Book bites this week takes a double review of the events that unfurled at The Pigeonhole – LitCamp 2011 and a Blogger Meetup.
LitCamp is the literary focus of what people have come to known as BarCamp. Thanks to The Pigeonhole, LitCamp kicked off on the 25th of June, with MizHalle hosting the event. Fuelled by beer, coffee, cider, soft drinks and what other drinks the cafe had, we had an interesting line of speakers touching on a few topics.
However, I was particularly interested in Mr Lucas Ho’s presentation on the State of Literature Education in Singapore. Generally speaking, the presentation revolved around a few issues of literature in Singapore – the lack of exposure to local literature, the lack of channels and resources in general.
And while I did agree that there are many more channels as compared to before (Creative Writing Programme, Arts Creation Fund, Mentor Access Programme etc…), I still feel that there are many interested and brilliant people being left to fall through the cracks (mostly from the neighbourhood schools, who may not have access or resources to get to various programmes). T’was a bit of a pity that I didn’t get to speak to Lucas after the entire thing.
Nonetheless, it was a good learning experience.
Sarah’s friend, Bani made a really interesting presentation as well – How music can influence how we read and what we perceive. It was something good to break up the intense, literary discussions held before that.
As the evening progressed, the group did get smaller and smaller and as they say, less definitely is more. A smaller group allowed better facilitation of discussion despite the fact that we’ve been talking nonsense for a while. However, these were the things I’ve learnt from the truly random discussion:
1) Singapore could be considered insignificant in the Literary Scene (AND IT’S NOT SOMETHING TO BE IGNORED!) due to the fact that we have yet to be attacked by a giant monster (E.g. Godzilla or King Kong) in comics or literary works.
2) If a giant oyster attacked Singapore, I believe the next action to be taken would be to distribute free Orh Luak (Oyster Omelette) to everyone.
So that was LitCamp done and dusted, I would think the next one will have a wider variety of topics open for discussion.
Arts Blogger Meet-up
Now this session was much more casual. With Joyce and Sarah, we came to notice an invitation to an Arts Bloggers meet-up, facilitated by Louis (Deananas) and Pooja (Notabilia). Also held at the Pigeon Hole, we were crazily early, together with new friends Xin Tian (SgLiterature) and Kim (Kittenita).
It was quite funny though, when we went in, we were like, “SgLiterature! Are you here?” until she came up and said hi to us. Louis and Pooja came slightly later and a design blogger, Justin, came along as well. From this point onwards, people started streaming in slowly, expanding the circle and range of discussions as we went along.
Pooja ran through an interesting exercise, where we played “musical chairs” for three rounds, ensuring that we got to know everyone else in the group. It was pretty fruitful, considering the collection of name cards I had and names I remembered. All that on top of the various topics discussed – the literary scene in Singapore, obstacles for the Arts in Singapore, the Museums, social issues etc…
A few things I did learn from these separate sessions, however, was the fact that Singapore does have a following of Art fans, Literary enthusiasts and what not. But there are either very little avenues to share views or even to improve. It takes time for things like the Arts to flourish, so I feel that we cannot take the ROI, KPI or what-have-you profits into priority all the time if we want to expand or cultivate a sense of creativity and arts in the country.
(And by creativity I also mean, creative integrity, I still do not understand “Creative Thinking” courses that have “right” answers, it still alludes me.)
So at the end of the day, I’ve managed to exchange notes with teachers (Joyce & Claudia), Marketing & PR people (Jonathan, Binjin & Anand), Artists & Art Historians (Justin, Louis & Pooja) as well as fellow Literary Enthusiasts & Writers (Winnie, Xin Tian etc…). But while I never really got to speak to everyone in the group, it was always great meeting new people and clicking online soon after.
That being said, I do hope other discussions like the meet-up come again in the future. Not only is it a good channel to unwind, it also brings the mental stimulation of the sub-conscious which may eventually lead to greater solutions on the whole.