Thursday, December 06, 2012

Microcosmos/Archiving Cane: Opening this Thursday!

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, Thu 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

Book launch in Kuala Lumpur tonight!

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.

(And then on Sunday I'm going for Art For Grabs at the Annexe Gallery. Awesome.)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Perfection of 10, Fri 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.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Why Pixar Movies Are All Secretly About the Apocalypse

I'm a huge fan of AfterHours, this web video series at Cracked that's intent on over-analysing pop culture until it hurts. This is their latest. Watch it:

Then read the expansion of the premise by contributor VonMonocle:

Watched the video, read the comments, and I think we can put all of this together (GIGANTIC wall of text to follow, so… sorry about that):

Brave sets the whole deal in motion (magic turns people into animals and all that). It’s also set in ancient times, so we’ll have from then until the present day for sentient, intelligent “people creatures” to interbreed with their new parent species and evolve a world where smart animals and insects are the norm (it wouldn’t happen that fast if at all, but hey, magic). Somewhere along the way, magic dies out and becomes relegated to superstition and folklore and people forget about a time when some creatures were just like us. The creatures themselves descend into hiding for the purposes of self-preservation.

Skip ahead to Ratatouille, and we see the animals tentatively poking out of hiding to test the waters, so to speak. The experiment seems to go well in the small, controlled environment of the movie, but it couldn’t be long before the idea of smart creatures ignites mass panic and some sort of cover-up on the part of the humans. The creatures go back into hiding, now a little more resentful of us. It’s also important to note here that while the creatures possess human-level intelligence, this movie establishes that they can’t communicate with us via speech.

Now we get to The Incredibles, as people begin to develop super powers. I’d put this further on, but the whole movie had a retro vibe to it, so it most likely took place before the events of Toy Story. Also, it introduces us to the first conceptual AI, which represents a massive leap in technological development and could then explain the sentient toys later on.

The Toy Story trilogy takes place simultaneously with A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo, in the present day. In the trilogy, we see it well established that the AI programs have come to love humans and want us to be happy, while the creature movies clearly portray humans as apathetic antagonists at best. The battle lines are drawn.

Up could represent the final straw and the spark that would ignite the war. By developing a harness to allow communication with animals (who are already established as intelligent) it could be that the harness has the unintended side effect of essentially lobotomizing the creature, thus the relative stupidity of the dog when compared to, say, Ratatouille. However from the perspective of the humans, it would represent a HUGE step forward, so we would immediately set about harnessing every animal we could in an effort to communicate better. The creatures see this as nothing short of genocide, and they fight back. But as their presence become known, the AI machines rise up to protect us from the onslaught.

The first shots in the Machines vs. Monsters war are fired.

Now, even with the machines on our side, it’s pretty easy to believe that if every species of animal and insect simultaneously rose up against us, they’d wipe us out pretty quick, even with super heroes fighting with us. Hence the creation of the star ship that sends what remains of humanity into space to live happy and carefree lives, while the machines remain behind to deal with the monsters.

In the time it takes the machines to win the war, the monsters have continued to evolve. As they are pushed back further and further, they find a way to open a portal to a different dimension to escape, but not before swearing revenge against the humans somewhere down the road. So they dedicate their entire society in the new dimension to making technology powered by the screams of children in order to attack the humans while also perverting the technology that protected and saved them. They then use the portals to go back in time to before the War and harvest the screams of human children, hence Monsters Inc. The end of that movie could actually be seen as the legitimate end of the war, as the Monsters forget why they seem to hate us so much and focus on using laughter to gain energy instead.

Meanwhile, the machines win the ground war, and the cars emerge as the dominant machine race, ruling the planet until they screw everything up via pollution. This could start a civil war between them and the other machines, the aftermath of which leaves the planet in shambles, and the humans are completely forgotten in space until WALL-E finds them and brings them home.

There. Done.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Draw Something!

I've been wanting to bring up something for a while: I am AWESOME at Draw Something, and I don't have nearly enough people to play with. 

If you play regularly, add me! My username is ng.yisheng, and I *never* spell my word out.

I have more pics in my Tinypic folder.

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.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

I'm trying to get back in the habit of writing prose.

