Varsity uncovers young writing talents through contest

(From left) TAR UC Faculty of Social Science and Humanities dean Dr Karthiyani Shanmugam, Khalishah, Wong, Lai, Yi Ren, Dr Lee, Ling and Olive at the prize-giving ceremony.

A HEART-warming ending of the story entitled A New Beginning by Wong Yi Ren from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Aminuddin Baki culminated in him winning the Short Story Writing Competition organised by Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) Department of English Studies under the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities.

The story ended with: “All our hard work, nine years of it, was gone in the span of one night... As I watched, in shock and awe, someone ruffled my head. I looked up and saw my dad looking at me with a smile, shrugging his shoulders before joining others in the orchard.

“I touched my head for a moment, sighed before resigning myself and went to work as well, for the future, for the next ‘Ten-Year Orchard’, for a new beginning.”

He won a cash prize of RM1, 000.

This was the first short story writing competition organised by the newly-formed department to unearth talented writers among young Malaysian students aged 16 to 20.

It was aimed at providing opportunities for them to hone their writing skills and to encourage budding writers to come forward and explore their creativity.

The objectives of this competition are in line with the two bachelor’s degree courses offered in the department, which are the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) English with Drama, as well as Bachelor of Arts (Honours) English with Education, that are designed to cater for students with a passion in the English language, be it in drama or education.

Students from all secondary schools in the Klang Valley were invited to participate in the contest.

Under the critical judgement of renowned writer and independent filmmaker Amir Muhammad, who acted as the chief judge, six short stories were identified as the most outstanding pieces among close to 100 entries received.

TAR UC president Prof Dr Lee Sze Wei praised the winners for achieving an admirable feat, having displayed this talent in writing compelling stories eloquently in the English language at such a young age, and encouraged them to continue writing creative stories that can touch the hearts of their readers.

“Writing is a form of art which is not easy to master, ” he said in his speech during the prize-giving ceremony.

“It takes courage and creative minds to pen down their ideas and words, which would leave an impact on those who read them.

“I am impressed to have our winners here, whose writings have won over the hearts and minds of our judges.

“Students must continue writing to improve this important skill and form a habit of reading as it not only helps in the writing process but it is a good source of enriching one’s knowledge and thinking process, ” added Dr Lee.

The prize-giving ceremony included performances such as a recital of a self-composed poetry entitled Trees by Keona Durga Jainudin, a first-year student of the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) English with Education, followed by a rendition of two self-composed songs by third-year student Vasan Wei-Sheng M. Saravanan, who is currently pursuing the Bachelor of Science, Microelectronics with Embedded Technology.

The competition’s second prize went to Lai Yun Ting from Kuen Cheng High School, who won RM700, while third prize winner Joyjane Ling Ai Leen from Rafflesia International School won RM500.

Consolation winners Olive Aarya Anoop from Rafflesia International School, Khalishah Iman Kamarudin from SMK Cyberjaya and Zoey Wong from Sri Kuala Lumpur Secondary School each took home book vouchers worth RM200.

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