Yesterday, of course, the media launch of the The KL International Literary Festival (which now goes by the acronym KLILF!) at Bangsar Village which is to be held in various venues in Bangsar 28th March - 1st April.
The guest of honour was YB Dato' Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Minster of Women, Family and Community Development, who also happens to be the MP for Lembah Pantai (the constituency which includes Bangsar). She turned up a fashionable one hour late, as Ministers are always wont to do. For me the time was well spent, though, chatting to Saras, Dina, Adam, MPH's Dato Ng and others, and getting a Starbucks caffeine fix to propel me through the morning.
Here is Shahrizat making a grand entrance. The others are (left to right) Professor Lim Chee Seng, Raman, Tunku Halim with his back to the camera, Datuk Shanmugalingam (with the beard) and (in the corner) Dato' Ng Tieh Chuan of MPH.
Professor Lim introduced the event, and then Ronald Quay Ong Guan (above) the President of Bangsar Baru Business Council made a speech ... not only pointing out that Bangsar is a great venue for the festival but also asking for a community library for the area.
Ronald is the proprietor of the pub Ronnie Q's - the sporting pub where all my rugger bugger friends hang out on match nights. Now it's going to be transformed into a venue for Literature!
Dato' Seri Shahrizat's speech was nicely delivered and natural. It seems that she, Raman and Prof. Lim were all students at Universiti Malaya's Fifth College, at the same time. She also talked about the intellectual depth of Bangsar residents (haha!) which made the area an ideal one a litfest.
Professor Lim then read some favourite poetry ... and what a nice thing to have happen midweek just outside the supermarket! We had a sonnet by Petrach in Italian, Shakespeare's Sonnets 18 and 130, a Chinese student read poems by Li Po and Su Shi. Prof. Lim added a little John Donne, Tagore and Usman Awang much to the bemusement of pass-by shoppers, and then it was time to eat.
The lovely food was catered by the Hilton, but I was so busy gossiping to a whole range of people that I didn't eat much and went home hungry afterwards. Above, Raman with Eoin Duggan, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Ireland.
I'm glad Raman and Prof. Lim decided to use Bangsar as a venue (which I suggested to them both way back - common sense, innit?). The venues there should be more relaxed and informal than in some impersonal ballroom of some stuffy hotel, and dropping out to have a nice coffee or meal and gossip will be easy too. I'm glad too that the dull academic part of the festival has been dropped and there is no utterly confusing pricing structure this time.
In fact I'm looking forward to the festival. Have you registered yet? Get in before March 15th to get an Early Bird discount.
There are incidentally much better pics on Raman's site. Watch the slideshow and see how many faces you can name.
Oh and yes, here's the flier to pass on and stick on your blogs. Doesn't seem to be on Raman's site yet.