Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Say It Write!"

Think of musty, old car seats with torn edges of the cushion and exposed yellow coloured sponge of an unkept school bus. Torn curtains and broken window sills that could easily take out the life of someone careless was hard not to miss with a RM120 rental fee. That was exactly the way it was in the old rented bus that brought us to KDU College, Penang Campus, in conjunction of the KDU's Literary day. As usual, I was urged by Mr. Goh to go and I happily accepted the offer (though, it included kicking someone out who was less interested).

I tagged along with the group, knowing nothing about what's going to happen there.

It turned out to be a short talk on four main subjects (blogging, story-writing, public speaking and literature) by various speakers to promote the English language itself, for students and collegians alike. It was technically, (only) an hour-long talk on the four different subject, divided into two theatres. I got myself into short story writing/narrative writing by Robert Raymer. I have a little bit about him printed on the back of the piece of paper I got when I got in the theatre but I wouldn't wanna post it here. Cause it would be classified as plagarism, then. =). If you know who he is, good. If you don't, he's been teaching Creative Writing at USM and had had his works published in various mediums.

There was a great number of turn up from schools all over Penang and there was insufficient sitting space in the theatre. I got to sit on one of the steps alongside the many discourteous students who had their butts glued to the seats that they were so reluctant to move (just a little bit) for newcomers to sit on the bench. Instead, they just stare blankly into space when they see an oncoming person (i.e. teachers) who needed a seat, until they are instructed to move. Maybe they're just overly-bashful to share seats with strangers?? Urgh! Teenagers nowadays! So bashful! I offered my seat to my Mrs. Saw at the sight of her standing and graciously sat on the stairs. I'm not praising myself, for crying out loud! It's basic courtesy and politeness that community lack off these days.

So, there I was, sitted quite uncomfortably on the top most cascading step, in the middle, with my BRATs notebook and a pen, eagerly waiting to hear what Mr. Raymer had got to say! It was some basic guidelines to guide one on starting to write narratively about their experiences. Frankly, nothing new to me (i'm not being complacent, it's just true!). But he did give some really good tips on writing one's experiences. The down part was that his voice projection through the microphone wasn't loud at all, resulting to people sitting at my distance, struggling to grasp trails of his sentences and some accentuated words. I did take down some useful notes.

But then, it seemed to me that I was the only one from my school who was actually paying attention and taking notes all the way. I guess they're just not as interested in writing as I am. They barely paid any attention. All they did was whisper in hush voices among themselves, throughout the whole hour. It was kind of a turn down point for them guys as the only girls who were there were either nerdy or geeky. Seriously, I don't understand them guys with their over-raging hormones. They talk about girls like they talk about cars! I just think it's plain rude for the women society to be treated like that by oversexed-up men.

Mr. Raymer ended his session by promoting one of his book entitled Lovers and Strangers Revisited which costed about RM25. I must say, the little promotion at the end made the whole session looked like a gimmick/hoax to publicise his work. Though, I'm pretty sure he doesn't need them. It just made me feel cheated into listening to his talk to purchase his book at the end. You know, like direct-sales? When the salesperson put you through a spledid presentation and sum it all up with an irresistable offer. That sucked.

The session was carried on by another speaker by the name of Krista Goon about blogging. Students who were uninterested in that area left immediately for another talk in the other theatre, leaving spaces to be occupied by blogging enthusiasts like me. I did follow my schoolmates to the third row of seats and settled myself there comfortably. There's also some background details about her printed at the back of the piece of paper I received earlier. Basically, she's the co-founder of Redbox Studio and she desings websites for companies for a living. Having the courage to come forward to a flood of strangers (and probably blogging dummies) to shine some light on the blogging, she must have the courage to show all of us her blog. Find more about her, if you wish!

I dutifully held my hand high up in the air when she asked, "How many people here, blog?", explaning a little about the term blog when she saw the open jaws of a number of people. Like a normal speaker who was given only an hour (or so) to speak on a particular subject, all she could do was to provide simple and basic guidelines to blogging. I didn't quite take alot of notes, except writing down all the addresses of the blogs she showed us. There was no time for in-depth explanation to blogging but what she said was, "If you wanna blog, make sure you remember that it's going to be public. So don't write anything that you might not want your mom to read about!". Another useful tip for blogging dummies was that, "Don't force yourself to write. Don't make a schedule for writing and deliberately try to make it daily. Write whenever you want!".

The most powerful thing she said throughout the session was, "Please do not abuse the English language when blogging. I know alot of teenagers like to use short forms, turning the word people into ppl. You don't do it because you have the right to do so! Blogging is free but there are still some rules that a blogger should not break. Please respect your readers and use simple, understandable English!". I it was indeed profoundly true when it comes to teenagers! I know, I've never taken the initiative to capitalise my sentences when I first started blogging, but still, I NEVER did use the "sms lingo"! Teenagers out there, if you wish to blog, please do it the right way! Don't do it all YOUR way, cause sometimes, your ways might be despicable.

I thought that she really gave a good talk and her message was really strong for bloggers. It was an honour to meet such a great blogger, in real life. I gathered up my courage,
and timidly made my way through the flood of crowd who were pushing each other to make it to the exit, to greet her and have a word with her. She was as nice as she looked to be. Nothing personal, but she did eject some vibrant aura about herself. I gave her my blog address and surprisingly, she did visit! I mean, I really did not expect some high-profile blogger to pay attention to a plebeian blogger. Speaking through experience. Good to know that there are still some really nice people out there in the world.

I made my way into the crowd again and followed the other schoolmates to get on our old mutilated bus. I couldn't help but felt please about the entire visit to KDU. It was truly beneficial, for me. Not sure about the others. I headed my way to McD (as usual) after getting off the bus to wait for dad. Back to the flood of blue pinafores and ponytails in the busy environment of McD where schoolgirls and schoolboys potentially become attention seekers. Oh, grow up!

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