Any particular story could have multiple beginnings. I could say that the story of my blog began in a hospital the day I was born and my first thoughts began to form or perhaps in a hotel room in Penang when my dad sat me down at his computer with the ‘Start Your Free Blog’ button shining brightly on the screen. But I would choose the days leading up to the book launch of Growing Up In Trengganu as the start of this blog’s tale because that was the first time I was introduced to the term ‘weblog’.
Growing Up In Trengganu (GUIT) is a compilation of blog posts written by a ‘Trengganufolk’ Awang Goneng in a lovely and nostalgic book form and was launched at my grandmother’s bookstore ‘Alam Akademik’, also known by its former name ‘Kedai Pok Loh Yunang’. Since my parents organised the event, I was heavily involved in the preparations and witnessed the excitement they conjured in the comparatively quiet city of Kuala Terengganu. We even had little quips and blurbs pasted on our car windows that attracted so much attention that we even got stopped a few times by curious inquirers.
The book also introduced me to the use of language techniques with its broad vocabulary, uses of vivid imagery, metaphors and similes and good structure. It took me years to really digest how I could use them in my own writing but it was the first time I felt such a profound effect in a purely descriptive writing (as some of the chapters were) as narratives used to be my favourite read with their conflicts and heart wrenching drama.
So in the days that followed, I mused over the possibility of starting my own blog but I highly doubt that I would have created it if not for the support of my parents. The idea of giving the whole world a free pass to my thoughts for them to pry into and to judge was intimidating. However my parents saw it as a good way to build my confidence in my writing and have peer support as in the early days I interacted with a number of bloggers, both fellow readers of GUIT and those who stumbled upon my writing as well as loyal readers who until now still read my brother’s blog (since I had been much less careful in keeping mine active). It gave me an outlet to share my opinions, my perspectives and my own voice.
And I credit this blog to my good command of English, my writing capability as well as my recent A* grade in my CIE A level English Language and the Outstanding Learner Award I received for the paper. After all, my blog is also partly my collection of English assignments especially in my early blogging years. And I must thank my tireless mother who guided me, proofread my terrifying tenses during my early years and sitting through my relentless arguments on why my nonsensical analogy makes sense. And I must too thank my late father who introduced me to GUIT, the internet and from whom I have unknowingly inherited my narrative perspective.
Today, I met Uncle Awang Goneng at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). Awang Goneng (a.k.a. Wan A. Hulaimi) grew up in Terengganu but later on moved to London, a place so far away from his homeland. His beautiful book ‘Growing Up In Trengganu’ (originated from his blog –http://kecek-kecek.blogspot.com) was written to share with everyone about the life in Terengganu in the 60’s.
I attended ‘The Writing Mind’ workshop where Uncle Awang Goneng taught us some tips on writing. One of them which sticks in my mind was to increase your vocabulary skills – or in other words, never be afraid of using a dictionary. It reminds me of Prof. Muhammad Al-Mahdi’s ‘favourite assignment’. He would tell my classmates and I to make a list of 20 hard words and remember all 60 words, it’s spelling and definitions. To make sure we memorised each of them, we shall have to take a test at the end of the week.
Uncle Awang Goneng also taught us to read aloud what we have written after finishing a piece of work. It helps us to correct unnoticeable small mistakes. This was also taught by Prof. Muhammad and since then, I made a huge improvement in my writing class.
But Uncle Awang Goneng was really sad to hear about the unacceptable act of the government to demolish a more than a century old shophouses row in our hometown, Kuala Terengganu. Such historic building should be kept and preserved such as those in
Penang and Malacca. But we were even shocked to know that Uncle Awang Goneng’s house in Terengganu was going to be demolished
too. I guess one day, Terengganu would be the only state in Malaysia to lose all of it’s history and heritage clue to the cruel act of the state government.
Before leaving, I took the opportunity to ask Awang Goneng to autograph in my diary. Thank you Uncle Awang Goneng (Uncle Wan).
Last Sunday, Alam Akademik Sdn. Bhd. (my grandmother’s bookstore which is also known as Keda Pok Loh Yunang) organized a program at Sekolah Kebangsaan Padang Hiliran in Kuala Terengganu. The program started at 9 a.m. and ended at 11.20 a.m. It was held at the school hall. The program was attended by students from Year 3,4,5 and 6.
The kids listening to our little presentations
We hope to share our experiences in Public Speaking with all of our friends at Sekolah Kebangsaan Padang Hiliran. We had a real good time at the school. The students are really brave and smart. They came forward to read and answer questions. I’m so proud of them. We hope our friends in Sekolah Kebangsaan Padang Hiliran will enjoy learning English for we need to learn other languages to be smart and knowledgeable.
Syazaliana, the first person brave enough to raise up her hand.
I did a book reading and spoke about ‘The Creation Of Universe’ based on the book by the same tittle written by Prof Muhammad Al-Mahdi. I read a chapter of Growing Up In Terengganu by Awang Goneng titled ‘Budu Spell’ which is very interesting and funny at the same time. My little sister Aeshah did what she does best… STORYTELLING!!! And Anisah sang a butterfly song. My little blogging brother Ahmad Ali, read a post from his famous blog entitled ‘Swine Flu’.
A photo of me delivering my speech
We ended the program by singing the Khalifah Song and Guantanamera. Guantanamera is the most popular song in Cuba and is an unofficial national anthem of Cuba. This Spanish Song is so beautiful and I can never be tired of hearing it.
The Sandpipers singing Guantanamera
I really had a good time too. I hope we can inspire them to learn English and other languages and be good oriaters… I wish to thank the headmaster and the teachers for inviting us to the school and for the token given to us by the school. I would also like to thank Syaza and all those from SK Padang Hiliran who had been reading my blog.
My little brother, Ahmad Ali, made new friends at the school. The second boy is Izzat. The other two boys beside him are from Year 4 (if anyone know their names please inform me). The girls from left are Syazaliana, Hazirah, Adlin and Puteri. The boy in front... I don't think I need to tell you but just in case, AHMAD ALI himself!