At the Cooler Lumpur Festival 2014

On Sunday, 22 June, I attended a writing workshop by Zen Cho entitled ‘Inspiration, Influence and Interaction’. The workshop was part of The Cooler Lumpur Festival 2014, which sought to bring together writers, musicians, filmmakers and artists from near and far. As with any hands-on workshop, we were required to actually do something, rather than sit and daydream :). We had a lot of fun brainstorming, thinking and discussing about ideas and stories.

The following poem was written in 10 minutes as the final writing activity in the workshop. I wrote the poem in the form of a modern haiku – in groups of 3 lines, with the first line having 5 syllables, the second line having 7 syllables, and the third line having 5 syllables. Not having written a haiku before, I thought it was a fun thing to do. I also wrote it in the style I like to call a ‘story poem’, where the entire story is told from beginning to end in the poem itself. 🙂

What am I to do?

In the dark canteen
Dreary and so depressing
Sat and lamented

What am I to do?
She has been locked up in jail
And I can’t help her

He stumbled outside
Pondering his dilemma
Oh, poor Clarissa!

He shuffled along
Just splashing into puddles
Ouch! He slipped and fell

He lay on his back
Cursing and cursing his fate
Oh, what shall he do?

Jake peered from above
The detective helped him up
“I found proof,” he said

Clarissa was free
Yes, they are reunited
Together at last

An original haiku by
Khor Hui Min
22 June 2014

Dumplings selling in a tiny shop lot in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. Photo taken on 24 May 2014.
He sat and lamented in the dark and dreary canteen.


To find out more about Zen Cho, her writing as well as her books, visit her website

To check out the annual Cooler Lumpur Festival, visit the official website.




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