Thursday, May 31, 2007

Death be Not Loud

Today I participated in a panel discussion at the Creative Arts Programme Seminar at LT13: as alumni of the programme, me, Alfian, Qian Xi and Nicholas Wong (a very precocious 18 year-old Malaysian writer) read our works and jabbered a bit about the importance of speaking truth to power, etc. Nothing terribly unusual. An MOE lady hogged our slot, so we only had about 15 minutes to discuss the Role of the Writer Today.

Anyhow, I'd read my "Loud Poem", wincing at how hackneyed this old work of 1999 had become. The kids loved it as usual. and applauded during the bits where I forgot the lines. I seem to have cultivated this strange absent-minded boy-in-grown-up's body persona.

And then after the event, a girl came up to me and thrust this note into my hand. It was written on blank printing paper, labelled: "MR NG YI SHENG" on the front, and folded into eight.

"Your loud poem saved my life - recovering from one strange cancer and (thankfully wrongly) diagnosed with a debilitating sort of leukemia and scared and failing at school and tired and stupid, I saw someone looking at me with concern I did not want and took out a book (ONEwinged) and opened it at random and saw tictic tictic tictic BOOM - and it captured my small teenage mind and helped me up again.

Thank you."

[not sure if I should write down her name].

Yow. It's very, very strange to think I might have been an inspiration. I'm immensely grateful to this girl for letting me know that my writing - no matter how jaded I feel about it - can make a difference.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Georgette: the musical

Time to promote my upcoming musical, based on the life of pioneer Singapore artist Georgette Chen!

It was developed by Musical Theatre Ltd under their Five-Foot Broadway programme, scored by Clement Yang (with arrangements by Chris Nolan and Esther Yang), and is being directed by Lee Yew Moon. It was given a thumbs-up by a panel of theatre luminaries - see here.

Esplanade Recital Studio
7:30pm [corrected from 8pm!]
Sat 9 and Sun 10 June 2007
For tickets, click here.

Of course, some of my avant-garde artsy friends have chided me for elevating such a conventional oil painter adverse to innovation, reliant on personal charm and connections for her success - but I like her paintings, dammit. And I'm a sucker for a strong woman.

Go watch; it's not groundbreaking, but it's quite nice.

UPDATE: Just posted this on my personal blog - am going flyering with director Yew Moon tomorrow morning. Had to cancel the 3pm show cos not enough people were buying tickets. (Hint hint)

Friday, May 25, 2007

I 8 N Y

Not quite as colourful as the selection of what I ate in Thailand, but a colourful selection nonetheless. Had to leave out the shish kabob and the pork chop smothered in onions as that would've brought it over a square number.

Btw, if you want Wisconsin comfort cooking in Brooklyn, look no further than Schnack, a lovely little joint on 122 Union St whose proprietor Harry Hawk fed me like a king. Fish po-boys, kielbasa dogs, Jeshua's recipe wings with bitter root beer. Nom nom nom. See
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Onion speaks truth!!!!

Although it's fake news, the article very accurately describes the reactions of authors on rereading juvenilia. Cf. "Hungry". ;P

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Old lovers

Sorry I haven't been posting a while. Was depressed shortly after I came back from New York.

I'm back on track now, but not only do I miss the place - I'm also acutely aware of the fact that it may be the city where I'm most likely to find romantic fulfilment. Full of beautiful, talented young men. Some of whom actually remember me as vividly as I remember them.

Okay and now they're going to kick my ass for posting their pics online. I'll forebear from describing their individual names and stories unless you ask me in person. They're all amazing in their own rights and I have very different relationships with each of them. Mum for now.
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Friday, May 18, 2007

last boy @ the Singapore Book Club

I'm being presented at the Singapore Book Club soon! Kristina Tom is speaking and Robert Yeo is facilitating.

18 May 2007
Earshot Cafe @ The Arts House
1 Old Parliament Lane

Admission is free

I'll be getting some pre-event publicity on LIVE 93.8FM in an interview with deejay Mr Eugene Loh on Monday 14 May, 1:45-2pm. Tune in if you give a shit. :)

UPDATE: Eugene's event went quite well, even though the mere mention of homosexuality is taboo, just like religion and feng shui (they mentioned me as the author of "251", "last boy", "Eating Air" but conspicuously NOT "SQ21". Hmmmph.

