Arts Aloud – January 2018

Published on 26 December 2017

Discover how the arts have made a change in the lives of some of our fellow everyday Singaporeans.

Photo: John Heng

I’m currently simultaneously reading Crepusculario (Book of Twilight) and Then Come Back by Pablo Neruda. Neruda was my introduction to poetry and these books are particularly special. The former was the first book he published and was never available in English till this year. The latter is a cache of his lost poems, unearthed from his archives in Chile and composed on napkins, playbills, receipts and notebooks. Critics have noted that they were written in the last decades of Neruda’s life and are “of extraordinary quality”, ranking among the best of his works. From both, I learnt that the craft of poetry is only perfected with rigorous toil, from near-cradle to grave. And even for a master, it is the last strive that shines the brightest. It has inspired me to reread his works from the beginning.


“ I attended The Sound of Music with my seven-year-old daughter, Grace, who recently started violin lessons. During one of her lessons, her teacher asked if she knew the song ‘Do-Re-Me’. I didn’t really introduce the usual nursery rhymes and songs to her, so when the musical came to Singapore, I thought it would be a nice mother-daughter evening out. It was her first musical and she was so excited stepping into the theatre. My heart filled with joy as I took many peeks at Grace, sitting at the edge of her seat, nodding to the rhythm of the music, big round eyes absorbing every minute of it. At the end of the show, she wanted the CD as a souvenir. This has inspired me to introduce the classics to my kids. I’m now looking forward to The Lion King in June!”


“ I was sitting for my ‘O’ Level exams last November, but it didn’t stop me from catching the film, A Ghost Story (directed by David Lowery) at The Projector. I also attended a few sessions at the Singapore Writers Festival. I couldn’t resist the amazing line-up of writers and the uplifting feeling of meeting fellow bookworms once again! The thought of meeting some seriously awesome literary superstars — Jay Kristoff, Jay Asher, Philip Ardagh and Marie Lu — in the span of a few days was enough to make me get a Festival Pass the week it went on sale. Through the sessions, I got to learn secrets behind certain parts of their books, writing tips and more. This has inspired me to be a better writer, as well as sparked new story ideas. This year, I hope to catch more films — both independent and mainstream — and to make more art!”


“ Ever since my internship at the Malay Heritage Centre in 2015, the Malay CultureFest has been an annual thing for me. When I attended the 2017 festival last October, I discovered the beauty of the Malay-Bugis community in Singapore. During the opening ceremony, I witnessed a performance that captured the heritage and culture of the Bugis, and learnt how the community was formed and what constituted the Bugis identity. I have friends who identify themselves as Malay-Bugis, but I never got around to understanding their history and practices until then. I also learnt that heritage is not limited to folktales and history — it involves many other aspects such as traditions, practices, food, dance and language. This experience has inspired me to delve deeper in the sub-communities of the Malay world. I am a Batak, and I look forward to learning more about my own community.”


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