From 1 March to 4 May 2014, I was fortunate enough to participate in the first installment of UnRepresented KL, a writing programme that aims to explore the voices of unrepresented individuals in Kuala Lumpur and document their lives through writing. This programme is partly organised by Poskod.MY. You can also look at the official Facebook page of this programme.
So, for 10 weeks, me and nine others met different individuals representing the “other side” of KL. We also spent discussing about the act of writing, the merits of writing a quality piece and the importance of representation. If you’re interested to know more about my experience in this programme and what I’ve learned from it, here’s a list of blog posts that I’ve written while I was under this programme:
- Introduction: The what, why, and how I managed to snag a spot in this programme.
- Week 1: Meeting the other nine participants and the organisers! The first session was spent discussing about our personal values, what we believe to be our home and our relationship to the city of Kuala Lumpur.
- Week 2: Understanding the difference in writing authentic individuals and the caricatures of those individuals. We also met Encik Rosli, a visually-disabled man who is also an activist for the disabled community. We listened to his working experience in Kuala Lumpur.
- Week 3: Learning the history behind Petaling Street and the early Chinese community settlers in Pre-Independence Malaysia. We visited Petaling Street Art House, a gallery/community centre that promotes preservation of local history and houses vintage items from the Petaling Street community.
- Week 4: Discovering the art of visual narratives in representing the voices of marginalised communities. In a photography presentation by two experienced photographers, we learned about the lives of migrant workers living and working in Kuala Lumpur.
- Week 5: Applying ethnography to our writings. The organisers invited an anthropology lecturer to teach us how to write our own ethnography as a form of research on the backgrounds of unrepresented communities.
- Week 6 & 8: Hearing feedback from a published author and creative writing lecturer, Bernice Chauly. For four weeks, we began writing our drafts, whether fiction or creative non-fiction, with the theme “UnRepresented KL”.
- Week 10: Saying goodbye to ten weeks of our education on the other side of Kuala Lumpur. We discussed our final drafts together before ending the programme.
I have also written other posts that are related to my experience in this programme:
- Writer’s Block: Receiving criticisms and working on them is hard.
- Before the End: Writing a final draft is hard. Even harder when you’ve changed it three times. In this post, I discussed about the creative process that went into the writing of my final draft.
- The Reading: The UnRepresented KL programme’s first reading event at The Cooler Lumpur 2014 festival. Look at this post to see all the details for the event!