Thursday, December 06, 2012

Archiving Cane/Microcosmos

I´ve written material for two art exhibitions opening this Thursday. Sadly, I can´t attend either of them because I´m in Scandinavia - I´m a blogger for the ILGA Conference in Stockholm next week!

This means you´ll have to attend in my stead. Pop over to the Substation for Loo Zihan´s Archiving Cane, which I´ve written an essay for:

Archiving Cane
Date: Fri 7 Dec to Sun 16 Dec
Venue: The Substation
Reception: Thu 6 Dec, 7:30pmPlease note that this exhibition contains material that is rated R21

Then get a cab to Goodman Arts Centre for Amanda Lee´s Microcosmos, a photography exhibition for which writers like myself have written poetry and stories inspired by the art:

Date: Fri 7 Dec to Wed 12 Dec
Venue: Goodman Arts Centre, Block B, 90 Goodman Road
Reception: Thu 6 Dec, 8pm to 10:30pm

Click the links if you want to find out more!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

But Is the Book Better?: Eating Air, Wed 28 Nov, Sat 1 Dec

I'm off to the Georgetown Literary Festival in a bit, but before I do that, I'd like to advertise a little something I've got coming up. It's a screening of the fabulous 1999 motorcycle gangster movie at the Arts House, after which there'll be a talk about my novelisation thereof!

But Is the Book Better?: Eating Air
Venue: Screening Room, the Arts House
Date/Time: 28 Nov, 7.30pm; 1 Dec, 3pm.
Free admission
(on a first-come-first-served basis)

My talkback is on 1 December, with director Jasmine Ng! More info here.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

'Tis the Festive Season!

And no, I don't mean Hari Raya Haji and Deepavali. I'm talking about the Singapore Writers Festival and the Georgetown Literary Festival!

Just bussed back from the SWF opening, in fact, where Math Paper Press did a twin launch of Alfian Sa'at's The Invisible Manuscript and Cyril Wong's Straw, Sticks, Brick

My book, Diary of a Stone Monkey, was supposed to come out too, but alas, there were printing problems. Seems like this is my year of stymied book launches. One of my stories is featured in the Sunday launch of Fish Eats Lion, though. Come, come!

Launch of Fish Eats Lion: New Singaporean Speculative Fiction
Sunday 4 November
4pm-5pm Pavilion, Campus Green, SMU (Singapore Management University)

Quite a few prominent names are featured in the fest, including Michael Cunningham, Monique Truong, and the author of my Korea book, Shin Kyun-Sook. Will see if I can get interviews and autographs. :)

But, more importantly, I've been invited to Penang!

See that upper left hand corner portrait? That's me! I'm actually being featured in the opening ceremony, where I'll be performing my poetry right next to A. Samad Said and Omar Musa. Can you believe it?

These are the events I'm involved in:

Poetry Workshop with PELLTA and Arts
Friday 23 November
Sekeping Victoria
Writers: Ng Yi-Sheng, Omar Musa and Nii Ayikwey Parkes

Official Opening Ceremony by Chief Minister of Penang, Y.A.B. Lim Guan Eng
Friday 23 November  and Nii Ayikwey Parkes
Sekeping Victoria
Readings and performances by A. Samad Said, Ng Yi-Sheng and Omar Musa

Poetry Rant: Mad As Hell!
Sunday 25 November
Sekeping Victoria
Five poets get angry. Watch them get mad - and bad!
Writers: Ng Yi-Sheng, Omar Musa, Alfian Sa'at, Shivani Sivagurunathan and Nii Ayikwey Parkes
Host: Jasmine Low
FREE ADMISSION - seating on first come, first served basis

Reading and Panel DiscussionTaboos or Travesties
Sunday 25 November
Sekeping Victoria
How do writers go about saying the unsayable? How do they deal with issues and themes that may cause scandal and uproar? See how these writers deal with challenging issues that simply need to be said.
Writers: Ng Yi-Sheng, Reggie Baay, Dina Zaman, Linda Christanty and David Van Reybrouck
Moderator: Bernice Chauly
FREE ADMISSION - seating on first come, first served basis

... and then from 3 to 20 December I'll be in Stockholm for the ILGA Conference. More about that later. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Singapore/Malaysia Book Launch at Silverfish Books, 5:30pm

