KUCHING – Evelyn anak Ringkai, Alyssa Yap Xin Yi and Govind Anil Nair won top awards in the recently concluded Wildlife Conservation Swinburne Sarawak English Microfiction Challenge organized by Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program (WCS Malaysia) and Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus.
The writing competition aims at inspiring young Malaysian writers to think critically about challenges in conservation while addressing these issues via creative writing in English. The five-day English microfiction challenge kicked off with the release of the first daily prompt on the challenge website at 9 am on 12 November 2018, ending the following day when the next prompt was revealed. It was the second annual English Microfiction Challenge organized by WCS and Swinburne and ran for five days until 16 November 2018.
Aspiring Malaysian writers were invited to participate in three different age groups: Category A for ages 13 to 15 years, Category B for ages 16 to 17 years and Category C for ages 18 to 24 years. Participants must be studying in Malaysia and fit into one of the three age groups stated. At the end of the five days, the judges decide on an overall first, second and third place winner for each category. The overall winners for each category were awarded cash prizes and certificates as follows: RM 800 for the overall first-place winner, RM 500 for the second-place winner and RM 300 for the third-place winner.
Evelyn Ringkai’s ‘Queen of the Night’ won first place for Category A while Alyssa Yap’s ‘Melodies of Decay’ and ‘Seeds of Hope’ won both first and second place for Category B. ‘Over the Years’ and ‘Fair Game’, both written by Govind Nair, won first and second place for Category C.
Asyiqin Zailani’s ‘Life of a Bear’ and Dylan Wong Yun Xian’s ‘A Losing Battle’ placed second and third for Category A, while Nurul Hazzwanie bt Mohammad Muzzani’s ‘Daffodil, the Flower of a New Beginning’ and Jasmine Fong Chui Hsia’s ‘Decay’ both placed third for Category B and C. The winning entries, as well as honourable mentions can be viewed on the challenge website at http://wildlifemicrofiction.com/.
“It is really a credit to all these young participants, those who won the awards and those who didn’t as it is no easy feat to write a short story in less than 500 words based on a one-word prompt and an environmental theme within 24 hours,” said Christina Yin, co-organiser of the Microfiction Challenge and Senior Lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology. “We hope that our youngsters in school and university will continue to use their creativity and imagination to engage readers of all ages and to inspire many to live more environmentally-friendly lives.”
“Conservation is a most complex task and requires support from people of all ages as well as disciplines. We need to engage with young writers as they are and will be the voices of conservation in the future. Nurturing their potential is therefore vitally important for all,” added Dr Melvin Gumal, Director of WCS Malaysia.
This year the organizers received 118 submissions from 48 participants. The winners were announced at a simple ceremony during the Run for the Wild on the 24th, which saw more than 500 individuals running to conserve orang-utans, sharks and rays. The English Microfiction Challenge is supported by the US Embassy, whom WCS Malaysia has been working together with in running several education-based English workshops with the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants and English teachers from all over Malaysia.
Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program is headquartered in Kuching, Sarawak, with offices in Kuala Lumpur, Kahang, Johor and Kuala Rompin in Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, WCS Malaysia works to conserve four priority species – orang-utans, sharks and rays, elephants and tigers. Go to https://malaysia.wcs.org/ for more information on WCS Malaysia and visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WCS.Malaysia/ for updates.
For more information about Swinburne Sarawak, visit the university’s website (www.swinburne.edu.my), Facebook page (@swinburnesarawak), Twitter page (@Swinburne_Swk) or YouTube channel (Swinburne Sarawak).