Robert Yeo (SG)
Pam Handa (India)
Melizarani T. Selva
Jac SM Kee
Hosted by Jerome Kugan & Jasmine Low
ABOUT WAYANG KATA
Wayang Kata began in Kuala Lumpur in 2006 as collaboration between the British Council, Jasmine Low and Jerome Kugan, of open mic events Doppelganger and Troubadours, as an attempt to popularise the spoken word. Three years of performances to a packed house saw a host of UK poets grace the Wayang Kata stage in Kuala Lumpur - Francesca Beard, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Malika Booker, Kim Trusty and Polarbear - alongside a constellation of rising Malaysian poetry stars. Wayang Kata is now independently funded and will host its second installation in Penang, featuring a multi-lingual lineup of poets and spoken word performers.
RM5 min donation
Bistro Tang @ Ren I Tang Hotel
82-A Lebuh Penang (Penang Street)
10200 George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site | Penang | Malaysia
Tel: +6 04 250 8383 | Fax: +6 04 250 8381 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.renitang.com
Robert YEO Cheng Chuan is one of the pioneers of Singaporean drama in English. Yeo is also a poet, editor, novelist, literary critic, (former) lecturer at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, and (present) teacher of creative writing, Singapore Management University. He received the Public Service Medal in 1991 for services to drama.
Yeo has published five poetry collections: Coming Home, Baby (1971); And Napalm Does Not Help (1977); and A Part of Three (1989). He is one of the five poets in Five Takes (1974). Leaving Home, Mother (1999) is a selection of eighty-five published poems. Ironic and conversational, many poems located abroad interrogate nation-building in Singapore and the Vietnam War while the local poems probe family ties and materialism. “Nothing is new but what is forgotten” is a refrain in a good number. Yeo’s only novel, The Adventures of Holden Heng (1986), is a bildungsroman concerned with the sexual education of its antihero.
Yeo has written six plays. The Singapore Trilogy (2001) comprising “Are You There, Singapore?” (1974), “One Year Back Home” (1980) and “Changi” (1996), dramatises tensions between individual freedoms and constraints exercised by the state, the need for an Opposition in Parliament, and the costs of friendship. In 1974, “Are You There, Singapore?” made history by breaking all box office records for a theatre performance in Singapore. “One Year” was given a performance licence only after almost eighteen months of negotiation with official authorities. It was published in Manila in 1990-after Singaporean publishers turned it down, perceiving it as political dynamite. “Second Chance” (1988) is Yeo’s foray into the “Great Marriage Debate” which was initiated in 1983 when Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister, lamented the fact that many graduate women were not marrying (and replacing themselves). Unlike these naturalistic plays, the interpretive aspects of history engage “The Eye of History” (1992), a back-to-the-past fantasy played out in scenes between key figures like Munshi Abdullah (Malay historian), Stamford Raffles (founder of colonial Singapore), and Lee Kuan Yew (founder of the modern republic). Yeo’s most recent play, “Your Bed is Your Coffin,” based on a schizophrenic friend, has yet to be staged.
Yeo has edited collections of short fiction, plays and textbooks. A self-confessed compulsive writer, he believes in moving on. The neglect of the Singapore theatre of his plays has made him turn to writing libretti for opera,. In collaboration with the American-born composer John Sharpley, who lives in Singapore, they completed “Kannagi” a one-woman opera based on an ancient Indian epic, the Silappadikaram, as well as a full-length work called “Fences”, about the effects of the 1965 separation of Singapore from Malaysia, based on an idea suggested by Leow Siak Fah. “Kannagi” was performed in October 25, 2009, in the Sri Mariamman Indian temple in Singapore's famous Chinatown. His only novel,“The Adventures of Holden Heng”, was reissued in 2011, and “Routes”, his memoirs covering the years 1940-1975, was published in 2011. “ Fences “ was staged on August 18-19, 2012, in the Lee Foundation Theatre, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. His latest book, which collects his poetry, including the libretto of “Kannagi”, is the book entitled “ The Best of Robert Yeo”, published in 2012. In 2011, he was awarded the SE Asian Write Award.
PAM HANDA, a poet, novelist and former President of the Ghana International Women’s Club, was born of a Punjabi family in India. A graduate of the Sacred Heart Convent, Dalhousie, Pam completed her B.A. degree in 1964 with English, French, and Philosophy as her Majors. Two years later, she received her Master’s degree from Punjab University, Chandigarh. She was awarded a gold medal for her achievements as an outstanding student. It was from the English Department of the Punjab University that Pam’s Teaching career was launched in 1966. In 1968 Pam married Dr.P.K.Handa, a Paediatrician, and three years later destiny brought the Handas to Ghana. While they were living in England in the nineties, Pam did a couple of courses on the Teaching of English as a Foreign language. Pam has, over the decades, taught in Women’s Training Colleges and schools in Ghana. Pam’s work is truly a reflection of her life in India, England and Africa. It contains vivid images and descriptions of her first–hand experiences. Some of her writing contains her impressions about things; some contains philosophical thoughts; some is based on cultural beliefs and some of it is sentimental about the past. Pam has 4 books to her credit: three books of poems and one novel. Her anthology of poems entitled, ‘Wings of the Heart’, and semi-autobiogtraphical novel, ‘ Of Kismet and Karma’, have recently been published by Trafford in the USA.
SHEENA BAHARUDIN (@sheenadin) is a wide-eyed and restless educator, spoken word poet, travel junkie, writer and founder of the bimonthly performing arts event Numinous. She has performed at numerous local and international events including The Cooler Lumpur Festival, Raising the Bar Hip Hop Festival, Urbanscapes and Singapore's LitUp Festival; doing solo as well as ensemble performances with others to promote the art of the spoken word. In June 2013, her first published poetry collection was released under the title "Rhymes for Mending Hearts".
ELAINE FOSTER is a poetry educator and spoken word poet who worked with ASTRO’s Oh My English developing a nationwide school performance poetry programme. Founder of The Big Fish – a storytelling event for big kids, Elaine performs her poetry solo and in ensemble as part of the poetry show SERONOK which has been staged at #Word - The Cooler Lumpur Festival, Urbanscapes 2012 and will premier at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in October.
KSATRIYA is a poet and songwriter celebrated for his lyrical acuity and signature sound. The word on the street is he's the truth to a beat.
Listen to his debut digital EP "RED" at https://rebelrhyming.bandcamp.com/
MELIZARANI T.SELVA is a spoken word poet, writer and entrepreneur. Her rhymes are drawn from her infatuation with food, a wild curiosity in taboos and all the things her Mother told her not to do. She has performed her poetry at various literary events in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne including Readings @ Seksan and gained first runner up at The National Singapore Slam, Lit Up 2013.
JASMINE LOW is a social entrepreneur, writer, director/producer and is a supporter of providing platforms for artistic talent in Malaysia. As one of the early ones who organised live open mic series called Doppelganger Open Mic Open Stage and Wayang Kata, she’s hosted over 500 music and literary events since 2002. Today, she wears the hat of Festival Director for two festivals; FEYST Indie Youth Fest (KL) and the In-between Arts Fest (Penang). She also runs a marketing communication firm and believes in pushing the envelope to bring together the government, the corporate sector, non-profit organisations and communities through music the arts.