Inala: A Zulu Ballet (Singapore 2019)

I found this performance to be a bit mystifying. It featured the Soweto Gospel Choir and an international fusion dance group. The choir moved around and danced during the performance. Overall, I would say there was a lot of energy and movement and skill, but I felt the lack of a discernible story to tie it all together.

Continue reading Inala: A Zulu Ballet (Singapore 2019)

New Terrain / New Works featuring JY Yang at Sing Lit Station

I attended a talk on worldbuilding by Singaporean author JY Yang and took some photos and notes. My notes are not comprehensive, but are hopefully characteristic.

In keeping with Yang’s preferences, in the notes below, I have used they/them/their pronouns. (Still, being somewhat of a traditionalist in the realm of English grammar, I wish there were a distinct gender-neutral singular.)

About JY Yang (from Sing Lit Station)

After six years of writing speculative fiction, JY Yang finally finds themselves at the end of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Tensorate series, with the fourth and final volume, The Ascent to Godhood, out in July this year. As a postcolonial feminist writer who deals specifically with gender, cultural imperialism and structures of power in their work, JY Yang is currently embarking on the epic journey of crafting their first novel-length work of fiction. Described as a far-future space opera centred on the descendants of a doomed generation ship, it has giant robots, space stations under siege, emperors and hierophants, holy artifacts and faster-than-light travel. It is Joan of Arc meets Gundam.

About the Event (Worldbuilding “Lecture” at Sing Lit Station)

There were no PowerPoint slides; I can’t imagine the talk proceeding in that way. Yang was animated, spontaneous, and concise in sharing about their struggles and successes as a writer. The talk was neither wholly about worldbuilding nor off-topic, neither wholly driven by the author nor wholly driven by the audience. The chairs were filled, but there was space for everyone. It was a good-sized group, but still felt intimate. A delightful event.

Details below.
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Rosie Milne reads from Circumstance at Books Actually

Publisher Monsoon Books and bookshop Books Actually organized a reading by author Rosie Milne from her new novel Circumstance. Moderator Elaine Chiew followed up the reading with insightful commentary and questions.

See below for a bit of author Q&A and photos from the event.

Continue reading Rosie Milne reads from Circumstance at Books Actually

We Love Chinatown, We Love Geylang Serai, and We Love Serangoon Gardens by Urban Sketchers Singapore

Want to see inside? There are links to PDF samples on the publisher’s pages for We Love Chinatown, We Love Geylang Serai, and We Love Serangoon Gardens.

Our Neighbourhoods

Thus far, Urban Sketchers Singapore and Epigram Books have produced books of sketches of:

  1. Toa Payoh (November 2012)
  2. Tiong Bahru (February 2013)
  3. Bedok (April 2013)
  4. Queenstown (September 2013)
  5. Katong (April 2014)
  6. Little India (September 2014)
  7. Chinatown (May 2015)
  8. Geylang Serai (January 2016)
  9. Serangoon Gardens (January 2017)

Toa Payoh, Tiong Bahru, and Katong are sold out at the publisher.

When and Why I Read We Love Chinatown, We Love Geylang Serai, and We Love Serangoon Gardens

These are attractive locally-produced books.

Genre: non-fiction (art)
Date started / date finished:  07-Jan-19 to 07-Jan-19
Length: 96 pages
ISBN: 9789810778231, 9789814615181, 9789811700569 (paperback)
Originally published in: 2015, 2016 and 2017

We Love Queenstown, We Love Katong, and We Love Little India by Urban Sketchers Singapore

Want to see inside? There are links to PDF samples on the publisher’s pages for We Love Queenstown, We Love Katong, and We Love Little India.

Our Neighbourhoods

Thus far, Urban Sketchers Singapore and Epigram Books have produced books of sketches of:

  1. Toa Payoh (November 2012)
  2. Tiong Bahru (February 2013)
  3. Bedok (April 2013)
  4. Queenstown (September 2013)
  5. Katong (April 2014)
  6. Little India (September 2014)
  7. Chinatown (May 2015)
  8. Geylang Serai (January 2016)
  9. Serangoon Gardens (January 2017)

Toa Payoh, Tiong Bahru, and Katong are sold out at the publisher.

When and Why I Read We Love Queenstown, We Love Katong, and We Love Little India

These are attractive locally-produced books.

Genre: non-fiction (art)
Date started / date finished:  08-Dec-18 to 08-Dec-18
Length: 96 pages
ISBN: 9789810766016, 9789810766078, 9789810778217 (paperback)
Originally published in: 2013 and 2014

Sofia and the Utopia Machine by Judith Huang

I struggled to get through this debut novel. I’m kinda glad it exists, though. Singapore censorship apparently does not extend to suppressing the following kinds of sentiments in fiction:

“You think Singaporeans care about human rights? they just care about filling their stomachs and about peace and quiet, that’s all.”

More about the novel here, here and here.

When and Why I Read Sofia and the Utopia Machine

I went to an Epigram Books event involving the author and bought a signed copy there.

Genre: fiction (young-adult, political speculative fiction)
Date started / date finished:  03-Dec-18 to 08-Dec-18
Length: 261 pages
ISBN: ASIN B07KDTHQCT
Originally published in: 2018
Amazon link: Sofia and the Utopia Machine

Threelogy Lah by Casey Chen

This box set contains three folk tales told in Singlish style: The Three Little Pigs Lah, The Red Riding Hood Lah, and The Goldilocks Lah.

The plots are not very different from other adaptations of these familiar tales. The characters are not very different, except that the bears in the story of Goldilocks are not bears but wolves, a change presumably made to connect the third book with the first two. The setting for the stories is Singapore. The illustrations are a mix of drawings and photos of objects and places, and each book’s drawings are by a different artist.

The appeal of these books (in general and for me specifically) is that they use and teach Singlish dialect and slang expressions. The target audience includes both those who want to see their own dialect used for humorous effect and those who are unfamiliar with Singlish and interested in increasing their understanding of it.

See below for more details about these books.

Continue reading Threelogy Lah by Casey Chen

Book launch for The Missing Barbegazi by H.S. Norup

H.S. Norup, a fellow member of the Singapore Writers’ Group, has published her first novel, The Missing Barbegazi, with Pushkin Press.

Here she is launching her book at the atrium of the Singapore National Library during the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. She gave a presentation offering some background on the book and its characters, read an excerpt aloud, and signed and sold all the copies at the festival bookshop. It went great!

Photos below.

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Four books from LocalBooks.sg

Singapore online bookseller localbooks.sg has done some good branding work. The bubble envelope is bold and cheerful, and the books I ordered came with a friendly note on which someone had written my name, and a little word search that promotes local authors.

See below to find out which books I ordered. (They were on sale.)

Continue reading Four books from LocalBooks.sg