Keynote: Where is writing in an age of everything digital?
Writing has always evolved with the medium by which it is used for–from stone and bark, to papyrus reeds, from paper and moveable type to changing the way Man tells his stories. Where is writing now, in the midst of the digital and augmented reality revolution, and where is it headed?
I presented the
keynote address for the All In! Young Writers Festival 2018 on the topic “Where is writing in an age of everything digital?”
The session was moderated by Graham Gamble and took place on/at:
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2018
Time: 10am to 11am
Venue: The TreeTop (Function Room), *SCAPE
Check out the
My review of Philip Holden’s
Heaven Has Eyes is now up on Quarterly Literary Review Singapore:
Full marks for freshman effort
Philip Holden hits the bull’s-eye with Heaven Has Eyes
Code-switching, or alternating between languages or language varieties, is never an easy feat.
But Philip Holden makes the practice look effortless with Heaven Has Eyes, his debut collection of short stories that centre on or revolve around Singapore.
Each of the 12 texts demonstrates Holden’s keen understanding of both the Singaporean condition and the linguistic oddities that characterise the nation-state.
Whether it is portraying characters that converse using a mix of English and Singlish, or shifting between English and the various Chinese language varieties in telling each of the stories, Holden is equally at ease.
“Aeroplane”, for one, utilises an intelligent interplay of English, Mandarin and Hokkien, conveying, through the symbol of flying, themes of migration, abandonment and exile.
It is done masterfully.
Last night’s gig by Guns N’ Roses marked the end of an era.
It was a great gig; the band was tight and everyone pulled out all stops to give their all.
Kudos to Slash, especially – he was holding the act together with his instrumental pieces.
However, Axl Rose’s singing was a stark reminder of how we are all mortal.
His vocals aren’t as good as they used to be – understandably so, because of age and a lifetime of various forms of abuse.
He demonstrated a much more limited vocal range and inconsistent singing quality e.g. songs like “Sweet Child Of Mine” were pitch perfect and performed to almost album-like quality, to the note.
On other songs it was especially apparent that he was masking the decreased ability to reach a certain pitch by slurring his words or taking tonal shortcuts.
I thought this mortality was most ironically epitomised during “November Rain”, when he sang the line “nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain” and “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”:
Mama take this badge from me
I can’t use it anymore
It’s getting dark too dark to see
Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door
The performance aside, I want to detail some of the experiences for posterity, and also, in case it’s good feedback for anyone who wants to organise a concert:
The drive there was terrible.At one point, the jam along Changi Coast Road got so bad that people started getting out of their cars and running to the venue.
The organisers have to recognise that the venue has serious transportation limitations.
First, there are zero public transport options.
Second, there is only one two-lane road going in:
My sister and I were joking that LAMC Productions should’ve just should’ve organised a ferry service from Harbourfront to Changi Ferry Terminal.
With the coastal hook, it would provide gig-goers an alternative mode of transport plus get commuters there in a quicker time and with a more scenic view.
While stuck in the jam, I also had some time to think about whether we should’ve taken the shuttle bus.
Because it wasn’t mandatory, taking the shuttle bus wouldn’t have helped.
So there’s a need to give a larger incentive to get people to take the shuttle bus e.g. disallow parking at the venue, give discounts for early birds, etc.
The gig management itself was terrible.
No one collected our tickets at the door, which made me feel like we shouldn’t have bought tickets.
For Pen B tickets holders, part of the view was blocked; the organisers had erected some kind of barrier, for reasons I know not.
If you buy a more expensive VIP or Pen A ticket, you pay more to be closer to the action.
If you buy a cheaper ticket, you do so with the cognisance that you will be farther from the stage – but your view shouldn’t be blocked.
At some point in the night, they closed the token top-up counters (we could only pay using a token, which we had to top-up using cash or credit).
I had $10 left in my token and the money was non-refundable. So if there weren’t any items with which I could spend the $10, I would’ve been shorted.
I’m not sure if they had announced beforehand that top-up counters would be closed.
Even if they did, who would remember/who would want to take a break from music they wanted to listen to, just to top-up their tokens before the counter closed?
Last but not least, it seems they didn’t check the tickets.So at a later point in the night, we managed to get into Pen A because no one seemed to care.
That was the saving grace of the night – but it also made me wonder if I should’ve bought tickets at all…
LAMC Productions’ Ross Knudson breaks down what went wrong at Guns N’ Roses’ show in Singapore.