During my years in Singapore, I found myself in cafes and libraries reading anthologies and monographs marked with a stark, elegant icon. A swatch of black fabric fanned open? A pie with a dark slice carved out? A stylized ginko leaf floating in white space? A clock paused at five to eight? The books that I kept encountering at poetry readings, in my students’ hands, and on my friends’ coffee tables had this emblem as well. It was the icon of Ethos Books. As I leave the island-nation for Michigan, I wrap Discourses onLocality with this closing interview with Ethos Books, a singular publisher of Poetry in Singapore.
During my years in Singapore, I found myself in cafés and libraries reading anthologies and monographs marked with a stark, elegant icon. A swatch of black fabric fanned open? A pie with a dark slice carved out? A stylized ginko leaf floating in white space? A clock paused at five to eight? The books that I kept encountering at poetry readings, in my students’ hands, and on my friends’ coffee tables had this emblem as well. It was the icon of Ethos Books.
Tania De Rozario is an artist, writer and curator interested in issues of gender and sexuality, representations of women in Horror, and art as activism. Her practice hovers on the intersections between text and image, and her work has been showcased in London, Spain, Amsterdam, Singapore, New York and San Francisco. Tania is the author of Tender Delirium(Math Paper Press | 2013), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize, the winner of the 2011 NAC-SPH Golden Point Award for English Poetry, and recipient of the NAC Arts Creation Fund for her literary memoir, And The Walls Come Crumbling Down.
"Does one named woman communicating with another named woman still count as a positive on the Bechdel test if one woman is not actually human?" - Tania De Rozario
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 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-editedandEastern Heathens: An Anthology of Subverted Asian Folklore. He has recently completed his MA in the University of East Anglia’s creative writing programme.
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.
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]
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.