Translated by Debabrota Basu
Edited by Zakir Hossain Khokan & Monir Ahmod
Migrant Tales is a bilingual anthology of poems by migrant Bengali poets in Singapore. It is published in Singapore and Bangladesh. Following its launch at Singapore migrant worker poetry competition in December, 2016, it is featured at the poetry reading events in Singapore and also the Ekushey (21st) book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Representation of each poem alternatively in Bengali and English depicts the two-fold existence of migrants. Bengali version reflects the old selves of them that they left at their homes. On the other hand, the English version unveils their endeavour to reinvent themselves in this new space-time. In this new world, they hardly find the caress of their mother tongue but often come across glimpses of old selves and an unquenchable longing to return.
This book is meant to create a poetic bonding between the local residents and the migrant poets. It is also meant to reassure the compatriots that all who left home are not gone.
“Migrant workers are someone whom we’re so familiar with but sometimes we don’t see them, they are invisible. These books flesh out their lives for us to experience, their emotions.” — Reuters
This book is one of the first creation of the Migrant Literature Movement in Singapore. Multiple academic reviews and papers are written on this book, and also multiple workshop sessions in universities, such as Imperial College, Nanyang University of Technology, National University of Singapore, rotated around it.
Feel free to read successing creations of migrant workers in Singapore as mentioned in this article.
Director: Siew Hua Yeo
Winner of the 71st Locarno Festival's Golden Leopard prize, 2018 and Asia Pacific Screen Awards, 2018
In the words of IMDb: "A lonely construction worker from China goes missing at a Singapore land reclamation site, and a sleepless police investigator must put himself in the mind of the migrant to uncover the truth beneath all that sand."
It is an artistic creation conceived at the juncture of the Singaporean New Wave and Migrant Literature Movement. As Singaporean cinema scene has begun to engage with the migrant voices, Siew Hua brought his artwork to life. A Land Imagined became Singapore's representative for Oscars. This cinema is followed by a series of documentaries and feature films on migrant lives, which have been showcased in international film festivals, such as the Berlinale, Rotterdam film festival etc.
"An acclaimed Singapore-set mystery" - NY Times
"The long overdue story takes a step into a Singapore you would not have otherwise seen" - Vice
I have been honoured to be an actor in A Land Imagined and also a facilitator in assimilating Bengali, the vernacular of a group of the migrant protagonists.
Director: Debabrota Basu
Script: Debabrota Basu, Naive L Gascon
Zebra Crossing is a poetic play that consists of six poems written by three poets from three countries and different streams of life.
Zebra crossing is a portal that city dwellers use every day to reach destinations and return home. It is a perfect metaphor to portray the layers and colours of life, migration and, above all, to celebrate the shared experience of being human. Zebra Crossing depicts the stories of a mother-daughter pair working as housekeepers, a shoresman, and two city-dwellers reflecting on life. Through these diverse stories, the presentation explores life as a crossroad of unheard human stories, and poetry as the rhythm that unifies them.
In 2018-2019, Zebra Crossing has been featured in Singapore for multiple shows at the Esplande Theatre Concourse, Shantanjali Festival of Arts, Migrant Literature Festival, SingLit Station etc.
It is a pleasure that the play is reopened again in 2020 after my departure from Singapore.
Zebra Crossing invites you to sail with them through a poetic voyage, which builds bridges between different shores to celebrate a universal human identity.