Gina Yap Lai Yoong the writer whisperer

For more than seven years now, Gina Yap Lai Yoong has been a mentor of sorts for local writers who intend to get published. But she is not your ordinary writing coach and depending on your commitment to your craft, she can be a miraculous guiding angel or a badgering nightmare. She is known to go to great lengths to help her mentees, taking on roles as counselor, organiser and even babysitter to solve problems at hand. “I’ve had people ignore my calls, switch off their phone and avoid me for months but I don’t let them back out...

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MUSIC REVIEW | ALENA MURANG SOARS TO NEW HEIGHTS WITH RELEASE OF DEBUT EP

On my first visit to the Land of Hornbills in 1998 I was convinced that it was dangerous to stay more than a week. Many of the native Sarawakians I met, both men and women, were so friendly, fun-loving and enchanting, one could only too easily become enamored, ensnared… end up marrying a local and becoming a permanent resident. Since James Brooke’s appointment as White Rajah of Sarawak in 1842, adventurers, explorers and fortune-hunters the world over have found themselves mesmerized by the exotic allure of Borneo. Unable to leave, they have fortuitously enriched its gene pool. Alena Murang...

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Malaysian artists you have to follow throughout Inktober 2016

With October comes Inktober and here is Eksentrika’s list of Malaysian artists and cartoonists that you should follow if you’re a sucker for the arts. But first, for those who are in the dark, Inktober is a 31-day challenge started off by artist Jake Parker to push artists and doodlers to create artworks via ink drawings for an entire month. Below are just some of the Malaysian artists who have taken on the challenge. Pssst! Click on the artist’s name to go to their page!  A photo posted by Dhiyanah H (@afraidofwords) on Oct 2, 2016 at 2:22am PDT  ...

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Redha for Malaysia at Oscars 2017

Redha, a film by newbie director Tunku Mona Riza has a chance to contend at next year’s Oscars, following its selection to represent Malaysia by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS). If shortlisted as among the five final nominees, it will compete in the Foreign Language Film category for the 89th Academy Awards. The feature film is a first by Tunku Mona and centers around the lives of a family with an autistic child. In reacting to news of the selection, Tunku Mona took to her Facebook page to say that she was inspired to make the film...

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Ulasan buku | Selumbar Karya Ikmal Ahmad

Selumbar, tajuk buku kedua penulis amatur, Ikmal Ahmad, adalah analogi daripada salah seorang watak karya tersebut yang menggambarkan hidupnya seperti kaki ditikam selumbar, sakit jika ditarik keluar tetapi jika dibiarkan juga menghalang daripada maju ke hadapan. Pertembungan antara dua watak utama, iaitu Razin, seorang ustaz muda yang disayangi dan dihormati orang kampung dengan Sufi, seorang pelawat yang sampai ke surau Razin, menandakan permulaan cerita dan adegan yang akan mengolah persepsi hidup kedua-dua pemuda tersebut. Razin akan menyesali pertemuannya dengan Sufi dalam jalan cerita buku ini yang mendalami tema-tema berat seperti Islam dengan homofobia, hormat terhadap ibu bapa dan sayang sesama...

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Zen Cho not zen but writing sequel

Fresh from bagging the Best Newcomer Award at the recently held British Fantasy Award, London based Malaysian author Zen Cho reveals to Eksentrika that despite her name, she has been far from zen when it comes to writing, and yet she has already begun writing a sequel to her debut novel, ‘Sorcerer to the Crown’. “I have actually been working on the second book way before ‘Sorcerer to the Crown’ was released,” Zen says, adding that her debut novel, which was started in 2012, had taken nine-months to complete. She immediately began penning the sequel soon after sending her first manuscript to publishers, Ace and Macmillan. International acclaim has since...

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BOOK REVIEW | Selumbar by Ikmal Ahmad

First up, let me explain the title. Selumbar is the Malay word for wood splinter and the novel is so called due to an analogy by one of the characters, likening his life to his feet being pierced deep with a Selumbar. If he pulls it out, he will suffer great pain, and yet leaving it in would only cause the wound to fester and hinder his walking forward. An innocent encounter between the main character, a much loved and respected modern day ustaz, Razin and a supposed stranger in Razin’s village, Sufi, kickstarts the drama. What unfolds will afflict...

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Of Toyols and eBay, Tunku Halim spills on Horror Stories 2

Renowned Malaysian horror stories writer Tunku Halim launches his eighth short story collection and a sequel to his best selling book, Horror Stories, today. Titled Horror Stories 2, the book launches at 3pm at Kedai Fixi, Petaling Jaya. Eksentrika’s sits down to speak to the man himself on what sets this book apart from the previous and if he uses black magic to get ideas for his stories.  What differentiates this book from all the previous spooky stuff you’ve written? What can readers look forward to? The book contains not only a retrospective, a selection of some of my earlier...

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Blooming into motherhood through Odissi

Seven-months pregnant and being a dancer does not cancel each other out. Clasically trained dancer, January Low is the undaunted mother resolute to illustrate this point with a rare Odissi performance together with choreographer, Rathimalar Govindarajoo. Eksentrika delves into the hearts and minds of the dance sisters, to discover the spirit behind their unique show. Once proteges of famed Ramli Ibrahim, January and Rathimalar have been active in the performing arts circuit, both local and abroad, long enough to earn a name in their own right. Both are adept in the Indian classical dances of Bharatanatyam and Odissi and each have...

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The Hustling Artist: Ruby Subramaniam

She quit her job, went on a solo travel through Europe and South America and left imprints of her art along the way. This might sound like a mere daydream for most people but for Ruby Subramaniam, it is part of her reality. Now a year after trading a promising career in digital media marketing for a living off paintbrushes and canvas, the 26-year-old is making headway at becoming her own definition of “artist”.  Her many current projects include planning her first solo exhibition, writing a modern day memoir and introducing international art events to the local scene. She...

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PENDAPAT | Penulis Paling Dibenci

Saya sering ditanya mengapa saya menulis esei, cerpen dan novel menggunakan Bahasa Malaysia, sedangkan kebanyakan hasil tulisan saya mengangkat nilai budaya dan kehidupan watak-watak kaum India. Pertanyaan ini datang daripada pelbagai pihak. Misalnya, seorang penolong editor sebuah majalah pernah membuat tuduhan kononnya saya sengaja menulis cerpen Bahasa Malaysia dalam usaha menyebarkan unsur agama Hindu kepada khalayak pembaca Melayu. Di sisi yang lain pula, pencinta dan “pejuang” Bahasa Tamil mempersoalkan keperluan saya menulis mengenai aspek budaya orang Tamil dalam “bahasa asing”. Kononnya, jika saya mahu mendidik pembaca kaum India mengenai budaya India, maka saya sepatutnya menulis dalam Bahasa Tamil. Selain...

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POETRY | Kizmet by Fa Abdul

Love Life Death What do they have in common? If love is nothing If life slips away into the next room And death…does not count What is left between the hazy sky And the rocky earth? If everything remains exactly as it was If you remained you, And I am me, Whatever I am to you We are still Would we live so fondly? If life is untouched Unchanged If we remain still Similar tone of sorrow Same old tune of joy Old familiar hope and dream Would there still be Laughter And smile? When life becomes absolute Nothing...

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