Near Maitrichit, 2001Read More
What a week. I was on a prose panel at NTU for their English & Drama Society, Epiphany. One of my favourite writers, Nicholson Baker, was on the panel too together with the talented Agnes Chew and Diana Rahim. I have vivid memories of borrowing Vox & Fermata in the mid '90s and finding I loved the very different Room Temperature. Nicholson Baker was warm and generous. We talked about photography and he mentioned how his father once had a Rolleiflex.
Just a heads up on my To Do List for the next few months.
I need to finish:
- my story, Brothel in the Jungle: a dark tale of lust from Spottiswoode Park
- a draft of a story/essay on The Eurasian in History (Tales from the Uncanny Valley)
- a draft of my creative non fiction book on foreign workers in Singapore
Images to be published in 2016:
- images supporting Verena Tay’s words in a new photo book Left-Right curated by Geraldine Kang & Kenneth Tay
- a photo story with a construction worker who broke his leg in This is Not A Safety Barrier (Ethos Books) to be published in 2016
Stories to be published in 2016:
- a story in In Transit edited by Yu-Mei Balasingamchow & Ruihe (Math Paper press) to be published mid 2016
- a story in Esquire Singapore in April 2016
- A Long Bicycle Ride into the Sea will be published in Singapore Love Stories (Monsoon Books) sometime in 2016
- Two stories will be published in the US edited by Jee Leong Koh
- a prose piece for SWF’s Poetry Among Stars
- SOTA writer in residence in October 2016
I have to go back to work to feed the family soon - before then I will try to write as much as possible
I waited with the crowds outside a fancy dress shop on Kampong Bahru Road for the funeral cortege to pass by. The rain fell. Families and friends waited together. Everyone was good natured despite the weather. This was history. Passing by. Goodbye Lee Kuan Yew. Goodbye.
On a clear, golden evening on 27 March 2015 I stood at the corner of Parliament Place and Supreme Court Lane where I took pictures of the elderly, families with young children and those with special needs after they’d paid their respects to Lee Kuan Yew as he lay in State in Parliament House.
Here are some of the images I took.
Allow children to experience and read about different lives, different ways and different worlds, allow children to ask questions. They are more intelligent than you think. Allow people to think for themselves. If you want a creative, entrepreneurial, dynamic, pluralistic, knowledge based society don’t ban books. If you want a society that is kinder and tolerant and diverse and is sensitive to its weakest members then don’t ban books.
Be inclusive, respect differences, don't ban these books:
The thing is words have power and if you start pulling books from library shelves and banning books, you then feel it’s ok to impose your own ideas on others by regulating and policing “acceptable ideology”, then you move on to excluding and marginalising people with ideas and behavior you don’t like - telling people unless you conform to majority norms then you are nothing - until finally you end up normalizing the persecution and brutality of minorities, and you end up with an intolerant, static, authoritarian society.
By all means disagree and bring your children up the way you want, but please don't ban books for other more tolerant, less judgmental people and think you are protecting them in any way.
Fascism doesn’t announce itself with the bang of jackboots on the streets outside, it starts with a whimper from those who should know better, who acquiesce in demonizing a minority and perform such a seemingly petty act as pulling a few books from a library shelf.
But it’s not petty to ban books and pulp them.
It’s an attack on knowledge. It’s an act of bigotry and it’s wrong.
Elizabeth Pisani in the New Mandala has an optimistic take (pity about the click bait headline: Indonesians Are Not Idiots) on the upcoming Presidential elections.
Today, my wife proudly filled in her postal vote. Democracy is a wonderful thing.
"The short story believes in transformation. It believes in hidden powers. The novel prefers things in plain view. It has no patience with individual grains of sand, which glitter but are difficult to see. The novel wants to sweep everything into its mighty embrace — shores, mountains, continents. But it can never succeed, because the world is vaster than a novel, the world rushes away at every point. The novel leaps restlessly from place to place, always hungry, always dissatisfied, always fearful of coming to an end — because when it stops, exhausted but never at peace, the world will have escaped it.
The short story concentrates on its grain of sand, in the fierce belief that there — right there, in the palm of its hand — lies the universe. It seeks to know that grain of sand the way a lover seeks to know the face of the beloved. It looks for the moment when the grain of sand reveals its true nature. In that moment of mystic expansion, when the macrocosmic flower bursts from the microcosmic seed, the short story feels its power. It becomes bigger than itself. It becomes bigger than the novel. It becomes as big as the universe.
Therein lies the immodesty of the short story, its secret aggression. Its method is revelation. Its littleness is the agency of its power. The ponderous mass of the novel strikes it as the laughable image of weakness. The short story apologizes for nothing. It exults in its shortness. It wants to be shorter still. It wants to be a single word. If it could find that word, if it could utter that syllable, the entire universe would blaze up out of it with a roar. That is the outrageous ambition of the short story, that is its deepest faith, that is the greatness of its smallness."
Over 60 days later, the question remains who killed Reza Barati? The Australian Government hopes you'll forget & move on.
"… footage clearly shows security guards throwing stones and other objects at asylum seekers seeking refuge in a room after being chased back into the centre by the guards.
Fairfax Media has also obtained images that show how the fence at the compound was pushed in by PNG nationals who entered the centre, allegedly enraged by offensive chants by asylum seekers.
They also show bullet holes within the complex at "stomach" level, challenging the assertion that the only shots fired were warning shots in the air; and they show damage to an asylum seeker’s door from a machete as asylum seekers say they were hiding inside."
"A young man has died and the Australian government obviously carries a share of responsibility.
It is about time it stopped hiding behind the numerous inquiries and provided some answers. It could start by putting out the Cornall interim report."