UPUPDATE: I'm pretty pleased with the way tonight went - although the gathering was small and my reading was uneven (and interrupted!), it was comfortable and intimate and Kristina Tom is a GREAT speaker; she illuminated aspects of my poetry that I barely knew existed and even took the trouble to articulate the context in which the work appeared in the Singapore poetry scene. Hoopla.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Visa Card advertisement which I lerrrve

The simple fact is, Takeru Kobayashi and Sonya Thomas are two of my minor idols. They transform the apparently chaotic, animal process of mass feeding into poetry, and they stay skinny doing it too.

Yes, yes, I know that it portrays a stereotyped image of Asians in America as secret kung fu warriors, and that not all convenience store cashiers are stunningly tall and handsome Latinos who understand Japanese.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


This Saturday I'll be doing a reading of poems from "last boy" as well as my slam repertoire at the Singapore Art Cafe in Library@Esplanade. Of course, copies of the book will be on sale. Hope people can drop by!

Saturday May 5

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Texts of April 2007

Amazingly, due to my habit of leafing through short books while on vacation (especially art books, which are mostly pictures and are thus less taxing on the brain), I've ended up breaking the 30 books in 30 days barrier - and that's even if you discount the children's books I mused on at the Strand. Sure, hardly any of these are of a significant length, but it still feels good to look back on the buffet of text and pretty pixels that has been my more-than-daily fare.

Boey Kim Cheng's "After the Fire"
Bei Dao's "Unlock"
+Ciaran Carson's "The Twelfth of Never"
James Houlihan's "Thirty-one Superior Poems of Our Time"
James Thomas Stevens's "Combing the Snakes from His Hair"
+Tim Dufrisne's "Nosedive"
+Louise Glück's "Averno"

+Dai Sijie's "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress"
+John Cleland's "Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure"

+Ngugi Wa'Thiongo's "The Black Hermit"
+Elangovan's "Smegma"
+Louis de Bernières's "Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World"
Jean-Baptiste Molière's "Le médecin malgré lui"

+Dana Lam's "Days of Being Wild"
+"FOCAS 5"
+Simon Blackburn's "Lust"

Wee Tian Beng's "The Celestial Zone 14: An Onerous Battle" and "The Celestial Zone 25: The Xue Ling Union"
+Frank Miller's "300"
Lynn Johnston's "David, We're Pregnant!"
+Tim Fish's "Calvacade of Boys" and "Young Bottoms in Love"

+Banksy's "Wall and Piece"
David La Chapelle's "Heaven to Hell"
+"David Hilliard", photographs
Slava Mogutin's "Lost Boys"
+"Mark Morrisroe", photographs
+Christopher Makos's "Exhibitionism"
"Anna Gaskell", photographs
+Yumi Yamaguchi's "Warriors of Art: A Guide to Contemporary Japanese Artists"

Maurice Sendak's +"Where the Wild Things Are" and "Bears"
Amos Vogel's "How Little Lori Visited Times Square"
+Kasper Hauser's "Skymaul"

+Toy Factory's "251"
+The Finger Players's "0501"
W!ld Rice's "Blithe Spirit"
Terence McNally's "Deuce"
Personal Space Theatrics's "Myth America"
+The Bowery Poetry Club's "Urbana Tuesday Night Poetry Slam"
The Nuyorican Poets Café's "Slam Open"
+"Altar Boyz"
Nosedive Productions's "Suburban Peepshow"
+The New York Neo-Futurists' "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind"
+Young-Jean Lee's "Church"

Joshua Yang's "Superstring Theory"
The Museum of the American Indian's "Off the Map" and +"Indigenous Motivations"
+"Leonardo Drew" at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
"Eva Rothschild" at 303 Gallery
+"Chen Qiulin" at Max Protetch
+Powerhouse Arena's "The Male Gaze"
The Guggenheim Museum's "The Shape of Space" and "The Hugo Boss Prize: Tacita Dean"
The Bronx Museum of the Arts's "Here and Elsewhere"
+The Brooklyn Museum's "Global Feminisms"
+Devorah Sperber's "The Eye of the Artist"
+Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party"
+The remnants of an auction at Exit Art

Elia Kazan's "East of Eden"
Shawn Levy's "Night at the Museum"
The second half of John Turteltaub's "National Treasure"
Stanley Kubrick's "Space Odyssey: 2001"
Atsushi Funahashi's "Big River"
+Several nights of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report"