This short story by Singapore Tamil writer Latha is a meditation on isolation, memory, and the power of a good narrative. Translated from Tamil into English by established translator Sulosana Karthigasu, it follows a story told over a series of conversations, and examines how the act of listening affects the listener.
A man leaves Singapore for decades, but carries the island in his heart. What happens when he returns to find a vastly more affluent society set in an unrecognizable landscape? Nazry Bahrawi translates this short story by Singapore Malay cultural icon Mohamed Latiff Mohamed into English for the first time.
Migrant worker Zhang Haitao’s poem speaking of his longing for home was a shortlisted entry in the 2015 Singapore Migrant Worker Poetry Competition. Playing with structure and continuity, the poem reflects on what it means to simultaneously experience the reality of the physical world and to dream of faraway joys.
Banned from Singapore airwaves because of its Cantonese lyrics, the xinyao song《麻雀衔竹枝》(“Little Sparrow Found a Twig”) was finally broadcast simultaneously by three local Chinese radio stations when it was “unbanned” in 2013. Tina Sim translates into English this nostalgic folk song by composer Liang Wern Fook.
In 2015, under the guidance of renowned Myanmar translator Moe Thet Han, a group of budding translators in Yangon translated the short stories of Singapore writer Alfian Sa’at from English into Myanmar. We feature one of them here, a reflection on capital punishment that asks: what changes when the one executed is your own flesh and blood?
Singapore pioneer translator Chan Maw Woh contributes the Chinese translation of this short story by award-winning Malay writer Yazid Hussein, whose achievements include the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize and 2009 NAC Golden Point Award. Sentenced to capital punishment, what do you think about in the days leading up to your demise?
Using the traditional 8-line structure of a Chinese classical poem, this piece by Hou Wei was shortlisted in the 2015 Singapore Migrant Worker Poetry Competition. It contemplates what it means to be away from home, and the important role imagination plays in the process of creating a new life in an unfamiliar land.
This excerpt of Lee Hui Min’s bestseller Growing Up under the Lee Kuan Era is translated from Chinese into English by five young participants of Select’s Translator Mentorship Program. Ranked as an influential book of the year by China’s largest books website, the book provides a personal view of Singapore’s rapid economic development and the costs it entailed.
Husband-and-wife team Yang Quee Yee and Chan Maw Woh are pioneers of Chinese-Malay translation in Singapore, who have worked tirelessly to bridge these language communities. In this clip, they discuss how they came to learn Malay and begin to translate, and what prompted them to embark on this lifelong journey.