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?
Tse Hao Guang 謝皓光, co-editor of the cross-genre, collaborative e-journal OF ZOOS, translates this poem by celebrated broadcast journalist and TV screenwriter Amanah Mustafi from Malay into English. Vivid and intensely emotional, the poem depicts the pain of waiting for something that is ultimately a mirage.
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.
Translated into English from Malay, this poem by writer and translator Ahmad Md Tahir reflects on the promises of freedom through the lens of an arowana. Also known as the dragonfish, the arowana was once common across the Malay Peninsula but is now an endangered species that symbolises good luck and prosperity.
Written in Tamil and self-translated into English, this poem by writer and translator Mathialagan Manimala reflects on the disjoint between idealism, aesthetics, externality, and the realities of life. What does it ultimately mean to value externalities and conceptions of what is perfect? What truly lasts in the end?
The history of Tamil literature in Singapore is a long and resplendent one, but relatively unknown to those outside the island’s Indian community. In this recording, Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow Malaan Narayanan looks at how Tamil literature on the island has evolved over the past 50 years, moderated by one of Singapore’s leading Tamil experts, Arun Mahiznan.
Composed by one of Singapore’s leading poets Yeow Kai Chai and translated into Chinese and Japanese by two other accomplished poets – Enoch Ng (黄广 青) and Miho Kinnas, this piece was created following a special programme at RWS SEA Aquarium. This haiku seeks to clarify: what can we on land learn from those in the sea?