Saturday, January 05, 2008

Blogs Help Develop Writers

People say lots of things about bloggers, most of them uncomplimentary, but I’m very upset about that. ... Blogs are very special tools for honing your writing skills or to get you started on writing, and I used my blog as my notebook, for rough notes which would one day form the substance for this book.
Wan Ahmad Hulaimi a.k.a. Awang Goneng is interviewed by Meera Murugesan in today's Malay Mail about the writing of nation-wide bestseller Growing up in Terengganu.

Bloggers in Malaysia have suffered every kind of insult (what were we called? liars? monkeys?* bored housewives?) and it's lovely to see someone provide the evidence for the likes of Tourism minister Tunku Adnan that blogs are a very positive force, which the government should be supporting and embracing rather than denigrating.

Pak Awang says that the most important lesson about writing he's learning is this:
Do not worry about what you’re writing. Do the best you can at that moment. Go on with it and then come back to it if you have a fresher insight.
On the local literary scene he says that many local authors rarely, if ever, get support despite their talent:
I blame the local infrastructure, the publishers, distributors and editors for not promoting local books. Many good local writers are being ignored. They’re simply not being given the exposure they deserve and yet, when such authors thrive overseas, we want to hail them back and claim them as our own. There’s something wrong here and those responsible have a lot to answer for.
I missed the links to last week's coverage of the book launch in the New Straits Times, so here's Su Aziz's very nice piece.

You're feeling like a superstar yet, Pak Awang?

*It's worth noting that Hulaimi's wife, Zahara Othman (who blogs as Kak Teh) was singled out by Khairy Jamalludin as one of the monkeys. It shows how much (or rather how little) not-too-clued up son-in-law-in -waiting actually understands about blogs and the people who write them.

** Hulaimi was quite amused by the fact that one politician who has been most vociferous in his condemnation of bloggers was right at the front of the queue to get his copy of GUiT signed at the launch!



hi sharon,

the fact that you are a blogger proves that those idiotic politicians simply don't know what they're talking about. OR, they know that they're talking nonsense,they don;t even believe what they are saying but need to say it as that is the official line.

take care, sharon!

(must do that tea again!)


and oh....
hulaimi has done us all proud, hasn't he!

Syabbas, Hulaimi!

bibliobibuli said...

it was lovely to see you and jane sunshine today - and yes, really must do that tea again!

Anonymous said...

Why are you so coy about naming the politician who wanted his copy of GUiT signed? Surely it is not libellous? And it is news, isn't it? and bloggable?

Hantu Laut said...

I think there is nothing wrong for the politician to queue up to buy the book.It shows that he is a reader and interested in reading local writer's work.

Many politicians, either for lack of interest or being too busy, do not read to broaden their knowledge base.That's why we often get ministers and parlimentarians making ludicrous statements,a reflection of their dreadful ignorance.

A good example is the recent statement made by the Domestic and Consumers Affairs Minister,Datuk Shafie Abdal regarding the shortage of cooking oil, which I find amusingly stupid.He said from next week consumer will only be allowed to purchase 5kg of oil at any one time.

How would they police this kind of ruling.One person can go to 10 different shops in one day and buy the 5 kg from each shop.Can you stop him? It simple logic that such exercise is impractical, yet the Minister made the announcement.

Have a nice day.

savante said...

Good to know someone out there does like us. He really really likes us :)

bibliobibuli said...

hantu laut - was only pointing out irony lah. of course anyone has a right to buy a book and the more the merrier!

anon - not i'm being coy, managed to forget the name in my usual blur name. but i don't think that matters since i got the story from the horse's mouth (so to speak). pok ku wrote something about the signing here

Bustaman said...

Pictures speak a thousand words (and nudge memories). See the pics here:

Mohd Adib Noh said...

My count is only ten authors form the list that I read their books.May be I read many unpopular books;-)

bibliobibuli said...

adib - i think i've read a lot because i'm british too. i think that folks living here are very open to works from all over. i need badly to catch up on US authors ...

Anonymous said...

I need to catch up on British work as well.. thing is though, in the late 20th they seem to want to be more of a mini-America than true British. I mean seriously Bib, all the cool Brittannia in the world isn't going to stop Oxford looking like an 18th century chapel. And then there's the Guard. And the fact that everyone speaks that way. And everyone still drinks the same kinds of tea, which haven't changed for centuries. I mean the whole point of England is that it's England. I mean it's cold, and the people have all those uncool accents and drink uncool stuff like tea (and hot at that, in a cup, on a saucer.) I mean they still have Fanta. And they have Trafalgar Square and that statue, and all the pigeons. I mean, how much more traditional can you get ?

All the chippies, and the jam butties, and the people who say "guv'nor" and "luv". You can make the country "cool" but the people, they'll always be British, and thus really good people but not a people you'd refer to as "cool". The whole country is steeped and saturated in tradition.

And all the eyes in the sky are not going to change that.

I honestly can't tell a British writer from an American one these days.

bibliobibuli said...

you've got us brits sussed out, i think. add in a few self-deprecating comments and yes, you pretty much have it. can we ever be cool? maybe not.

can't tell british and american writers apart? interesting question. can't say i have that problem (the spelling and language use is such a dead give-away so that i'd only have to be a few pages into a novel to know)

actually i'd like to think they were influencing each other. i hate the fact that there's nothing like the booker prize bringing together british and american authors to be considered side by side.

who would be ashamed of being considered like roth or updike or eugenides or annie proulx or paul auster,(add the name of your favourite here) for e.g.?

i need to read more american lit!