Why and for whom do you write/work today?
Feature by: Alexis A. Tioseco
Writing for me, is an alternative to things that are much harder to do. To make a documentary about Saint Jack (the Singapore-shot 1978 film that is covered in my first book, Kinda Hot), was just too difficult, slow and demanding a process, so I wrote a book instead. This was the moment when I realized that I was a writer, and it’s funny because I had never thought about myself that way, even though, that is basically what I'd been doing since university. After graduation, I wanted to start a theatre company, but it was so daunting, I started a magazine instead. Even as a film programmer, my favourite part of the job was writing copy for the publicity –that to me was really satisfying, compared to all the meetings, e-mails, calls and discussions that had led to the programme in the first place. I write for several reasons, and I think everyone does, sometimes there is a definite sense of mission—to reveal something that has been obscured, or to critique something that has been given an easy ride, but often I write just from the pleasure of exploring an idea in prose, working through my feelings, and enjoying the way a thought process can develop when you use words to articulate it. Mostly I write things that I would want to read, and in that way, the process of reading and writing are inseparable. If I have any kind of agenda about the people that read my stuff, it’s just to be as accessible as possible, without compromising the ideas. And to take pleasure in language.
Ben Slater is a writer, lecturer and curator who has been based in Singapore since 2002. He is the author of the book Kinda Hot, on the making of Saint Jack in Singapore.
Khoo Gaik Cheng
Tan Bee Thiam