Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pictures of the "Poppies"

So here's more about the Popular Bookstore Reader's Choice Awards a couple of days back. (I posted results here.)


Nominees Brian Gomez, Amir Muhammad, Adeline Loh during the speeches. The guest of honour was YM Professor Diraja Ungku Abdul Aziz bin Ungku Abdul Hamid, former Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaya. He spoke among other things about the necessity of using Malay for all subjects on the school curriculum and the need to vastly expand the translation of scientific texts into Malay.

The welcome address was delivered by Mr. Vangatharaman Ramayah, Director of Popular Holdings Limited who talked about the history of the bookstore and its broad reach in the Asia Pacific region (it has a total of 129 retail stores and is currently expanding into Myanmar).

Then it was time for each of the nominated titles to be highlighted on the screen above with a brief biodata of each author. My favourite moment though came when the MC had to read out the name of Brian Gomez' blog in this august company!


Then the results were read out in nail-biting reverse order. The first prize winners for the fiction and non-fiction categories won RM1,500 each and a trophy, while second prize winners received RM1,000 and third prize winners RM500.

Above, Tan Twan Eng's mum, Sally (in pink), receiving his award from Ungku Aziz on her son's behalf since he is in South Africa.

A group photo of all the winners in or their representatives. (Though I think some at the edges got squashed out. Apologies.)

A more informal shot afterwards - June Wong (Star executive editor) holds a copy of Adibah Amin's Glimpses, Robert Raymer (red shirt - behind her); Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad holds a copy of Dr Mahathir's Selected Letters to World Leaders which he co-wrote with the former PM; Vangatharaman Ramayah (in the black suit), Director of Popular Holdings Limited; Sally Tan (the lady in pink); Popular Book Co (M) Sdn Bhd executive director Lim Lee Ngoh (holding Preeta's book) ; and last but not least, Kee Thuan Chye holding his copy of March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up.

I was very happy for Robert, winning the fiction category, as I know that this will be important encouragement for him. He looked scrape-me up-off-the-floor-it-can't-be-happening-surprised at the result.

Congrats to Popular books and to the sponsoring newspapers for creating a buzz about Malaysian books and involving readers. This is a very worthwhile event. I must say, though, that I would really welcome an award given by a panel of judges in addition to this popularity contest. (Mind you, there is no literary award without at least some controversy and there is always bound to be disagreement about the results.)

The important thing about any literary award is the conversation it creates, and the recognition and encouragment it gives writers. The "Poppies" succeeded very well on both counts.

(More at The Star.)

21 comments:

Amir Muhammad said...

Between me and Brian when those long bios were being read out: "Oh no, we'll have to listen to an even longer one for Mahathir next!"

Anonymous said...

Was the VIP late (as usual?)

- Poppadumdum

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Sharon, You got my expression exactly right!

Earlier, since there were so few of us present and all the leading contenders were absent, we were joking around that what if none of the actual winners were present, just their representatives...it would be pretty embarrassing!

I'm sure glad I was able to fly over for the day, in between classes!

PS: The VIP was on time, if not early!

Anonymous said...

What a shame that a supposedly Malaysian bookfest pays no respect at all to the language of Malaysia. The banners and logos of this bookfest makes me wonder if it is a fest in Hong Kong or elsewhere. This is a real slap in the face of Malaysia and Malaysians.

- Bibliophile

bibliobibuli said...

Bibliophile - they were almost entirely chinese books on sale though and many of the sellers seemed to be from overseas. maybe that doesn't excuse it but.

animah said...

Congrats everyone!

Sharon, it's March 8th that Chye is holding, not May 13th.

gnute said...

Aw, heartwarming story :)

bibliobibuli said...

haha yes of course Animah. corrected.

bibliobibuli said...

for some strange reason i seem to have may 13th on my mind. i think it is because i am so worried about the way things are going in this country.

Web Sutera said...

Sharon,

Allow me to use (or borrow?) 1 of your pictures for my blog; the group photo. My main interest is one of my fovourite bahasa Melayu authors, Ramlee Awang Murshid.

Cheers, sis!

bibliobibuli said...

very welcome. sorry my pic isn't a better one. if you do want anymore maybe i can ask popular for you?

Lydia Teh said...

Congratulations to all winners!

Crankster said...

"My favourite moment though came when the MC had to read out the name of Brian Lopez' blog in this august company!"

I'm a huge fan of his blog though the rather graphic visuals (esp when my mind goes on overdrive) can get to me! :) I thought he was Gomez, not Lopez.

bibliobibuli said...

*slaps forehead* i'm so sorry. corrected.

i am still laughing at his series on the lingham case!

Crankster said...

I know, it was hysterical. :) He even had a "box set" of 5 episodes. There were no high-tech graphics in there, but that made it all the more amusing!

bibliobibuli said...

the guy is getting a swollen head because evry time i meet him i have to tell him how brilliant he is and KEEP ON WRITING! his story in body2body made me both laugh out loud and cry. he's really the man. (please don't tell him i wrote this or his head will get even bigger.)

Crankster said...

Okay, I won't tell him - I don't personally know Brian Gomez anyway. :)

Haven't read his story (was it 'What Do Gays Eat?' or something?) but if it's anything like his blog, I'm sure it's brilliant.

Everytime I read a new entry on his blog I feel compelled to roll up a newpaper and whack Pazuzu with it for good measure - more than one reason for him to get a swollen head! And I don't even know the guy....

bibliobibuli said...

we'll set up a secret fanclub :-P

Crankster said...

Right. :)

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Lydia,
Thanks! I just told Tunku Halim that since you won last year, I won this year, so now it's his turn to win next year, and that truly would be a Mereka Miracle!

Lydia Teh said...

Robert, that would be :)