Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The UTSAV Creative-Writing Smackdown

"Results are out for creative writing. We didn't make it."

Su Lin, Batch 17's Class Representative

I detest losing – and I detest joining competitions because of that. And goodness knows I’ve tried hard enough to get out of joining this one (though I finally failed at that because my, err, sense of duty overwhelmed me). I was perfectly contented with the introspective fantasy that I was a pretty darn good writer, and I did not need my pegs being taken down at all (I like them exactly where they were, thank you very much). Alas, my clothesline – it is now peg-less!

So, it’s like losing at trying to lose, and ultimately losing, in more ways than one a loser can lose because I lost at losing.

The big rusty, ornate key to Happiness is contentment. Now, because I’ve messed up this time, I’ll be damned if I don’t join the next UTSAV1 to make an attempt at recovering my honour (and my pegs). I am now trapped in that caste of people who felt discontented with what they already have, and will not rest till they get their paws on whatever it is that they want. I want pegs my pegs back – and more. I want to bloody win this!

Okay, now that I’ve got my "I'll be back" speech down in bytes, here’s the story;

Su Lin messaged me the day before the competition, telling me to "get my arse there" (in her own words) by 9.10 am to register. This is how the competition venue looked like at 9.15 am;

You know that old chestnut about early birds? The worms slept in.

For the record, I was there by 9.00 am, and not a second later. I do not advocate the practice of "Malaysian Punctuality2", and I believe that I am possibly the last honestly punctual Malaysian in current existence. Anytime when there’s a dinner, party, vacation trip, or society meetings, I am always there 10 minutes early (or I won’t be there at all).

Ever wonder where I picked up the habit of reading?

The registration bit started at 9.30 am (thank Hitler that I brought Hugh Laurie’s The Gun Seller with me), and because I did not bring my Student ID card3, I was the last to register – at 9.50 am. Someone lend me an oxygen mask, please - I’m trying to breath under the crushing weight of all this irony.


We Malaysians were sorely outnumbered by an exact 20 to 1. Two Batch 19 kids plus me, versus 60 locals from assorted universities with scary sounding acronyms like KMC, MCON, MCODS, and MIT4 (I was surprised that I did not see CIA and KGB on the list). And my heart practically sank and hit the security guard one floor down when I found out that even the KMC in Mangalore had sent representatives.

I felt just like King Leonidas in 300. Bloody Persians.


The topic was revealed just as I plonked into my seat at 9.50 am. I spent the first five minutes of the allotted 2 hours asking a member of the competition committee to repeat that to me (10 times at least) because I can’t bloody well understand it through their heavy Indian accent. That guy had to write it down for me in the end. By that time, half the competitors had already started scribbling furiously. No need to mull or ponder – just ‘on your mark, get set, and write, write, write, write, done’. If anyone tells me that the local participants already knew the topic earlier, I would yawn theatrically and say, "Now, tell me something surprising."

I on the other hand, spent another half an hour before the Muses popped a half-baked one into my oven. By this time, some of them have even finished their essays. I completed mine by 11.45 am, being one of the few last ones to leave.

In case anyone’s interested, the topic was, "If I were a One Rupee Coin."

I’ll show you what I wrote in my next post, but tell me, what would you write for a topic like this? Tell me, and I’ll tell you mine.


I then headed for the much-hyped annual UTSAV Book Fest, reaching there to find this (above) dingy little canopy tent that looked even less appealing than a Win-a-Teddy, fairground shooting gallery (Book Fest? Book-Less, more like). To be honest, I believe I personally own more books than what they have there. A large fraction of they were selling were self-help books and business strategy manual – stuff that I won’t read even if you threaten me with an enema.

While I was there scoffing and making faces at their books, the following scene took place;

A guy, probably American (because his face made me sick), was apparently having a tiff with his girlfriend. Boyfriend was sitting astride a I-am-compensating-for-my-manhood sort of motorbike while Girlfriend was tugging at his sleeve with big, teary, pleading eyes.

Boyfriend violently shook Girlfriend’s hand away, and proclaimed very loudly, "You didn’t give me what I want." I don’t know what was it that he "wanted" but I’m perfectly capable of employing my imagination.

