Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Countdown

I've agreed to speak at this event at 7:30pm. Prob a very short speech though. From Seelan Palay:

Dear friends,

Every year on the eve of the New Year, we do a countdown with MediaCorp on Orchard Road and sing Auld Lang Syne with the President or the PAP Ministers. And every year nothing changes. Can the celebration be any more meaningless?

This year, for the first time in Singapore's history, The Singapore Democratic Party is organising a New Year's Eve Countdown at Hong Lim Park.

* Reflect & Share what went on this year and what's in store the next.

* New Year's Wish Board, we sure will need it next year.

* Freedom songs, lets sing together

* Candlelight display, lets build one together...

* A simple dinner of hot dogs and chips,.enjoy this simple meal together with those who care


* Remember JBJ, everything he has done for Singapore.

* His legacy and help make it grow.

* Speakers will pay tribute to the man

* An "open-mic" for those who wish to pay tribute to him.

* Songs of tribute to JBJ, lets sing together.

* Countdown ourselves to 2009 and usher in the New Year

Bring your family and friends. Let us make this a truly memorable and meaningful evening.

Hong Lim Park start at 6 pm on 31 Dec 2008 all the way into the 2009. Tell everyone!

More information here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Submissions open for Queer Singapore Anthology!

Dear All,

We're now accepting entries for an as-yet unnamed anthology of queer Singapore writing, provisionally titled "PRU: People Read Us"!

DEADLINE: 2nd February, 2009.

Please submit to <> with "QUEER ANTHOLOGY" in subject heading.


-fiction (preferred, because readers find this most accessible.)

-essays and san wen
-blog entries
-performance art texts

... in *all* languages. We're especially eager to include Mandarin and (if we can find them) Malay and Tamil texts.

While we're hoping to include mostly queer writers (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual and intersex), we will consider works on queer themes by non-queer writers.

Authors may choose to remain anonymous, or print under a pseudonym.

Longer works are welcome, if you allow us to select an extract for publication.

Works will be accepted from both Singapore citizens/PR and, Singapore residents, as well as once-Singaporeans who have renounced their citizenship in disgust.


Openly queer poets Ng Yi-Sheng and Jasmine Seah currently form the core of the editorial board. We have also invited Dominic Chua and Mandarin-language writer Irene Oh to join us, as well as poet/translator Teng Qian Xi.


Firstfruits publishing has said it would be glad to publish this anthology.

In conversation, representatives from the National Arts Council have also, amazingly, expressed support.

We're envisioning a work that'll be both readable (thus the appeal for fiction), as well as eccentric and inclusive.

We plan to donate royalties to a deserving charity.


Please help us to publicise this appeal among your various circles. We're especially interested in showcasing a diverse group of writers, which would include older writers and writers who've migrated overseas.

We're also very open to suggestions for a better title. :)

Many thanks,

Ng Yi-Sheng

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Interview on The Online Citizen

Whaddaya know - I've been interviewed by Singapore's only real investigative newspaper. Read it here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

an affair with Ethos

I'm reading at this event!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008, 7.30pm
Poetry readings from Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia
Venue: BooksActually
5 Ann Siang Road

Readings by John Mateer from Australia, Alvin Pang, Yong Shu Hoong, Ng Yi-Sheng, Madeleine Lee, Yeow Kai Chai, Toh Hsien Min, Angeline Yap, Leong Liew Geok and a few others.

This event is supported by BooksActually and the National Arts Council Mentor Access Project (NAC-MAP)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I think we can end the DBS Boycott now. (UPDATE: Maybe not)

Hey guys, I know I said we should call off the boycott yesterday. But now someone's forwarded me a message from DBS, dated December 7th, which still advertises the promotion - but with the name of Focus on the Family removed!

So DBS has learned to be sensitive to us.... by keeping us ignorant about the nature of the charity it funds?

Yes, it's true that the mailer specifies that the money's going toward the building of a centre for teaching of children with learning disabilities. And I have mixed feelings about opposing that. But I think, in the end, that this group should remain, if only to point out that the choice of charity is intensely problematic. There are other charities out there doing similar work, and I hope that my bank (UOB) does some similar work with one of them instead.

My previous entry:

Hey guys,

Thanks for all your support for this group. I never expected it to gain the attention it did, nor did I expect DBS to respond by closing the promotion (yes, I know it's uncertain how much they've closed it down, but it's still a move to show that they're worried about the reaction from this community).

