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First Reads: parsetreeforestfire

What does it mean to speak? What does it mean to speak authentically? What does it mean to write in English but be located in Singapore? What does it mean to write in Singlish?

Hamid Roslan’s debut poetry collection—in which poems in Singlish occupy one side of the book, and poems in English on the other—attempts to answer these questions. Lauded as an “arresting collection”, this debut by Hamid baffles, moves and offends. Read the opening pair from the book here.

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INTERVIEWS

‘I am particularly fixated on the ramifications of guilt’: In Conversation with Jinny Koh

"What happens when a child tells a lie that leads to devastating consequences for a family? I am very interested in examining the human condition, and am particularly fixated on the ramifications of guilt. Back then, I knew I wanted to write a story that delved into the complexities of family dynamics and parental love. From there I plotted out The Gods and that was how the story was born."

‘The afterlife is full of ironies and dark humour’: In Conversation with Yong Shu Hoong

I suppose the idea of opposite things being two sides of the same coin isn't too radical—in life, as in literature, there are examples about love and hate, right and wrong, black and white, and the blurring of those distinctions. I think of an early poem, 'The Anorexic Cactus' (from my first collection of poems, Isaac), and how my over-watering (and general lack of green fingers) has unintentionally killed one potted plant too many, and this song by Queen comes to mind: 'Too Much Love Will Kill You' —Yong Shu Hoong

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EPIPHANY

Later: An unanticipated year of autoethnography

Afterword to This is What Inequality Looks Like, 2019

When I filed my last edit in December 2017, a month before This is What Inequality Looks Like was first released, I fully expected to begin a gradual backing away from the book. That is what academics do: we work on a research project, draft articles and books reporting our findings, revise them over a couple of years. By the time they are reviewed, revised, and published, we are already working on some other project. From this perch, I was unprepared for what was to come after the release of TIWILL.

An Editor’s Learning Points—Working With A Blind Author

Very early on, after Cassandra, together with Esme, had arrived in our Midview office to sign the publishing agreement in early 2018 and I had naturally delved into the editing and production stages of the project, foreseeing the work ahead—it dawned on me that our hard work on the print book would ultimately be a thing that was practically useless to her—and to realise that right at the beginning was kind of sobering, already.

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