On the 18th of April 2017, Particle launched its very eighth issue for the Spring semester at the Drama Studio (F4LG07). Particle is an online literary journal which publishes biannually – usually a themed issue in the Autumn semester of the academic year, in which writers have to adhere to a certain designated theme and an unthemed issue in the Spring semester, in which submissions that range across a wider range of subjects are accepted. The eighth issue is unthemed and thus more submissions were received for this issue.
Similar to the previous launch, the room was decorated with fairy lights hanging from the ceiling, evoking a whimsical and fanciful atmosphere. What was different in this launch is that aside from fairy lights, cards containing quotes from books and plots of movies, which is part of a mini game organised by the Particle team in hopes of offering attendees an opportunity to mingle around and interact with each other, were also hanging from the ceiling.
The launch started a few minutes later than scheduled and it was initiated by Puteri Yasmin Suraya, the Managing Editor of Particle. She kick-started the launch by welcoming the guests and describing the line-up of events for the launch. As per tradition, the initiation was followed by a reading of the Letter from the Poetry Editors: Chloe Hor, Ayesha Shaik Khaja Mohidin, Saw Li Ying and Farah Aina. They thanked the attendees for coming and expressed their wish to have continuous support from talented writers.
After the reading of the Letter from the Poetry Editors, writers of the current issue’s publications were invited on stage to read their pieces. The readings started off with two writers from the Poetry section. The first to present her piece was Abhiraamee Ayadurai, with her poem entitled ‘Paper Boats’. This poem discusses love as seen from the perspective of a heartbroken person, carrying the demeanour of Lang Leav. It was followed by Saw Li Ying, who wrote the poem ‘Marshmallow Soft’. Before reading her poem, she expressed her novel adoration towards integrating food with poetry hence her poems often revolve around food as a metaphor. In this particular piece, she writes about love in the perspective of a marshmallow – to be devoured and ‘dissolved on his venomous tongue’ – which depicts love in a negative view.
After that, two writers from the Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction section were invited by Suzanne Ong, one of the Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction editors, to read their pieces. First up was a reading of ‘Dialogue’ written by a talented Indonesian writer, Yehezkiel Faoma, who has been a consistent contributor to Particle. This piece of fiction talks about two brothers, who are both astronauts on a space voyage and a wise old man, whom one of the brothers dreamt of. Profound and metaphorical, this gripping piece has an extensive usage of dialogues, which explains its title. Next up, Afiqah Izzati Azhar was invited to read out her creative fiction piece entitled ‘Linda’. Before reading, Afiqah explained that Linda is her mother and that this piece tells her true story.
Lastly, Teoh Sing Fei, who submitted an essay entitled ‘Mixing Colours: A Miserable Process’, was invited to present his piece by Johann Cheong, one of the Essay and Reviews Student Editors. Before reading, Sing Fei explained that his piece was inspired by the observation that no one really talks about racial and cultural issues – including stereotypes and discrimination – because we are socially engineered to view them as controversial. This rather controversial essay discusses the social stigma of the implications of multiculturalism and multiracialism, mainly in the context of Malaysia. It was certainly an eye-opening and thought-provoking essay.
With that, it was a wrap for the readings. Attendees were then prompted by two Essay and Reviews Student Editors, Sara Samir Foad Albadran and Wong Jo-Yen to participate in a mini game. The mini game requires players to match quotes from books and plots from movies (explained badly) to their respective answers on cards. Players got to interact with each other and whoever got the most correct answers and was the fastest stood a chance to win a prize.
After the refreshing mini game, it was time to announce this academic year’s Cascade Aspiring Writers Contest winners. The winner of the Essays/Reviews category is Yehezkiel Faoma, with his piece ‘The Call of the Wild: Revisited’. The winner of the Fiction category is Esme Fagan, a student from the UK campus, with her piece ‘An Annual Review’. Lastly, the winner of the Poetry category is Chloe Lim, with her piece ‘The Rum Mermaid’. All these pieces show a high level of dexterity in their writings and are definitely captivating.
The launch ended earlier than scheduled at 7:30 P.M. Attendees were then invited to have some refreshments – sandwiches, spring rolls and tea – as a token of appreciation for attending the launch.
By Kelvin Wong
Photographs by Ayesha Shaik