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Bridging Worlds
Through Words

A podcast series presented by Migrant Writers of Singapore and supported by Sing Lit Station and The Majurity Trust, Bridging Worlds Through Words takes a look at writing and its intersections. Do categories describe or define the work? Similarly, what defines a “migrant” or “local” in Singapore, and how distinct are these identities, really? Join our writers as they search for common ground through literature.

EPISODE 1

Demystifying Mental Health

How can we use literature and the arts as tools for healing? What role can storytelling play in dispelling taboos about mental health, and building resilience in the face of hardship? Julie Ann Tabigne, Nurjannah Suhaimi, and Wayne Rée chat with Mazharul Abedin about how literature converges with the many facets of mental health. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
 
 


HOSTED BY

AKM MAZHARUL ABEDIN is a recitation artist and theatre artist. He has been in Singapore since 2009, working as a mechanical coordinator at a petrochemical refinery. While studying at Dhaka University he trained in recitation and stage performance under Guru Dr. Shri Bhaswar Bandyopadhyay and the late Sir Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed. In 2018, he started the Kahan Recitation Practice Centre with others who love recitation.

FEATURING

JULIE ANN TABIGNE is a mother, a team leader and one of the volunteers of Migrant Writers of Singapore, and she loves hosting. Her poem “Love Yourself” is included in the sixth edition of The Tiger Moth Eco Review, and “Car” was published in the anthology book Warm Tea on a Rainy Day. Her poem “Break Free” was one of the winners of the “Words Heal the Mind” poetry competition organized by Migrant Writers of Singapore and supported by Singapore Red Cross in celebration of mental health in 2021. She also performed on several stages, most recently, at the Asian Civilization Museum auditorium for Singapore Writers Festival.

NURJANNAH SUHAIMI (she/her) is a designer based in Singapore. She is a visual communications graduate from Nanyang Technological University, the School of Art, Design, and Media. As a self-motivated and proactive person, she takes pride in adapting to stressful situations, and is always seeking new experiences to keep her on her toes!

WAYNE RÉE (he/him) is the co-creator of the prose/comics mash-up, Work-Life Balance, and the comic, Worlds Apart: A Conversation About Mental Health. He wrote the text-based game, Internal Damnation, and co-created the award-winning audio series, Ghost Maps. His short stories have appeared in several publications, most recently Fish Eats Lion Redux. Find him at: waynereewrites.com

EPISODE 2

An Image By Any Other Name

What does it mean to compose in the visual and literary realm? Can we look towards art to shape language? Can language expand the possibilities of a portrait? Multi-hyphenated artists Ellen Lavilla and Marc Nair chat with Sonia Serrenade about the intersections between the literary and visual arts. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
 
 

HOSTED BY

SONIA SERRENADE is from Indonesia and has been working in Singapore for 12 years. She currently volunteers at Aidha, an NGO that works with migrants to help domestic workers learn financial management, computer skills and leadership. Sonia also helps Migrant Writers of Singapore as a moderator of Arts In Me and administers the Facebook page’s daily motivational and inspirational videos, images, and text.

FEATURING

MARC NAIR has been, at various points in his life, a teacher, photographer, scriptwriter, voice-over talent, performance poet and cat slave. He has published ten collections of poetry and is a recipient of the 2016 Young Artist Award.

ELLEN LAVILLA is from Iloilo, Philippines. She is a domestic worker in Singapore. She likes to write poetry and simple short stories in her free time. She is a member of Migrant Writers of Singapore. When not writing she is most likely to be found wandering through nature photographing weeds, flowers and insects in the park. She is also into watercolour painting and paints simple flowers and botanicals into cards. Ellen considers her family to be most important to her. She is a strong person and believes in equality as much as possible.

EPISODE 3

Towards A More Inclusive Society

How do writers overcome adversity, and deal with difference in our work? How do we respectfully include diverse perspectives and voices onto our platforms? Ayu Candi Sari and Karisa Poedjirahardjo chat with Jenelyn Leyble about diversity in literature and the literary scene. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
 

HOSTED BY

JENELYN LEYBLE is a 32-year-old domestic worker in Singapore. She is one of the volunteer members of the Migrant writers of Singapore, and the moderator of its community page Arts in Me. She is one of the contributors in an anthology book Metaphors of Life, and a featured writer in the second issue of the Poetry Planet International magazine themed “The Unsung Heroes.” In 2022, her poem was shortlisted for the Journey by Lorry Online Arts Competition for Migrants. Recently, she won a poetry writing contest themed “Resilience,” by Singapore Red Cross in collaboration with Migrant Writers of Singapore.

