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.
Happy New Year to all and may this year be a prosperous one, Insya Allah. I’d like to thank my loyal readers for their support despite the fact that the blog had not been updated on a regular basis (twice a month on average). I usually have a lot to write but sometimes I feel that they aren’t decent enough for a blog post. The idea of a blog post in my head is something WordPress would say ‘super-awesome’ that you should write with utmost care but as my mother had told me a million times, nobody likes a dormant blog. I intend to be more active this year and I hope that, Insya Allah, I will be more eager to write and share my views or experience.
And of course, a big thank you to my mother, the best teacher I’ve ever had, for helping me with my writing. I’ve seen my writing improve significantly throughout my blogging years and I am more independent in brainstorming for ideas which would help me a lot in college later and in life as well. She had also miraculously managed to improve my critical thinking and my interest in politics and world events; important things which I once thought boring and impossible to enjoy.
And thank you to my father who had been the one to create this blog for me as a way to improve my English and for me to gain confidence in writing for the public. I can never forget that morning in Penang when you sat me by your laptop, introduced me to my freshly registered blog and made me write a post. I had pestered my mother for hours, asking her in a fit of panic, “What should I do? What should I write? I don’t have anything to write about.” And despite all of the distress, I managed to write 3 very short posts on the first things that came to my mind.
And to my dearest sisters, Aeshah and Anisah as well as my famous brother, Ahmad Ali, who seems to have fans everywhere (as it is quite often that when my father met one of his friends, they would as for ‘the blogger, Ahmad Ali’) thank you for your links, comments and support. Since one of the drawbacks of being the eldest is that you cannot bear to be beaten by a younger sibling, the intense competition you had given me urge me to write better.
Click on the link below to see the review WordPress prepared for my blog.
Click here to see the complete report.
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).