The will be that was

Young Writers Camp 2007 was an unexpected groundswell of growing up. A newly-discovered pocket of maturity. Somewhere along the lines of always being the follower, I was none too abruptly grafted into the role of leader, complete with a little screaming and kicking along the way from the inside. It’s a weird feeling, surely, a far cry from being the small kid the older ones would dote over and indulge in their little ways; from being the one laughing at the jokes to the one cracking them.

But I’m sure I’m the last of the old crowd. Almost everyone’s left, as people do when they grow up. Some have university to attend. Others — well, alright, most — aren’t even in the country to begin with. Then there’s that multi-headed Hydra, that tenuous beast called Work. A terrible fate indeed.

It goes without saying, then, that this was one of the best YWCs ever. An emphasis on the writer before the writing ensured it was a cut above its previous counterparts. The cuisine and location were at an all-time high. And the campers? They seemed tailor-made for the camp, what with their rousing, stellar pieces and all. Well, almost all.

As I related to the guys over apple pie and Diet Coke yesterday between mad bouts of laughter, changing the world was tough. Is tough. Well, alright, maybe let’s just say changing Malaysia is tough. There’s the risk of you getting arrested if you go about it the wrong way, as I was gently told. What terrible burdens we satirists wear.

On the brink of 21, I’m glad I actually went through the tiring yet immensely fulfilling 4 days and 3 nights. Old faces and new will continue to be etched in my mind for some time to come. There’s that long-term writing project I should as well face now and get over with.

More importantly, it’s a nice reminder on the way out. I’m on my way to tertiary education, and there’s that wistful sense of longing grasping at things thoughts dreams faces I can’t seem to reach. To see this camp was to see hope in the next generation or so of writers that, like me, should hopefully fix what’s gone bad in this country.

I also wrote a little poem inspired by Mei Li’s Journalling workshop. History behind it (also the speech I forgot in my haste to say pre-reading): it was a tip of the hat to the girls I know in my life who journal. There are a few, perhaps more. Their lives are distinctly private, yet they’re immensely approachable.

They have real distance; exclusive, elusive, and more often than not the recipient of my respect with regards to how they live their lives. They’re awesome people, even if I only know some of them vaguely in passing, and some a little more than I’d have liked. I digress.

A fellow camper, in her intuition quizzed me about its origins. Had I, she asked, wrote this as a result of a someone, or from the experience of life in general. I thought for a moment, and then quietly replied, “Both.” It would do either side too much injustice to deny either, but such are the sum of things.

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