Saturday, July 03, 2010

Alfian's Thoughts on Singapore

Some of the challenges that we face are universal. It is difficult to make a living and a career out of writing and publishing in Singapore. For a country of 4.5 million people, I believe that there are fewer than 10% who are active readers. From that percentage, even fewer pick up and read works written locally. Readership is a challenge. We don’t have a reading culture. If you look at the bestseller lists, they are works, in a sense, already successfully and globally marketed, like Harry Potter. A lot of self-help books reach the bestseller list. That happens to be the reading diet of the Singapore population.
Bissme S interviews award-winning playwright Alfian Sa’at in The Sun about living and writing in Singapore, and his brushes with censorship. 

This I find interesting :
I am inspired whenever I come to Kuala Lumpur. I feel there are little pocket freedoms which I do not find in Singapore. There is greater freedom of expression in Malaysia.
(Alfian is currently doing a residence at CHAI House.)

*Thanks Bissme for sending me the link.


Fiona1 said...

A lot more freedom of expression in Malaysia? I beg to differ. I'd think 'A lot more reason for expression'

Greenbottle said...

no, alfian is right...look at malaysian political blogs! it's almost anarchic out there and that's very good....

i only wish we have more local writers writing stuff that are half as interesting as those political blogs...

John Ling said...

Agreed. According to the latest Freedom of the Press index, Malaysia is ranked 143, and Singapore is ranked 151. So while both countries are basket cases, one is certainly 'freer' than the other.

Singapore has been far more successful than Malaysia at crafting propaganda and silencing dissent. Sufian is absolutely right when he points out that Singapore is a Chinese-centric society that has marginalised the Malays for decades. Institutionalised racism is alive and well, merely cloaked under the myth of 'meritocracy'.

Good on Sufian for calling a spade a spade. We need far more of that.