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Fluid Identities: Singapore-Malaysia Relations in Stories

January 23, 2016 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

| Free

Fluid Identities: Singapore-Malaysia Relations in Stories, Films and A Literary Journal (In Mandarin and English)

Speakers: Koh Tong Guan, Tan Pin Pin, Sam Seen
Moderator: Loh Yu Chiang

Is distance a good measure for the strength of connections between places? How has the shared borders and histories of Singapore and Malaysia been expressed culturally? To launch the latest issue of the literary journal Chao Foon, whose past bestrides both localities, this event brings together 3 cultural practitioners, mainly from the peninsula, to reflect upon their varied personal experiences of living and working in various spaces associated with present-day Singapore and Malaysia.

Kho Tong Guan will share his personal journey from being a youth reader of Chao Foon in Sarawak to becoming its editor since 2005. He will also touch upon the history of the journal across multiple locales (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Johor). Tan Pin Pin will talk about her films that have Singapore-Malaysia ties as their theme, including “Pineapple Town” (Pekan Nanas in Chinese), part of 7 Letters, and the rarely seen “Are We There Yet?” (2003). Sam Seen will recount his music contribution to the Singapore film Eating Air (1999), as well as the fleeting depiction of Johor-Singapore relations within. He will also discuss his literary collection The Straits of Johor (2006), and in particular, the absurdist play “I Love Stefanie Sun,” for which the relationship between the two places constituted an integral part of his initial creative impetus.


Kho Tong Guan is Chief Librarian of Southern University College; Head of Malaysian Chinese Literature Collection Centre, Southern University College; Editor of Chao Foon Literary Journal; President of Malaysian Chinese Writers’ Association of Chinese (Johor). As a writer, his works include short story collections Tales of Two Towns (2005) and Burial of Mountain Leeches (2011), prose collection Waiting for Nautilus (2011), and a poetry collection In a Vial the Lactobacilli Kept and Gone (2014). Editor of Collection of Malaysian Chinese Gay Fiction (2007) and 50 Years of Singapore Chinese Literature (2011) etc.

For Tan Pin Pin, filmmaking provides a reason to walk about, to probe and to ask questions. She likes the process of juxtaposing two disparate images together, to create new meaning and finding connections between things, people, places, where none existed before. Her films include To Singapore, with Love; Invisible City; 7 Letters and Singapore GaGa. Find out more about her works at www.tanpinpin.com.

Sam Seen is an award-winning poet, essayist and graphic artist. Graduated from Malaysia Institute of Art in 1992. Used to be part of a rock band MUSHROOM, PROST that performed in Singapore and contributed music to the original soundtrack of the Singapore film Eating Air (1999). Sojourned in Manila between 2007 and 2009; writing novels and making fine art that occasioned two solo exhibitions. Works include poetry collections Feeding on Light, Black Light/White Shadow, and RIZAL AVENUE: Poetic Records of the Philippines; short story collections The Straits of Johor and Affairs Between Men and Women; novels Love Rival and The Fly; and graphic novel CHINA X’PERIENCE.

Loh Yu Chiang, Master of Art in Visual Culture, Coventry University, United Kingdom. Currently works as a lecturer in Department of Journalism and Mass Communication Studies, Southern University College. He is also the art editor of Chao Foon and editor-in-chief of Just a Bit.

~ Free Admission. Limited Seating.

* Organised by Malaysian Chinese Literature Centre, Chao Foon, and the Grassroot Book Room, with kind assistance from Chan Cheow Thia and Tan Pin Pin.


January 23, 2016
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Grassroots Book Room
25 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore, 089839
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