So I wrote the following mess on

Once upon a time, there was a woman who lived inside a coral-studded chamber on the peaks of Mount Ophir. You may think it is very curious indeed that she lived in a coral-studded chamber on a mountain, but you see, she was a sorceress, and very clever indeed. She had expressed a great desire to see the pink fronds of coral waving from her ceilings and walls, and had therefore conjured a spell in order to sink Mount Ophir into the South China Sea for approximately nine years, during which she would commute from her cave to her high-rise office using scuba gear. Over the nine long years (approximately), she was pleased to see the molluscs gingerly latching onto her home and sprouting their tendrils, sinking in their fleshy roots and extending their arms like yoga practitioners practising their sun salutations in a place where there was indeed no sun. Of course, it was troublesome, eating, sleeping and defecating in scuba gear, but she was certain that as soon as her chamber was redecorated with marine life, everything would be worth it. The increase in property value alone, she reminded herself, as she discreetly pooped through a tube, not to mention the sheer aesthetic pleasure thereof.

What she could not abide, of course, were the tiny tropical fish that kept darting between the coral fronds: clownfish and seahorses and sea dragons and assorted other vertebrates, neon-coloured and rock-shaped things which defied classification according to her Srivijayan grimoires and bestiaries. Butterflies are butterflies, she scolded them, fish are fish; creatures of the ocean should never attempt to imitate the insectine flowers of the air. Whenever she was in a particularly bad mood, as for example on the occasion when she stained her pantaloons and everybody at the New Years Office Party happened to see when she sat on the Xerox machine, and she had gone home soused in cheap champagne in disgrace only to find a festival of blacklight minnows cavorting amidst her corals, well then, she summoned her magical demonic powers to turn the little buggers into *people*, that's right, and my, how she enjoyed watching them gasp and burble and drown at the bottom of the sea. She would have used their skulls as drinking glasses, only she found that skulls did not retain water very well, even when under the sea. She used them as coral food instead, grinding them up with her mortar and pestle, sprinkling them amongst her hungry little corals, all the while talking to them, because this is what she loved to do: she would talk to the corals, because she believed in the magical curative power of talking to plants, both for the talker and the talkee, for she did indeed believe corals to be plants, stupid thing, and she was superstitious, but then she was a sorceress, so superstition had paid off in some way. Judge not lest you yourself be judged.

Finally, the nine years came to an end. The sorceress was very happy about this, because there was this new mail boy who had come into the office, a perfect dish, a tight round bum that she would love to peg and be pegged by, oh my, and she needed an apartment to invite him over to without his getting crushed by the water pressure, and she couldn't book an overnight hotel because she was saving up for a trip to Ibiza.

So, in the middle of the night, she jitterbugged widdershins around her cauldron and said the magic words ladybug ladybug witchy woo woo, and then the whole of Mount Ophir teleported itself from the middle of the South China Sea back to, well, Mount Ophir, because places are usually named after mountains, since mountains (barring long-term geological effects and sorceresses) generally do not move.

Oh how the sorceress laughed to herself to see all the fishies and dolphins and manatees flip-floppering on her cavern floor, while the tendrils of the corals waved them goodbye. She took off her breathing apparatus and cried out the date for her Chinese New Year Party, because e-mail and Facebook invitations had not yet been invented and this was the best way of making sure all her neighbours knew.

And so came the date of her Chinese New Year party, which was a bit gratuitous because she was not even Chinese, and who should come through the door but the mail boy, as sexy as ever, dressed up in a gimp suit because he had got the date mixed up with Halloween.

The sorceress was so delighted that she jumped upon him and started making love to him there and then. But of course, the corals had not had enough seawater for several days, so they began dying and detaching themselves from the walls and plopping on the copulating couple straight off.

They say they are still there, fucking in the coral-studded cave, amidst the dead and dying (probably all dead by now) corals, while the guests chew pistachios in horror.

The moral of the story is, try to avoid pooping in a scuba suit. The End!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

July texts!

+Sunthorn Phu’s “The Story of Phra Abhai Mani”
=Bernice Chauly’s “The Book of Sins”
=A. Samad Said’s “Ballad of the Lost Map”

=“Malaysian Tales: Retold & Remixed” edited by Daphne Lee
+Donald Barthelme’s “Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby”

=Goh Boon Teck’s “Purple”

+Richard Dowden’s “Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles”

=Alison Bechdel’s “Are You My Mother?”

