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Carnival of Poetry: Bridging Worlds Through Words

3 December, 2023

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon on 3rd December, when the team of Migrant Writers of Singapore headed to the Visual Arts Centre in Dhoby Ghaut. We were invited by the Ethos Book Festive Market to bring Carnival of Poetry to their event. We, from the team, were so excited to attend. For us, it’s something different and new because for the first time we are doing it outside the Sing Lit Station. Maybe, just maybe this is the start of doing Carnival of Poetry in different places in the future.

Upon arriving from the venue, we were greeted by the noise inside. I was surprised the moment I took a quick peek. There were many booths that offer a lot of different products including books, scrapbooking and many to mention. Happy to see familiar faces, too.

A representative  from the Ethos Books did an opening address and introduced the Migrant Writers of Singapore. Miranda (from Sing Lit Station) started the event by introducing the four participants who were sitting so confidently in front. She started with Lorelyn Arevalo, a haikuist from the Philippines who has published two books. Next was Mai Shalom Thar from Myanmar (her essay and poems were published in their magazine in church which they print every month) and Dewi, who has been published in more than 20 anthology books. Last but not the least, the only thorn among roses, Mohar Khan who is a winner in Poetry Festival Singapore and a contributor of many book anthologies; he was with his friend, poet Belal Hasan, who helped him read the English version of his two poems, and also to translate for him for the smooth flow of conversation.

Actually, I was taking attendance as I was designated and responsible for it, when Miranda came to me to ask me to continue her hosting due to her feeling unwell at the last minute. As we are always ready for the challenges, I immediately said yes!

While the conversation was rolling, there was a question from the audience about what language they prefer to use for writing. As a writer myself I can relate to this. It does not matter which language you are using. Whether you are writing with your mother tongue or in English, the moment you read their written pieces there is an emotion that bridges you to connect with what the writer is trying to convey. We are slowly thawing the language barrier between individuals because we have this kind of understanding and it has become less difficult to communicate.

Along the way in my journey with different people in the community I slowly learned from their culture, just like one of my readers on that afternoon – she cannot be filmed due to the strict system in their country and we respect her for that while some are gaining support. Nevertheless these four individuals take their courage to publish books and also be part of some anthologies and e-magazines to narrow the bridge between migrants and locals. I myself, hoping to see more of them.

“We are beyond our job description and I hope this kind of events will inspire you to love your crafts more and have the courage to share them with the world.” 

Written By
Julie Ann Tabigne

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