Will be speaking at Silverfish Books in Kuala Lumpur this evening, 5:30pm, to promote my translation of "The New Village"! Three books to be promoted, in fact:
  1. Robert Yeo’s ROUTESRobert Yeo, a.k.a Yeo Cheng Chuan, (b.1940, Singapore -), is a poet and playwright, novelist and newspaper columnist on the arts, literary and theatre essayist advocating the establishment of a distinctly Singaporean tradition in writing. He was for many years a lecturer in the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University and was a proponent for the greater inclusion of the study of Singaporean texts in the school curriculum. Poet and critic Aaron Lee has described Yeo as being “the most Singaporean of Singaporean writers”.
  2. Dr Wong Yoon Wah’s THE NEW VILLAGE. Wong Yoon Wah (b. 13 August 1941, Perak, Malaysia - ) is one of the few Singaporeans who excel as an international poet, critic and scholar. Prolific in both creative and academic writing, he has published over twenty collections of prose, poetry, and academic writings on Chinese and comparative literature in Chinese or English. For his commitment to promoting literature regionally, he has been awarded the Southeast Asia Write Award (1984), the Cultural Medallion (1986), and the ASEAN Cultural Award (1993).
  3. Wong Phui Nam’s THE HIDDEN PAPYRUS OF HEN_TAUI. Wong Phui Nam's poems are regarded as among the best Malaysian ones in English, unsurpassed in their eloquence and linguistic richness. Most of them are contemplative and draw their images from the local landscape. Wong Phui Nam's poetry explores the experience of living in multi-cultural Malaysia. "Before the British set up this country, Malaysia was a totally agrarian society," he says. "Suddenly we get this commercialism and development of plantations to supply a metropolitan power. Even for a writer in Malay, whether he is a Malay or a non-Malay, he has to reinvent the language. All the more so for Indians and Chinese. For a Chinese, when we write in Chinese, we cannot pretend that nothing has happened and try to write Tang poetry. So for us to write in English, we are exiled three times, culturally and spiritually from China, culturally from the indigenous Malay culture, and then writing in English. We cannot claim that it is a tradition. I would say we have appropriated the language. So, in a way, it is a much more interesting medium to work with, to work with the language against the tradition."

Professor Mohammad Quayum, of the International Islamic University of Malaysia, will moderate the event, which will include discussions with regards to the development of Malaysia/Singapore writings in English. 

Venue: Silverfish Books, 
28-1 Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, 
59100 Kuala Lumpur. 
Date: Saturday, 22 September 2012 
Time: 5.30 pm

Admission is free. All welcome, but seats are limited.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Perfection of 10, Thu 13 to Sat 15 Sep

I've got a play coming up! Or perhaps it'd be more accurate to say WE've got a play coming up. I was invited to crazy-experimental director Sean Tobin to be part of a team of ten Singaporean playwrights, each creating a segment of a wacky play marking the Esplanade's tenth anniversary!

Perfection of 10
Thu 13 to Sat 15 Sep, 8pm (additional Sat matinee at 3pm)
Esplande Theatre Studio
Tickets at $25 from SISTIC.

10 established Singapore Playwrights were invited to reflect on their experiences as theatre-makers and their notions of perfection. They then set out to capture a perspective of life on earth, in Singapore and in the theatre, through their own 10 minutes of stage time.

10 stage items from the past productions of 10 established local Theatre companies help create a world in which these characters can reside.

The perfect child from the perfect home, the perfect actor on the perfect stage, in front of the perfect audience, and of course the perfect review. Not to forget perfect relationships, the perfect life, and the perfect death. Can all this be captured in the perfect play?

Are these ‘mirrors of nature’ real or imagined? Archetype or stereotype? Is this biography or fakery? Is this existentialism or entertainment? Comedy of Manners or a Problem Play?

As we join in celebrating Esplanade’s 10th Birthday, we also celebrate the trials and accomplishments of Singapore and its stage, through the intercepting thoughts of 10 well-loved local playwrights and 4 actors collectively asking, “Why do we bother?”

Performed in English with some Mandarin, Malay and dialect, with English surtitles. Suitable for patrons aged 16 years and above.

Performed by Ang Hui Bin, Patricia Mok, Rizman Putra, Tan Shou Chen
Written by Desmond Sim, Ng How Wee, Irfan Kasban, Jason Wee, Jean Tay Kaylene Tan, Li
Xie, Verena Tay, Ng Yi-Sheng & Zizi Azah
Directed by Sean Tobin
Dramaturgy by Low Kee Hong
Produced by Michele Lim
Set Design by Wong Chee Wai
Light Design by Adrian Tan
Costume Design Hayden Ng

There will be a post-show discussion with the artists.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SPORE Art Salon tonight!

Why not advertise? Alvin Pang's supposed to be on, unless he's still lost his voice (it was lost over the weekend), in which case I'll have to replace him! Just warning ya.

It's our 21st salon! To celebrate our coming of age, we're calling a mix of fresh and familiar faces to the stage.You'll encounter a live graffiti artist, a brand new model and a nationally awarded poet. Plus, you'll get to say hi again to Weish from the Cold Shoulder (18th edition), Su from 'Call Me Bea' (19th and 20th) and Fauzo from the Russian Dolls (5th, 9th and 14th). Come hang out with the family!

