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.