Words Go Round 2011: TellTale and Fiction in Singapore

April 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm 1 comment

Written by Yau Chun Shin (4H131)
Photographs by Mr Jason Erik Lundberg

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” —William Wordsworth

As part of the Words Go Round program organized by the Singapore Writers Festival, editor Dr Gwee Li Sui and contributors Dave Chua and Jeffrey Lim recently discussed the anthology TellTale: Eleven Stories and the state of fiction writing in Singapore with the students of Hwa Chong Institution. The event was hosted at Kong Chian Library on 11 March 2011.

The session was a lively and fascinating one, with the guest speakers providing insights on the nature of writing as well as their personal motivations for putting pen to paper. Mr Chua, for one, quoted as his inspiration a desire for showing how people simultaneously tried to fit in and stand out in society. Dr Gwee also spoke at length about the current state of Singaporean literature, commenting on how the local literary scene was dominated by well-known, established writers like Catherine Lim, leaving fewer opportunities for other budding writers to gain recognition. In ruminating upon this, the guest speakers also provided the captive audience with a brief list of other Singaporean writers, such as Alfian bin Sa’at, encouraging our students to check out these writers’ works.

Yet the speakers were not the only ones providing material for discussion. Our students proved themselves more than equal to the task of contributing to the engaging and evocative exchange. Proof of this could be found in the incisive questions that they posed, such as: “Does the interpretation of your works ever go beyond what you imagined in the first place?” and “How do language and its inherent concepts affect literature at a fundamental level?” This made for a dynamic and compelling session, with both the speakers and the audience playing an active role.

Of course, all this would not have been possible without the help of Mrs Laura Ng, Mr Lucas Ho, Mr Woon Wei Seng and Ms Crystal Ang. Without the astute choice of these guests, and without Mr Ho’s energetic facilitation of the discussion, the event might not have come to pass, and would certainly not have been of the same standard as it was on that day.

The session was certainly of great benefit to our students, by both introducing them to Singaporean literature and the mechanics of writing, as well as encouraging them to air their views and thus improve their understanding of writing. Given the quality and caliber of the opinions shared, from both the speakers and the audience, such a session in the future would most definitely be welcome, as it would allow us to expand our horizons and develop a love for the arts.


Entry filed under: Books, Events, Singapore Lit, Writing.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Chan Hong Kit (3) 2O4  |  April 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Hello Chun Shin ! I was there at the session too and i feel that you have given a brief description of the event. I do agree that this session benefitted us alot and i do feel that we should have similar sessions in the future as it would definitely do good to other students of Hwa Chong.


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Mrs Rosalind Lee (SC)
Mdm Chan May Lun
Mdm Shieh Le-shiang
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