As part of the run-up to this year’s 11th edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival, Inizjamed is presenting a number of special events which are open to the public and free of charge. On Tuesday, sociologist Anna Zammit will interview Marc Nair, the eclectic writer, performer and photographer from Singapore.
Singapore is undoubtedly a story of economic and technological success. Maltese governments, past and present, have looked at Singapore as a model to emulate. Both countries are island city states which are densely populated ex-British colonies that share an economic structure, which includes tourism, the maritime and gaming industries, and financial services.
However, the Singaporeans are considered to have a stricter work ethic and greater discipline than the average Maltese. This encounter will explore to what extent Singapore has been a success story and how ordinary people cope with the globalised rat race.
Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, wrote in From Third World to First that it was “…crucial to keep Singapore’s multilingual, multicultural, multi-religious society, and make it… dynamic enough to compete in world markets”. Thus, like the Roman Empire, he applied multiculturalism to work in favour of the building of a country, rather than seeing it as a threat. How does this principle of multiculturalism work in Singapore?
Another important feature of this country that visitors immediately notice is its greenery alongside its high-rise buildings. Indeed, in his book, Lee stated that he wanted to create a green Singapore and dedicated a whole chapter to ‘Greening Singapore’.
At the same time, there is no escaping that the cityscape of Singapore consists of an array of high-rise, well-lit buildings. How do the two apparently contradictory pictures gel? These and others are the questions Nair will tackle on Tuesday.
The author has published six volumes of poetry. His latest collection is Spomenik, a series of poems and photographs from the Balkans. He was the 2015 Writer-in-Residence at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. He has performed spoken word poetry for over 10 years in more than 10 countries.
He also sets his poems to music with his band Neon and Wonder and is the co-founder of Mackerel, a culture magazine. The encounter with Nair is being held at Spazju Kreattiv on Castille Place, Valletta, on Tuesday at 8pm.
It is the second of four events leading up to the 11th edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival taking place between Thursday and Saturday, with the first being an encounter with Cuban poet Rodolfo Häsler tomorrow at 8pm, also at Spazju Kreattiv.
■ These free, public events are hosted by Inizjamed and Spazju Kreattiv.
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