Work in progress

THE YELLOW MAN

In this biographical sketch of the Singaporean artist Lee Wen, a portrait is drawn of a boy growing up in a kampong- rural village- in Potong Pasir in the 1960s, who pushes himself to become a banking officer in a city-island focused on economic growth. Unsatisfied with the materialism of a prospering Singapore, he goes to England in search of truth and beauty, and what it means to be human, but finds on his return home to Singapore, a constant struggle with censorship and state control of the arts. Against the odds, and through great determination and adaptability, he survives and lives to become an internationally recognised artist. A chronicle of striving and searching, this book is for anyone wanting to understand belonging, difference and identity in a fast-changing society and an uncertain world. 

BORN TO RUN

It began with chronicling the lives of young women with past histories as garment factory workers or refugees from Afghanistan and Myanmar. It expanded to telling the stories of women, of their courage, resilience and tenacity. What motivates women from unusual or disadvantaged backgrounds to dream big, and to keep going despite their struggles, whether external or internal? Who are the people who support them, and what friendships have strengthened their resolve to effect change for their families and societies back home?

Past projects

A PHILOSOPHER’S MADNESS

This is a personal and philosophical account of schizophrenia that aims to raise awareness of mental health issues. The personal aspect of the book reveals the gritty reality of what it is like to have schizophrenia, and explores issues faced by those with mental illness, such as secrecy and recovery. The philosophical aspect of the book raises questions concerning the nature of mental illness, such as whether or not mental illness is ultimately physical or mental. Referencing contemporary debates, such as whether madness is a disease or a culturally- determined label, this book is relevant not only to persons with an interest in a true story of psychosis, but also to those with an interest in the relationship between philosophy and madness.

THE PERMIT

This short script is an adaptation from a short story. It is a futuristic thriller and dark comedy about a middle-aged expat academic with a comfortable job as a university lecturer, where an unusual delay in his permit renewal application threatens to take away his job, his flat, and the life that he has established in his adopted country, the place that he calls home. Ultimately, this is a story about a society that utilises state control, its mechanisms and its effects. 

WOULD YOU LOOK DOWN ON ME?

These cleaners work in our offices, homes, hawker centres, and hospitals. Some of them are from Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and China, but there are also Singaporeans amongst them. The youngest is thirty and the oldest eighty. They are single, married, or divorced. They have children, spouses and parents to take care of. They became cleaners because they need the money to survive, to support their families, or extra cash to eventually start a business. Others told us that working was critical to staving off boredom after retirement. While they agreed to share on their lives and experiences, it has been done in confidentiality, and we cannot reveal their identities. All of them declined to have their photographs taken. 

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