Sunday, 15 June 2014

Cooler Lumpur: Speed of thought

The Cooler Lumpur Festival 2014 aims to move culture forward.

LIKE it or not, we are at the mercy of time. And that’s the daunting bit, for everything seems to be moving at the speed of thought. Every new idea propels us closer to the future. But you see, there’s a loophole when it comes to the future. It hasn’t happened yet. We can still change its course, hopefully for the better and not some Terminator-esque dystopia.

Taking this as the foundation, the Cooler Lumpur Festival 2014 is back for the second year, and it’s all about fast tracking the future this time.

Happening from June 20 to 22 at several creative spaces in Publika (White Box, Black Box, The Bee, Interpr8) in Kuala Lumpur, the literary culture-centred festival takes on the theme #Fast this time around.

The festival, which also sports a diverse creative range, is a collaboration between PopDigital, BMW, and the British Council.

“We chose this theme because the fasting month is approaching and we thought it will be an interesting play on the word ‘fast’,” says Hardesh Singh, the festival’s executive director.

“But more importantly, the underlining theme is rooted in ideas that will move our culture forward,” he adds.

Established last year, the Cooler Lumpur Festival is about thinkers, writers, artists, musicians and their like from all across the world sharing ideas. “Good debates and sound discussions are necessary and very important for any society. And keeping the discourse will provide the tools to implement the great ideas that will arise from the festival,” says Umapagan Ampikaipakan, the festival’s literary director.

He adds that with Malaysia’s poor reading habits – though he agrees it’s improving, albeit slowly – the goal of the festival is to engage Malaysians on a different level when it comes to literature.

“The idea is to curate the activities, whether it’s the panels, lectures or performances, so that they will pull people in and make them realise that all this has to do with words, literature and ideas.

“It is to get Malaysians to engage on that level, and think about things in different ways and push the limits of their own imagination,” Umapagan asserts.

Some of the exciting activities lined up for the three-day festival are The Living City, an interactive exhibition that explores the idea of city-making using Lego blocks; the Writers Residency, the festival’s pilot programme to train promising writers; a performance/lecture by academician and singer Azmyl Yunor; and the Poskod Journalism Campus, organised by online magazine, Poskod.MY.

Among the notable speakers at this year’s festival are Miguel Syjuco, Filipino author and winner of the 2008 Asian Literary Prize (formerly the Man Asian Literary Prize 2007-2012) for his novel, Ilustrado; Myanmarese blogger and activist Nay Phone Latt; the bestselling Inspector Singh series author Shamini Flint; oral traditionalist/storyteller Kamini Ramachandran; British journalist Damian Barr; and novelist Adam Foulds, whose book The Quickening Maze was shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize.

The Cooler Lumpur Festival 2014 will be happening at Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur, June 20-22. For more information, visit

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment , Cooler Lumpur Festival , Kuala Lumpur , literary festival , culture , Azmyl Yunor , Miguel Syjuco , Damian Barr , Umapagan Ampikaipakan


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