Saturday, 1 March 2014

A shared passion

Generations: Sumitha Renganathan was a keen Starchild contributor and now her son, Buvenraj, sends in letters week after week.

Generations: Sumitha Renganathan was a keen Starchild contributor and now her son, Buvenraj, sends in letters week after week.

Two Starchild fans – now creative and artistic adults – recollect how sending their letters and drawings to Star2 shaped their childhood.

It runs in the family. Twenty-five years ago, Sumitha Renganathan was an avid contributor to Starchild, a weekly column catering to young readers between the ages of four and 12. The joy of seeing her letters in print inspired her to write in every week.

“Teachers and friends loved reading my stories and I thought others might enjoy them, too. My late grandfather – who was an avid reader and orator – always marvelled at my work no matter how simple it was. He used to reward me for every letter published and every writing contest I won,” says Sumitha, 39, a college lecturer in Penang.

Her passion for writing didn't stop there. She contributed letters to Star2's Youth2 (which ran in the late 1990s) and Speaking Up (which ran from the mid-p90s to the early 2000s), a column where readers could share their thoughts on issues. 

Sumitha's letter,
Sumitha's letter that she sent to Starchild, many years ago.

Sumitha's eight-year-old son Bhuvenraj Ganesh is following in his mum’s footsteps. Over the last six years, he's contributed over 220 letters to Starchild. Like Sumitha's grandfather, Bhuvenraj's grandpa Renganathan Krishnasamy, 68, has proudly compiled and decorated 12 files with all his grandchild's articles.

“I can never forget the joy on his face when he saw his first published work at the age of three,” says Sumitha. “Bhuvenraj’s love and joy for writing has helped him tap other creative pursuits like drama and music. He has taken part in classical dramas at the Temple of Fine Arts. When a child is happy doing what he likes, he develops confidence. Lots of praises and words of appreciation go a long way. Every single day, we make it a point to tell Bhuvenraj how wonderful he is and how much we appreciate his efforts for that day. When a child is appreciated for his efforts, achievement follows.”

Sumitha may not often contribute to Star2 now, but she keeps her creative juices flowing by writing poetry. She has penned over 500 poems on love, family and nature. – Sheela Chandran


Szetoo Weiwen, 27, was a keen contributor to Starchild in the '90s. Her sisters and her would encourage each other to make drawings based on the weekly themes, and they waited with bated breath to see if their works would be published.

“I remember looking forward to slipping my doodles and writings into envelopes, and my parents would drive me to the nearest postbox to drop them off. I woke up early on Tuesday mornings and awaited for the newspaper man to arrive, to see if my masterpiece had made it into the paper that day,” says the young writer.

Szetoo, who now sometimes writes for R.AGE, says she was inspired to pursue a writing career after seeing her drawings and writings in print as a child. She adds that even though her parents were artistically inclined, she didn't ask for help from her parents as she took pride in doing everything herself.

“Each time I saw my doodles and writing in print, I got very excited and was inspired to continue sending more entries to Starchild.” – Gayathri Nair

Dear readers, we’re inviting you to leave us a note, a picture or a memento about your time with Star2, or how Star2 has made an impression on you. Click on the link 30 Years Of Star2 to post your comments, or email your photos and images to star2@thestar.com.my and we'll post them in our Facebook photo album for entire month of March 2014. Come on, we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Lifestyle , Star2 Anniversary , 30 Years of Star2 , Thirtylicious , Star2 Turns 30


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