Sketching Singapore

Sketching Singapore
Literary Exchange & Writing Project


Sketching Singapore is a literature exchange and writing project that attempts to introduce new perspectives for understanding Singaporean literature. The project breaks away from existing perspectives on Malay and Chinese literature from Singapore to potentially uncover a possibility for juxtaposition with Taiwanese literature. 

The name of the project was inspired by Malay Sketches, a collection of short stories by Singaporean author - Alfian Sa'at, which was named after another book, also named Malay Sketches, by Frank Swettenham, a British officer in Malaysia when it was still a British Colony. Alfan Sa'at's Malay Sketches is a significant piece of Singaporean literature that tells the story of ethnic minorities. Sketching Singapore attempts to expand on the spirit of Malay Sketches by conducting in-depth interviews, writings, and commentary on culture and art scenarios in Singapore. Wu Ting-Kuan, the principal investigator, recruited ten authors from Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, etc. and of different backgrounds such as literary writing, translation, performing arts, media, publishing, channels, academic research, and education. They were asked to write a feature article, commentary, or observation which would then be included in the Sketching Singapore publication. The articles covered Singaporean Chinese literature, Malay literature, Tamil literature, and English poetry and even extended as far as genres relating to social issues such as queer literature or migrant literature. Other featured articles on extensions of literature, i.e., the folk song movement and Chinese theater, as well as knowledge production beyond the institutions of academia elites present a whole new Singapore before the Taiwanese public through different literary angles. The authors were Sally Sung, Neo Hai Bin, Feng Yue-ming, Waln Ching Tan, Jia Jia Teo, Luka Zhang Lei, Show Ying Xin, Faris Joraimi, K. Kanagalatha, Ng Yi-sheng, and Sebastion Susilo (translator). 


Wu Ting-Kuan

Wu Ting-Kuan is a cultural worker that focuses on art and cultural practices by migrant workers from the Malay Archipelago, specifically Indonesia. Wu attempts to expand the narrative with more voices and crossovers through art collaborations, and he seeks to explore the historical truths behind labor and migration.