WHERE: BluJaz Cafe, 3rd Storey (12 Bali Lane)
WHEN: Tuesday 31 July 2012, 7:30PM onwards



ASRI SCOLA (visual / graffiti artist)
Asri Scola describes himself as a teleporter who feeds on visual aesthetics. It has been a decade since he started writing his way into the street/graffiti culture. His progressive works explores the intervention of spatial relations and colours, interspersed with distinct streaming line movement. Scola versatility has seen his artworks exhibited in " 100 Friends:100 Artists ", " Art The Hall - Art Garage " and " Off The Wall - Graffiti Kings from France and Singapore " exhibitions to name a few.
His works has been featured in different platforms such as Culturepush, Actually MAG, Arts Republic, Singapore Writers Festival and Street Visibility Catalogue.
He was one of the 4 winning designs for ActuallyMAG 8th Signature bag competition recently. Currently his hands are tied with street art NDP project, Calligraphy Graffiti works for local museum (revealed soon) and pending exhibits.
Besides doing mural and illustration, Scola likes to dwell on different array of disciplines from printmaking to paper-cut to photography. Significantly, he enjoys the process more as it gives the ability to eliminate and reconstruction that allows for accidental self-discovery. Though Scola likes to document and express his thoughts through his artwork, his normal alter ego has a conflicting separate identity of procrastinating and unusual fascination of teleporting.



TEH SU CHING as "Felicity"
Teh Su Ching is a bilingual writer, performer, and producer. A short film she wrote and produced, Ash, premiered at the Moscow International Film Festival in June. A condensed, silent version of Ash, renamed Evening Shift, has been shortlisted for the Louis Vuitton Journeys Awards. In 2011, Shanghai theatre group 3rd Culture Theatre staged her English and Mandarin play Seven Days in Jing An in Shanghai’s Jing An district theatre festival. In 2008, another play, Russia! was featured in the Yale Playwrights Festival. Russia! was also read at The Substation, where Lim Yu Beng played the lead. Su Ching's full-length play Ubin will be given a reading in New York's Workshop Theatre in October. Catch her as forensic expert Jean Wu in the hour-long drama Code of Law, which debuts on Mediacorp's Channel 5 September 13th.

Born in 1990, Jurane Solano has been singing the instant she could, with more than a few winning titles under her belt. She grew up listening to “almost every genre conceivable”, but says that “Broadway almost always comes out tops.”
Her love for musical theatre is evident – she’s played the lead actress in several local productions to full-houses, commanding a nationwide following.
She hopes to one day create a platform that can leverage on people’s artistic talents to make a real improvement to the world.

weish (musician)
Weish started out as a wedding singer many years ago, but only began writing songs proper in 2010 and has never looked back since. Extremely excited about expanding her sound, she has grown from a lone-ukulele getup to vocal and instrumental looping, as well as forming bands - among which is Cold Shoulder, for whom she sings and plays the synth. She currently hosts the open mic sessions at The Pigeonhole, and is passionate about providing platforms for new musicians to grow and be found.

Alvin Pang (b.1972) is a poet, writer and editor. His poems have been translated into fifteen languages, and has appeared in major festivals and publications worldwide. A Fellow of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2002), his books include Testing the Silence (1997), City of Rain (2003), What Gives Us Our Names (2011) and Tumasik: Contemporary Writing from Singapore (2009). He was Singapore’s Young Artist of the Year for Literature in 2005, and received the Singapore Youth Award for Arts and Culture in 2007. He represented Singapore at London’s Poetry Parnassus event, part of the 2012 Olympic celebrations. His most recent volumes of poetry – both just released in 2012 – are: Other Things and Other Poems, published in Croatia, and Waiting for the Barbarians published by Arc in the UK.

FAUZO (musician)
A 'veteran' of the SPORE Art Salon editions, Fauzo loves challenges and exploring various intricate pieces of Classical music. His deep love for music started when he first learnt the power chords of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". From then on, a musical journey began with the exploration of various genres - from Latin Rock to Progressive Rock and finally, finding love in classical music after nailing Mozart's Piano Sonata on the electric guitar, an assignment proposed by his guitar instructor.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ContraDiction approacheth!

And this time we've got a proper poster, too!

ContraDiction 8: Our Very Own Literature
Sat 25 Aug, 7.30pm, 

The Reading Room (21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #04-01 – former Mox Bar)
Our annual queer literary evening is back, with a new focus! Listen to some of Singapore's oldest works of queer literature from the 1980s, as well as works by our youngest writers from the 2010s. Featuring Ovidia Yu, Joel Tan, NUS Poet-in-Residence Jay Bernard and many more.

By the way, we have some video clips from last week's Gaily Ever After event, uploaded to YouTube!

Part 1 (Cyril Wong)
Part 2 (Ng Yi-Sheng)
Part 3 (Tania de Rozario)
... and Part 4 (Anila Angin) is below:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gaily Ever After: Our Very Own Fairy Tales, Fri 17 Aug

I should of course mention that I've done a rather fun interview on Fridae with the awesome HIV epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani, whom I met at the Makassar International Writers Festival. It's been getting quite a number of comments (much more so than my usual humdrum articles about the arts in Singapore), and the even haters are terribly amusing to read.

But, on to literary matters! My first IndigNation event's coming up this Friday!

Gaily Ever After: Our Very Own Fairy Tales
Fri 17 Aug, 8pm, BooksActually (9 Yong Siak Street)

Sit down for an evening of storytelling with four Singaporean writers, each bearing a fairy tale with a gay twist. Featuring Ng Yi-Sheng, Cyril Wong, Tania de Rozario and Anila Angin.

