy life in London). Do have a look as I will post up reviews of movies, gigs and musicals that I will be visiting while I'm here. Oh yeah, I'll also include recipes that I've tried and will write down tips that I discover! Hope you'll love it and any feedback is much appreciated.

Lotsa love from London! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What dreams may come

Open publication - Free publishing - More inspirational

My friend and I started an online magazine to fulfill her wish to be in the front cover of a magazine! :)

While she contributed a large part of the content of the magazine (as you can see), I decided to publish the first chapter of a book that I am writing about marginalised communities - and getting their voice heard. So far, I have finished 12 chapters, which means I have spoken to 12 people. Gosh, I am so proud of myself for having that done in 12 weeks :). Hitherto, editing of the chapters have not been as smooth as expected. For one, after 12 weeks of intense and rushing (not in a bad way) writing to keep to my dateline, I found that after I didn't even want to look at my writing. Rase macam muak like that  ....bleghhhh ... haha...

But now, now I am ready and all revved up. I would need to talk to some of the interviewees again to tie up some lose ends. Thereafter, some guts and glory are needed to submit my writings to an editor for feedback and comments. From my (amateur) experience of working as a writer, THIS is by far the most anxious, nerve-wrecking process of it all. This is when my writing is open and vulnerable to all comments and critics. You must be a toughie to survive in this field. eceh ....

On the other hand, I am also excited to continue this e-zine of ours. I already have plans of talking to some local bands, painters and celebrities as to align with the title of the magazine ... to spark *Inspiration*. Wish me luck ! :) 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This book I'm reading, I know I've seen it somewhere. It was on my mind the whole of last week, thinking 'Where did I see this?" . And then it came to me.. Aha ! Alas, after a few clicks, I remembered. It was here!

After reading Fatma's review, am more excited to finish this. Who knows, I might finish this earlier than I usually do just so I could jot down my thoughts of this book and compare it with her's? We shall see.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Price

Neil Gaiman is the coolest!

I'm an avid reader of his blog and I simply love how 'normal' his entries are. You see, with him being the 'rock star' equivalent for writers in the literature world, I imagined that his posts would be super-intelligent and deep (not like the current ones are not super-intelligent or deep, but I believe you get what I mean, right?).

So when he posted about a small project being made based on one of his book, I thought I'd give a hand:

By the way, I feel this urge to purchase another book of his for my next read. But alas,that shall have to wait as there are too many books waiting at home to be read. :) 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wide Awake

" I can't believe there's going to be a gay Jewish president." 

so starts David Levithan's humourous, light-hearted, button-pushing political wallop of a novel. Set in the near future, Wide Awake features Duncan Weiss - a 17-year old gay, Jewish student who is elated when gay, Jewish Abe Stein is elected President of the United States. But all too quickly, things start to go wrong. The election is called into question and Duncan's relationship with his boyfriend Jimmy is called into question, too. 

While I'm not one who bothers too much about politics, I just love the way the author manages to weave in a heartfelt love story with some political action. Of course as usual, I shall take out excerpts from the book that I found most entertaining ... 

 ... When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the Boston Tea Party. We didn't live near Boston, but that didn't matter. From the moment Ms. Coolidge first mentioned it in my third-grade class, I was hooked. 

We were talking about the causes of the American Revolution, and Ms. Coolidge was typing them out on the class screen. 

Taxation Without Representation. 
The Boston Tea Party.
The Coercive Acts. 
The Boston Massacre. 

... and so forth. I know the word massacre is the one that should have told my eight-year-old-boy mind to perk up, but it was the phrase tea party that truly lit up my thoughts. I imagined it as a sort of birthday party where tea was served, and wondered how it had led to a big war. Had someone important not been invited? Was the host not happy with his presents? 

When I got home, I decided to act it out with my stuffed animals. The British officers were penguins, the American revolutionaries were dogs. They were all getting together to celebrate Betsy Ross's birthday, and she decided to serve her special tea. (Betsy was played by Spotty, a beagle; I knew by then that I was a little too old to be referring to stuffed animals by their first names, but since I'd already given them their names when I was younger, I didn't see how I could suddenly stop using them now.) The party started with the utmost civility, with everyone speaking in very clipped British accents. But then King George spilled some of his tea onto Thomas Jefferson. TJ  leaped up, yelling that he'd been burned. Other British soldiers, thinking they had to follow their king, started to pour their cups of tea on the colonists. Ben Franklin had tea poured in his eye, and Paul Revere's tail was dunked in a very large (i.e., adult-size) teacup. Betsy Ross went off to cry in a corner - she hadn't even had a chance to open her presents! - while George Washington (played by a terrier named Terry) charged in and started throwing tea back on the British. Since they were penguins, they were particularly scalded by this attack - and suddenly the whole tide of the revolution had turned. ....

Also, at one point in the book, I can't help but feel how much the paragraph below resonates in our current political scene / life. The last sentence, especially, really hit me.

... Other people pushed and prodded around us, trying to get nearer to the front, stepping over people's blankets and bags to get there. Something about all the movement and the closeness of it started to make me nervous. It was, I guess, another remnant from the Reign of Fear, when crowds were made to seem like dangerous things, vulnerable to the actions of a single person with a weapon and a willingness to use it. If isolation meant safety, then this was a high, high, risk. We'd been taught to never trust strangers. ...

Overall, it was a light read - just exactly what I was looking for. I think I might just be in to the 'young adult' literature scene for a while simply because of its simplicity.

Thumbs up for David Levithan!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mastery - The Master's Journey

Meet the Dabbler, the Obsessive, and the Hacker.

The Dabbler

The Dabbler approaches each new sport, career opportunity, or relationships with enormous enthusiasm. He or she loves the rituals involved in getting started, the spiffy equipment, the lingo, the shine of newness.

When he makes his first squirt of progress in a new sport for example, the Dabbler is overjoyed. He demonstrates his form to family, friends, and people he meets on the street. He can't wait for the next lesson. The fall off from his first peak comes as a shock. The plateau that follows is unacceptable if not incomprehensible. His enthusiasm quickly wanes. He starts missing lessons. His mind fills up with rationalizations. This really isn't the right sport for him. It's too competitive,  noncompetitive, aggressive, boring, dangerous, whatever. He tells everyone that it just doesn't fulfill his unique needs. Starting another sport gives the Dabbler a chance to replay the scenario of starting up. Maybe he'll make it to the second plateau this time, maybe not. Then it's on to something else.

The same thing applies to a career. The Dabbler loves new jobs, new offices, new colleagues. He sees opportunities at every turn. He salivates over projected earnings. He delights in signs of progress, each of which reports to his family and friends. uh oh, there's that plateau again. Maybe this job isn't right for him after all. It's time to start looking around. The Dabbler has a long resume.

In love relationships (perhaps an unexpected place to look for the signs of mastery, but a good one), the Dabbler specializes in honeymoons. He revels in seduction and surrender, the telling of life stories, the display of love's tricks and trappings: the ego on parade. Then the initial ardor starts to cool, he starts looking around. To stay on the path of mastery would mean changing himself. How much easier it is to jump into another bed and start the process all over again. The Dabbler might think of himself as an adventurer, a connoisseur of novelty, but he's probably closer to being what Carl Jung calls the puer aeternus, the eternal kid. Though partners change, he or she stays just the same.

- Mastery, George Leonard 

* This book I am reading is homework for a retreat am going for this weekend. Interesting read I must say but more than anything else, I'm just looking forward to playing the Samurai game !