Not many people know that the great Chinese scholar Jao Tsung-I spent five years in Singapore as the first Chair and Head of Chinese Studies at the former University of Singapore. Appointed to an eight-year term in 1968, he left prematurely in 1973. This poem, which he wrote on his departure, now appears in English for the first time.
What is a Mother Tongue to a Singaporean abroad? What is a Mother Tongue between a mother and a daughter exposed to different cultures? In this humorous but provocative essay, filmmaker and educator Woo Yen Yen reflects on the rich emotional significance of language and the experience of raising her daughter as a Singaporean based in New York.
Zuraidah Ehsan, winner of JALA’s Indonesian-to-English translation competition, translates this article by Jakarta journalist and blogger Risa Herdahita Putri on the historical context of Yogyakarta’s Royal Palace, and how the role it has played and the customs surrounding it have changed over time.
Patricia Wong, winner of JALA’s Chinese-to-English translation competition, translates this essay by Singapore pioneer translator Chan Maw Woh on the perspectives gained from a visit overseas. Is there ever such a thing as a universal perspective or outlook on life? How do our surroundings shape us?
Written in Tamil by respected Singapore media professional Saba Muthunatarajan and translated into English by his daughter Saaradhaa Muthunatarajan, this poem is a celebration on life in the face of death, inviting readers to reflect on the value of experiences of all kinds, and the joy offered by a graceful ending.
Caterina Poh translates this short story by Xiao Han, a celebrated Singapore writer and lyricist, from Chinese into English. A work of speculative fiction, the story looks at familial and romantic relationships through the lens of an imagined world to ask: What does it mean to be alive, and just what do we live for?