Tag Archives: Singapore

Book Excerpt: And the Walls Come Crumbling Down by Tania De Rozario

“Pack” from And the Walls Come Crumbling Down by Tania De Rozario (Gaudy Boy, 2020)

It’s rainy season by the time I’ve booked my flight and the weather is seeping into every aspect of my life. Above and around the house, it pours. Plastic groundsheets line the floor and plastic buckets catch drips from my leaky ceiling. Nothing seems to hold water these days and I feel as though I, too, am leaking. This is the fourth house since leaving my mother’s flat. Occupied for less than a month and already it is purging me out.

We thought this had been the one. But then again, for eight hundred dollars, any house would have been the one. You and I shared two rooms—one to sleep in and one to work in. We sublet the rest of the house to other artists who used the third room and the kitchen as workspaces. It was the ideal home. A place everybody could afford, in which beautiful things were created every day. 

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Of stories and libraries in Covid 19

Photo by ArtHouse Studio on Pexels.com

As a book-lover, if there is one thing that we might have missed in this lockdown the most, then it would be bookshops and libraries. So here’s a bit of happy news for all the book lovers in Singapore.

The National Library Board has announced that, “The National Library Building, the National Archives of Singapore building, our 25 public libraries and the Former Ford Factory will reopen to the public on 1 July 2020 with shorter opening hours and capacity controls in place. This is in line with the safe reopening measures under Phase 2 and to safeguard the health and safety of our patrons and staff.”

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Kitaab TV: Top 3 Things to Help Startups Survive the Coronavoris pandemic – Sidhi Dhir, TiE Singapore

“Either you do the time or the time does to you.” (Cole Sirucek)

In this exclusive interview, Sidhi Dhir, Executive Director of TiE Singapore, talks about the unprecedented challenge that all businesses are facing today arising out of the Covid-19 crisis. Funding has dried up and startups are trying to cope with the situation by pivoting and re-inventing themselves on a week by week basis. There are three things that Sidhi mentions that all startups must pay heed to in order to survive the pandemic.

Sidhi Dhir serves as the Executive Director of TiE Singapore. TiE is a global non profit organization which aims to foster entrepreneurship. Sidhi has been instrumental is forging deep ties with government bodies, corporates, investors and founders to create a robust startup ecosystem. Her main focus has been to assist growth stage startups expand their business beyond Singapore. Sidhi’s diverse skills include sales & partnerships, board management, and product development. Prior to TiE Singapore, she was the co-founder of a cleantech e-waste auctioning platform, ran a family owned-manufacturing firm and created e-commerce solutions for the hospitality sector. Sidhi has 15+ years of experience in Technology and Startup ecosystem, across Singapore, India and Silicon Valley, She is an advisor to tech startups in growth strategy, market & capital access and to help set up their advisory board.

Kitaab TV: Why Social Distancing is Not That Easy

In this episode of Straight Talk with P. N. Balji, the veteran Singaporean journalist and commentator analyses why is social distancing not easy in Singapore during the Covid-19 crisis.

Balji, who entered journalism in 1970, has worked at five newspapers – TODAY (as founding editor), The Straits Times, TNP (as founding editor) and the now-defunct Malaysia Mail and New Nation. During his long career, Balji also helmed New Nation, TNP and TODAY. He has penned down his thoughts and experiences as an editor in his book, The Reluctant Editor.

(Disclaimer: All views expressed here are of the speaker and do not reflect the views of the channel or platform).

Kitaab TV: The Slow-Mo Approach: How Singapore is handling the Covid-19 Crisis

In this episode of Straight Talk with P. N. Balji, the veteran Singaporean journalist and commentator analyses how successfully the Singapore government is handling the Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis that has engulfed the whole world.

Balji, who entered journalism in 1970, has worked at five newspapers – TODAY (as founding editor), The Straits Times, TNP (as founding editor) and the now-defunct Malaysia Mail and New Nation. During his long career, Balji also helmed New Nation, TNP and TODAY. He has penned down his thoughts and experiences as an editor in his book, The Reluctant Editor.

Kitaab TV: Has Malaysia entered a dangerous phase?

In this episode of Straight Talk with P. N. Balji, the veteran Singaporean journalist and commentator analyses the current situation in Malaysia facing three challenges on political, financial and healthcare front (the Covid-19 crisis or novel coronavirus) and how dangerous this situation is for this important Southeast Asian country. He also discusses the impact of these challenges on Singapore-Malaysia ties.

Balji, who entered journalism in 1970, has worked at five newspapers – TODAY (as founding editor), The Straits Times, TNP (as founding editor) and the now-defunct Malaysia Mail and New Nation. During his long career, Balji also helmed New Nation, TNP and TODAY. He has penned down his thoughts and experiences as an editor in his book, The Reluctant Editor.

