Singapore needs our own Enid Blytons and Roald Dahls: Grace Fu

Singapore needs our own Enid Blytons and Roald Dahls: Grace Fu
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu mingling with a crowd at the Singapore Writers Festival's official opening at The Arts House. Photo: Joy Fang
Published: 7:38 PM, October 30, 2015
Updated: 7:45 PM, October 30, 2015

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans need their own Singapore literature that is unique to the country’s own culture, traditions, experiences and memories, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu today (Oct 30).

Literature builds creativity, imagination and a curious mind, and it helps broaden horizons and foster empathy and compassion, said Ms Fu at the official opening of the 18th edition of the Singapore Writers Festival. But on top of this, there is a need for a Singapore literature that Singaporeans can interpret through the lens of their own experiences, she added.

“We should be able to read about places that we know and love. We should be able to recognise our traditions, habits, memories and figures of speech in the stories that become a part of us,” she said.

This national and culture identity is what drives the Government in being supportive of the aspirations of Singapore authors, she noted.

Citing the SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift Pack as an example, Ms Fu said they chose to include books as one of the gifts. The series of books, Timmy & Tammy, written by local children’s author Ruth Wan, follow the pair as they explore Singapore’s sights. These include the zoo, Gardens by the Bay and the Dragon Playground. Hopefully, she said, the Jubilee babies will recognise the places from the books when they visit them for the first time.

“You see, we need our own Enid Blytons and Roald Dahls; so that our children grow up not just dreaming about jam and scones and tea and snowflakes and chimneys, but of Singapore hawker fare and of our HDB flats.”