You see, all I wanted when I started this call to boycott was to show DBS and the rest of Singapore that queer people, their supporters/friends, and those who believe in related issues of choice in abortion and contraception, could form a consumer bloc. And that corporations should be sensitive to our interests - it's not just about not offending religious and racial groups, after all.

So now that we've received newspaper publicity and DBS has reacted, I think I'm (personally) willing to end the call to boycott. (You guys don't have to follow my lead, of course.)

I didn't want to destroy DBS, just to provoke its attention. And I personally don't think I should campaign for the closure of Focus on the Family, because I do believe in free speech.

(And I'm not getting any benefit from ending this, I just don't believe in being vindictive.)

Thank you one and all. I owe each of you a hug and an ice cream.

Yours sincerely,


P.S. In case you want to make reference to it, the original post is still at my blog:

P.P.S. I received this informational message from Jolene Tan:

Hi Yi-Sheng

Just realised you made a call for information on the sexist and anti-choice aspects of FotF's activities. Here are some posts I've made on Glass Castle which contain summary explanations and links:

Thanks for putting this group together.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Irony of ironies...

... my Singapore Literature Prize money came on a DBS cheque.

Yeah, I won the SLiP. I actually found out at lunchtime, 25 Nov, my birthday. That was one hell of a gift. Especially since I'd already convinced myself that I wouldn't get it (due to Shu Hoong's assurances that notice of the award is given much, much earlier).

I had this weird fog of glamour going on in my head for a while - terribly weird, since I'm winning for a first collection of not-very-mature poems, also because I'd told people I'd rather wait till I was more mature to win it, also because I knew that Cyril Wong's "Tilting the Plates to Catch the Light" was exponentially better than my own book, but he'd suffered unofficial disqualification for winning the previous year (stuff and nonsense; Mohammed Latiff Mohammed has been eligible for and won the Malay category THREE CONTESTS RUNNING, in fact since the incarnation of the prize in its current form);

and also because I wasn't supposed to tell anyone, which made the information all the more valuable;

but now, after the hand-shaking with Dr Vivian Balacutiepiekrishnan, I'm feeling a little deflated. I won the prize. Yeah, yeah. Yesterday's news.

WTF am I gonna do now????

Some snapshots:

Our MC commencing the evening. Don't be fooled by the polyglot projection; almost the entirety of the night's proceedings were in English. The sole exception was when Mandarin category judge Dr Chua Chee Lay insistently made some of his speech in Mandarin. The Malay and Tamil judges had no such cojones.

Seriously, NBDCS. Not PC. We should've at least had a reading of a poem or two from the language categories other than English. (And no, the lady above didn't read anything from "last boy". She read from Elmo Jayawardena's "Rainbows in Braille", Christine Suchen Lim's "The Lies that Build a Marriage", and Aaron Lee's "Five Right Angles" instead. I'm currently reading Mandarin category nominee Pan Cheng Lui's "天微明時我是诗人", and some of the poems in there are stunning. Why couldn't we have paid some tribute to these other writers?)

Here's the paparazzi when Vivian went up to speak.

Not pictured: teeny-tiny ten year-old Jonathan Chua, plunking his vitruosic fingers across the keyboard to open the evening (and also to mitigate the tension of the prizegiving). He's here as part of the Asia on the Edge festival. It was astounding. Prodigies are really slightly monstrous in their wonder.

Oh wait, I do have a picture of him:

He stayed in the back seats for most of the event, very guai-ly.

Truth is, I'm a little bummed after the reception. I thought I'd get to hang out with other writers for kopi, but the other prizewinners skedaddled so fast I couldn't even get their namecards. It's a shame, because I really, reallyreally wanted to get to know K. Kanagalatha, Tamil category prizewinner for her novel "Men I Have Murdered". She's a petite news editor of Tamil Murasu who looks younger than I am. She must be older, though, because she's not on Facebook.

Anyway, here I am with ex-librarians Mavis and Hedwig Anuar. Mrs Anwar is arguably the only woman among Singapore's first generation of English language writers. She's working on a family memoir. She's 80.

Speaking of age, Prof Rajeev Patke talked to me after the event. He said he was aware that it's a risk to give the prize to someone so young (oh please, when I broke through I was already older than Cyril and Alfian and Qian Xi), because the recognition might spoil me. Also: I have to set my ambitions high and concentrate on what I'm best at and keep slogging at it, if I really want to fayangguangda in the world literary scene.

Unfortunately, a Portugese palm reader in Maxwell Hawker Centre once pointed out that I have very little ambition, so I'm unlikely to go as far with my skills as I might.

Really, I mostly want to be happy and be with my family.

