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.