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Construction supervisor wins poetry contest for migrant workers

17 November 2014

 

SINGAPORE: A poetry competition aimed at showcasing the literary talent of migrant workers came to a close on Sunday night, with 36-year-old construction supervisor Zakir Hussain Khokhon taking home the first prize with his poem Pocket 2.

 

Mr Zakir’s piece – in which he reminisces about the days with his wife back home in Bangladesh – beat 10 other poems, which were shortlisted from more than 80 submissions from 28 Bangladeshis.

 

Longing for their homeland took centre stage in the submissions for the inaugural competition. Other common themes included religion, work stress and political issues in both Bangladesh and Singapore.

 

Competition organiser Shivaji Das said the submissions had come through informal means such as WhatsApp and scribblings on pieces of paper.

 

The 10 shortlisted poems were read at a recital at the National Library last night, which attracted an audience of about 100. Students from United World College helped recite the English translations of the Bengali poems.

Migrant workers get showcase to display their way with words

22 September 2014

 

To showcase the literary talent of migrant workers and allow the wider community to peek into this other aspect of their lives, an unusual poetry competition will be held in November.

 

Its organisers are inviting submissions from Tamil- and Bengali-speaking migrant workers here, but have roped in two Singaporean poets — Mr Alvin Pang and Associate Professor Kirpal Singh — as judges for the competition, and are looking for one to three more judges.

 

The poems will need to be translated, said Mr Shivaji Das, a volunteer who is helping to put the event together. Mr Das, 35, volunteers with Transient Workers Count Too, whose Cuff Road Project that serves food to needy foreign workers is near the privately-funded drop-in centre Dibashram.

Literary contest for migrant workers in Singapore

11 October 2014

 

A GROUP of activists is holding a poetry competition for migrant workers in Singapore in an attempt to squash negative perceptions surrounding the community, while showcasing their literary talent.

Shivaji Das, a volunteer who helped put together the event, said that the main organiser is now in the process of gathering poems from interested migrant workers, which will be presented to judges. Chosen finalists will recite their work in front of an audience on November 16, before a winner is selected.

Migrant Workers in Singapore Hold Literary Competition

10 October 2014

 

Shivaji Das, a volunteer who has helped put together the event, said that the main organizer is now in the process of gathering poems from interested migrant workers, which will be presented to three judges. Chosen finalists will recite their work in front of an audience on Nov. 16, before a winner is selected.

 

“The idea is to let the wider Singaporean society know about this unique aspect of the lives of foreign workers, as the perception people have of them is mostly negative,” Das told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday. “Some of these workers have amazing talents as poets, singers and actor.”

The Migrant Worker Poetry Contest Organizing Committee comprises of a group of volunteers: Shivaji Das, Vishal Daryanomel, Gopika Jadeja, Noreen, Ting Mak Yu, Rolinda Onates Espanola, Ohim Rohimah, Yolanda Yu, AKM Mohsin, and Abhineet Kaul.

© 2019 by Abhineet Kaul

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