Singapore

Yong Shu Hoong

On the [unofficial] 'Reluctant Yuppie' and 'Reluctant Soldier' Schools of Poetry in Singapore

Yong Shu Hoong Photo Crediti Ng Kah Gay
Yong Shu Hoong Photo Crediti Ng Kah Gay

Yong Shu Hoong is the author of five poetry collections, including Frottage (2005) and The Viewing Party (2013), which won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2006 and 2014, respectively. His poems and short stories have been published in literary journals like Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong), and the anthologies Language for a New Century (W.W. Norton, 2008) and Balik Kampung (Math Paper Press, 2012).

Ng Yi-Sheng

On performance, queer activism, and speaking through the gag

Ng Yi-Sheng
Ng Yi-Sheng

Ng Yi-Sheng is a poet, fictionist, playwright, journalist and activist. He is the youngest winner of the Singapore Literature Prize (for his debut poetry collection, last boy). His second collection, Anthems (2014), consists of slam poetry works. His other publications include the bestselling non-fiction book, SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century, and a novelisation of the Singapore gangster movie, Eating Air. He also co-edited  and Eastern Heathens: An Anthology of Subverted Asian Folklore. He has recently completed his MA in the University of East Anglia’s creative writing programme.

Pooja Nansi

On the whalesongs of Bollywood, sentiment, and the lyric familiar

Chhoti Bahen, Hindi Film, 1959

"Listening to Mukesh"

Pooja Nansi

Driving to your block,
I slide in my father's cassette
of old Hindi songs and
I am humming in twilight
to the legendary
playback singer's baritone
releasing those sounds in that
language that makes me feel like I am
home. In the back of my throat,
I can taste my grandmother's
translucent thin chappatis
that as children we would
hold up
to the light,
the dough so evenly rolled out
by her hands that not
one lump would show.

Emotional deficit strikes Singapore

'Fun City' it ain't, survey claims

Singapore, November 2012, photo (c) John Tranter
Singapore, November 2012, photo (c) John Tranter

More about Singapore in South-east Asia, where I recently enjoyed the 2012 Singapore Writers Festival:

Thanks to Singapore’s strength in finance, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and other industries, its economy almost doubled in 10 years, making the country of 5.3 million people one of the world’s wealthiest, with per-capita gross domestic product of $33,530.

Fun City it ain’t. U.S. pollster Gallup conducts surveys in more than 140 countries to compare how people feel about their lives. Singapore ranks as the most emotionless society in the world, beating out Georgia, Lithuania, and Russia. Singaporeans are unlikely to report feelings of anger, physical pain, or other negative emotions. They’re not laughing a lot, either. “If you measure Singapore by the traditional indicators, they look like one of the best-run countries in the world,” says Jon Clifton, a Gallup partner in Washington. “But if you look at everything that makes life worth living, they’re not doing so well.” [from Bloomberg Businessweek]

Singapore Writers Festival 2012

Literature on the Equator

Art work: Yuree Kensaku: "The Killer from Electricity Authority" (detail), 2009
Art work: Yuree Kensaku: "The Killer from Electricity Authority" (detail), 2009, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore. Photo John Tranter. Other photos of Singapore at night by the well-known 'unknown photographer'. «Blade Runner» photos courtesy of «Blade Runner».

Just back from the Singapore Writers Festival 2012. A busy week, with multicultural literary insights interspersed with varied culinary delights. Singapore is the acme and ne plus ultra of shopping and cooking, as the closing debate of the Festival agreed, and Orchard Road at night, the premium shopping area, outdoes the scene in «Blade Runner» where the Harrison Ford character eats at a roadside stall, surrounded by milling throngs and lit by the glare of dozens of huge video advertisements.

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