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Upcoming poetry readings in Singapore that will tell heartfelt stories of migrant workers

Putting things in perspective.

By Tay Shi Ting | Mar 27, 2017

  • Upcoming poetry readings in Singapore that will tell heartfelt stories of migrant workers
    BooksActually

It's a pretty good start for local literary works this year, especially with the #BuySingLit movement that just passed in February and book stores and literary groups following suit with a wave of events. The great thing about literary works is that they're not limited to certain groups of people. They also give an outlet; a voice of sorts, to communities that are often overlooked, even in Singapore. One group that's overshadowed and have been given the spotlight this month are migrant workers, with the recent series of events organized by a group of NUS Law and Yale-NUS students to raise awareness on issues faced by migrant workers just a couple of weeks ago, which saw more than 100 migrant workers and 300 student participants and members of the public come together for the week-long event. This once invisible group continues to take center stage with three upcoming poetry readings.

A Poetic Evening with “Migrant Tales" (Apr 2)

If you missed the January's reading at BooksActually, the nine migrant poets will gather for a reading of Migrant Tales, a collection of poems from 18 Bengali migrant poets, all of which belong to workers who currently reside in Singapore. The poems have been translated to English by Debabrota Basu, who'll also be there to read the poems. The poets that will be joining Debabrota are Mohar Khan, Monir Ahmod and Md Sharif. At the end of the session, you'll get to interact with the poets and ask any questions.

Where: City Book Room (#03-10 North Bridge Center, 420 North Bridge Rd.)

Migrant Poetry Evening (Apr 8)

The first migrant poet reading of the series organized by a fellow poet and Bangladeshi worker Md Mukul (author of Me Migrant) will bring together Singaporean and migrant poets like Rajib Shil Jibon, who took second place in the 2014 Migrant Workers Poetry Competition, and Pooja Nansi, Singapore's first youth poet ambassador. Other names include veterans Jennifer Anne Champion and Ng Yi Sheng, both of whom will be reciting. A seven-member Migrant Band consisting of migrant workers will also be performing at the evening gala. Md Mukul also plans to continue the series with themed topics in the future.

Where: Isthana Restaurant (1C Rowell Rd.)

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows — Reading (May 4)

There'll be a reading of local writer Balli Kaur Jaswal's third novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, happening at BooksActually (at the moment, it's not confirmed that she'll be there to do the reading). It tells the story of Nikki, a new creative writer who takes up a job at a local temple, only to meet women who are barely literate and don't share her ideals. She soon realizes these women have hidden in the shadows of their male family members thuogh they have their own ideals on womanhood and sexuality.

Where: BooksActually (9 Yong Siak St.)

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