I know. I tak rock lah. I tak rock. (Sniff, sniff)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Two more days to the Singapore Literature Prize announcement ceremony

Sent to Shu Hoong 23-11-08 18:58
Hey. Two years ago you knew in advance that you’d won the sing lit prize, right?

Received from Shu Hoong 23-11-08 20:50
Yes. They’ll tell u a few wks b4, n tell u not to tell.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Please boycott DBS for funding anti-gay equality group!

Hey everyone,

I've found out that DBS has organised a Christmas promotion that sends money to Focus on the Family whenever people use their DBS cards. You can read more about it on this site.

The site describes FOTF as "a charity dedicated to helping children and families thrive". Well, that's not the whole story. The group, first founded by the Reverend James Dobson in the USA, has been actively involved in anti-gay initiatives since its inception. (Some source materials below.)

If you're a member of DBS and you support gay rights, I urge you to

1. Shift your account to another bank and cut up your DBS card. Since DBS has merged with POSB, POSB customers might want to do the same thing too. (If you can't afford to shift banks, at least stop using your DBS card till the end of the year, to show solidarity.)

2. Write to DBS to complain, using the following site: For added impact, send them a snail mail. The address is:

DBS Bank
6 Shenton Way, DBS Building Tower One
Singapore 068809

You may wish to use the following template:

Dear Sir/Mdm,

I am writing to inform you that I am considering closing my DBS account. This is in protest of your bank's recent Christmas promotion, in which DBS claims it will make donations to the organisation Focus on the Family for every set of teddy bears redeemed.

You may not be aware that Focus on the Family has played an active role in suppressing gay equality, both in Singapore and abroad. As a person who believes in gay equality, with many gay and lesbian friends, I object to the bank's support of such a bigoted organisation.

In Singapore, Focus on the Family has used its "counsellors" to spread misleading information in secondary schools, using a brochure called "Straight Talk" that spreads lies and negative stereotypes about gay and lesbian people and their "lifestyle". (See

Focus on the Family is also aligned with Choices, a group that attempts conversion of homosexuals - despite the fact that the American Psychological Association sees homosexuality as a normal condition, and sees deprogramming of gay people as more damaging than good. (See

In the United States, Focus on the Family has not only been involved in anti-gay propaganda and conversion efforts; they have also donated large sums of money against marriage rights - and the founder, James Dobson, has been accused by scientists of manipulating data to create statistics to back up his anti-gay prejudices. (See

DBS has tens of thousands of customers who are gay or who are friends and supporters of gay people. For your bank to donate to an anti-gay cause shows shocking insensitivity towards this section of your customer base. I am sure there are many other banks who would prefer our patronage.

Yours sincerely,

(Your name here).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Come see me act.

At 8pm next Friday and Saturday, 28 and 29 Nov, I'm doing a staged reading of filmmaker/Tisch Asia student Wee Li Lin's short play "The Tent".

I'll be playing a straight Eurasian schoolteacher. Patricia Toh will be playing the teacher I wanna schtup.

Come see me enter the wonderful world of pretending! It's free!

UPDATE: This version of the poster is cooler:

Friday, November 21, 2008

I has a new part-time job.

Doing oral history transcription for the National Archives of Singapore! It's boring grunt work, but it's still pretty fascinating.

(Wait, that's completely contradictory, while also being true.)

I'll also be finding out whether the results of the Singapore Literature Prize (why not just call it SLiP?) on the evening 3 December. I already have my evening dress picked out.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Seeking an Audience: A Symposium on Singapore Literature in English.

It's on this Friday at the National Library Pod. I'm gonna be doing a reading, as well as a panel discussion on Singapore Literature and Culture.

Obviously, I should've told everyone in time so you guys could register. But I was lazy. Sorry guys. Details from here.

UPDATE: Anyone can go, with no registration required, for the events from 5:30pm onwards. I'm doing my 15 min reading at 6:30ish.

Jointly organised by the National Library and Nanyang Technological University’s Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, this is a Symposium for all who promote and have an interest in Singapore Literature in English.

Representatives from all sectors involved in the creation, production, circulation, reading and study of Singapore literature – ranging from writers, publishers, booksellers, reviewers, academics and teachers to students – will be giving papers or engaged in discussion on various panels. The Symposium concludes with a panel of writers “Debating Singapore Literature”.

Lee Tzu Pheng and Robert Yeo will open the symposium with a dialogue about their experiences as writers, recalling the heady days of the sixties when they and the most promising poets/writers of their generation had their beginnings, and who are now established writers with substantial bodies of work. The Symposium will also feature the generation of writers who followed them. The day will end with a cocktail reception with poetry readings and a musical performance developed by Stella Kon, author of Emily of Emerald Hill.

