Tuesday, August 08, 2006

All Aboard the Elarti

It isn't easy getting local writing published. Some brave soul has to be prepared to put up their own funds and take a gamble.

My friend Ruhayat X (co-founder of Neohikayat Press which launched the infamous Willayah Kutu) has another project he wants to get up and running ... but he needs our help. Here's the e-mail he sent round the other day:

Hi guys, gals, friends and otherwise,

I'm coming up with this pop-culture magazine called Elarti. It will cover the arts, culture, design,literature and social issues, and the content will be 60% Malay and 40% English. We're targeting it as a quarterly review kind of thing, with the first issue to be out on Merdeka Day at 120 pages.

The main aim is to unearth new writing talents in Malaysia, particularly those writing in Malay. Sometimes, when people start seeing their name in print, it encourages them to start writing seriously and the country benefits in general as a result. That's what I'm hoping will happen here.

At the very least, it's really just another social experiment. This is a project being done for the people, by the people. Please don't trip on the cliche on your way to the trashcan.

Seriously, though: what can you say about a country that cannot boast of a writer the calibre of a Goenawan, a Pramoedya, a Borges or a Marquez? A country in which -- I argue -- the cultural waters has been collecting in a fetid pool since the mid-70's?

I have put up RM3,000 out of my own pocket to the publication of this first issue. However, that will only enable us to print 500 copies. So we'd like to have more money, of course, which will allow us to print more (simple law of economics, really: money more = copies more).

If you'd like to support us, please buy a "personal ad" space for RM50.

We've reserved 2 pages for these personal ads. For that 50 bucks, you will get a box 70 x 50 mm where we will dedicate nice thoughts to you. It's a bit like buying a slot at the Nilai Memorial Park, really, except that you're not dead yet and we're not a graveyard. I hope you're the type who likes to read his/her own obituary.

Sounds like a good way to spend 5 mugs of Starbucks coffee? Then please deposit your donations into this account:

A/C no.: 04800203814
Account Holder: Irman bin Noor

Cheers, and may God reward you with more mugs of coffee than you can drink.

Elarti is a strictly non-profit project, the proceeds
of which shall be divided as follows:

1. 1/3 for production costs.
2. 1/3 for publication of future issues and other activities (forums, workshops, readings, etc).
3. 1/3 to be created into a pool fund out of which all contributors will be paid equally.
Of course, I've booked my plot ... er ... ad-space already.

*Language note for non-Malaysians or for Malaysians who didn't quite get it: Elarti is a play on our LRT (Light Rail Transport) which we use to get around the city. Let's hope Ruhayat gets his project on track!


Anonymous said...

It's almost ten mugs of COTD actually :) how very socialist of them. I hope there will be strict accounting so as to prevent any embezzlement :)

dreamer idiot said...

Cool... Hope everything works out.

Oh yeah, just a sudden thought. It would be good if ruhaiyat can market the magazine in colleges and universities. Grab the young market. He he