Friday, 23 August 2013
Elgin is the eldest of three boys and like his younger brother, William, happens to be an Old Free. (I hear that they are junior members of The Old Frees' Association. They wanted to be life members but their father claimed that the OFA's rules did not allow for life membership at their young age. Strange...)
Elgin was at the Penang Free School for his first form before leaving to join an international school. Likewise, William was at the PFS for two years before going to a different international school. That they happen to be from my alma mater is merely coincidental. I only brought it up for mention because I'm terribly attached to my own educational roots.
Anyhow, Elgin reminds me a bit of my own youth. When I was in Standard Six at the Westlands School, Penang, I happened to take part in a story-writing competition. An international story-writing competition, no less. One fine day, my class teacher, Lim Eng Chuan, announced to us boys that anyone wishing to take part in the competition could submit a 10,000-word essay through the school. I think that I was the only schoolboy to respond although I may be wrong. To cut this old story short, nothing came from my valiant efforts. It was like my work had fallen into a deep, black hole and never emerged at all. But even if it comes to light again, I shall be too embarrassed to acknowledge it, even less to reacquaint myself with it.
But enough of me and my failed effort to be a young author. Now, the reason I had mentioned about Elgin reminding me of myself is that he did what I failed to do and which is, to have a book published during our teenaged years.
Yes, Elgin is a bona fide author and this is his book, Mahjong Murder. He wrote it within a space of three or four months, sought a publisher on his own and had a limited number of copies of this book published. Interestingly, it is possible to order this book online through Kinokuniya (at a ridiculous retail price of at least RM109) or Amazon.com but I bought my copy directly from the author at a cost of only RM35.
Overall, the book is a good effort for a teenager. Definitely, he loves writing and I want to wish him all the best if he continues to write and publish further. We - as Malaysians, Penangites and Old Frees at large - can play our part to support local authors by buying a copy directly from him. (Not through Kinokuniya, if you know what I mean...)