FEATURING

AYU CANDI SARI is from Solo, Central Java-Indonesia. She has been working in Singapore as a domestic worker for 16 years. She uses her free time to learn new skills and develop herself. She volunteers both offline and online with migrant communities. She loves to exercise and do sports like yoga, cycling and hiking. She also enjoys art activities such as writing and crocheting. Her favorite quote is “Always upgrade yourself.”

KARISA POEDJIRAHARDJO was birthed by Indonesians, lives in Singapore, and raised by open-mics. She has performed poetry on platforms such as Destination: INK, the Esplanade, Singapore Unbound, SPEAK, Speakeasy, and Spoke & Bird. Their work is on EXHALE: An Anthology of Queer Singapore Voices, SingPoWriMo Magazine (Issue 5), and Kitaab. During the day, he manages community programmes at Sing Lit Station.

EPISODE 4

A Conversation On Conservation

While the climate crisis affects Singaporeans and migrants alike, we may be affected differently because of our positionality. What is the writer’s role in talking about the climate? How do we wade through climate grief to write ourselves into a greener future? Esther Vincent and Laila Tadile chat with Payal Morankar about the intersection between literature and the climate. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
 

HOSTED BY

PAYAL MORANKAR returned to her first love of writing after a stint in finance. She is a freelance business writer as well as a creative writer, Bharatanatyam dancer, and avid Himalayan trekker. Her short story “Aaji’s Vicissitudes” is published in Singapore at Home: Life Across Lines, an anthology by Kitaab Singapore. Ever in awe of language and literature, nothing excites her more than discovering a new word or turn of phrase.

FEATURING

ESTHER VINCENT XUEMING is the author of Red Earth (Blue Cactus Press), an ecofeminist collection of poetry, and editor-in-chief and founder of The Tiger Moth Review, an independent eco journal of art and literature based in Singapore. She is co-editor of Making Kin: Ecofeminist Essays from Singapore (Ethos Books) and two poetry anthologies. Her second book of poetry, womb song, is forthcoming publication at Blue Cactus Press. You can read her essays on ecopoetry, interspecies kinships, ecofeminism and eco spirituality on The Trumpeter, EcoTheo Review, Sinking City Review and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore.

LAILA TADILE was born and raised in Ilocos Sur, Philippines. She has lived in Singapore since 2009, and started writing in November 2022 when she joined a poetry workshop at Sing Lit Station. She was glad to find the Migrants Writers of Singapore group and hopes to use her free time in more productive ways. She was also one of the readers in the January session of Carnival of Poetry themed “The Bucket List.”

EPISODE 5

Counting on our Communities

Communities provide vital support in difficult times – particularly for migrants living in a foreign country. In Singapore, a migrant writing community has grown, helping to bring people together and push them to better their craft. What is the line between Singaporean and migrant literary communities? Are they really so different? What unites them? Mynul Islam and Skylar Yap chat with Jo Ann Dumlao about the struggles and rewards of community-building in the literary scene. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
 

HOSTED BY

JO ANN DUMLAO began life in Ilocos Norte, Philippines, and has been working in Singapore since 2007 to present. As a volunteer at the Humanitarian Organisation of Migration Economics (HOME), she writes for HOME’s MyVoice blog and volunteers for HOME’s Filipino Helpdesk. She is a contributing writer in the books Our Homes, Our Stories and Call and Response 2. She is also a trained member volunteer of Care Sisters MDW community. As a Best Friends of the Gallery volunteer for National Gallery Singapore (NGS), she has written an article for NGS translated into 3 languages: Filipino, Burmese and Bahasa Indonesia.

FEATURING

SKYLAR YAP is a Singaporean artist/poet/friendly neighbourhood rat who dabbles in every medium she can get her hands on. Her works have been featured in various anthologies and projects since 2020. Her muses include: her writing collective zerosleep, Baudelaire’s angst, and a cesspool of lived experiences. Find her online: @skylar.yap

MYNUL ISLAM is from Bangladesh and has been working in Singapore for 10 years in the construction sector. Outside of work he spends his time running a social group, which aims to educate, assist and engage migrant brothers. Some of the engagements have included raising awareness of environmental issues in Singapore.

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