Jul 11, 2012

Monsters and Dementia

Oh my poor, neglected blog. I had nearly forgotten that you exist.

Anyway, a quick one for this virtual scrapbook. The National Arts Council contacted me some time back ago and asked if I would write a poem for young children. This was for a project between the NAC and Singapore Press Holdings. I haven't ever written a poem for kids before, so I thought I would give it a shot. I came up an idea, let it brew in my brain for a couple of days and then wrote it all out.

The result was My Bedtime Monsters, which takes a young child's fear of the dark (and its imaginary monsters) and turns into a humorous, light-hearted poem instead. The poem is very enjoyable if read aloud, and can easily be used for a fun-filled speech-&-drama session for young kids. It was published in the Sunday Times two Sundays ago.

Shortly after that, someone by the name of Dr Elizabeth Pang contacted me. She works at the Ministry of Education and her area of speciality is literacy development for preschool children. Elizabeth had seen my poem in the Sunday Times and she asked if I would allow the MOE to republish it, as a book for very young children.

Yes, an entire book. It's going to be a book for kindergarten students, the kind of kiddie book that has big, colourful illustrations and just a few lines per page. I said yes.

* * * * * * *
What else?

One year ago, two young people, Jeremy Boo and Lee Xian Jie, ran a series of activities to raise public awareness about dementia. Among other things, they made a documentary (Before We Forget) which premiered at the Southeast Asian Film Festival 2012 and was screened at the Singapore Art Museum.

They also organised public exhibitions which featured poems, photos and real-life stories, from family members of dementia patients. Xian Jie also featured one of my blog posts, where I had written about my (now deceased) grandmother, who had also suffered dementia.

This year, Xian Jie and Jeremy have been working on a new book, which will be launched in conjunction for World Alzehimer's Day in September. The book compiles a variety of writings from family members of dementia victims. It will include an old poem of mine, Grandmother's Garden, and the book itself will be entitled Grandmother's Garden and other Stories.

I must admit that I never watched the documentary Before We Forget, even though I was invited to the screening. I only saw a trailer. It looked very good. However, it also looked terribly sad. That is why I decided not to go.