Next, he pulled her close to him by the underwire of her brassiere and began to scold her torrentially under his breath. I sort of had enough at this point and began walking towards the couple when Boyfriend let go of her (I stopped in my tracks right then). Girlfriend then hopped onto the back of the bike and they rode off. I went, "WTF just happened here?"

Any thoughts?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have episode 19 of Heroes to attend to.

Filed for peg bankruptcy,
k0k s3n w4i.

1 Don't know what this stands for but I know that utsav is the Sanskrit word for 'festival'.
2 Heard this expression first time in my Fourth Form English tuition class. I can't be sure but does standard Malaysian social etiquette demands us to always arrive fifteen minutes late to any event? And if anybody wants to invite me to anything, please tell me the real time you expect everyone else to get there - not the time you give everyone else so that they'll arrive punctually however late they are running.
3 *Raises one eyebrow at Su Lin*
4 Not the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, of course. It really stands for "A College in Small-town Manipal That Just Wants To Cash in on Some Big-shot University's Name and Fame"


Innocent^^Guy said...

If I was a one rupee coin, I hope the person who owns me, will accidentally drop me into a drain while he was pulling his handkerchief out of the pocket. That way I will be left alone AND DIE! Better than having the pathetic life of being a one rupee coin :P

michelleg said...

i totally agree with u on punctuality of masians..

if i were a one rupee coin, it's tough!!! haha.. i'll probably end up on the street with no one noticing me. even if they noticed, they'll just ignore me. hmm, i think im used to feeling like that in real life.. :P

innshan said...

too bad v diden win. i think if i were to write the autobiography, i'll be writing a piece of shit out; it's so, hard to write.

on the american story, weird. weird. weird. btw, r u on drugs dat time? coz it'll interfere with ur judgement. just joking
but pity dat lady, crying over that junk...haha

fuolornis said...

american story: hhmmm... something is not right. I think there shld be an exchange of characters. U running away fr them. Hahaha

k0k s3n w4i said...

Yea, one rupee worth less than ten bloody sen, LoL. Great idea tho, but I didn't work it from that angle.

In india it's kind of diff. I doubt you'll be lying anywhere for long - the beggars will find you sooner or later - eventually.

I hate autobiographies - so I wrote something else ;p ...
Hey, when you see a hot chick being grabbed hold of by her underwire, you'd feel heroic too, ok! =p

Didn't write it properly (was sleepy). It's just that they left the moment I decided to do something I'll regret. I rewrote that bit, d.

michellesy the resurgent cynic said...

If I were a one rupee coin, I'd ask myself why I wasn't worth more. *what the heck*

LOL - glass half empty again!

And yeah, what was up with the underwire harnessing technique anyway? Haven't they heard of lassoes over in the good ole US of A? =P

I witnessed something similiar myself actually when I was back home actually.

It (ironically) involved an Indian couple and a motorcycle too.

The guy alternated between kicking his lady love really hard on the calves and paddling along on his hike behind her, beeseeching her to get on while she bawled buckets.
He also appeared bemused as to the cause of her tears wtf.

Gee I wonder why you'd be crying if your boyfriend was physically violent to you huh? *snort*

And as all things go, she eventually got back on the bike and put-putted with him off into a not-so-beautiful sunset.

I can only surmise that that pattern waa true not just for that incident, but also for their entire relationship.

How depressing.

k0k s3n w4i said...

@michellesy the resurgent cynic

I thought for a bit about writing from that angle - but I don't think I'm able to hold a reader's attention long enuff with it.

Anyway, I thought it was an underwire - i'm no expert when it comes to women undies.

Kicking her calves? Holy bugger... That's no guy - that's a pussy. Some women seriously don't know when they deserved better (but then again, some of us guys would be single for life if they did).

michellesy the amused said...

ROTFL at your last sentence!

Well, I think that women who go back for seconds are the biggest fools. Ever.

And I don't think there are that many concrete constructions one can get a firm grip on in a brassiere - so I would say your guess of underwire would be an accurate one =P

Don't worry, I'm female and I have no better understanding of the working of undergarments than you would I wager. A purchaser of Victoria's Secret I'm not =S

k0k s3n w4i said...

michelle the amused
Fools, yes. Tragic fools. I both pity and admire them.