I'm pretty happy about this event, since it's really my brainchild: just happened that I knew quite a few queer fairy tales had been written, so we're binding them together. I think it'll be fun.

If you want to know about the IndigNation Festival in general, here's the full calendar (text version here):

Landing Places: Our Very Own Art
Thu 16 Aug
, 7pm, Objectifs (56A Arab Street); exhibition runs till 6 Sep
Landing Places is a Singapore-based, multidisciplinary exhibition happening in conjunction with IndigNation 2012. It features work by 10 queer artists and seeks to document experiences of how our sexualities affect the ways in which we define, create, articulate, question, reject and/or relate to notions of home. The exhibition will comprise drawing, painting, photography, collage, and animation.

Are You GAYme Enough? 2: Our Very Own Gameshow
Fri 17 Aug
, 9.30pm, Play (21 Tanjong Pagar Road)
Oogachaga brings back the popular 'Are You GAYme Enough?', and this year’s edition promises to be bigger, better and raunchier! Watch the contestants battle it out on stage as they get quizzed on topics ranging from sexuality and sexual health to local LGBT history and culture. Join in the fun by assisting (or sabotaging) the contestants when they use the 'audience card' or the 'helpline card'. We’re not sure if it’ll be the survival of the smartest or the cutest – what we do know is that one very GAYme champion will walk away with grand prize worth $3000! First 100 audience members get free entry and a standard housepour! To join as a contestant, simply register at Register before 12pm, 10 August 2012. Like us on Facebook at and stand to win a pair of tickets to Toy Factory Productions' Purple! Hurry, contest ends on 27 July, at 12 noon.

Our Very Own Stories
Fri 24 Aug, 8pm, The Factory (22 Lim Tua Tow Road); exhibition runs till 7 Sep
Our Very Own Stories showcases real Singaporean LGBT people who have struggled and triumphed against the challenges of self-worth and discrimination. Curated by Nicholas Deroose, this collaboration between five community photographers seeks to give hope to a future generation and show them a possible future beyond the adversities that they face today.

ContraDiction 8: Our Very Own Literature
Sat 25 Aug
, 7.30pm, The Reading Room (21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #04-01 – former Mox Bar)
Our annual queer literary evening is back, with a new focus! Listen to some of Singapore's oldest works of queer literature from the 1980s, as well as works by our youngest writers from the 2010s. Featuring Ovidia Yu, Joel Tan, NUS Poet-in-Residence Jay Bernard and many more.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fun with Clerihews!

Guess what finally got published in today's Sunday Times?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Party Action People & SPORE Art Salon

Two things I should mention:

1) Party Action People is performing again at the TAPAC courtyard today at 6pm! Reprise of our original program, in case you missed it on Sunday.

2) SPORE Art Salon's happening again next Tuesday.

Happy National Day! Red and white flags are going up all over the island, but we Salonistas are staying decidedly international. This month’s awesome visual and performing arts lineup includes a Swiss experimental trombonist, a Filipino playwright and an American actor, as well as a host, a poet, a model and a short film, all from dear old Singapore. Come join the mish and mash of things and create conversations within. See you soon!

WHERE: BluJaz Cafe, 3rd Storey (12 Bali Lane)
WHEN: Tuesday 31 July 2012, 7:30PM onwards
FB Event Page :



Deborah Emmanuel has been telling stories since she could talk. Her first story was that there was a microscopic pterodactyl living inside her ear, which when she was reading would not allow her to hear the dinner bell. Since then, she has used drama and creative writing to tell other stories which have reached out to many people. Her first time on stage was at age 4 in the kindergarten circus musical, in which she desperately wanted to be a ballerina, but was made to wear a hairy bear suit instead. Since then she has played several human acting roles, and appeared as an educational speaker and performance poet on many occasions. She believes in art as a tool for change and reform. She also knows that anyone can heal when they express themselves through art. Deborah will continue to write, perform and teach as long as she exists.


POOJA (poet)
Pooja Nansi is a teacher and poet who believes in the power that speech and performance can lend to the written word. Her first collection of poetry "Stiletto Scars" was published in 2007 at the Singapore Writer's Festival. She has performed and conducted workshops in several educational institutes both locally and abroad such as Kuala Lumpur and London, with individuals of different ages to try and make poetry relevant to their lives. She has also participated in poetry projects such as "Speechless" with the British Council, where she worked in conjunction with poets from London, Ireland, Taiwan, The Phillipines, Malaysia and Vietnam and engaged in a month long tour of the UK to explore issues surrounding freedom of speech. She is most passionate about using poetry as a platform to raise awareness about issues close to her heart.

