M’sian sets Asian record for longest love poem

Labour of love: Selinaah posing with the medal and certificate from the Asia Book of Records.

STUDIES should never be the reason for anyone to put their passion on hold.

Students can still excel in academics while pursuing what they love with proper time management, said Selinaah Muralitharan, 21, the new record holder in the Asia Book of Records for composing the “Longest Love Poem” (English) in the region.

“I know many people who chose not to pursue their passions because of their studies. I want people to know that with proper time management, you can still excel in studies while pursuing other passions.

“No one should sacrifice what they love doing. Even while studying medicine, I have time for badminton and poetry, which I enjoy.”

Comprising 115 stanzas (four lines per stanza), and 2,641 words, “My Soulmate” was inspired by a “special friend”.

Selinaah – a former national badminton team player and currently a second year medical student in MAHSA University – started writing the poem in November 2018 for a friend she has known for years.

“I started with 40 stanzas but after researching the longest love poem written, I found a gentleman in Britain who wrote 100 stanzas. I thought I could do better than that!” said Selinaah who had never taken poetry writing classes.

The poem which was completed in January last year, was recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) as the “Longest Love Poem” (English) in the country in April 2019, but Selinaah’s application to be recognised by the Asia Book of Records record in February was rejected due to lack of documentation.

She re-applied in August and received confirmation via email last month stating that the record was now hers.

She also plans to apply to the World Book of Records after her upcoming examinations.

Proud of her achievements, Selinaah – who has already published two books – said she would continue to write more poems as it is an outlet for her to express her feelings.

“Being a sensitive person makes it harder for me to express my emotions through conversation, ” she shared.

The sports-chic-turned-poet crafted “Flawed Ballerina” – her first poem – in 2015 to comfort her best friend who was a ballerina.

Her best friend had twisted her ankle. The poem was about the injury and how strong her friend was to continue performing.

Naming Robert Louis Stevenson, John Taylor and Lang Leav as among her favourite poets, Selinaah enjoys writing about the uncertainties of life.

“The motivation to keep writing comes from the encouragement of those who can relate to my material, ” said Selinaah, who regularly posts her work on Instagram.

She credited her sister as a source of motivation, and her parents as the driving force behind her achievements.

“My sister, Thinaah, is truly an inspiration. She’s our national badminton player. Seeing her accomplish great things in the field she loves inspires me to want to do the same.

“I also owe it to my parents for guiding me when I was applying for recognition from the MBR and Asia Book of Records.”

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