Sunday, 29 June 2008

Flying High With Elmo, et al

After an absence of a few months, I returned to Seksan for a Readings session. There was my resignation, red tape at the old workplace, a two-week pseudo-sabbatical and the adjustment period after my job switch.

Yes. I'd been busy. I needed a break - and an excuse to take my digital camera out for a spin. It couldn't have happened at a better time. The June session featured a star-studded line-up which included ex-airliner captain Elmo Jayawardena (picture, right), Lydia Teh, Jacqueline-Ann Surin and Kam Raslan. Other surprises included the presence of Farish Noor, Eric Forbes of MPH Publishing and Shahril Nizam... .

I've read quite a few of Farish Noor's articles; his Egyptian travelogues were particularly intriguing. He had emerged from a heated exchange of words with a bunch of UMNO people, and he'll be on his way to Indonesia. What? The Indons will be voting soon?

There was supposed to be a book sale or something, but that never materialised. Pity. I did want an autographed copy of Shape of A Pocket (Surin wanted to talk about an MPH readings - wonder if it'll happen?). A lucky draw was held during the intermission, where books were given away. Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children was among the prizes, the so-called Best of Booker.

(I'd withhold judgement until I've read it, but I think it got BoB because it's Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.)

The intermission was special because we had a live band. The boys of Dewangga Sakti put on a great mid-Readings performance, and an encore when the session concluded. Their CDs were also available for sale.

But it didn't exactly get off on a good start. The roar of buzzsaws and a shower of sawdust from the KL Municipal Council's tree-trimmers' work ruined the generally calm Bangsar atmosphere. Sharon tried in vain to get them to buzz off. Although I repeated Sharon's request in a less-civilised tone, they wouldn't budge. They even had the cojones to pose when I brought out the shooter.

I was so loud I surprised myself.


  • The afternoon's Readings took off with Captain Elmo J. He'd written his novels between flights; nowadays he's training other pilots. He read an excerpt from his book, Sam's Story.
  • Lydia Teh read a piece of fiction from a soon-to-be-released work - a departure from her usual brand of non-fiction.
  • Jacqueline Ann-Surin read one of her spiked articles on the controversial topics of religion and Lina Joy from Shape of A Pocket.
  • The author Shahriza Hussein wasn't feeling well, so his friend read an excerpt from his novel, Legacy. Before starting, however, he took some time to add a disclaimer: Legacy is "fiction".
  • Clarissa Tan crossed the Causeway to be here. She took her time with her piece, while - curiously - doing some kind of shuffle. It was hard to focus for a clean shot. There's more good stuff being read this time around.
  • Unfortunately, I couldn't get a single sharp shot of Kam Raslan on the mic with optical zoom; zooming affects the photos, apparently, Only the shots I took without zooming were relatively OK. Much hilarity ensued as Kam recounted a chapter in the Datuk's tales. It does sound funnier when he reads it.

Overall results from my digicam were mixed; light was a major factor, not to mention my unsteady palsied hands. Despite all the homework and research I've done, my sharpshooting attempts were thwarted by my coffee habit. Maybe I should have waited a while more, spent a bit more to get the Powershot A570IS or Lumix FS3 instead.

Never again shall I scorn optical image stabilisation features.


  1. U are so dead. They will find out who this blogger is very soon!

    As far as I know, image stabilization doesn't help much, not in point-in-shoot at least. But I stand corrected.

    I don't use the zoom feature. If I want t close shot, I just move up front.

  2. Yvonne: Actually, some of them do know. They just don't usually read the blog, which suits me just fine.

    Image stabilisation is generally overrated. Unless someone can lend me a Lumix to play with, I won't be sure. Only two names stood out when I asked about point-and-shoots: Canon and Panasonic's Lumix, although someone also suggested Fujifilm Finepix... .


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