It’s a rainy Friday and I have just concluded a week of work + fun at the beautiful Penang Island.

THE CONFERENCE was golden. I arrived a day earlier, checked out the beach, grabbed coffee with my hands-down favourite Malaysian writer and national laureate Muhammad Haji Salleh and spent the next 3 days sitting rapt and drinking in every word the keynote speakers and plenary session speakers had to offer while furiously taking down notes in my wine notebook. Two years ago, you would find me going to every single session throughout the conference and come home with frayed neurons and a body so tired it couldn’t haul itself to the shower. But now that I’m older (and smarter!), I pick and choose so that I can spend the time in-between mulling over my notes, sorting my thoughts and dashing off emails. On top of that I bought books and hatched future projects with people I am so psyched to work with.

PENANG ISLAND is magical. I spent a lot of time along Feringghi (Park Royal) and Georgetown. On Wednesday, I popped out of the conference during lunch, walked to the beach, kicked my shoes off, sat by the sea and typed away on my laptop, no matter that I was wearing formal clothes and every one else on the beach were in bathing costumes, towels and bikinis. The scent of the sea, the sound of waves (I lived by the shore so the sound of waves was there almost ALL the time but more apparent at night) and the whole relax and unwind atmosphere at Penang had me wrapped around its pinky that all I can think of is (a) another holiday to Penang, please! and (b) move to Penang! I love the beautiful colonial bungalows which spot the island and one of my dreams is to get one, restore it and live in it. As for food, I am super stuffed with Penang goodness that I never want to eat ever again. Really. I managed to drag my best friend food hunting. It was tough but worth it.

NOW THAT I’M BACK and have an almost endless list of things to get done (yikes!), I feel thankful for the beautiful week I had in great company, getting super stuffed with knowledge (and food) and being smitten by the beautiful island.

It’s so hard to get back to work but you’d better believe that starting now is better than putting it off to tomorrow no matter how tired / post-holiday-ish you feel.

If you have nothing to do this Saturday (August 31st), do head to this beautiful art gallery to hear me read some of my poems at Readings. Here are the details if you’re in for art + poetry + fun + food on a lazy Saturday afternoon-

Venue: Seksan Gallery. 67, Jalan Tempinis 1, Lucky Garden, Bangsar.
Time : 3.30 – 6.00 pm

See you there!