The Symposium is being held in connection with the launch of Singapore Literature in English: an Annotated Bibliography compiled and edited by Prof. Koh Tai Ann in collaboration with the National Library.

Registration has closed on 24 October 2008 and all successful registrants have been notified. We regret that only confirmed registrants will be admitted. Thank you.

Detailed Programme

(All guests to be seated by 8.45am)

* Welcome Speech by Dr N. Varaprasad, Chief Executive, National Library Board
* Introduction & Address by Prof Koh Tai Ann, Professorial Fellow, Division of English, School of Humanities and Social Science, Nanyang Technological University
* Launch of "Singapore Literature in English: An Annotated Bibliography"
* Reading of excerpts from short story by Ashish Kumar, Bear Fruit (Creative Writing) Programme First Prize Winner for his "The Outsider"

Session 1: The Writers
"The Sixties: Being the Second Generation and Singapore Writers Now"
A dialogue between Lee Tzu Pheng and Robert Yeo.
Chair: Koh Tai Ann

Singapore Writers Now
* Neil Murphy, "Contemporary Singapore Poetry & the Search for a Centre"
* C.J. Wee Wan-ling, "Home Alone and Homesick: Fractured National Culture in the Plays of Alfian Sa'at"
Chair: Sim Wai Chew

Session 2: Producing the National Canon, Nurturing the Audience
* Gwee Li Sui, "The Anthology and Its Audience"
Commentator: Aaron Lee
Chair: Tamara Wagner

Singapore Literature in the School Curriculum
* Angelia Poon, "Making Space for the Cosmopolitan Subject, Teaching Literature in Singapore"
* Benedict Lin, "Literature for Language, Language for Literature: Deepening the Lang-Lit Connection in the Classrooom"
*Beatrice Ng and Goh Ziyi, "Students' Responses to Singapore Literature in English in the School Curriculum"
* Seah Ee Wei and Nicolette Tan, "Singapore Literature: Where Past Meets Present"
Chair: Warren Mark Liew

Session 3: Singapore Literature in English and Culture
Literary Culture: Facilitators and Resources
* Goh Eck Kheng (Publisher)
* Cyril Wong (e-journal founder, poet/critic)
* Stephanie Yap (Reviewer, print media)
* Cheng U Wen Lena (Founder, specialist bookshop)
* Jillian Lim (Librarian)
Chair: Kenny Leck (Books Actually)

Panel Discussion: Debating Singapore Literature
* Leong Liew Geok
* Ng Yi-Sheng
* Suchen Christine Lim
* Yeow Kai Chai
Chair: Eleanor Wong

Cocktail Reception at The POD, Level 16, National Library Building
* A musical performance by Stella Kon
* Reading by Ng Yi-Sheng and impromptu readings by others
* Readings by Joseph Prem Anand and Fam Wee Wei, from Bear Fruit (Creative Writing) Programme

Friday, October 03, 2008

Apparently I've been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize.

My money's on Wena Poon winning ofr "Lions in Winter", but I've only just started on her book so I can't be sure. Also, why the hell didn't Cyril Wong get nominated for "Tilting the Plates to Catch the Light"? (Did he not enter his book?)

Full list (minus Chinese) here, courtesy of Sharon Bakar:

English category :

1. Last Boy Ng Yi-Sheng
2. The Lies that Build a Marriage - Suchen Christine Lim
3. Lions in Winter: Stories - Wena Poon
4. Rainbows in Braille - Elmo Jayawardena
5. Five Right Angles - Aaron Lee Soon Yong

Malay category :
1. Bila Rama-Rama Patah Sayapnya - Mohamed Latiff Mohamed
2. Anugerah Bulan Buat Bonda - Muhammad Salihin Sulaiman
3. Langau Menyerang Masjid dan Cerita-cerita Lainnya - Suratman Markasan
4. Cetusan Kalbu Seorang Penyair Peter Augustine Goh
5. Perahu Melayu Di Lautan Khulzum Johar Buang
6. Sekeras Waja Selembut Sutera Manaf Hamzah

Tamil books :
1. Pin Seat Sankar Jayanthi
2. Aayul Thandanai J M Sali
3. Naan Kolai Seyum Penkal K Kanagalatha
4. Ouyir Ourugum Sabtham Palanisamy Subramanian

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm going to Egypt and Israel from 17 Sep to 18 Oct.

