KUALA LUMPUR: It never crossed Selinaah Muralitharan’s mind that she would be recognised as a poet among friends and family.
From “sports chic” to “writer girl”, the 20-year-old has made a name for herself by setting a new record in the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) for composing the Longest Love Poem (English) in the country.
Consisting of 115 stanzas (four lines per stanza), and 2,641 words, Selinaah – a former national badminton team player – said the poem was inspired by a “special friend”.
“I started the love poem for a friend I’ve known for years, since November last year.
“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 completed the poem in January.
The Foundation in Science student from MAHSA University said she had never taken up poetry writing classes.
“I wrote my first real poem, Flawed Ballerina, in 2015 to comfort my best friend. She was a ballerina and had twisted her ankle.“The poem was about her injury and how strong she was to continue performing,”
said Selinaah, adding that her friends and family encouraged her to share it on social media.
“I got 100 likes for my poem on Instagram then,” said the student, whose favourite poets include Robert Louis Stevenson, John Taylor and Lang Leav.
Selinaah sent the Flawed Ballerina and Can’t See, a poem about blind people, to the American-based poetry magazine Fine Lines, which published the poems in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Proud of her achievement in MBR, Selinaah – who published her first poetry book A Hundred Thoughts last year – said she would continue to produce more works.
The aspiring poet, whose favourite topic is about life and the uncertainties about it, is in the midst of preparing material for her
second poetry book. She will take up a degree in Medicine later this year.
“The motivation to keep writing is from the encouragement from people who found my material relatable,” said Selinaah, who constantly posts her work on Instagram.
She credited her mother as the driving force behind her achievement.
“If it weren’t for her, I would have chickened out and not sent my proposal to MBR at all,” she said.
Beaming with pride, Selinaah’s parents S. Muralitharan, 58, and Dr Parimala Devi Kalalingam, 54, could barely contain their excitement at their youngest daughter’s “victory”.
“We are so proud of her! Motivation and encouragement is important to build a child’s confidence. The whole family gave her our full support so that she knows she can do it, and she did it,” said Dr Parimala, who was over the moon.
MBR operations, research and marketing manager Edwin Yeoh, who presented Selinaah with the certificate yesterday, said it was important to give recognition to talented people.
“It is an acknowledgement of achievements for people who take the effort to do something out of the ordinary,” said Yeoh, adding that it could serve as motivation to do better.