Short Short Story

I was in KL a week and a half ago for a number of reasons. One of them was to attend the exhibition at Apostrophe Gallery, Central Market Annexe, on Wednesday, 15th August.
Apostrophe Gallery
I’m not an artist in case you think the exhibition’s mine. Haha. No. Not by a long shot. Nic’s the arty farty one. He’s the one with the major in Fine Art.
Apostrophe Gallery
I had been invited to attend the cocktail event because my entry for the DIGI 16 Word Short Short Story had been shortlisted as one of the 10 finalists. When the Apostrophe people called me (Apostrophe is a brainchild of DIGI to reach out to the masses via an underground method I suppose instead of direct head-on clash with their nemesis, Maxis), I was very excited even though I had mostly forgotten what I’d written and submitted. And the timing was good too – I was definitely going to be in KL around that time.
winning art
I didn’t even care about the prize. The exhilaration of beating some 8,500 participants and emerging in the top 10 was enough to get me buzzing all day.
apostrophe art
What’s more interesting is that the 10 finalist entries are turned into works of art by some local artists. Now THAT is seriously something. I was going to see my 16-word short short story in an art piece.
When Nic and I arrived at the gallery which was on the 2nd floor of the annexe building at Central Market, we were greeted by Brenda from DIGI. We walked around the gallery trying to locate my ‘art piece’ but couldn’t find it! At that moment I thought, oh great. Brenda quickly told us to grab some wine and have some finger food first because she was going to go find my entry. (The crowd was a mix of the DIGI people, Apostrophe people, groupies of some sort, finalists and some artists…oh yeah, and photographers with their lumbering equipment.)
short story winners
Finally Brenda finds it – tucked in a corner, under the stairs! “Yours is the only one we needed an electrical power point!” She says, her eyes lighting up. She points to a group of people crowding around an art piece. It was basically a lightbox and the words were stenciled out.
This entry took me all of 10 minutes to tap out after a brainwave I had while showering. It was based on a real story but there’s a part 2 to it. My story went like this: “Good morning. Birds chirping. Exercise on balcony. Forward. Backward. Stomp. Stomp. Shit. Girlfriend’s Roborovski hamster. Squashed.”
It did happen. Many years ago. Nic was out at the balcony when he stepped on my cutie Roborovski hamster (it’s a miniature hamster about 1 inch long with an adorable mickey mouse face). I usually put my hamsters out on the balcony and shut the sliding door so that they’d be able to run around and exercise a bit instead of being cooped up in their cages all day. My balcony is concrete all round so there’s no danger of them falling 15 feet down.
I actually met the artist, Saiful Razman, who did the lightbox artwork. However, and this is my grouse, the story didn’t make sense as it was laid out in a way that made one do a double-take when one read it: Is it “Shit Girlfriend” or “Shit (pause) Girlfriend’s Roborovski hamster”? “Girlfriend’s Roborovski hamster” should be a phrase by itself, not separated. It made the story clearer but honestly, all this translating words into art can only be truly accomplished IF the artist works hand in hand and understands the story of the story. Sigh.
digi apostrophe winners
OK, so did I have a good time? Yes, despite not winning the top 6 spots. Despite not getting a free trip to Bali for the Ubud Writers Festival. Despite not getting a Motorola handphone. The Apostrophe people are going to send me a plaque though (what shall I do with a plaque?). Jerome Kugan was there. So was Mia Palencia who sang her songs.
meeting Dina Zaman
And I met Dina Zaman (she was one of the judges) and I even met Georgette Tan, the Borneo Post journalist who had interviewed a client of mine, Robert a few months ago. Georgette’s story was hot. Hot and dangerous too.
The finger food was good and the free flow of wines and drinks kept the party going until 10-ish or so (Nic saw the bar tender guzzling beer behind the counter! How unprofessional!).
So yes, it was an interesting event though earlier I had NOT wanted to go (I was at Kinokuniya KLCC and the idea of battling with the rush hour crowds on the LRT peeved me). I would be lying if I said I wasn’t proud or happy to have been a finalist. It’s the kind of validation closet writers want!
Note: If you want to see the read of the entries, go to and click on News & Updates and select Short Short Story or The Results Are In. I cannot put the direct link here as (surprise!) they’ve designed the website, cool as it is, in complete Flash!

7 thoughts on “Short Short Story”

  1. congratulations on being in the top ten! haven’t heard of this contest/program before though. interesting concept. words into art. i’m just curious why he chose that way to display your words.

  2. u-jean: Thanks! Yeah, maybe they were a bit low profile. I actually heard of the competition through a friend online. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine later, he was piqued! He said that it was an interesting idea – trying to fit 16 words to make up a story. Actually the other entries were superb. Each one was as dark and chilling as the rest. I decided not to go down the same CSI route. I wanted it to be dark and yet, make you go “oh the hamster”. The hamster by the way did not die. The part 2 of the story is that Nic picked it up and started massaging its chest! The hamster was totally conked out but after some rubs on the heart, it came back to life again. Honest. I swear this is a strange but true story. The hamster lived for a long time after that, and died of old age.
    Alison: Haha, yeah, poor hammy. But my hamsters (at one time I had 14 of them in my apartment – my family’s always amazed how I managed to do that and for a time I was practically the hamster woman) have had great adventures. My first hamster, a Syrian (a regular sized hamster, not the super tiny ones) fell 14 feet and survived. Tough creatures. Yet the poor dear drowned in 2 inches of water! The irony!

  3. Hey, i read abt this event from someone’s blog too!!! It’s really a cool contest, hwo they blend those entry into art!! OMG, you’re in top 10!! And double OMGs, I know you one le! hahahaaha…
    Congrats! Haha, happy for you!

  4. Hi siewheymui: Thanks dear. 😉 I got my plaque from Digi yesterday – they sent it via post together with 5 RM10 reload cards! Are you coming for the potluck dinner next week at Jay’s house? Come la, it’s bound to be fun!


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