Kitaab TV: Veteran Singaporean journalist on the failures and successes of global leadership in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic

Today is a sad day in Singapore: two deaths have been reported here due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In this inaugural episode of Straight Talk with P. N. Balji, the veteran Singaporean journalist and commentator analyses the global response to the Covid-19 crisis (coronavirus) and how Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong have emerged as examples for other nations to follow to battle the pandemic.

What Shall We Do With All This Money? Debut Author Jayesh Parekh responds

Jayesh Parekh in conversation with Prerna Pant
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What Shall We Do With All This Money? by debut author Jayesh Parekh was launched in Singapore’s National Library on 29 January 2020. The book offers perspectives on wealth gleaned from interviews with more than 50 achievers from different walks of life, ranging from Ratan Tata to Shekhar Kapoor. In this video, author Jayesh Parekh is in conversation with entrepreneur Prerna Pant. At the end of the interaction, he takes questions from the audience.

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How The Best Asian Short Stories 2019 Explores the Souk of Asia’s Imagination

Book review by Tan Kaiyi

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With the rise of the Asian Century, the global community typically shines its spotlight on the economic progress of the region. Much is made of the advancing wealth of nations like India, China, Singapore and Vietnam. But while the economic progress is an easy unifying narrative that could be woven through the different countries, equally important — but much more challenging — is charting the breadth and depth of the Asian literary imagination.

The Best Asian Short Stories 2019 is up to the monumental task. The editor of the anthology, award-winning author Hisham Bustani, highlights the main obstacle to the endeavour when assembling the collection:

“…there is no such thing as a well-defined, self-contained, concrete, unified Asian identity…”

He explains the issue by contrasting it with Europe. While similar to Asia with a geography that contains multiple language and cultures, the region “claims a unique identity and set of ‘European values’ that separate it from others…” This consequently gives a literary landscape in the region a halo of universalism. Whether it is true at heart or not is certainly up for debate, as Bustani rightly points out that some communities like Turkey are isolated from the Eurocentric ideological bloc. Read more

We Wish You A Merry Christmas…

By A. Jessie Michael

Of all the major festivals in the world, none I think is more universally celebrated than Christmas. There is something in the air in December that reaches far and wide.

When I arrived in China in 2012 to teach, I found a dismal artificial, Christmas tree with tangled streamers, in my classroom, in March of all months! The students who had put it up had no notion of the origins or the meaning of Christmas (or any other religious festival) except that it was universally fashionable to celebrate this thing called Christmas, in December, with a tree. It did not occur to them that it should have been taken down in January. It was in Florida and Australia that I discovered the Christmas Shops. I could not imagine that they stayed open all year round. At Christmas, Floridians have Santa Clause, sleigh, reindeer, and lights and whatnots on their rooftops, down the driveway and all around the garden. Sydney lights up the city and has amazing light displays of the nativity on the outside walls of a Church. Singapore lights up Orchard road and makes it a tourist attraction. No city is spared this dressing up.

In the Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur near where I live, this year it is a White Christmas! There were white trees laden with white cotton and white streamers; there were white swans, still, on a glassy lake and deer motionless under cotton laden trees. There were even polar bears in mid-prowl on snow. Outside it was 33 degrees Celsius. The hotel lobbies in the city are even more beautifully done up. When our children were small, we used to take them hotel-lobbies just to view the decorations.

The origins of Christmas are religious and holy but always seen as a time for joy for everyone.  Over the years with the advent of Santa clause with his legendary beginnings and his multiple selves, followed by Rudolph and his red nose competing with the Baby Jesus, Christmas has taken on two separate lives, the sacred and the secular. The first sings of the Child in the manger and the other of jingle bells and chestnuts on the fire. The sacred is Middle-Eastern, the secular is undeniably Western what with snowflakes and sleighs- bells. Yet there is no tension between the two. Somewhere in between, the twain do meet. The droves of people at the Mall with their children and cameras seem genuinely happy. The mood is infectious. I know for a fact that many non-Christians and total non-believers put up trees and exchange gifts just not to miss out in this season of goodwill.

91RK0gVPWQL.jpgFor believers in my city and in other towns in Malaysia, I know the churches will overflow at every service — the Christmas eve services and the morning ones. It is always the case.  The giving-trees are up where one can hang gifts for orphans. Christmas choir performances are on full swing if you care to check your events page on Facebook. At the same time, embassies are running their Christmas charity bazaars. There are the untold tales of those who celebrate with almsgiving. They visit the prisons, the homeless, the orphans or the aged with food, gifts and cheer. It is the season of giving and prayer and the season of joy, one in which even the saddest of hearts will smile a little and the hardest of hearts will melt a little. Everybody is in the mood, even the naysayers, who, like Scrooge, stomp their foot and  say — “Bah! Humbug!” Scrooge then did a volte face.

Charles Dickens  had captured the essence of the season beautifully in his novel written in 1843, A Christmas Carol — that charity, compassion and love reign supreme in this holy season. Read more

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