When Serene Wee, President of SRL (Society for Reading and Literacy) invited me to be the Guest Speaker for their 25th year anniversary to be held at the National Library, I immediately said yes. I remember her telling me about this non-governmental-organization that is held together primarily by their common love and passion for the written word. And it was truly a privilege (and such a joy) to be speaking in front of a group of like-minded individuals.
The gathering was held at the 16th floor (called the HUB) of the National Library (NLB).
Given the fact that this month is F1 season in Singapore, we can hear the exciting vrooooms of the racing cars as they whiz past each other from up above where we have nearly a 360-view of nearly the entire city.
So yes, we saw some of the drag racers as you can glean from some of the photos that my husband took.
But of course, it did not distract us from the real purpose of the evening’s festivities – which is to celebrate the very long lifespan (25 years is a great deal!) of this wonderful society.
I also found out during the brief presentation given by one of the members of SRL that they have several Interest Groups to their name. They have WISH or Women for English Literacy program intended as an adult literacy programme that provides service to women in Singapore. They also have Wordwrights which caters to writers of children’s books – whether you are a newbie or a long-time published book author. The Storytellers circle meet at least once a month to share stories and resources with the general goal of reviving the art of storytelling in Singapore. Please click here to know more about The Society for Reading and Literacy. From last night’s meeting, I sensed that this was a heart-felt endeavour that reaches out to the hearts of the young and old alike to promote reading and literacy – a programme that is more than worthy of anyone’s time, attention, and resources.
Here are some of the photos taken by my husband during his talk:
After a welcome address by Serene, current President of the Society and a presentation of the highlights of yesteryears, we had dinner, a toast, then my talk which was entitled: Choosing Books that Challenge – My Personal Journeys as a Reader.
As I told the group of around 30 or so people during the first part of my talk, I never experienced such pleasure in creating a set of powerpoint slides for an official/unofficial gathering. I essentially recollected books I’ve read as a toddler, as a tweener, and heaven-forbid the book skeletons in my closet when I was a teenager – then moving on to my university years and young adult stage – until finally I became a mother and the search for picture books that challenge began. Hahaha. So yes, it was truly a fun and animated 45-minute talk. My husband, as always, was with me thru-out the entire celebration, although he felt distinctly uncomfortable seeing that he was only one of the three or four men inside the room (and he was wondering aloud why there were only a few male attendees or members, for that matter – calling all renaissance men! You are most welcome to join the Society). As per usual, he documented the proceedings, and many thanks for these video clips and for standing in as the unofficial “photographer” during the festivities. They must have sensed you have a very good eye. Haha. My 8 year old daughter played a very crucial role as well. I brought along around 12 books to showcase as part of my “elements of what to look for in picture books” in my talk. They were meant to be illustrative of certain points that I was raising throughout the discussion and she was responsible for holding the books up and showing them to rest of the audience. I brought Graeme Base’s Eleventh Hour; Neil Gaiman and Dave Mc Kean’s Wolves in the Walls; Jon Sciezka and Lane Smith’s Stinky Cheese Man and Squids will be Squids; Shaun Tan’s The Arrival – among others.
Video snippets of my talk will be forthcoming (something wrong with youtube).
After my talk, there was animated story telling by two lovely individuals whose names I missed out on all the flower-and-gift giving and packing away of equipment. But my daughter and I were riveted. It was truly food for the soul.The first story teller – the cadence and the rhythm of her voice demonstrate how a storyteller weaves magic through words.
The second story teller even included lovely music interwoven as part of the entire storyline. Very beautiful.