Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two Readings in Singapore

This was the longest time that I have ever spent in Singapore since leaving it. I will probably come back to this month from time to time, but I just want to remember, for now, the two readings I did there. Paul Tan from the National Arts Council referred me to Paul Rozario at The Arts House. Paul R. was extremely friendly and helpful in setting up the reading, which took place on August 4, in the former Ministers' Lounge in the old Parliament House. William Phuan, the director of The Arts House, was present throughout the evening too.


Photo by Lianguo


I was surprised and glad to see Robert Yeo in the audience. I have known his poetry since secondary school, but had never met him properly. It was fun to go out afterwards with him and Alvin Pang, who kindly agreed to moderate the Q&A, for supper at Adams Road Hawker Center. I was especially pleased to see a number of ex-students from Chua Chu Kang Secondary School turning up. They must have learned from Facebook and elsewhere that I am gay, but came nevertheless to hear me. I read from both Equal to the Earth and Seven Studies for a Self Portrait. Am I deluding myself too much if I believe that, for that night, being gay assumed its proper place in my relationship with them: unembarrassed on both sides, open yet courteous?


Photo by Bee Lian


Photo by Wei Na


The second reading, at BooksActually on August 10, was to launch my new chapbook The Pillow Book published by its Math Paper Press. The book was, however, not ready, but Kenny and I decided to go ahead with the reading anyway. Dominic had helped to include the event as part of IndigNation, Singapore's Pride Month, and I did not want to cancel on friends and gay celebrants.


Photo by Shasta Grant


It was a good-sized crowd, about 30 people. Guy had arrived in Singapore by then, and so was in the audience. Friends from school and church were there: R and her colleague, A; E and hubby D; HW and HL. I was also pleased to see other Singapore poets there: Shu Hoong and Kai Chai. I was able to tell Kai Chai personally how much I enjoyed his collection pretend I'm not here. Alvin, bless his heart, heard me read again. WS and C, whom I met at IndigNation's opening event, came too, and WS videotaped the reading. You can find the videos on Youtube. It was fun too to see Shasta Grant, hubby and son halfway around the globe; they like Singapore so far and may stay for a long time.

2 comments:

Ms. said...

HOW FINE FOR YOU, AND FOR POETRY!
WELCOME BACK.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks, Michelle!