Just for pleasure. My dad's always wanted to go since he was a kid and he watched "The Ten Commandments". He's trusting me to make all the arrangements, so I'm reading Lonely Planet cover to cover.

"If you are visiting Sodom via the southern route..."

Seriously, that's one of the lines in there. :P

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Weapon of Mass Distraction", 2008

Yup, that's me alright. The skirt is made from four pairs of torn jeans on a cloth belt.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Biennale Blog!

Unsatisfied with my umpteen other blogs, I've also volunteered (or was I volunteered? I can't quite remember) to maintain a blog for the Singapore Biennale.

I'm bein' plenty bitchy. Trying to make the site readable is one of the justifications. The other is that there just is so much to be dubious about, including the TVC:

Don't worry; I think the art will be pretty good. (Crosses fingers) Opening previews on 9th and 10th, open to the public from 11 September.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Reservoir Review (Today Weekend, 30 August 2008)

We rather like this review because it actually describes the problematics of the show's construction.

From Ng Yi-Sheng's Careerblog

A Shrining example

“A STRAIGHT line into the forest!” It’s a phrase actress Patricia Toh utters in amazement upon finding a pathway in the middle of Reservoir.

It’s also an apt analogy for this new multi-media production by TheatreWorks, as director Choy Ka Fai, playwright Ng Yi-Sheng and the rest of the team beat a straight path into uncharted historical territory like a band of merry explorers.

This collaborative piece is essentially a heartfelt ode to a forgotten monument in the heart of MacRitchie Reservoir. And not just any whitewashed statue or structure, but the rather controversial Syonan Jinja. The Shinto shrine was built to commemorate the first anniversary of the British surrender to the Japanese during World War II in 1943.

Reservoir has an autobiographical approach, literally: It tells the story of a group of people who go in search of a mysterious structure that’s been swallowed up by the jungle.

Like episodic chapters in a multi-media history book-cum-diary, it combines song and dance performances — from actor/singer Rizman Putra and Japanese dancer Norico Sunayama, respectively — Choy’s own video graphics, an evocative soundscape from Chong Li-Chuan, as well as documentary footage and audio interviews of people who’ve seen the shrine in its heyday.

It’s an inventive approach to telling a story; one that few people would even think of bringing up without getting their knickers in a bunch.

That’s because it’s a sticky topic to begin with. And because Reservoir does not dwell at length with the less-than-pleasant points of war and colonial occupation, it may get accused of handling a sensitive historical topic irresponsibly.

During the opening night’s post-show talk, for example, an audience member even made comparisons to the World War II Auschwitz concentration camp.

But that comment reveals, more than anything, certain prejudices towards such topics: for example, when you bring up the Japanese Occupation of World War II, every Japanese must have three eyes, two horns, a tail and feed on the blood of young babies.

But this reviewer was relieved that the young team behind Reservoir did not even attempt to tackle the topic in such a manner, because they found a way of making sense of a symbolic structure on their own terms, no matter how romanticised it may sometimes feel.

Unlike the black and white views of textbook history, Reservoir feels fresh. There’s a sense of wide-eyed innocence and an eagerness to explore and it’s worthwhile to follow the piece all the way to that proverbial clearing in the forest.

Reservoir ends Saturday (Aug 30), 3pm and 8pm, at 72-13Mohamed Sultan Road. Tickets at $28 from or call 6737 7213.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Performing at Supperclub tonight.

My first time. Experimental drag + Sprachstimme, 10-10.15pm.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

ROJAK 12 @ Septfest

Forgot to advertise that I'm MCing for the following event today:

Dearest friends,
Come to ROJAK 12- The Place Issue!

It's happening this Sunday, 31 August, 3pm (Yes, our first afternoon ROJAK!) We are graciously hosted by The Substation. ROJAK 12 is part of The Substation's SeptFest 08 opening weekend. Thanks to the cool folks for inviting us and facilitating everything!

Our dear ROJAKers are:
1. Mintio, Photograhy
2. Eng Yee Peng, Film
3. Lawrence Abrahamson, Art
4. Ang Song Ming, Sound
5. Perception3, Photography & Film
6. Lim Shengen, Art
7. Jacen Tan, Film
8. Randy Chan, Architecture
9. Jing Quek, Photography
10. Laura Soon, Art

We'll also be featuring fellow ROJAKer Song Ming's new music project- "Hit Me Baby One More Time" throughout the event.
This 'tissue-chop!' invite is by Perception3
Our official ROJAK photographer is Shan Chia.