 INTOXICATED (stage play)
INTOXICATED is (mostly) a comedy about love and alcohol. Trish (EARL MALLARI) is a fun-loving girl who loves to party, but has a tendency to drink a little bit too much and get into all sorts of crazy shenanigans. On one such night, her good friend Jim (GARETH PROSSER) confronts her about her apparent alcoholism. Neither Trish nor Jim is prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that is to follow.
INTOXICATED is the second play to be staged by Roofdeck Productions at the SPORE Art Salon, following the successful staging of ALL I WANT during the 9th edition in August 2011. INTOXICATED is written and directed by Ren Robles, and stars Earl Mallari and Gareth Prosser. Jason Miller is Assistant Director for this production, with Ace Bigcas as Stage Manager.

Bass trombonist Fredi Sonderegger was born and brought up in the small town of Herisau in the northeast of Switzerland. He has been a member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra for over 10 years, while holding the post of coordinator of brass studies at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and lecturer at the School of the Arts. As a soloist and clinician, he has traveled extensively throughout the South East Asia region, performing in China, Thailand, Jakarta, Taiwan, and Malaysia. He has also performed in Italy, France and Germany as well as USA. Groups he has played with include La Fenice, The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Concerto Vocale, Les Cornet Noir, GregLyon’s Omniform, the Jeremy Monteiro Big Band as well as the Brass Explosion Big Band. He has also had the opportunity to display sound installations and perform in ad hoc theater groups incorporating his music.
Fredi’s sound art has been exhibited in Singapore, Macau and Taiwan. He has also performed in ad hoc theater and in a staged solo venture. He will perform at the Jeju International Band festival in August 2012. Future projects include the making of a solo CD and tours to Australia and New Zealand.




"Mother", 7min
This film is a tribute to all mothers of the world. There are times when we may not appreciate your presence, but we will always feel your absence. Although we may not agree on everything, we thank you for your unconditional, everlasting love and dedication, for bringing us into this world and for showing us what it means to be a selfless pillar of our families.

Two little notes: Party Action
About BLOTCH Studios -

 Blotch is new, nebulous, and constantly rediscovering itself; it is emerging, growing and always seeking new grounds to conquer. It cannot be defined, cannot be contained. It is a vision, a belief, an ideology. It is a reason to fight, for all of our dreams combined. It is a group of individuals but also one.

In 2012, founding members of randomINK decided to take a new direction and bring together a group of creatives passionate in their individual fields to form a creative collective. This cumulated into Blotch Studios. Many of us previously graduated from Hwa Chong Institution's Art Elective Programme (AEP). We envision Blotch Studios as a multi-disciplinary studio that has a focus on filmmaking. Our members also dabble in creative pursuits as diverse as graphic design, photography, animation and illustration, and we see this cross-pollination of ideas and influences across art mediums as a distinctive feature of our group.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

IndigNation 2012!

Our monthly LGBT Pride Festival is back! And this year, we have a logo!

We also have a theme: looking back at our heritage. It's not reflected in all our events, but it is in some. Click on the link to see the calendar properly:

Specific timings for each of our events is listed here. I've curated two events this time. Come come come.
 Gaily Ever After: Our Very Own Fairy Tales
Date: Fri 17 August
Time: 8pm
Venue: BooksActually, 9 Yong Siak Street
Sit down for an evening of storytelling with four queer Singaporean writers, each bearing a fairy tale with a gay twist. Featuring Ng Yi-Sheng, Cyril Wong, Tania de Rozario and Anila Angin.

ContraDiction 8: Our Very Own Literature
Date: Sat 25 August
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: The Reading Room, 21 Tanjong Pagar Road #04-01 (old MOX bar)
Our annual queer literary evening is back, with a new focus! Listen to some of Singapore's oldest works of queer literature from the 1980s, as well as works by our youngest writers from the 2010s. Featuring Ovidia Yu, Joel Tan, NUS Poet-in-Residence Jay Bernard and many more.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lit Up Singapore 2012 and the Party Action People

I'd like to take the opportunity to plug yet another literary event I'm involved in:

It's a youth literary arts festival organised by Word Forward, Singapore's main performance poetry group. It's running from Sun 22 to Sun 29 July at Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC), the soon-to-be-demolished building at 182 Cecil Street  Singapore 069547. 
The website's at, and the Facebook page is here. We're also non-profit, so we're raising funds via a Rockethub page. There'll be shows, workshops, exhibitions, bazaars. Come come come.

Self-servingly, I'd like to promote the two Lit Up events that I'm performing in, namely:

 TAPAC Courtyard, 4:30-7pm, Sun 22 July

Besides being a wonderful place to mingle, this is where we'll be debuting the Party Action People, a spoken word troupe made up of Marc Nair, Lee Jing Yan, Nabilah Husna, Deborah Emmanuel, Zuni Chong, Abel Koh, Charlene Shepherdson and myself. (Our bit is only half an hour long, and it'll come on around 5pm.)

2) National Poetry Slam
TAPAC Courtyard, 7-9pm, Sun 29 July
Hopefully I'm gonna compete at this year's slam - mostly because Marc's told us he wants to have a good, strong show to close off the festival. Must create three new poems; will inevitably be beaten hollow by someone else.