+Eric Darnell's “Madagascar 3”
+MacGillivray Freeman's “Arabia”

=Teater Ekamatra's “Bleeding Grace”
+The Theatre Practice's “Lao Jiu: The Musical”
=Cake Theatre's “Si Ti Kay”
Buds Youth Theatre's “The Coffin Is Still Too Big for the Hole”
Amrita Arts' “Para-Human”
+The Common Folk's “Paper Men”
+Deborah Emmanuel and Lee Jing Yan's “The City of Letting Go”
+W!ld Rice's “La Cage aux Folles”

+Singapore Art Museum's  "Not Against Interpretation: Re-staging Jason Lim & Vincent Leow’s A Flog of Birdies in the 21st Century"

+Justin Lee's "The Paper Ball"
+Jendela Art Space's "Our Places, Our Stories"
+Peranakan Museum's “Emily of Emerald Hill: Singapore Identity on Stage”

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.

By night, Stella Chung is a flapper in mourning. By day, she's a writer, producer, and performer who answers to the name "Teh Su Ching".

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!

Monday, July 02, 2012

PinkDot 2012!

I actually changed my flight from the USA to make sure I could attend this. Manned the IndigNation booth and then helped to clean up rubbish afterwards.

My sister came too - parents couldn't be convinced, but my mum did lend my sister a pink T-shirt.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

June texts!

Did a lot of reading overseas, as you can see!

+Lily Yulianti Farid’s “Family Room”
=Shehan Karunatilaka's “The Legend of Pradeep Mathew”

=“Theater of Memory: The Plays of Kalidasa”
+George Bernard Shaw’s “The Doctors’ Dilemma”
+Lynn Nottage’s “Ruined”

+Jonathan Haidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis"
+Felipe Fernández-Armesto’s “The Americas: A Hemispheric History”
+Aung San Suu Kyi’s “Letters from Burma”

+Penguin Great Ideas' “Writings from the Zen Masters”

+Lisa Sankar-Zhu’s “The Emperor, His Bride and the Dragon Robe”

Barry Sonnenfeld's “Men In Black III”

+TheatreWorks’s “Lear Dreaming”
+Marion D’Cruz’s “Gostan Forward”
=The Merchant Family's “Taj Express”
+I Theatre’s “Our Island”
+“Clybourne Park”
+“Shear Madness”

+URA’s “Singapore City Gallery”
+Peter Chen's "Perspectives from the Ideal City"
=The National Museum of Women in the Arts’s permanent collection, "Royalists to Romantics", "25 x 25: Artists’ Books", "Women Silversmiths" and "Mamacita Linda"
=Sister Mary Corita King's "R(ad)ical Love"
+The National Museum of the American Indian’s permanent collection, "A Song for the Horse Nation" and "Best in the World: Native Athletes in the Olympics"
+The US Botanic Garden's permanent collection and "Savage Gardens: The Real and Imaginary World of Carnivorous Plants"
+The Hirshorn Museum's permanent collection and "Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space"
+Ai Wei Wei's "Circle of Animals: Zodiac Heads"
The Sackler Museum of Asian Art’s “Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran", Perspectives: Ai Wei Wei”, “Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples”, "Xu Bing: Monkeys Grasping for the Moon"
The National Museum of African Art’s +“African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting", ="Africa Cosmos: Stellar Arts", +"Lalla Essaydi: Revisions"
The National Museum of American Art’s +permanent collection, ="African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond " and +"The Art of Video Games"
+The National Portrait Gallery’s permanent exhibition and "Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter"
+John F. Kennedy Museum and Library’s permanent exhibition
=Boston Tea Party Museum’s permanent exhibition

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.)

Friday, June 01, 2012

May Texts

I've really gotta read some poetry. Haven't for the last two months.

