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Interview with Yong Shu Hoong and Kirpal Singh

Interview with Yong Shu Hoong and Kirpal Singh.

Literature of singapore – Poetry

Yong Shu Hoong:

Who and what is your inspiration?

Yong Shu Hoong: The little things around me. Everyone has five senses that help experience the world. You have to keep your eyes and ears open to find something that could surface as an inspiration. Over time, I have developed a sixth sense for the same – an instinctive ability to find something around me, in the little things that can be translated into a poem.

In what way can Singapore contribute to Asia in terms of Poetry?

Yong Shu Hoong: Singapore is still a small dot on the Asian map. Although it is known for its cultural and art festivals, it still has a long way to go. Since we are an immigrant society, we don’t have any native language. Even so, we have very good artists and writers in our country. We have begun to develop a language called ‘Singlish’, that we hope to share with the world. It is Singapore’s English.

You told us that you were formerly a computer scientist. What made you switch fields?Yong Shu Hoong: Yes, I was a computer scientist but I don’t regret being one. I think it was the right choice. I also did a Masters in Business later and I think my vast and varied experiences helped my career a lot. It was important for me to see the different worlds because I was able to incorporate my knowledge from these experiences into my poetry.

If you could give one line of advice to budding writers aspiring to be like you, what would it be?Yong Shu Hoong: Keep your senses. Don’t get carried away. Absorb everything around you because experience is more important than anything else in the world.

How does it feel to be here at one of the finest literary fests of the country?

Yong Shu Hoong: It is great that this fest has been organized in a school as it gives the event a different feel. Inspite of  being a working day, the turnout today is great and the audience, inspiring.


Kirpal Singh:

You have participated in few of the most prestigious literary fests around the world including Adelaide and Toronto, what would you say is special about the Hyderabad Literary Fest?A lot is special about this particular fest. The fact that this is organized in an open space and around nature makes it different. The Toronto one was on the harbour side and the Adelaide one was in tents, but this concept is completely different and new.  It’s in a school but not in a closed space. The campus is beautiful and so the fest has a completely special feel.

How good do you think is the English Poetry in India?

The English poetry in India is very good. Although, I do have a worry. I’ve seen and studied a lot of Indian poetry, right from the 19th century and all of it is fantastic. And now, the Indian poetry seems to have reached a plateau. It is musical but has less meaning.

-You come from a land, that told you “Poetry is a luxury that you can’t afford”. What was your driving force to continue pursuing your passion anyway?A foolish and stubborn belief that I have something to say – irrespective of whether someone lets me.

-If you could give one line of advice to budding writers aspiring to be like you, what would it be?Don’t let anything stop you. Don’t let fear get the better of you. Don’t let the uncles and aunties stop you from pursuing your dream. Believe in yourself and go, get whatever it is that you want.

– How does it feel to be here at one of the finest literary fests of the country?

It’s great! Like I said, the nature and the environment make it even better.

– Palak Agarwal

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