Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Iron Horse Driver & Ipoh's Mother-lode of Liew

Food, Weekender, The Star

On lucky occasions, writers stumble upon stories they feel an instant affinity for: stories they enjoy exploring, reliving, and in some cases, eating.

These were two such stories :)

Above is my ode to an all-time Ipoh favourite - liew! Be still my wagging tongue :D

On the same day, this came out:

Scratching post, Weekender, The Star

By now, I already know that these kind of low-wattage pieces about everyman don't register nearly as many hits, but my ode to Abang Azmi of KTM surely ranks as my favourite of all time for now, next to the jungle rain piece I did for Going Places in March 2009.

I must have met Azmi in January or so. After getting down from the train, I jotted down my experience in one breathless rush as soon as I could get my hands on a pc, and filed it away with the dozens (maybe hundreds?) of other drafts I've written and tucked away in my computer.

While I knew his story was too compelling to reserve for my own enjoyment, I just couldn't hit the perfect final note. Even after dozens of drafts, I felt none of them were good enough to do justice to him, nor stand up to public scrunity. At one point, I despaired of it ever seeing the light of day.

The day it came out, I duly sent Azmi an sms in the morning, citing page, section etc.

One of his replies was: "I dah war-war kan artikel you pada kawan-kawan I."

Wow. Don't you think that single sms captured the zeitgeist of his personality, far more eloquently than my 1K whopper?

That man sure has a way with words ;)


katztales said...

I always enjoy your pieces but you're right; I very rarely write to the writers. Hey do you Twitter? If so, please send me an invite so I can become your humble Follower. I'm elleninmalaysia@twitter.

firethorn said...

I like the piece of The Iron Horse Driver. Azmi could be anyone of us, going through our daily lives. But the way you wrote about him allows us to peep into his life. I know the possibility of me striking up a conversation with the KTM driver is hard to come by. So you gave us the opportunity with the pen in your hand :)


Alexandra Wong said...

Ellen: Thanks dear. I DID twitter, but I'm so bad at concise crisp messages that I've left the account idle... will buzz you when I get into a twittery mood again :)

Firethorn: Thanks, Firethorn, feedback like yours is the most rewarding part of writing :) It's reassuring to know that there are kindred souls who believe there is a universe in a grain of sand too. Each of us, in what we do, has an impact on the world around us, and each of us has a story worth telling :)

JR said...

I like how he says "war-war" that sounds like an exotic bird..hehe ^_^

katztales said...

Happy Birthday!


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