LitBirthdays – July 18, 2010


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July 18

Alfian Sa'at
Alfian Sa’at (b. 1977) – Singapore playwright, poet

Read the Wikipedia article for Alfian Sa’at and a brief bio here


Excerpt from
Singapore, You Are Not My Country (for Noora)

Your words are like walls on which truth is graffiti.
This has become an island of walls.
Asylum walls, factory walls, school walls, the walls of the midnight Istana.
If I am paranoid I have learnt it from you,
O my delicate orchid stalk Singapore,
Always thirsty for water,
spooked by armed archipelagoes,
always gasping for airspace,
always running to keep ahead,
running away from yourself.
Singapore why do you wail that way, demanding my IC?
Singapore stop yelling and calling me names.
How dare you call me a chauvinist,
an opposition party,
a liar,
a traitor,
a mendicant professor,
a Marxist homosexual communist
pornography banned literature chewing gum liberty smuggler? How can you say I do not believe in The Free Press autopsies flogging mudslinging bankruptcy
which are the five pillars of Justice?
And how can you call yourself a country,
you terrible hallucination of highways and cranes and condominiums ten minutes drive from the MRT?

Tell that to the battered housewife who thinks happiness lies at the end of a Toto Queue.
Tell that to the tourist guide whose fillings are pewter whose feelings are iron
whose courtesy is gold whose speech is silver
whose handshake is a lethal yank at the jackpot machine.

*  *  *

O Singapore your fair shores your garlands your GNP.
You are not a country you are a construction from spare parts.
You are not a campaign you are last year’s posters.
You are not culture you are poems on the MRT.
You are not a song you are part swear word part lullaby.
You are not Paradise you are an island with pythons.

(Read the entire poem here)


Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert (Photo: Marco del Grande)

Elizabeth Gilbert (b. 1969) – U.S. novelist, memoirist  –  Eat, Pray, Love (2006)

Read about Elizabeth Gilbert here and here

Watch Elizabeth Gilbert talk about her creative process

“I grew up on a farm and I was the most useless person on that farm, but somehow I kind of took all those lessons about doing your chores and being responsible and I applied them to this work. And so I was really bad at it — taking care of the chickens and the garden, but somehow it’s the same muscles or something that I use when I’m working.”


Watch Elizabeth Gilbert talk about dealing with successful authors’ fears
that their best work is behind them


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