X Minutes of Poetry If you’re a serious literature lover, have a keen curiosity about local poetry or simply a fewminutes to spare on your daily commute, you may want to check out X Minutes of Poetry. The podcast offers short, relaxing recitations of Singapore literature that feel meditative. It has also expanded to include occasional non local poetry and prose to cater to the diverse preferences of listeners. I listen to episodes when I want to enjoy a brief respite from daily life, and also to improve my own writing. It’s also an efficient way to be introduced to local literature without having to go through trial and error to find what you like! My personal favourites are “Two Stories from Ministry of Moral Panic” by Amanda Lee Koe and “Lamentations” by Amanda Chong. Yimin Huang


Bald and Bankrupt | Daily Bald Continuing my shout-outs for various travel-themed YouTube channels, this time I’m giving props to “Bald”, which is the nickname of British travel blogger Benjamin Rich. In his two channels, he ventures into the sketchier corners of countries that many would consider not particularly travel-friendly, and invariably manages to smash any preconceived notions by meeting and interacting with wonderful people at every turn. Bald isn’t for everyone; he’s a quintessential “lad” – the videos where he’s travelling alone rather than with his rogue mates are easily the best. But it’s hard to deny the strength of his series of vlogs filmed in the post-Soviet states – and Ukraine, in particular (filmed shortly before the start of the war). You’ll have a laugh, shake a head at his courage, and perhaps even develop an appreciation for old Soviet mosaics! Shamus Sillar


Flèche Mary Jean Chan

This poetry collection offers a scathing yet tender look into the experiences of Mary Jean Chan, a Hong Kong Chinese poet growing up as a lesbian in a conservative household. But it goes much further than that. Chan’s complex relationship with her own mother reflects the polarity in most mother-daughter relationships. Chan’s mother also has an in-born writing talent and a troubled past, but she disagrees with fundamental aspects of Mary Jean’s identity. The poems weave in and out of her mother’s trauma growing up during the Cultural Revolution, and Chan’s own struggles with acceptance of self. The word “flèche” relates to a method of attack in fencing, and it’s an apt metaphor for the constant tension in the author’s experiences. The use of traditional Chinese characters adds texture and authenticity to the cultural and historical references in the writing. Even non-Chinese readers will appreciate the visual impact and deduce the multi-layered meanings themselves, avoiding the messages from getting lost in translation. Yimin Huang


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