=Lil Bahadur Chettri’s “Mountains Painted With Turmeric”
+Shamini Flint’s “Inspector Singh Investigates: A Curious Indian Cadaver”
+Rabindranath Tagore’s “Selected Short Stories”

Chay Yew’s =“Porcelain” and +”A Language of Their Own” (reread)

=Jason Wee’s “My Suit”
+Isabella Bird’s “The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither”

+Alan Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 1969”

+Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers”
+John Madden’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
+Wee Li Lin’s “Singapore Country”

Choy Ka Fai’s “Lan Fang Chronicles” (cannot give judgment lah, I was part of it!)
+Kim Itoh’s “Bridge Café Project”
+Théatre du Centaure’s “Flux”
+Gerardo Naumann’s “Ciudades Paralelas (Parallel Cities) – Factory”
+Lola Arias’s “Ciudades Paralelas (Parallel Cities) – Hotel Maids”
+National Arts Council’s “Nan Nan Zi Yu”, “XII – In Search of 13” and “Songbird”
Slung Low’s “Pandemic: They Only Come at Night”
=Young@Heart and No Theater’s “End of the Road”
=Espaces Sonores’s “An Umbrella for 2”
+Marion D’Cruz’s “Dream Country”

=Brahma Tirta Sari Batik Studio’s “Sarong”
+Neo Kim Seng’s “Mix:Re/Tape”
+Choy Ka Fai’s “Lan Fang Chronicles”

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.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

An open letter on "Same-sex union can't be labelled 'marriage' ", Straits Times, Saturday May 19, 2012, A38.

I sent off an e-mail to journalist Andy Ho yesterday in response to his editorial piece against gay marriage. I also put it on Facebook, where it's gone viral - 900 likes and 350 shares in 14 hours! I've cleaned up the typos, added some links, and scanned in Mr Ho's original article. (It's actually a fairly complex viewpoint, not vitriolically homophobic at all - well worth reading. Click the text version or the scanned version to read it.)

Dear Mr Andy Ho,

As a gay man, I'd like to thank you for sharing your views in your article "Same-sex union can't be labelled 'marriage'" printed in the Straits Times on Saturday May 19, p.A38. I truly appreciate the fact that you're standing up for civil unions, which is more than any other senior writer is doing so far.

However, I would not like to thank whichever editor was responsible for commissioning Adam Lee to print that huge anti-gay logo beside your editorial. It is offensively homophobic, almost inflammatorily so, just as a star and crescent crossed out would be anti-Muslim or a female symbol crossed out would be anti-woman. I think you'll agree that it misrepresents the fact that your article is a good deal more balanced than that.

I myself am in favour of same-sex marriage, and I'd like to two points in your article which I believe are problematic.

First, you draw on the idea of marriage being akin to a trademarked symbol, not unlike McDonald's or Yale University. It's not. It's a concept that's evolved over the years and is interpreted differently by different cultures. In the same way that "porridge" and "carrot cake" mean different things to people in Singapore and New York, "marriage" means different things to an 18th century Chinese merchant with ten stay-at-home wives and a 21st century Filipino household where husband and wife work in different countries for years on end.

Currently, our standard definition of marriage is a union two people make because they are in love and want to support each other. Children have little to do with it. And of course, sterile opposite-sex couples are allowed - almost encouraged - to adopt. Same-sex couples should also have that right, given that studies have shown they are equally good parents as their opposite-sex counterparts, if not better.

Also, remember that "gay marriage" is not an abstract concept: there are already ten countries in the world which allow same-sex marriage. Some people with these marriage certificates are living in Singapore. If you're attempting to limit the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples, you're pretty much trying to close the stable door after the horses have bolted.

Second, you claim that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would "tarnish [the] symbolic value" of marriage. Though this statement is too abstract to be proven right or wrong, I'd like to point out that contemporary societies which have legalised same-sex marriage have seen no harm come to opposite-sex marriage in terms of climbing divorce rates. The concept may have changed, but actual people aren't suffering.

[N.B. My original post claimed there were no greater instances of abuse and no steep declines on childbirth. I can't find stats on domestic abuse, and it seems childbirth is declining in the world anyway. Still, if these were grave problems, same-sex marriage opponents would be using them in all their diatribes.]

Once again, I'd like to thank you for your support of same-sex civil unions. As you know, this year's PinkDot is on Saturday, 30 June at Hong Lim Park. I hope you'll come. I'm going to make a large sign saying "I support civil unions" so that you can hold it for everyone to see. That is the message that Singaporeans need to hear.

Yours sincerely,

Ng Yi-Sheng
Writer, reporter and educator

Mr Ho has replied graciously and says he'll be out of the country on 30 June. Several people have pointed out that arguing for same-sex marriage or civil unions is redundant until we get rid of our sodomy laws. Good point, but when you think about it, which one wins over heterosexual hearts more - two men who want to wear tuxedos or two men who want to get naked?