Friday, April 18, 2008

Hwei Lin won 2nd Prize in International Manga Competition

Hwei Lin Lim weaves words and images to win second prize in international "manga" contest
Achivement by an Accenture Kuala Lumpur office employee. Congrats!

When Hwei Lin Lim received an e-mail informing her that her manga—Japanese for "comics"—had placed second in an international competition, she thought it was a prank.

"It was a huge surprise," said Hwei Lin, a Systems Integration & Technology consultant in Accenture's Kuala Lumpur office. "I didn't really believe it until I logged onto the website of the publisher and saw my manga translated into Japanese."

Normally Hwei Lin wouldn't have had time to enter the first annual Morning International Manga Competition, which she learned about from friends. But she found herself between projects with some time on her hands, so she turned the focus she usually applies to SAP implementation to drawing and writing.

Hwei Lin worked around the clock for a month on her entry—"I didn't go out, didn't do anything"—and produced a 29-page manga called Vefurrin. Three months after submitting it, she received an e-mail from the organizers telling her she'd placed second out of more than 200 entries from 30 countries.

Inspired by sound
Vefurrin's title comes from an Icelandic word meaning "weaver," Hwei Lin explained. "The manga is about a character who tells stories and I was listening to an Icelandic band while I was working on it. When I hear music, I start seeing pictures."

Besides music, Hwei Lin also relied on her Accenture training to help her complete Vefurrin by the deadline. "Entering this contest was like taking on a project with a very tight timeline," she explained. "It's hard to explain exactly how, but I sort of did a SQERT analysis (scope, quality, effort, risk and time) of how much time I had, what I wanted to achieve and what I could sacrifice. So the entry I sent in was not very well drawn, because I decided it was more important to spend time on coming up with a story for it."

Hwei Lin didn't tell most of her colleagues about her victory—"I have the impression not many people are interested in comics"—and felt embarrassed when an article about her appeared in The Star, Malaysia's leading English-language newspaper. Nonetheless, she finds herself touched by the positive reactions of her colleagues.

"After the article appeared, so many Accenture people texted and e-mailed me their congratulations," she said. "I feel really humbled by their excitement. I hope this encourages more people to read manga in their spare time."

As for what she plans to do with the $2,000 prize money, "I haven't really thought about it," she admitted. "Although I do owe my parents a really, really posh dinner and possibly a big TV for rushing my entry to the post office to meet the deadline."

Will she enter the contest again? Hwei Lin says she's not sure—but it doesn't matter, as competition isn't what inspires her creativity.

"I'll keep drawing as long as I can think of stories, which is probably forever."

More information
Hwei Lin's website

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