Bring on your friends, and drinks and beer to share for the ROJAK dinghy.
And come dressed's afterall a Sunday afternoon.
See you there :) ROJAK is FARM's quarterly sharing session featuring 10 local artists/designers and their works & processes. It is the place to find new local works and share ideas.
Submissions for ROJAK are always open!

Visit ROJAK website for more details.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Your daily dose of WTF.

Curious? Come and see.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Article from the Associated Press

About the Singapore theatre scene in general, but it's got a quote from me. And it's been printed in IHT and

This version has a weird photo of me. Sigh. Must get haircut.

Friday, August 22, 2008

RESERVOIR: 28-30 August, 2008

Deep in the heart of MacRitchie Reservoir lie the ruins of the Syonan Jinja, a Shinto shrine built during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. Envisioned as a spiritual centre for the future empire, today it exists only as stone relics and fragments, swallowed up by the thick tropical rainforest.

This performance, a tapestry of images, sound and movement, will be a drama of recollection, an attempt to capture the Syonan Jinja's sleeping spirit.

Date: 28-30 August 2008
Time: 8pm nightly/ 3pm matinee on 30 August
Venue: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Rd
Tickets: $28/ S15 (Concessions for Students + NSF + Senior Citizens)
For purchases and reservation of tickets, please call
Tel: 6737 7213

Conceived + Directed + Multimedia by Choy Ka Fai
Written by Ng Yi-Sheng
Performed by Norico Sunayama+ Rizman Putra+ Patricia Toh
Sonic Compositions by Chong Li Chuan
Set and lighting design by Jiro Endo

Monday, August 18, 2008

Auditions for Georgette, the Musical

Georgette, The Musical, will be staged in The Philippines (Manila),
during the last week of November, 2008.

Sing Avenue Productions will be holding auditions to cast the five
main roles for the musical, on August 23 and 24 (Sat and Sun) 2pm –
6pm at Musical Theatre Limited's Playroom, 21 Cavan Road Level 2
Singapore 209852 (nearest MRT station is Lavender).

Description of the roles:
a) Georgette – the heroine, a petite but an intelligent and lively
artist portrayed in her 20s thru to her 40s
b) Eugene Chen:Georgette's first husband, a diplomat, who is
portrayed from his 40s to his 50s
c) Mr Zhang - Georgette's father, a shrewd businessman in his 60s.
d) Mrs Zhang - Georgette's stepmother, a businesswoman in her 40s. An
aristocrat in temperament
e) Narrator - A woman who plays various roles.

Actors will be required to sing, act and dance. All performers must
be available to be in the Philippines from 17 to 30 November 2008 and
also attend rehearsals in Singapore from 8th September 2008 in the
evenings and also the weekends. Performers will be paid a fee.

Please come prepared to sing two theatre musical songs, which are
contrasting in mood and tempo. Please prepare a short monologue (2
minutes, maximum) to present. You may be asked to do a short

For your songs, please provide your own minus-ones (in a CD) or be
prepared to sing a capella. Bring along a photograph (any photo will
do) and your bio-data/resume.

Please call to book an appointment with Amos Shao on 91454196 or

Thank you.
Finally, it's over.

But I managed to save a souvenir from the props box.

Mini party at my place tonight. Whoop de whoo!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Less for publicity now than just for the hell of it...

Interviews with the cast of the Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles. Last performances today!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Art and Life Sessions (Free Forum)

LIFE: We The Citizens: Unsung Heroines, Unwritten Histories
ART: The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles, I Am Queen
Date: Saturday, 16 August 2008
Time: 5.30pm – 7.00pm
Venue: Drama Centre (National Library), Level 3, Function Room 3

What is the Singapore Story and who are its leading actors? What other kinds of histories are waiting backstage for their turn? Can history be more than a monologue by the victorious and the powerful? How can we mine social memory and cultural works to create our own alternative histories?

Ng Yi-Sheng - Playwright, The Last Temptation of Raffles
Dr Quah Sy Ren - Playwright, I Am Queen, Deputy Head of Chinese, NTU
Dr Syed Khairuddin Aljunied - Lecturer, Department of Malay Studies, NUS and author of Rethinking Raffles: A Study of Stamford Raffles’ Discourse on Religions Amongst Malays
Tan Pin Pin - Filmmaker, Invisible City, Singapore GaGa

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Opening Night for Raffles



Christina sent us this fruit hamper, so Rehaan got to try rambutans for the first time.



