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?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lan Fang Chronicles has opened!

This seems like a good time to post some pics of the performers:

Serene Chen doing the Prologue.

Loke Meng Chue in the Memoirs of the Visitors.

Najib Soiman in The Epic Poem of the Kongsi Wars.

Bright Ong in The De Groot Collection.

Yak Aik-Wee in The Archivists' Room.

These were taken during a dress rehearsal - the photos have since been put up on the wall.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'll be promoting "The New Village" at Southern College, Johor, on Sunday, 4pm!

Hoe Fang from Ethos Books is driving us up. The poet and some academics will be speaking. I'm afraid that's all I know so far.

Monday, May 07, 2012


I'm one of the collaborators for a multimedia-installation-performance arty-interactive theatre experience called THE LAN FANG CHRONICLES!

It's being performed as part of the Singapore Arts Festival. Please come!

Director: Choy Ka Fai
Date: Fri 18 May-Sun 2 Jun, 7pm (3:30pm matinees on selected dates)
Venue: Ying Foh Kuan (Shuang Long Shan) 9 Commonwealth Lane, Singapore 149551
Tickets: $25 from Sistic

The Lan Fang Republic was the first democratic state in Southeast Asia. It began as an independent settlement of Hakka Chinese gold miners in Western Borneo, and it lasted from 1777 until 1884. It bears more than a few similarities to another struggling republic that we're familiar with.

This performance, taking place on the grounds of a Hakka Clan Association, uses both historical fact and fiction to bring this forgotten civilisation to life.

It's arisen out of a project by acclaimed multimedia artist and theatre director Choy Ka Fai, a marvellous fellow with whom I've collaborated on the theatre projects V.I.S.T.A Lab and Reservoir. An early version of this was previously presented as an installation/project at the Singapore Art Museum.

There are loads of cool collaborators in this - playwrights Zizi Azah and Robin, actors Pat Toh, Najib Soiman, Rizman Putra, Yak Aik-Wee, Bright Ong, Serene Chen and Nora Samosir. (They're not all on stage on the same nights, so you may want to come multiple nights!)
Here's a Vimeo preview, and more info from Ka Fai's website.

Come come come come!
P.S. We're also doing a talk at Library@Esplanade, this Saturday 2-3:30pm!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Writing the City Spoken Word Performance Sat 26 May

I'm performing my poems as part of the Singapore Arts Festival! It's part of an event organised by the British Council.

Here's the text, in case you're lazy to click. And yeah, I know my name's misspelt. What to do?

Come down to Singapore Arts Festival Village on Saturday, 26 May for an evening of performance and poetry. Surrounding the theme of 'Our Lost Poems', the Writing the City Spoken Word will delve into the world of hidden myths and forgotten memories. The event will feature readings and performances by guest poet Ng Yi-Sheng, as well as the winning shortlisted entries of Writing the City's 'Our Lost Poems' Competition. For more information, log on to or email

 Date: Sat 26 May 2012
Venue: Black Box, Festival Village @ Esplanade Park
Timing: 6.30-8.30pm
Duration: 2 hours
Admission: Free

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Texts April 2012

I've been posting with surprising frequency this past month! Let's see if I can keep it up.

+Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games”, “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay”

=David Kraal’s “The Devil in Me”
=Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck’s “Treasures of the Thunder Dragon: A Portrait of Bhutan” 

+“The Tibetan Book of the Dead”

=Sonny Liew’s “Malinky Robot”
+“Liquid City Volume 2” =Gene Ha and Peter David's “1602: A New World and Fantastick Four” 

+Gary Ross’s “The Hunger Games”

=LaSalle’s “Middletown”
+3 Tigers’ “Song of the Brokenhearted Tiger”
=NYU Tisch Asia’s “Against the Grain”
+Cake Theatre’s “Decimal Points 7.7”
+W!ld Rice’s “Romeo and Juliet”
+Singapore Repertory Theatre’s unge“Twelfth Night”

+The National Museum’s “In the Mood for Cheongsam”
Eko Prawoto’s “Garbha”
=Brahma Tirta Sari Batik Studio’s “Sarong”
+Singapore Art Museum’s “Panorama”

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Eating chocolate is probably okay for your dog.

Having trouble with Facebook, so just gonna blog this instead: "Looking at a range of human weights between 60 kilograms to 100 kilograms, consuming between 54 and 91 bars Scharffen Berger 82% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate would allow an individual to reach the LD50 for humans. That's seven kilograms of chocolate for a person weighing 60 kilograms and 12 kilograms for someone weighing 100 kilograms. Eating 12% of your body weight in chocolate is an unusual way to shuffle off this mortal coil, but possible. A phenomenal amount of milk chocolate is necessary to harm even smaller dogs. Thanks to the enormous amount of chocolate necessary to put your dog in danger, I would argue that you are more likely to die from a theorbromine overdose than your canine pal."