Sunday, June 26, 2011

Let Your Experiences Enrich You.

Shirley from MPH emailed me sometime in March. “Your book has been nominated for the Popular Readers’ Choice Awards,” she said. Instead of celebrating, I felt doubtful and suspicious. My book a nominee? There must have been a mix-up, I told myself. Surely there are many other books (published in 2010) more deserving of the nomination.

Some of the nominated books I got from Popular. (Red arrows are fiction.)
I told Sonny, Rita (my sis) and another friend. “But don’t tell anyone,” I said. “It’s not yet official and we’d be a laughing stock if there has been a mistake.”

At the back of my mind is that cold voice of my number one ‘critic’: “Who would want to read your book?”

The words were spoken way back before I had completed my manuscript; before my query was ignored by Publisher ABC and long before I had to swallow the bitter fact that Publisher XYZ was also not interested. The words have been both a bane and a challenge, depending on my moods.

I don’t need a bane but a challenge is good. Tell me I’m not good enough and I’ll prove you wrong. Laugh at my poor attempts at doing something you think only people like you can achieve and I’d have done it before you’ve finished laughing.

You see, some of us need to be goaded into doing something just beyond our reach. The ‘goad’ could be a provocation, a disdainful look, a haughty laugh, a dare, our personal need. In my case, the words thrown into my face became seeds that lodged in my crushed heart and from which sprouted the will to prove that I could write something people would want to read. Now, with my book being in the local bestseller list, I feel vindicated.

Spotted at Popular

I don’t have to be apologetic about my attempts at writing. I don’t have to wallow in self-doubt or continue to nurse my bruised ego. Enough people have read the book to prove my number one critic wrong.

Of course I am indebted to the editors at MPH who had picked my manuscript and guided me into polishing it to make it readable. I’m especially grateful to Mr. Forbes, the chief editor, who suggested alternative words and phrases and gave advice and encouragement and saved me from publicly embarrassing myself.

Most of all, I’m grateful to the people who chose to pick my book off the shelves to take home to read. In many cases they also took the trouble to send me messages and kind words. Some even blogged about the book: Tata Jane, Angel Bear, Rayner, kukuanga, Glen and Fb friends.

Big discounts for all nominated books (at Popular and Harris)
And my thanks also to my parents and siblings without whom there would have been no story to tell!

Thank you all. I feel truly blessed and can now erase the cold, mocking words out of my memory. I have taken advantage of the shock and anger I had felt when they were spoken. I don’t want the words to fester in my heart forever.

Let your experiences enrich you, not embitter you.

Don’t let people’s low opinion of your abilities stunt your growth or your creativity, or break your spirit. Your closest friends and relatives may think they know you enough to judge you. They don’t. Even you don’t know your own strengths and the amazing things you can achieve if you aren’t shackled by self-doubt and insecurities which are partly caused by negative vibes from so-called friends—friends who fear you’d leave the pack behind and fly away.

They don’t mean to be unkind or do you a disservice, some of these friends. They just don’t want you to be disappointed or to fall flat on your face, they’d say.

A gentle reminder: If you’d like my book to win an award, please don’t forget to vote.  You can vote online here. You have until 17 July 2011. Thank you again!


  1. I'm very humbled by this, Tina. You're such an inspiration.

    My sister has actually bought two copies of your book, one for me and one for her. Unfortunately for me, I have a sister who is very good at 'berjanji manis' to send me stuff from over there but never deliver any of her promises so far (although she has 'claimed' the $$$ for that purpose!). I therefore haven't read your book, but that won't be a problem for me to vote, right? I love your writing anyway. And I also love you as a friend. He he.

    *still voting every day like I promised.

  2. You haven't read it? I'm amazed that you still want to vote for my book, Gunaqz! We better put things right, eh? Read first before voting! I don't know how long it takes for ordinary mail from KK to reach your place. You may have a long wait.

  3. hehehe.. I read the draft version of your book :P. So I can claim the right to boast that I'm one of your earliest readers! :D. Erh? How to vote?

  4. I was surprised to know you read the bits and pieces I gave Aunty Meg, Justin!

    How to vote online?
    Click on 'vote online here', in my 'gentle reminder'.
    You'll get a form.
    Choose 3 fiction.
    Choose 3 non-fiction.
    Complete the slogan.

    I'm voting too! I'll probably choose the books in the pic at the top of my post.

  5. She knows I like to dig up family history. So she often share whatever she has with me.

  6. Uhuu Tina :)...I'm voting, I'm voting! Btw, it was Tata Jane who was kind enough to have brought me your book from KL last year, Tina. I had been looking for it in Times, 1B for a long time before that and was so disappointed that they didn't carry it there. Am I not glad that I finally managed to get my hands on it? When are you writing again?

  7. I am reading your book and I am voting for it too! ^_^

  8. I have just clicked on yours and sent my voting form!

  9. Thank you all for your votes! I really appreciate your taking the trouble to vote.
    Hi Joan! Hoping you liked the book...
    Verone, I tell myself I must have a manuscript by December! (I think Tata Jane was one of the first few who read the book. I was so touched and excited when I came across her blog post!)