If you're in Singapore, hope you can come!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'm going to the Makassar International Writers Festival 2012!

It's started already - in fact, I was supposed to go yesterday but Garuda Airlines rescheduled my flight. (I complained and they compensated me by upgrading me to business class, so I can't be that mad at them. Also, I'm now wondering if they informed me by phone while I was half-asleep.)

The website's here, btw. And Makassar is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, located here:

 I've been invited by Lily Yulianti Farid, whom I bonded with at festivals in Ubud and Singapore in 2009. She writes in Bahasa Indonesia: the volume below is Lontar's excellent translation.

Other folks I know (or have read) who'll be at the festival: slammer Omar Musa (AU), short story writer Xu Xi (HK), memoirist Bernice Chauly (MY), poet Jennifer Mackenzie (AU) and Elizabeth Pisani (US), the fabulous HIV activist and author of The Wisdom of Whores.

I'm afraid I don't know the Indonesians. But I'll get to know them! (As long as they speak *some* English. Malu lah, gua tak boleh cakap bahasa nasional Singapura.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

SPORE Art Salon tomorrow!!!

Hope you'll come! I'm co-hosting!

AGAINST all heat this May, a beautiful line up of musicians, a poet, a singer, a filmmaker, and a never-seen-before first-time Super-enthusiastic model to pose for drawing has come together and fallen in place pretty nicely and in a timely manner to boot! We had an absolute blast in the month of April and there's no expecting what might be different this time around... so come join us on 29 May to find out!! See you then!

WHERE: BluJaz Cafe, 3rd Storey (12 Bali Lane)
WHEN: Tuesday 29 May 2012, 7:30PM onwards

FB Event Page :


SPORE Art Salon is a non-profit initiative created for visual artists to meet, mingle, inspire, and share with performing artists. During the event, we alternate between drawing sessions with live models, and performances from musicians, contortionists, poets, dancers, actors and more. We also feature works of, and demonstrations by visual artists, individually or collaboratively.

For those who are new to the art salon, our event is modeled after world famous Giles Larrain's Art Salon in NYC, with a distinctly Singaporean twist and flavour!

There is a minimum donation of $7/person at the door, and proceeds will benefit our featured artists. The bar and kitchen will be open, so come have some drinks and dinner, meet, mingle and inspire with fellow creatives of various disciplines. Guests are encouraged to participate in the life drawing sessions in between performances, so, bring your sketch materials along!

For information on our archived editions, please visit



It's always very exciting (and nerve wrecking) to take a budding idea and trying it out for the very first time. Laura is inspired by music and the fashion movements it can inspire, and believes in using the body as visual tool for self expression. Her set aims to challenge the image of innocence by taking the whimsical and giving it a twist of grunge. She is also keen to explore the relationship between artist and the mode - whose inspiration or work of art will it be this edition?


LI LIN WEE (filmmaker)
Li Lin is known to be the most prolific female short filmmaker in Singapore with almost 10 short films under her belt. Most of them award winners, in 2005, Li Lin’s short film “Autograph Book”
was the first ever Singapore film selected for the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York. A graduate of Brown University in Rhode Island, USA with a BA in Art Semiotics, Li Lin also spent a semester in Tisch-NYU doing “Sight and Sound”, an intensive filmmaking production course. She recently completed her MFA in Dramatic Writing at Tisch Asia on a Media Education Scheme Scholarship.

Earlier this year, Li Lin received the honorary award from the Singapore Short Film Awards for her outstanding contribution to the Singapore short film scene. Li Lin has made two feature films, the critically acclaimed “GONE SHOPPING” in 2007 which was partially funded by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board and well received “FOREVER” in 2011 which was funded by the MDA’s New Feature Film Fund and supported by Iceberg Design.



COLD SHOULDER (soundmakers)
Hi, we are Cold Shoulder. We love making sounds. Sometimes it resembles music. Ask us anything but what we play, because most days we aren't sure. Whatever it is, we sincerely hope we're going somewhere with this. Thank you for having us, SPORE Art Salon!

AMBER LIN (poet)
Amber enjoys being a contradiction. You could probably spot her screaming at zombies, or strangling adorable stuffed toys. She considers herself pretty well adjusted to the strict eduction system in Singapore, but outside the lines of social expectations and traditions, she's found various shades of her personality that just can't be ignored.

Amber strongly believes that dancing, singing and writing have helped her keep sane and loves telling, and being told, stories of any medium. She hopes that one day, she'll see the Northern Lights, Love will hold her hand and people will stop asking her why she dislikes chocolate. Currently studying performance in Lasalle College of the Arts, she tries her best to be a good student, daughter, friend and human being.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reviews for Lan Fang Chronicles

They've come in from the Business Times and TODAY - sadly, the Straits Times and Flying Inkpot haven't reviewed us yet, even though we were the only opening show in the Singapore Arts Festival that actually runs through the entire festival and thus really could benefit through ticket sales...

