Fire up interest in local literature by reprinting classics

People reading at Pavilion of Words, an open-air library with a selection of books related to Singapore’s history, at the Singapore Bicentennial Experience held at the Fort Canning Centre.
People reading at Pavilion of Words, an open-air library with a selection of books related to Singapore’s history, at the Singapore Bicentennial Experience held at the Fort Canning Centre.PHOTO: ST FILE

It is wonderful to know that there is greater interest in reading in Singapore (People in S'pore reading more: NLB study, July 1).

Good ideas were also put forward to encourage more to read (Take more steps to encourage reading, July 3).

We should take this a step further and fire up stronger reading interest in local literature, or SingLit. A great way would be reprinting SingLit cult classics.

Legal eagle Adrian Tan's insanely fun The Teenage Textbook and The Teenage Workbook; Philip Jeyaretnam's delightful First Loves; Alex Soh's Double On The Rocks: The Savant Bartender Story; Jonathan Khoo's Dirty Money; Russell Lee's True Singapore Ghost Stories; Catherine Lim's Or Else The Lightning God; Michael Chiang's hilarious, original graphic novel Army Daze; the late writer and model Bonny Hick's Excuse Me, Are You A Model? are just a few notable titles that come to mind.

In many ways, a nation's identity is defined by its home-grown literature - stories and narratives that form an important part of the nation's heritage and identity.

As such, even as National Day approaches, we should certainly do what we can to preserve and promote stronger interest in SingLit before outside influences with no vested interest in Singapore write over these stories and narratives.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2019, with the headline 'Fire up interest in local literature by reprinting classics'. Print Edition | Subscribe