Taken from The New Strait Times, 12th August 2012
LIKE PAPER PLANES: Author says they are waiting for people to help them
By MASAMI MUSTAZA firstname.lastname@example.orgMelora Shahabudin at the launch of her book at the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Pic by Muhd Asyraf Sawal
KUALA LUMPUR:TOUCHED by the plight of refugees in Malaysia, a young girl was inspired to pen her thoughts about their hardships.The result is the book, When We Take Off, a collection of poems and stories by 16-year-old Melora Shahabudin of Subang Jaya.Melora said she embarked on the book as part of her school project while she was a student at Fairview International School in 2010. The book was completed a year later.Her mother, Rozima Ali, did some voluntary work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and her experiences became the basis for Melora’s interest in the displaced groups.
While When We Take Off is a work of fiction, Melora said she got her material from interviews with refugees from Myanmar, Somalia and Afghanistan in refugee centres in the Klang Valley.
Melora also drew inspiration from paper planes her two younger siblings were playing with one day.“One moment they were playing with the planes and the next, they were immediately discarded when a cartoon came on air. Then it dawned on me that refugees are like paper planes — they are waiting for people to pick them up and help them fly again. They are also fragile like paper.”
Melora had not expected her works to be published.“It was so far from my mind at the time but my parents convinced me to do it. The most fearful part was that I wouldn’t be able to convey the message that these people are on the move, they need help and we need to reach out to them,” she said at the launch of her book at the Islamic Arts Museum here yesterday.
The 120-page hardcover book retails at RM60 and will be available at bookstores.