"LFC may seem, in its presentation, deceptively straightforward (give or take a few dramatic flourishes) but that’s what I liked about it. Without shoving things in our faces, it nevertheless manages to evoke a sense of mystery and I left the site full of wonder." -Mayo Martin, TODAY/For Arts' Sake, 20 May 2012

"If history could be taught this way, a lot more people would be interested in their local history. ...By approaching Lan Fang as an artist and reconstructing knowledge out of memoirs, records, interviews and suppositions, he [Choy Ka Fai] encourages us to imagine, thus bringing to life what he calls the Chronicles of Disappearance, of the Lan Fang's Republic's history." Cheah Ui-Hoon, Business Times, 22 May 2012

 Also something from a site called Photojournalist! (A lot of spoilers, though.)

"The 兰芳记 Lan Fang Chronicles 2012 (Installation Performance) is highly recommended and I strongly encourage all of you reading this post to watch it there!"

 Hope more press comes over the next weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'll be promoting The New Village in Southern College, Johor, on Sunday, 12pm!

Hoe Fang from Ethos Books is driving us up. The poet and some academics will be speaking. I'm afraid that's all I know so far.

Monday, May 07, 2012


I'm one of the collaborators for a multimedia-installation-performance arty-interactive theatre experience called THE LAN FANG CHRONICLES!

It's being performed as part of the Singapore Arts Festival. Please come!

Director: Choy Ka Fai
Date: Fri 18 May-Sun 2 Jun, 7pm (3:30pm matinees on selected dates)
Venue: Ying Foh Kuan (Shuang Long Shan) 9 Commonwealth Lane, Singapore 149551
Tickets: $25 from Sistic

The Lan Fang Republic was the first democratic state in Southeast Asia. It began as an independent settlement of Hakka Chinese gold miners in Western Borneo, and it lasted from 1777 until 1884. It bears more than a few similarities to another struggling republic that we're familiar with.

This performance, taking place on the grounds of a Hakka Clan Association, uses both historical fact and fiction to bring this forgotten civilisation to life.

It's arisen out of a project by acclaimed multimedia artist and theatre director Choy Ka Fai, a marvellous fellow with whom I've collaborated on the theatre projects V.I.S.T.A Lab and Reservoir. An early version of this was previously presented as an installation/project at the Singapore Art Museum.

There are loads of cool collaborators in this - playwrights Zizi Azah and Robin, actors Pat Toh, Najib Soiman, Rizman Putra, Yak Aik-Wee, Bright Ong, Serene Chen and Nora Samosir. (They're not all on stage on the same nights, so you may want to come multiple nights!)
Here's a Vimeo preview, and more info from Ka Fai's website.

Come come come come!
P.S. We're also doing a talk at Library@Esplanade, this Saturday 2-3:30pm!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Writing the City: Spoken Word Performance, Sat 26 May

I'm performing my poems as part of the Singapore Arts Festival! It's part of an event organised by the British Council.

Here's the text, in case you're lazy to click:

Come down to Singapore Arts Festival Village on Saturday, 26 May for an evening of performance and poetry. Surrounding the theme of 'Our Lost Poems', the Writing the City Spoken Word will delve into the world of hidden myths and forgotten memories. The event will feature readings and performances by guest poet Ng Yi-Sheng, as well as the winning shortlisted entries of Writing the City's 'Our Lost Poems' Competition. For more information, log on to or email

 Date: Sat 26 May 2012
Venue: Black Box, Festival Village @ Esplanade Park
Timing: 6.30-8.30pm
Duration: 2 hours
Admission: Free

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two European films I have tangential relationships with
I've decided to do Bhutan before Nepal, and Treasures of the Thunder Dragon took me a little longer to pick up from the library. So I'll observe today with a plug for two European films.

1) The first one is Irish/British/Singaporean - Joe and Christine Lawlor's Civic Life: Tiong Bahru, documenting what's currently Singapore's hippest neighbourhood. The whole film's just been uploaded to Vimeo! (Sorry if the embed isn't working... don't know how to fix it on my display.)

TIONG BAHRU from Desperate Optimists on Vimeo.

2) The second one is My Name is Janez Janša, and it's by the three Slovenian artists who had their names legally changed to be the same as that of the right-wing Prime Minister of Slovenia. I got filmed by two of the Janezes at the last Flying Circus Project, in Cambodia. (This is why their lineup looks so multiethnic.)

My Name Is Janez Jansa (excerpt #11) from aksioma on Vimeo.

I've been informed by them that the film needs funding, because it's under attack by their government. Support it by donating money over here.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

SPORE Art Salon on Tuesday!

As usual, 7:30pm to mingle; 8pm for the actual show; Blu Jaz Cafe 11 Bali Lane.

This month we're featuring the gorgeous performance poet Deborah Emmanuel, the storyteller Ansel Ashby, gay activist Roy Tan as our drawing model, and my personal friend Don Shiau in his comeback to songwriting and musical performance.

More info here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Singapore Uncensored: A Panel on the Yale-NUS controversy

I'm speaking via Skype on this panel, specifically on the issue of gay rights in Singapore, though I should also be dropping a few lines on academic freedom. Unfortunately, it's a closed door event at Yale University, in New Haven.

