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!