By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé


Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

The ability to write well is a gift, much like the ability to hold a tune, draw, shoot hoops or execute a perfect roundhouse kick. And like a muscle writing is something that demands practice, experimentation and reflection in order to improve. This drive to better my craft is why I write.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

Bitter Punch is my second book of poems. This collection extends and expands on themes in my first book Transparent Strangers, such as the experience of urban living and the breakdown of human and spatial relationships. Bitter Punch is a collection hardened by age and well aware of what it seeks to accomplish through writing.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

Accessibility. Poetry, as with any art form, is artifice. Let’s not kid ourselves: poetry is difficult, pointless even, to most readers due to its abstract, technical nature. Poetry puts people off because that pretty pile of words they see/hear is hard to get into, not to mention the misinformed notion that poets are weirdoes. But we are not—not all of us, at least. Poetry can be relatable without obtuse technicality getting in the way of conveying experience.

by Team Kitaab – Poetry

Kitaab Poets Among Stars Image“When it is dark enough,” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “you can see the stars.” This Saturday, the Omni-Theatre at Science Centre Singapore will dim its lights for Singapore’s literary luminaries. A project initiated by the Singapore Writers Festival and Science Centre Singapore, Poets Among The Stars promises a feature-length show that brings together the wonders of science and art, as contemporary verse lights up the Omni-Theatre’s massive IMAX dome, the only of its kind in the country. The event is free, with limited seating. For registration, please visit:

About this unique collaboration, Yeow Kai Chai, director of the Singapore Writers Festival, has this to say: “Poets have always been inspired by astronomy and the solar system, ranging from William Blake to the Metaphysical Poets, and so, we thought, why not work with Science Centre Singapore to get writers to wax lyrical about the galaxy in the awe-inspiring Omni-Theatre? For the longest time, our society tends to compartmentalise people into either of two camps – science-oriented or arts-inclined. Instead, we believe that there’s much we can learn and appreciate as we reach across the aisles. We have been blown away by the unique, eclectic approaches by the writers as they reach inwards, and outwards towards the universe. We are thankful to our friends at Science Centre Singapore who have taken on the project whole-heartedly, and shown everyone, regardless of their discipline, how alike we are as we marry words and astronomy in our pursuit of truth and knowledge.”

Eight accomplished writers in Singapore were commissioned to pen pieces for the show. The writers include Ann Ang, Chairul Fahmy Hussaini, Christine Chia, Deborah Emmanuel, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Jon Gresham, Loh Guan Liang and Teng Qian Xi. Managed by Caroline Wan and Muhamed Leoaidil from the National Arts Council, the show has been no easy feat to put together, as Yong Jian-Yi from The Science Centre explains: