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Singapore’s literature embraces a collected literary works by Singaporeans in any of the country’s four main languages – Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. As an fundamental part of the culture of the country literature potrays a specific aspect of Singaporean society. In every literary work a glimpse of multicultural society is being exposed. Singaporean writers such as Tan Swie Hian and Kup Pao Kun have made a significant contribution in Singapore’s literature. Other known writers of Singapore are Angeline Yap, Arthur Yap, Aaron Lee Soon Yong, Hsu-Ming Teo, Hwee Hwee Tan, Simon Tay, Edwin Thumboo, Toh Hsien Min, and Yong Shu Hoong.
English literature in Singapore dates back to the nineteenth century base on the earliest evidence. Began with the early eighteen thirties, poetry, short stories mainly tackle about the sentiments of the people during the First World War. In 1935, F. M. S.R, a parody of T.S. Eliot was the first Singaporean work of poetry published in London.
The first published Singaporean poetry collection was written by Wang Gungwu in 1950. The Pulse is one of the first efforts to produce a distinctively Malayan voice in English language poetry.
By the year 1965 new breed of Singaporean writers emerged. Edwin Thumboo, Gopal Bharatam and Dr. Goh Poh Seng are a few of the celebrated Singaporean writers recognized around the world. Edwin Thmboo is known for his transience of things, for his awareness of the role and responsibilities of a poet help in developing the identity of Singapore. Some of his famous works are Rib of Earth and God Can Die. In the later part of 1990s English poetry in the country found a new force with its new generation of poets born around or after 1965, some of the prominent names are Alfian bib Sa’at, Alvin Pang, Cyril Wong, Boey Kim Cheng, Felix Cheong and Yong Shu Hoong. The present trend of Singapore’s poetry is more on political awareness and on personal perspective of Singaporean culture and society.
Drama plays a significant contribution to the literary world of Singapore. The English drama in Singapore during the pre 1819-1960 was dominated by numerous colonial and expatriate groups and drama were played by English actors to predominantly English audience. Goh Pong Seng, a known novelist and poet started the English Drama in Singapore. The era of 1960s is considered to be the beginning of local writings; some local writers are taking part, such as The Reward which was published in New Cauldron and The Escape by Soh Eng Lim. The theme usually tackled life of educated Singaporean studying abroad and commenting on the state of affairs at home. Some of the notable works published were Emily of Emerald Hill by Stella Kon, One Year Back Home by Robert Yeo and Fat Virgins, Fast Cars and Asian Values: A Collection of Plays from Theatreworks’ Writer Lab by Kuo Pao Kun.
Art is one way of representing one’s culture. A visual art is an individualistic practice. Artist creation and execution came from various sources and references yet his work is an individual act. The visual arts scene in Singapore has experienced remarkable growth and advancement since the colonial days, from the 19th century scenario where artists ranging from well-known European painters to anonymous local craftsmen worked their arts in the bustling entrepot of the Singapore to more than 500 visual arts exhibition.