Decolonising our Natural Heritage

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Vanda Miss Joaquim. Indigenous knowledge. Ethnobotany. These are some of the ways we can get to know our environment, which illuminate the hidden and forgotten aspects of Singapore’s natural heritage. By revisiting the sources of our knowing, we can begin to understand how we relate to our environment and how our “Garden City” can encompass narratives that have been historically suppressed or ignored.

In collaboration with Singapore Heritage Festival 2022, Ethos Books is proud to present this online panel, featuring Khairulddin Wahab, Mok Zining, Nadirah Norruddin, and moderated by Faris Joraimi. Our speakers will share about the ways they decentre natural history away from the European lens and conventional national narratives, seeing our familiar natural icons and landscapes in a different light.

The event will be livestreamed on the Ethos Books' Facebook page. We will be providing live note-taking and sign language interpreters will be providing SgSL interpretation. If you have any enquiries or access needs, feel free to write to us at All are welcome and we would love to have you with us!

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About the Speakers
Khairulddin Wahab’s paintings weave narratives drawn from environmental history, material culture and post-colonialism in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Working from found images and iconography derived from his geographic and cultural contexts, Khairulddin creates visual tableaus that allude to our historico-political encounters with the natural world. He graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from LASALLE College of the Arts (2014) and has exhibited in various local and international exhibitions, including The Word for World is Forest at Cuturi Gallery (2021) Jogja Biennale (2019), and State of Motion (2018). He was the winner of the 2018 UOB Painting of The Year and 2014 Winston Oh Travel Award.

Mok Zining is obsessed with random things: orchids, arabesques, trees. Her work appears in The Rumpus, The Straits Times, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. Zining recently graduated with an MFA from the University of Minnesota, and is working on a book about sand. The Orchid Folios is her first book.

Nadirah Norruddin is a Research Associate at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. Prior to that, she was an Associate Curator at the Malay Heritage Centre and later an Associate Librarian at the National Library. Her main interest lies in the literary and cultural productions of the Malay world.

About the Moderator
Faris Joraimi is a Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow with the National Library. As a writer and researcher specialising in the history of the Malay World, he has authored various essays for print and electronic media. He is also co-editor of Raffles Renounced: Towards a Merdeka History (2021), a volume of essays on Singapore’s decolonial history. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History from Yale-NUS College.