Date: Thursday April 19, Luce Hall
Time: 4pm (i.e. Fri 4 am Singapore time!)
Co-sponsored by the Malaysian and Singaporean Association, and the Council on Southeast Asian Studies

Leave questions at

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A whole bunch of news this week!

1) I've been given a shout-out in my sister Ng E-Ching's op-ed on the Yale-NUS controversy:

Not sure if I agree with the spirit of everything she says, but it's quite true that most of us live with a certain cognitive dissonance for the sake of pragmatism.

2) This Saturday night my poems are featured in The Art of Rebellion, an art exhibition at a shophouse, organised by poet Amanda Lee's design house studioKALEIDO. They're haiku based on on Chinese idioms, also known as 成语 (chengyu).

Date and Time: Sat 14 Apr - Sat 22 Apr, 2-8pm, opening 7-11pm on 14 Apr
Address: Unit 11 Lorong 24A, Geylang, Singapore 398535.

April in Unit 11, The Lorong 24A Shophouse Series
24 artists and 3 poets execute a contemporary exploration of Chinese culture; a play on the power of idiomatic suggestion.

The Art of Rebellion ▷ visual interpretations of idioms ▷
eeshaun / winnie goh / ben qwek / adeline tan / brick / xiaobao / antz / kittozutto / xiao yan / zxerokool / roy wang / michy witchy / messymsxi / tiffany tan / sun lee / pigologist / xinjie / leonard wee / cleo / kristal melson / XOTL / pamm hong / zhao renhui / SUSEJ

The Wanderlust of Words ▷ idiomatic haiku scrolls ▷
ng yi-sheng / amanda lee / rebecca toh

Opening night: 14/4, 7-11pm
feat. DJs
pamm hong / sarah chan / troupemaster / nat h.

Exhibition week: 15/4 - 22/4, 2-8pm

42Below / The Lorong 24A Shophouse Series / Pocket Projects / Orita Sinclair

3) Of course, there's the book launch of The New village on Friday too. Seeya there!

More info here:

Monday, April 09, 2012

"The New Village" has been published!

Aka the book of poetry about the Malayan Communist Emergency that I translated from Mandarin to English. Come on down for the launch this Friday!

Date: Friday 13 April
Time: 8-945pm
Venue: Living Room, The Arts House

I probably won't be speaking much - focus will be on the poet Wong Yoon Wah - but I should be performing some of my translated work. I'm pretty damn proud of it. :D

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lines of Flight Literary Festival, Sat 17 March

Hi everyone,

NTU is holding the Lines of Flight Literary Festival. to promote our creative writing program. The event will take place this coming Saturday afternoon, 17 March.

The festival is a day-long celebration of creative writing at NTU, featuring performances, workshops, readings, panel discussions, and an open mic evening. Special guests include the NTU/NAC Singapore Writing Residents Timothy O’Grady, Grace Chia Krakovic and myself.

Please consider stopping by! More details at the link below.

The whole event takes place from 11am to 7:30pm, and I'm on two panels:

2PM: Panel Body and voice:performing writing, writing for performance.Readings, performance and discussion by Jay Bernard (poet),Quah Sy Ren (playwright), Ng Yi-Sheng (poet, playwright), Jocelyn Chua (playwright,performer)

3.15PM: Panel Lyric sounds: music and the line. Readings and discussion by Grace Chia Krakovic (poet), Jen Crawford (poet); Kristina Marie Tom (poet) Ng Yi-Sheng (poet,playwright)

And I'm running a 4:30 Creative Non-Fiction workshop! Seeya there!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Turns out I'm judging Poiesis tonight.

Just got asked. Here's the website, and here's the info!

Poiesis-Play Poetry Slam
Date: 2 March 2012
Location: The Arts House-The Hall
Time: 7:30pm
Nearest MRT: City Hall / Clarke Quay

{POIESIS} Play Poetry Slam™ is a one night-only ticketed event, hosted by veteran theatre actress Karen Tan, that plays up the performance element of a poetry slam, to increase accessibility and interest in the literary arts amongst young adults.

Young, budding poet-performers are selected through an open call to create original poetry pieces inspired by themes of escapism and the blurring of the lines between reality and illusion and the power of imagination.

These poet-performers, who may perform individually, in pairs, or in groups of three, will draw on staging techniques such as dialogue and movement to enhance the reading.

The 3-8 minute ‘mini poetry plays’ will be judged by random audience members and literary and performance experts, with the overall winner receiving mentorship and further performance opportunities with Word Forward.

So come down for an interesting night of poetry and fun!

As part of the i-AM Festival 2012 in conjunction with The LASALLE Show 2012, Project Ecclesia would like to present Poiesis, a poetry meets-theatre performance.

In partnership in the Word Forward and proud first time sponsors of the arts, SpecTech Engineering Pte Ltd.

Ticket Prices: $10 for students
- $12 for adults
- $15 at the door

*All tickets come with a complimentary drink