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Murder in a penal colony in Singapore

Playwright Jean Tay brings to life a little-known tale of Pulau Senang, where brutal prison riots took place in 1963

Published on May 6, 2014 3:02 PM

About 15km south of Singapore, the island of Pulau Senang lies uninhabited and off-limits, used almost solely for military live-firing exercises.

Playwright Jean Tay, 39, stumbled on the island's dark and bloody past as a penal colony quite by accident - and it has since become the subject of her upcoming play, Senang.

Several years ago, she read a book by the late British journalist Alex Josey, titled Cold-Blooded Murders, while researching another play about Singapore's Sisters' Islands.

While the first half of the book detailed the Sunny Ang murder case connected to Sisters' Islands, the second half was dedicated to the shockingly brutal 1963 riots on the former penal colony of Pulau Senang.

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Where: School of the Arts Studio Theatre, 1 Zubir Said Drive

When: May 15 to 25, Tuesday to Saturday (8pm); Saturday and Sunday (2.30pm)

Admission: $45 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to

Info: Mature content and coarse language