Showing posts with label Singlit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Singlit. Show all posts

Thursday, 30 June 2022

'Badass' Women in Singapore Art and Literature

Source:Wikicommons, Movie Poster


Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (The Library of America, repr. 2022) had this one line, “Girls are like maggots in the rice.” That’s not to say that all Asian women have it bad. Nor it is denying that Asian women labour to free themselves from the trampling foot of patriarchy. 

 It’s that an infinitesimal shift is in order: looking at Asian women in contemporary arts and culture, what they’re creatively producing, what they’re making, can tell us something new hopefully about how stereotypes are being dismantled, specifically, how a ‘badass’ Asian woman is being redefined. From Michelle Yeoh’s main role in Everything Everywhere All At Once to Kirstin Chen’s Counterfeit (William Morrow 2022) we are seeing a moment (arguably, cyclical) in the Asian feminist zeitgeist, a regional lens threaded through a global landscape, where female protagonists are challenging the straitjacket of how they should behave, and how they should ‘win’, without being held up as bearers of tradition or exemplars of ‘female’ or even ‘feminist’ behavior, but in fact, showing that being ‘badass’ means carving out space to be who you are, to do what you do, on your terms while embracing all your passion and imperfections. 

 

In what ways then can we begin to conceive of the ‘badass’ Asian woman for our region? This month in a non-exhaustive focus for #SingLit, AsianBooksBlog spotlights works and voices who challenge, albeit break, the framework of how a ’badass’ woman should be defined.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Asian Cartography At Its Best: The NLB Exhibition and Literary Maps



 


Asian cartography has a very special place in my heart. Cartography is Western-centric but the maps currently on exhibition until May 2022 at the National Library of Singapore’s Mapping the World: Perspectives from Asian Cartography, will show that in fact Asian cartography has a long lineage, predating Western cartography. These maps are worth several trips: not only are some of them quite rare (and difficult to access since they form parts of collections elsewhere), they span multiple kingdoms and dynasties, geographies and eras, from the religious Korean map Cheonhado (Map of All Under Heaven), Joseon Dynasty, 19th century, on loan from MacLean Collection, Illinois (Image 1) to the Idrisi world map of 1154 (on loan from the Bibliotheque national de France), produced by Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi (1100-1165) and composed in accordance with the Islamic tradition of orienting the south at the top. (Image 2) 



Image 1


Monday, 2 August 2021

Raelee Chapman chats with Audrey Chin, author of The Ash House.


 

Background: 
At the 2014 Singapore Writers Festival, I met Singaporean author Audrey Chin by the coffee cart. This super-friendly petite lady with short spiky hair was raving about the muffins. We got talking and introduced ourselves. I was covering some festival events for this blog. It was awkward and embarrassing to admit I hadn't heard of Audrey or known that her novel 'As the Heart Bones Break' was nominated for the Singapore Literature Prize. Fast forward seven years, Audrey and I are good friends and co-run a book club together that focuses on reading Asian literature. I am thrilled to invite her back to Asian Books Blog to discuss her new Asian gothic novel 'The Ash House'. 

Friday, 17 April 2020

Stephanie Chan aka Stephanie Dogfoot talks about her stirring collection Roadkill for Beginners, slam poetry, and her different performing hats.

Courtesy of Author
Bio:

Stephanie Chan’s poetry has been described as “conjuring a kind of matter-of-fact magic, full of warm, everyday rhythms and rhymes – aspects of life exaggerated or distilled to their most joyous, beautiful and/or ridiculous.” A former national poetry slam champion in Singapore and the UK, Stephanie currently produces poetry and stand up comedy nights in Singapore. She has been invited to perform on stages across five continents, including the Glastonbury Festival, Ubud Writer’s and Readers’ Festival and the George Town Literary Festival and has toured Australia, Germany and North America with her poetry. 

Synopsis:

Roadkill for Beginners is Stephanie Chan’s first collection of poetry. It’s part scrapbook of love letters to places, part field guide to the people in them. It’s a messy celebration of open mics, bonfires, and poetry stages around the world, the connections that grow up around them and the adventures that happen after. It explores desire, moving, belonging, and everything in between. It’s got apocalyptic hawker centres, magical night bus rides, and hungry turkey vultures. It’s about growing up, and not. For you, it hopes to feel like the lyrical equivalent of spooning in strange buildings then flying at full speed down a steep empty road on a bike at two in the morning.


Friday, 3 April 2020

Polymath Desmond Kon talks about his near-death experience, religion and philosophy & writing in The Good Day I Died

Bio:

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-MingdĂ© is a Singapore writer. He is the author of an epistolary novel, a quasi-memoir, two lyric essay monographs, four hybrid works, and nine poetry collections. A former journalist, he has edited more than twenty books and co-produced three audio books. Trained in book publishing at Stanford University, Desmond studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his world religions masters from Harvard University and creative writing masters from the University of Notre Dame. Among other accolades, Desmond is the recipient of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, National Indie Excellence Book Award, Poetry World Cup, Singapore Literature Prize, two Beverly Hills International Book Awards, and three Living Now Book Awards. He helms Squircle Line Press as its founding editor. 

He can be found at: www.desmondkon.com



Book Synopsis:

In 2007, Desmond Kon died, and came back to life. This is better understood as a near-death experience (NDE). Fresh from studying world religions at Harvard, Desmond’s NDE shared remarkable consistency with other documented NDE accounts, such as encountering otherworldly beings, altered time-space realms, and the classic tunnel of light. Post-NDE symptoms included paranormal sightings. How did Desmond make meaning of his NDE given his academic background in world religions? He even took a class on angelology—how then did he perceive the angelic beings he encountered? Framed as a quasi-memoir, The Good Day I Died is constructed as a self-administered interview, allowing the account its moments of deep intimation. Moving beyond the current literature’s attempts at legitimizing the NDE, The Good Day I Died weaves in excerpts of Desmond’s literary oeuvre, which help shed light on the indelible impact of his NDE. This book represents Desmond’s most confessional writing yet, relating the story of his death, and his transformed life after his return.