Thursday, August 26, 2010

Perdana Leadership Foundation Talk

22 August 2010

PLF invited me to give a talk on personalizing your essays in conjunction with their essay writing contest with the theme of Nurturing The Minds of Future Leaders. The grand prize includes RM7,000 cash, a netbook, an e-book reader and RM500 MPH vouchers. If I were in the 18-25 age group, I will definitely enter the contest. Since I'm not, I will bug two of my kids to take a shot at it. The closing date is 30 September 2010.

My co-speaker is Professor Murad Merican, Universiti Petronas Professor and author of Media History: Worldviews and Communication Futures. He is a learned man and spoke very well indeed. I sound absolutely shallow compared with him.

Zarina of PLF has done a good job in recording the proceedings. Since it is posted at the PLF's essay website, I shall just point you there to read all about it. The earlier talk with Dina Zaman and Dr. Ong Kian Ming is up too.

Dr. Murad and his wife are on the left. Zarina (wearing headscarf) and the rest of the PLF gang.

The nice display of my books as the backdrop for the talk.

Post Script: A highlight for me was when a participant, Vidia, produced Honk! If You're Malaysian for me to autograph. It belongs to her friend, Kala who is a fan of my book but unfortunately couldn't attend the talk to get my prized signature. Nice.

This is from the Bernama website:


Monday 23/08/2010

Kuala Lumpur, 23 August - The Art Of Personalising Essays And Infusing Writing With Passion Were Addressed By Ms. Lydia Teh And Professor Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican At A Public Talk Yesterday At MPH 1Utama On “Essay Writing Dos And Don’ts”. The Talk, Organised By The Perdana Leadership Foundation And MPH Group, Was Held In Conjunction With The Perdana Leadership Foundation-MPH Essay Competition 2010.

Ms Lydia Teh, the author of “Honk If You Are Malaysian” kicked off the public talk by sharing her writing secret, an acronym, “A SASH ICE” which stands for:
· Active (use the active rather passive voice),
· Simple (avoiding convoluted sentences and obscure words),
· Accurate (checking and double-checking your facts),
· Senses (appealing to the five senses),
· Hook (beginning with an irresistible situation or scene),
· Illustration (using anecdotes and stories to strengthen your points),
· Connection (laying out the connection between the anecdotes and your arguments) and Experience (being willing to share parts of your personal experience with your readers)”

Using this as a guide for her writing, Lydia recounted her experience as a writer and how she translated her personal experience into bestsellers.

Professor Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican, NST Learning Curve columnist and also the Perdana Leadership Honorary President Resident Fellow, described writing as an art, a form of self-expression. He urged everyone to “be present” in their writing and not to be too detached from the work they produce. “Writing is a jungle”, he said, and you often cannot see the path except by hacking through the noise (refining your arguments) and clearing your own way (deciding on your angle). He mentioned personal experience as a rich starting point for writing ideas and for further research.

This talk is the second instalment of a series of Public Talks that Perdana Leadership Foundation and MPH are organising to encourage young Malaysians between the ages of 18 and 25 to participate in the 2010 Essay Competition which is running until 30th September 2010. Themed “Malaysia in a Globalised World”, the competition invites young Malaysians to submit a 2,000 word essay on any one of the following topics: high income economy, Malaysia’s global competitiveness, and Vision 2020 in either Bahasa Malaysia or English.

The competition offers attractive prizes such as RM7,000 in cash for the Grand Prize winner, a Netbook, an E-Reader as well as MPH book vouchers. Additionally, the Grand Prize winner’s college or university will also be rewarded with a computer workstation and RM500 book voucher from MPH, as will the institution that sends in the most number of entries.

The third Public Talk will be held on 5 September 2010 at MPH One Utama and will feature three personalities; Ms Alexandra Wong, The Star columnist who will talk about selecting writing perspectives, Mr Daniel Chandranayagam, the author of “Fraser’s Hill Haunts” who will elaborate on opinion writing and Mr Amir Muhammad, movie-maker and author of several books including “Rojak” who will share writing tips with the audience.

Established in the year 2003, PLF is a non-profit organisation dedicated to Malaysia’s leadership history, highlighting in particular the policies, strategies and contributions of Malaysia’s past Prime Ministers. The Foundation preserves, documents and disseminates materials – including speeches, news clippings and magazine articles – related to the country’s rich intellectual heritage. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister, is the Foundation’s Honorary President.

Further details on the contest are available online at and .


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