Hands Down at Going Local 4

Going Local 4 (2015)
Going Local 4 (2015)

My play, Hands Down, will be staged as part of Buds Theatre Company’s Going Local 4.

Hands Down is a comedy about a married couple that finds themselves facing off in a challenge to see who can keep their hands on a car for the longest period of time in order to win it.

The catch: whoever puts his or her hand down first loses the car – and the marriage to boot.

This year’s Going Local comprises four short plays, including Dressing Up by Gwendolyn Lee, Don’t Colour Outside Of The Lines by Jaryl George Solomon and The Untitled Funeral Play by Luke Vijay Somasundram.

There are four shows, as follows:

  • Fri, 26 June, 8pm, Tampines Primary School Black Box
  • Sat, 27 June, 7:30pm, Toa Payoh Central Community Centre
  • Fri, 3 July and Sat, 4 July, 8pm, Zhenghua Community Centre

Standard tickets are $20 while concession tickets (for students, senior citizens and national servicemen) are $15.

And if you’re a PAssion Card Holder, you get 10% off ticket prices.

Book your tickets here. If you’d like to, you can read the 2012 version of Hands Down here.

Oxley Cultural Centre

38 Oxley Road
38 Oxley Road

So there are calls for Lee Kuan Yew’s home to be turned into a heritage site.

As always, I’ve got a better idea, ladies and gentlemen: Oxley Cultural Centre (OCC).

OCC will be an arts and cultural centre at which artists will stay at for residencies between a month to three months.

It’ll follow the same concept as Toji Cultural Centre, where I had such a fruitful time during my residency back in 2013.

Food and lodging will be provided by the OCC, which will have a National Arts Council-appointed manager/administrator to handle finance matters, maintenance arrangements, residency rosters, events such as poetry readings, etc; a part-time chef to provide lunches and dinners for the artists; and other support staff, where required.


  1. “When I’m dead, demolish it,” said the man, in reference to his home.
    But what would happen after is a foregone conclusion: A multi-storey condominium called 38 Oxley in its place – not exactly the most fitting tribute to one of the founding fathers of Singapore.
  2. If we preserve it as it is, it’d be an insult to Lee, who specifically asked for it to be demolished.
    His rationale for demolishing it was, ostensibly, to prevent an Ozymandian ending to a place where he must’ve had many happy memories.
    “I’ve seen other houses,” he said. “Nehru’s, Shakespeare’s – they become a shambles after a while.”
  3. This is the same man who once said that “poetry is a luxury we cannot afford”.
    Well, we can afford it now, after all that he and the old guard have done to build the nation – many thanks to them for that.
  4. Right now, we’ve only got Centre42, the Writer-in-the-Gardens Residency Programme and the Pulau Ubin Artists-In-Residency Programme.
    In the case of the latter two, they don’t exactly provide spaces in which artists can reside for an extended period of time to work.
    Extended interactions are important; artists work in solitude for much of the time – sometimes, not by choice, because the profession is as such.
    More opportunities for working closely with other artists – at residencies and festivals for example, where artists work and live together – will help broaden perspectives and deepen understanding about crafts that take years to hone.
  5. To pay tribute to the man in a respectful manner, we keep the house as it is, so there is room for memory and nostalgia, but we put it to another, better use – putting soul into Singapore through the arts and literature.

After all, Lee was always one for pragmatism. Putting 38 Oxley to practical purpose – as the OCC, in higher service of the nation – would’ve been what he’d’ve wanted.

Find out more about the Toji Cultural Foundation, and read what others have to say about their Toji Cultural Centre residency experiences.

Adventures in teaching Boom by Jean Tay (Part II)

Yikes! Very overdue but I’m going to post this regardless because I’ve been meaning to put it up.

How does Tay create an atmosphere of melancholy in this passage? Explain your answer with close reference to the passage.

So when we last left off, I was busy making the horses thirsty.

One of the ways in which I did so was to allow them to devise their own exam questions – in a structured manner, of course.

Without going into detail, I crafted the lesson with the objectives of making the students:

  1. Revise the question requirements for the O-Level exams; and
  2. Think about the issues in the particular passage, and thereafter the text.

While carrying out the lesson activity, this happened:

Student A: (reading out what he had written) “How does Tay create an atmosphere of me-lan-cho-lee –”

Student B: (from the other end of the classroom) “Eh, what melancholee – you think what, this one Indian food ah?”

Student C: “Ya lah, later you go to Lew Lian there the Indian stall you tell them, ‘Uncle, I want two kosong and the curry you gimme melancholee one’ and then you see what happen after that.”

Temporarily could not take it because was laughing so hard, so had to tell the students to give me a moment to finish laughing before we carried on with the lesson.