Friday, November 30, 2007

Singapore Writers Festival + A Curious Stranger

Next few days I'll be ankle-deep in the:

Not that I'm an invited writer, but Chris Mooney-Singh's roped me in to help out with the poetry slam activities. Will be slamming alongside him, Bani Haykal and Charlie Dark of the UK, plus hopefully Sharanya Maivannan of Malaysia and some Taipei poets. Now if only I really had a repertoire of slam, that'd be nice.

Oh, I'm a fraud of a poet, I am. But that doesn't mean that odd little incidences don't happen as a result.

Meet Jens Grunwald, f'rinstance. He e-mailed me a coupla days ago saying he was a fan of mine who'd tried to buy last boy in Singapore last time he'd come, but hadn't succeeded. I arranged to meet him in BooksActually on their 2nd birthday to push my favourite indie bookstore onto a 1st world economy bibliophile; we met up and he told me the whole story: he'd been fired from his old job, gone moping off to Singapore, wandered into Borders because he just luvs being surrounded by books, picked up last boy by chance, loved one particular Wilfred Owen line I used in my cento, then found out at the cash register that the sonofabitches at his company had cancelled his credit card, null and void; he had to bum a ride off a friend to get back to the airport, he was that cashless.

And thus he vowed that he would, some day, return to Singapore and contact the author of last boy and tell him of that black day when he was reduced to abject poverty in Orchard Road. Crikey.

Anyway, now he's salesman for some MNC that peddles paraphernalia to Central Asia and Europe and Chile and now wow Singapore, so he took a break from the Singapore Design Festival setup to eat muffins and tea with me at 125A Telok Ayer Street, where I was sure to push as many Cyril Wong books on him as poss (as well as peddling a copy of SQ21). Everyone was there, so it was pretty chummy:

From left to right: me, Jason Wee, Jens and Michelle Quah, who proudly told Jens that she was one of the named few I dedicated last boy to in the first place. I drew Jens a smiley-sun on the title page with a doggie and pussycat bearing flowers in their teeth. He'll be back again. Incidentally, he's the spitting image of a blond version of my friend Dylan Stillwood from New York.

Anyhoo, on Sat 1 December I'll be hosting a Poetry Slam at 1pm at the National Museum, then attending a poetry workshop from 4-5pm, after which I'll attend the Word Forward book launch and rush off for Eeshaun's wedding and hop over for Rojak 10. On Sun 2 December a 1-5pm workshop at the British Council; then on Monday night 7pm a slam at the Arts House, then on Sunday 9 Dec I'll be in KL doing an international slam, wah lau.

Plus I have the ACS commemorative book to brush up and a semi-pornographic AIDS awareness pamphlet to copywrite. In addition, I am growing a moustache. More on that later.

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