Singapore Awardee

I am a playwright from Singapore. I started writing plays after meeting Alvin Tan in 1987. We were literature students at the National University of Singapore. Alvin had just founded The Necessary Stage and I found myself with a group of people who loved the process of theatre making. Because of their support and Alvin’s vision, I was able to work full time as a playwright. Alvin made a writer out of me.

27 years later, I am humbled to be in the presence of such literary luminaries from all over Southeast Asia, receiving the 2014 SEA Write Award.

In a recent play of mine, a character, a feared dance teacher, tells her protégé: When you have some fame you don’t want it. When people forget you then you see how you will behave. For generations who do we remember? We remember the writers, the poet, the dancer, the painter. Who remembers the teacher? Will my name be in the history books? On the Internet?

We are blessed, we writers are. We have opportunities to be published, to be staged, to be read, to be studied… And if we’re lucky, long after we have left the earth.

If we are remembered, if we are in the history books or on the Internet, it is because of the support of countless others whose names don’t appear on the cover of our books. And I would like to dedicate this award to them:

To my parents, my family and especially to Navin.

To Alvin and The Necessary Stage family – Mel, Jeza, Irma, Edlyn, Shaggy and Joyce.

My sincere thanks to the panel of judges, to the National Book Development Council of Singapore, to the National Arts Council.

Finally thank you to the wonderful hosts and organizers of the SEA Write Award.

This award is more than an honour. It is a privilege.