Speaking From the Heart

Blogging is something that I have been doing for the past three years. It gives me much satisfaction to write. It keeps me sane particularly when business goes a bit nutty (nutty meaning when I have to deal with people who just keep demanding more and more although there’s only one of me!)
Today, I shared my insights about blogging in a 35-minute talk at KDU Penang in conjunction with their Literary Day. It was refreshing to talk about something close to my heart because I feel that blogging is a great way to write, an immensely fun method to practise writing, to make friends online, to participate in other people’s blogs and to receive instant feedback on one’s writing.

This is a big difference from the kind of presentation I used to take part in during my post-grad days. When I was doing my research, I had to present my findings to a roomful of fierce academicians in a literacy conference and THAT was nerve-wracking. I couldn’t go on and on because there is a limit to how much facts one could spew and every single fact had to be substantiated! I could still remember the drilling my supervisor gave me over and over while he critically oversaw my chapter drafts. “Who said this? Where? OK, quote!” (But thanks to Dr G’s strict guidance, I have become a better researcher and quite adept at shooting down fallacies! Of course, he also taught me how to write academic papers. Hmmm!)
But today’s talk was different in so many ways. Perhaps it was the energy of the youth in the lecture hall. Or that I was finally going to share something I felt truly passionate about. And I knew these teenagers were getting my message – they nodded, laughed at the right moments, smiled and allowed me to speak to them in a way I knew how.
It is moments like these that I sometimes wonder if I don’t have the teaching blood in me. I enjoyed my 35 minutes, presenting to a whole crowd of energetic teenagers and interested teachers from a nearby teachers’ training college.

I told them what blogs were (some teenagers did blog…hurray for that!) and why a blog differed from a regular website based on some key defining characteristics. I showed them examples of blogs, starting with mine, moving on to blogs by other people such as Lim Kit Siang (yes, I was nurtured from young to be a DAP supporter *LOL*), Lydia and more.
And yes, Matthew, if you are reading this, I did pop by your blog this evening. (Can I mention it here? Or would you prefer that I keep mum on the matter?)
Other speakers at today’s well-received programme (I heard KDU had to turn away other school students who had wanted to come) were the public speaker extraordinaire, Mr Gerald Green; actor and playwright Mr Himanshu Bhatt and the fast-talking American who taught me Creative Writing when I was in USM a decade ago, Mr Robert Raymer. Psst…by the way, Mr Raymer is also a novelist and writer.
I thought today’s programme was a great way to show students how language, particularly English, can be used in so many creative and vibrant ways. It makes language learning much more meaningful instead of the usual chalk-and-talk method. It helps the language come alive and offers students multifaceted ways to think about the language and its uses.
For those who did not manage to attend this round, there should be another programme in the works for the public during KDU’s Open Day sometime next month. So keep those eyes and ears open!

18 thoughts on “Speaking From the Heart”

  1. Boy – that WAS fast! You do blog quickly but now I remember that you analyse your traffic so all your (avid) readers will go to bed satisfied tonight!! You have been very nice to the college too.
    P.S. It was quite easy to find you from Google (as I left your namecard at the office). I still think it is difficult to find me…

  2. i was there just now,it was very interesting talk,and you are nice too.hope can attend your talk in the future.bye!

  3. Good job girl! Literacy rate among teenagers nowadays are alarming and this would be a good way to get them to write since most resorted to sending sms in this respective jargon. Blogging, to me is an online interpretation to what our generation was exposed to;”essays”. Talking about that, better get back to my blogging which ashamedly I must admit, have been left unattended to for the past few months

  4. Hi, I’m one of the students that attended the Literary Day yesterday =D
    Do you mind if I blog about the things that I’ve learned from you yesterday? The tips, etc?

  5. hey mayadpiranha
    good on yer to share with the kids. did u promote my hensem blog so i can be the next new kid on the block and be swarmped at for autographs and photo sessions?

  6. i can also start a new line of merchandise for my new penang under 18 fans (as if)..selling t shirts and pens and memorablias….all about keatdhensem..mar.

  7. Hi keat: Yeah, you mini celebrity you! Maybe they will want your mug since you are so hensem. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Hi alison and wei vern: Thanks but not so much of a ‘waaah’ lah. I just did it for fun. I didn’t know I could even speak about blogging like that. I like to keep challenging myself in odd ways. And like I always say, if it doesn’t kill me, it’ll make me stronger.
    Hi Lydia: Yes, I mentioned your blog and showed them a screenshot of it too. You don’t need my shamless plug for you – you’re way too famous already.
    Hi Kate: Yes, I think youth need to think out of the box a bit these days. I can think of 100s of ways to inject fun into learning language. Teachers should investigate new ways to get today’s young people to write, and not just write for exams!

  8. Hi Derek: Yeah, I could not find your blog online. Must investigate harder! Yeah, I told you blogging was my passion. Besides buying underwear… haha.
    Hi Awalludin: Thanks! I enjoyed sharing what I know.
    Hi Sharon and Daniel: Sure. Go ahead. I’ll be visiting you guys online soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Hi Yana: I won’t do bad things with your email. It’s safe with me. I promise. And it’s just in case I need to email you after you leave some comments.

  9. It was a good session! I could really relate to what you were saying and I very much agree with your point on abusing the English language. Well, if you read my blog you’d know what I’m talking about.
    Thank you so much for dropping by! I appreciate it so much! And are you going to be at KDU again for the next Open Day? I’ll keep my eyes and ears open, that’s for sure!

  10. Hi Matthew: I did go and read your blog. And it’s truly from your heart. I like that. And thanks for the kind words! It really makes my day. I hope to be at KDU again this 29th, and hope to share something with a twist. And yes, keep writing. That’s the only way to improve the craft.

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