Poet of colour

I’ve always thought of myself in these terms (in no particular order): writer, artist, educator, editor, and so forth.

At most, I’ve included the adjective “Singaporean” in front of the first two nouns, or “based in Singapore” behind the latter two to provide a sense of context.

But never in a million years have I thought of myself and my work in terms of race.

So I was pleasantly surprised – and very amused – to find myself being described as a “poet of colour”, as seen from one of the hashtags on this post:

Apparently, I'm a poet of colour 😂
Apparently, I’m a poet of colour 😂

It’s one of the few times – beyond form-filling and direct or indirect racist comments made in my presence, because people are occasionally unable to grasp my ethnic makeup – that I’m forced to confront the fact that race matters a lot more to other people than it does for me.

SWF Book Launch: Discussion on Big Mole and Spider Boys

I’ll be speaking at this discussion in less than a fortnight!

SWF Book Launch: Discussion on Big Mole and Spider Boys
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2015
Time: 7pm to 8pm
Venue: The Arts House

After making waves in the global literary scene for introducing Singaporean literature to an international audience, the highly anticipated sequel to Ming Cher’s Spider Boys, Big Mole, has finally hit the bookshelves. Initially published in 1995 by Penguin New Zealand, Spider Boys was lauded for its use of vernacular language – and once again, this effective use of local colloquialisms has continued with Big Mole.

From Singlish to local slang words, we speak a language that is unmistakably and uniquely Singaporean. And if this everyday language is what sets the tone and scene for a homegrown story, how does it then affect our understanding of a Singaporean novel?

In this discussion, literary critic and writer Gwee Li Sui, NIE Assistant Professor Angus Whitehead and SOTA’s Subject Head of English Literature Laremy Lee will be sharing their opinions on Ming Cher’s use of language in his work, and in particular, how this feeds into his contribution to local literature.

See you there!