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles

by W!LD RICE, as part of the OCBC Singapore Theatre Festival

13 - 17 August 2008, Drama Centre Theatre @ National Library (Level 3)
(13 - 15 August, 8pm evening shows; 16 - 17 August, 3pm matinees and 8pm evening shows)

(Buy tickets from Sistic now. You know you want to.)

1826. Sir Stamford Raffles lies on his deathbed, delirious with dreams and hallucinations, whilst his wife Sophia frantically records his biography. A giant Rafflesia blossom invades his bedroom; he meets his deceased first wife Olivia, and encounters a talking statue who bears prophecies of greatness.

As his life flashes before him, we witness his birth at sea, his early voyages, his triumphant founding of Singapore, and his eventual tragic downfall—with his children dead of tropical diseases, his research destroyed in a burning ship, and himself bankrupted and diagnosed with syphilis.

The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles is written by multi-talented playwright and poet Ng Yi-Sheng, whose last play, 251, based on the life of Annabel Chong, played to packed houses. Directed by Christina Sergeant (Furthest North, Deepest South, The Hypochondriac), this is an unforgettable journey into the mind of a legend. Was Raffles a wily schemer or an enlightened reformer? What kind of legacy did he leave behind on an island he called the ‘child of my own’?

“251 is worth seeing not only for its success at putting Chong's dubious "achievements" in perspective as performance art, but also for pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable subject matter for a Singapore stage production.” TODAY

The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles was a finalist at ACTION Theatre’s ‘Theatre Idols’ festival in 2007.

Written by Ng Yi-Sheng
Directed by Christina Sergeant

Candice De Rozario
Claire Devine
Tien Devine
Rehaan Engineer
Fazli Ahmad
Ian Tan
Jo Tan
Patricia Toh

Monday, August 11, 2008

And to continue my streak of overexposure to the media...

I'm gonna be on Razor TV tomorrow at 2pm, talking about Raffles and my play.

UPDATE: Here they are, God love 'em. I stammer way too much.

Second week of the festival!

Well, the shows aren't playing yet, but I'm pleased to report that "The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles" is coming along splendidly.

Curious? Then buy a motherfuckin' ticket, motherfucker. :)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Mediawhore re-redux

Not only was I in the papers yesterday (to publicise the Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles), as well as in the papers today (as part of Life!'s 30 Under 30 series); I'll be in the papers tomorrow for with my National Day poem.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

IndigNation 2008: ContraDiction IV

A literary reading organised by Ng Yi-Sheng and Jasmine Seah
MDA rating: M18

ContraDiction, the oral festival of queer Singapore writing, comes back for the 4th annual season. Featuring poets Teng Qian Xi and Koh Jee Leong, blogger Adrianna Tan, playwright Jacke Chye, singer Iris Judotter and many more.

Date: Thursday, 7 August 2008
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Rd (look it up on StreetMap@Singapore if you don't know where it is)

For more events, see the IndigNation 2008 calendar. Events are on from 1 to 19 August.

W!ld Rice has a tradition, inspired by older Asian theatre practices. Before every production (even the gargantuan ones like STF), they gather everyone in a circle and have them introduce themselves to each other, make eye contact, and then pray to whatever gods we worship for everyone's safety and success.

The event started at 6pm today. Sort of. This is the scene at 6:15 in the Drama Centre.

That's me offering Christina Sergeant dried cranberries and green raisins. On the right is the back of Lim Yu-Beng's head.

Ivan addressed us in his artistic directorly way...

...and had us circle the stall seats.

Then he had us link hands and pray. I couldn't take photos while holding Rodney Oliveiro and Janice Koh's hands. It would've been rude.

Mutual support.

And now for the FOOD. Except for the Swordfish cast and crew, who were doing a tech run.

I stayed back a little while to chatter with the playwrights. That's Ken Kwek (Apocalypse Live) and Laremy Lee (Own Time, Own Target).

Mangiare! (Kenduri, in case ya didn't know, is Malay for "feast".)

That's the tempeh+tofu dish, right next to the boiled vegetables. Further on was spicy chicken and sausage with meatballs and fried rice and and curry.

And no! Your eyes do not deceive you!

That is a chocolate fondue pot! (It went very well with the wasabi prawns.)

And that's Christina, gathering the Raffles cast up for rehearsals.

The festival opens in two days!!!! YAAAARRRGH!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The BJ Song
You can listen to my song "Touch the Sky", in support of the Singapore team to the Beijing Olympics, this Saturday at Ngee Ann City/Takashimaya. It's organised by Musical Theatre Limited.

