Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Let Me Eat Cake
Beautifully textured carrot cake from Marmalade in Bangsar Village, photo courtesy of Lyrical Lemongrass
That is how I felt about attending Readings@Seksan's two Saturdays ago. Metaphorically, my life was rich with new experience like reading poetry in Malaysia, a country I had exiled myself from for so long. I was attending with my new blogger friends, another rich and rewarding experience: new kindred is a rare and valuable thing, and here it was in abundance where I never knew it could be found. I was also in touch with my friends from the Convent and my cousins whom I had felt so close to in my teenaged years, right before I left home forever. Perhaps I had come back properly this time, in my whole body, with my whole spirit.
Mirroring my inner life, we did indeed eat a lot of very excellent cake. As you saw in the previous post, my lunchtime was graced with a heavenly treat and so was my teatime. Since it was Lyrical Lemongrass who accompanied me, the standard of the food was high high high. But I digress, since food is always so distracting.
Seksan's is indeed an inspired venue, open to nature and nurturing to the arts. I truly wish to thank Sharon Bakar@bibliobibuli who organises the Readings for her generosity in asking me to read, unproven. She has a detailed account of the Readings at her site on the 26th of May. Sharon is such a prolific and informative blogger of all things literary, that you may have to scroll down a ways to see it. The June Readings will be last-ish Saturday in June, watch for them! She is an oasis in what used to be desert, and the landscape is slowly changing.
I read in august company. An editor of the NST reading evocatively from his book Brickfields: A Time, A Place, A Memory. A veteran poet who has trod the lonely way before us, venerable and published. Young, new, confident talent, already so accomplished, so many awards, poised on the lip of his future. The founder of readings herself, what more can I say! A silverfish short story award winner reading a story so plain, expressive and raw that I was in complete and total awe - about a sexless marriage.
A full spectrum of Malaysian culture in its unique diversity revealed itself both in readers and audience. We do take it for granted, you know - our multiculturality with attendant issues and conflicts. As an individual, this experience in its most positive extremity, seems to enable me to walk some everyman's land between all cultures of this world and is a gift to fitting in, which may not be all people's cup of tea, but I have lived long in hard lands with it.
Photos from Leon Wing, thanks. Left to right Balan Moses, Pey Colborne, Nic Wong, Noraishah Ismail, Bernice Chauly, Wong Phui Nam.