Me Migrant

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by Md Mukul Hossine
Transcreated by Cyril Wong
Translated from Bangla with help from Fariha Imran & Farouk Ahammed

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Synopsis

Me migrant
Beyond borders
Mislaying smiles
Dawn to dusk then dawn again

Me Migrant features the poems of Md Mukul Hossine – poems originally written in Bengali by Mukul, transcreated by Singapore poet Cyril Wong based on English translations by Fariha Imran and Farouk Ahammed. It represents the voice of hope and inclusiveness, of longing and dreaming, of service and heart.

This collection was born of the friendship between volunteers of community clinic HealthServe and foreign construction workers. Dr Tan Lai Yong, a volunteer medical doctor at Healthserve and his team of medical students from National University of Singapore (NUS) were inspired by their experiences and Mukul's poems to respond with some writings of their own.

The poetry within these pages makes us see farther, think deeper, and listen. In listening, let us cross these borders.

“In rewriting and editing the rough translations of what were essentially raw but passionately honest versifications, the colloquial directness of ‘Me Migrant’ kept coming back to haunt me…”   Cyril Wong

“Along the way, our volunteers have grown to appreciate the resilience of the foreign workers who come to our island home, their devotion to and love for their own families left behind in their homeland. Our respect for their labour in building Singapore grew.  Along the way, we also learnt about the many talents that they have. Talents that lay hidden behind their construction helmets and protective visors; talents that remain hidden because of our stereotyping.” – Dr Tan Lai Yong

About the Author

Md Mukul Hossine was born in Patgram, Bangladesh. In 2008, he arrived in Singapore and has been working in its construction sector. Mukul writes poems, novels, and short stories. He enjoys composing poetry to remember his mother back home. His novel, Buker Simanaye Sukh (Happiness at Heart’s Edge) and his poetry collection Apurna Vasana (Unfulfilled Desire) have been published in Bangladesh. His other works have also appeared in anthologies. Mukul has spent many long nights writing poetry. His favourite poet is Rabindranath Tagore.

About the transcreator

Cyril Wong is a Singapore Literature Prize-winning poet. His latest collections include The Dictator’s Eyebrow (Ethos Books, 2013), a finalist for the Singapore Book Awards, and The Lover’s Inventory (Math Paper Press, 2015). He has served as a mentor under the Creative Arts Programme and the Mentor Access Project, as well as a judge for the Golden Point Awards in Singapore. A past recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award for Literature, he completed his doctoral degree in English Literature at the National University of Singapore in 2012.

About Healthserve

Founded in 2006, HealthServe is a non-profit organisation that seeks to meet the needs of the migrant workers in the community through the provision of medical care, counselling, case work, social assistance, and other support services.

Review

"In Singapore, migrant workers are too often painted as either troublemakers or victims: faceless laborers without individuality or dignity. This book changes that."
—Ng Yi-Sheng, writer, author of Loud Poems for a Very Obliging Audience

"Hossine’s poetry is the result of his emotion that he expresses in simple verses without any lofty ideas or unique images.”

Golam Sarwar Chowdhury, Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language & Literature

    • • •

    ISBN: 978-981-09-9254-5
    Published: 2016
    Dimension: 200mm x 120mm 
    Pages: 68 pages
    Format: Paperback

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