Programme: August 2, SAT Ngee Ann City CivicPlaza

1. 230pm to 415pm - Official Programme in presence of Dr Vivian.
2. 4pm - MTL Singers perform Paralympics Theme Song "Best That We Can Be" with Choir from Grace Orchard School (
3. 430pm - MatthewQUEK MiniConcert, and DariusLIM SeraphimChoir MiniConcert
4. 7p to 9pm - MTL Songwriter Showcase.
5. 9pm - MTL Singers demo perform the song inspired by TEAM Singapore "Touch The Sky" {Lyrics NG-YiSheng, Music DesmondMOEY}

It should actually be performed several times over the evening.

Gah, I'm such a hypocrite.

I don't even have the guts to boycott profiteering off the Olympics.

Monday, July 28, 2008


...and I've also started a blog for RESERVOIR, my upcoming production with TheatreWorks.

28-30 Aug 2008_72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road

Deep in the heart of MacRitchie Reservoir lie the ruins of the Syonan Jinja, a Shinto shrine built during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. Envisioned first as a spiritual and recreational centre for the future empire, then built by Australian POWs and Japanese craftsmen, today it exists only as stone relics and fragments, swallowed up by the thick tropical rainforest.

As young artists, we have embarked on a journey of discovery to reclaim this forgotten monument. Its very existence is intriguing – a beautiful artefact of civilisation from an age of blood and destruction. Its architects made outlandish promises: that the site would be the greatest in the world after the Meiji Shrine, that the area might be a future host for the Olympic Games.

Perhaps most provoking is the love-hate relationship between Singapore and the shrine. Historians and tourism promoters want it preserved, even rebuilt to commemorate our national heritage. Ordinary citizens, however, have violently objected to any celebration of former Japanese rule – even as they happily consume Japanese commercial and cultural products.

Led by director Choy Ka Fai, we are an ensemble of creative people from Singapore and Japan with roots in poetry, dance, drama, architecture, sport and multimedia. We have made pilgrimages to the jungle, probed the site scientifically, studied archival documents, drawings and oral histories, and processed our own collective memories to recreate and re-imagine the shrine as a sacred site.

Our performance, a tapestry of image, sound and movement, will be a drama of recollection, an attempt to capture the Syonan Jinja's sleeping spirit.

Conceived + Directed + Multimedia by Choy Ka Fai
Written by Ng Yi Sheng
Performed by Norico Sunayama+ Rizman Putra+ Patricia Toh
Sonic Compositions by Chong Li Chuan
Set and lighting design by Jiro Endo

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm going to be a guest blogger at the Singapore Biennale Blog soon.

And I definitely have to post this:

Bottom line: If people aren't protesting, becoming nauseated by, or threatening lawsuits against an artist's work, you can look around for me, but I'm not going to be there. Using light and shadow to mythologize the pastoral and create a setting where human beings and the natural world can coexist peacefully? Best of luck to you. If you need me, I'll be watching a heroin addict use his own HIV-positive blood to paint Hiroshima victims on the side of a school bus. You know, with all the other real art buffs.

I Don't Have Time for Noncontroversial Art Exhibits by Keith Dans, The Onion.

Spotted at GSSQ.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Given that the Singapore Theatre Festival is paying its playwrights above standard industry rates (they're trying to set a trend, not make us so unaffordable that no-one else wants us), I've decided to start a special blog for 'em. And not just for my play (buy tickets!!!), either - fo' everyone's plays!

If you're involved in the Festival in any capacity and want to be a blogger, just tell me and I'll add you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'll be in NYC from 23 June to 5 July.

In fact, I'm in Changi Airport Terminal 3 right now.

So don't call me, can? Waste phone money. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book launch for my first novel, Eating Air

How could I forget? By the way, if anyone official asks, this is a film novelisation, so I'm still eligible for all those other first-novel grants and prizes when I finally compose an independent opus.

Anyway, details:

Friday 20 June
THE POD, Level 16
National Library, 100 Victoria Street

Dress code: business attire. (Yeah, right.)

The books being launched are 12 Storeys by Dr Yeo Wei Wei, 4:30 by James Toh, Eating Air by myself. Hope to seeya there!

UPDATE: Here's a shot of the book itself:

And the wunnerful people behind it. From left to right, publisher Enoch Ng, writer Dr Yeo Wei Wei, and directors Kelvin Tong and Jasmine Ng (who really is much prettier when she's not being derisive). Almost in the picture is Kat, Kelvin's assistant director at Boku films.

UPDATED UPDATE: Ooh ooh ooh! Channel News Asia has an article about it!