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Terima Kasih, Thank You is a poignant, heart-wrenching anthology of letters of Gratitude written by Malaysian teens, secondary school students in a mid-rural school in Malaysian Borneo. This anthology is similar to "Chicken Soup for the Soul" but focuses on helping each teen writer (and reader) find catharsis in appreciation through personal stories along themes of love, loss, family, friendship, courage & self-respect, and admiration. Subjects in this book range from family separation, bullying, heartbreak, cultural celebration, social anxiety, passionate love, friendship drama, and more. And at the end, there is a special collection of short dramatic, bitter, earnest, sarcastic, and passionate love notes written by the same students.
Throughout the year leading up to this anthology, the students of SMK Takis Papar have gone on a journey to understand the importance of gratitude for others and for themselves. Terima Kasih, Thank You, an anthology of Gratitude, is one of the few if not the only anthology that emphasizes the powerful effect Gratitude has on our emotional resolution, through personal narrative letter mediums that takes readers on a journey of appreciation and happiness. These personal narratives are dedicated to every category of relationship from family to lovers to pets to inanimate objects and everything in between. These stories stress the importance of Gratitude to help cope, find resolution, and ultimately generate real happiness. This emphasis on Gratitude will hopefully resonate globally as a message to others pre-teens, teens, and adults looking to find catharsis and emotional reconciliation. It takes great courage and hati for these teens to put their stories on paper, especially given their low proficiency in English and a lack of exposure to creative non-fiction writing, so I urge you to support these brave personal narratives.
As bonus content, see love through Malaysian teenager eyes!
One of the creative writing exercises SMK Takis students underwent in the process of generating the Terima Kasih, Thank You manuscript was to write original short love notes, pick up lines, and musings on relationships as shorter notes of Gratitude. Over a 1000 notes were generated by ~200 students, a selection of which appears at the end of the book.
This anthology has been sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy of Kuala Lumpur and the Fulbright Commission of Malaysia, in partnership with the Malaysian American Commission on Educational Exchange.
The letters of Gratitude and love notes were written by SMK Takis Papar students, a school located in Papar, Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. Over 300 students were involved with the project through written letters, written love notes, and art contribution. Letters were contributed by students spanning every English proficiency level and age, from Forms 1 to Form 6 (ages 13-19).
Steven Maheshwary is a 2016 Fulbright Fellow conducting his grant at SMK Takis Papar. He conceptually introduced a year-long focus on Gratitude at the school and led writing workshops to design, develop, and compile Terima Kasih, Thank You.
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