MIND YOUR (INTER)CULTURE
A book club hosted by Constance Singam
Welcome to Mind Your (Inter)Culture, our new book club that aims to open up intercultural exchanges through books. This June, we will read and discuss Me Migrant, a new anthology of poems written by Bangladeshi writer-cum-construction worker Md Mukul Hossine.
Me Migrant features the poems of Md Mukul Hossine – poems originally written in Bengali by Mukul, transcreated by Singapore poet Cyril Wong based on English translations by Fariha Imran and Farouk Ahammed and edited by Marc Nair. It represents the voice of hope and inclusiveness, of longing and dreaming, of service and heart.
This collection was born of the friendship between volunteers of community clinic HealthServe and foreign construction workers. Dr Tan Lai Yong, a volunteer medical doctor at Healthserve and his team of medical students from National University of Singapore (NUS) were inspired by their experiences and Mukul's poems to respond with some writings of their own.
The poetry within these pages makes us see further, think deeper, and listen. In listening, let us cross these borders.
The session is hosted by Constance Singam, and will be in English. Join us for an afternoon of reading and discussion with guests Md Mukul Hossine, Cyril Wong, Marc Nair, Runima Borah Tandon and Tan Lai Yong!
Get your copy of Me Migrant at Grassroots Book Room today!
Mind Your (Inter)Culture
A book club with a difference, this monthly get-together showcases translated works from Singapore and Southeast Asia. The readings and discussions broaden the exposure of the general public to works written in different languages, and promote intercultural understanding among the communities through books.
About the writer
Md Mukul Hossine was born in Patgram, Bangladesh, and has a Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences. In 2008, he arrived in Singapore and has been working in its construction sector. Mukul writes poems, novels, and short stories. He enjoys composing poetry to remember his mother back home. His novel, Buker Simanaye Sukh (Happiness at Heart's Edge) and his poetry collection Apurna Vasana (Unfulfilled Desire) have been published in Bangladesh. His other works have also appeared in anthologies. Mukul has spent many long nights writing poetry. His favourite poet is Rabindranath Tagore.
About Cyril Wong
Cyril Wong has been called a confessional poet, according to The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry, based on his "anxiety over the fragility of human connection and a relentless self-querying". He is the Singapore Literature Prize-winning author of poetry collections such as Unmarked Treasure, Tilting Our Plates to Catch the Light, The Dictator's Eyebrow, After You and The Lover's Inventory. He has also published Ten Things My Father Never Taught Me and Other Stories and a novel, The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza. A past recipient of the National Arts Council's Young Artist Award for Literature, he completed his doctoral degree in English Literature at the National University of Singapore in 2012.
About Marc Nair
Marc Nair has published six volumes of poetry. His latest collection is Spomenik, a series of poems and photographs from the Balkans. Marc was the 2015 Writer-In-Residence at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. He has performed spoken word poetry for over ten years in more than ten countries. Marc also sets his poems to music with his band, Neon and Wonder, and is the co-founder of Mackerel, a culture magazine.
marcnair.com | mackerel.life
About Runima Borah Tandon
Mrs Runima Borah Tandon worked as a journalist in Mumbai, India from 1995 to 2002. She produced TV serials for Zee TV and provided content for Rediff.com and Indiawomanpower.com. She taught English language and literature at Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology, China and currently teaches International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) Literature at ACS (Independent). Mrs Runima Tandon has a M.Phil. Degree in English literature from the University of Poona, India and worked on Gabriel Garcia Marquez for her M.Phil thesis. Her interests include Postcolonial and Postmodern literature, Literature in Translation, Digital Filmmaking, Art, Philosophy, Ecocriticism and Travelling.
About Tan Lai Yong
Upon graduation from NUS in 1985, Dr Tan Lai Yong worked as a doctor in Singapore. In 1996, he and his wife, and one year old daughter moved to Yunnan, China, and joined a community development team, working with the poverty affected in remote villages, caring for orphans, disabled children and leprosy affected. As part of the China National Day celebrations in 2004, Lai Yong was given the Friendship Award for Foreign Experts at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, an event that was graced by Premier Wen Jia Bao. Lai Yong was also given the Singapore International Foundation (SIF Award) presented by Mr. Lee Hsien Loong and the 2005 Singapore MILK Fund (Mainly I Love Kids) Award for Outstanding Youth and Children’s Worker by President Nathan. In 2007, the Yunnan Provincial TV Station ran a series on people in Yunnan and the viewers voted Dr Tan Lai Yong as one of the “Good Citizens of Kunming”（昆明好人）Lai Yong has written several books and his first book, “Biting the Bamboo” – Experiences of Work and Life in Yunnan, is in its 5th printing. He also wrote the book , “Two Ears But Only One Mouth – Reflections on Wisdom in Rural Yunnan” and “Pilgrims” – A Photo journal of life in a Dai Village in Xishuangbanna ( a joint publication with photographer Andrew Chew).
About the host
Constance Singam is an author and civil society activist. She began her career in journalism, before taking a degree in English Literature in her forties, and a Master's degree in her sixties. She has been a columnist in several publications. Her works include "A History of the TWC: Building Social Space in Singapore", and "Re-Presenting Singapore Women" which she co-edited. She released her memoir "Where I Was: A Memoir from the Margins" in 2013. She blogs at: http://connie.sg/