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Singapore Writers Festival 2019 - A Bigger Party Than Expected (Late-Night Programme)

Co-Presented by The Arts House



Bertha and Heng are getting married and it is, surprisingly, a bigger party than expected because everyone is invited to join in the festivities! Inspired by Rex Shelley’s seminal The Shrimp People, The Arts House transforms into a Eurasian wedding celebration. As you enjoy the strains of the wedding band and traditional Eurasian food and drink, wander through the house and encounter performances and interactive installations including ETA: 9 MIN by Main Tulis Group, Jinkli Nona Redux by Edith Podesta, RISK by Cyril Wong, Encrypting Kinships by Bani Haykal and Watch My Damn Mouth by Irfan Kasban and Ruby Jayaseelan, each bringing a unique take on Shelley's words.

Evening's programme

Wedding Party by Eurasian Association

Join us for a unique Eurasian wedding party as the starting and end point for your journey through the house, be swept up in the revelry with fun performances by the Muzik Line along with our friendly ‘wedding’ host, Christian Eber and enjoy treats from the famed in-house restaurant Quentin’s.

ETA: 9 MIN by Main Tulis

“Yes I know the Malay of your accent” (The Shrimp People)

Eight new nine-minute plays reveal the startling diversity of young Malay playwrights including Adib Kosnan, Nabilah Said, Nessa Anwar and Zulfadli Rashid, amongst others. These incisive plays take on a bold range of social issues, from family, society to gender and tackle what it means to be Malay in contemporary Singapore. Come discover these breakout voices, with two plays performed per set with a 15-minute break.

Encrypting Kinships by Bani Haykal

“The pressure of the present and the future is with us” (The Shrimp People)

Experimental musician Bani Haykal takes audiences on a trip in Encrypting Kinships, a collective book publication project written entirely in ciphertext – a unique form of encrypted language. This durational performance invites participants to reflect on the nature of kinship through a threefold process of Initiation, Dream State and Transcribing – with personnel acting as facilitators, scribes and a graphic designer.

RISK by Cyril Wong

“They took a bit of a risk didn’t they” (The Shrimp People) 

Acclaimed poet Cyril Wong takes the stage in this dramatic reading of a letter “RISK” interspersed with classic songs from the eighties, including Wow by Kate Bush, Nothing Compares To You by Sinead O’Connor and Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough by Patty Smyth and Don Henley.  

Watch My Damn Mouth by Irfan Kasban and Ruby Jayaseelan

“Must watch my damn mouth” (The Shrimp People)

Head to the Living Room for this provocative performance. Watch My Damn Mouth explores the nature of our spoken anxieties lurking within labels that we unconsciously use to demarcate our boundaries. Performers Irfan Kasban and Ruby Jayaseelen respond to each other’s vocal gestures and sounds in this exciting vocal movement piece, which will be performed in two 15-minute sets.

Jinkli Nona Redux by Edith Podesta 

“Hadn't they learnt? Will people never learn?” (The Shrimp People)

Jinkli Nona Redux is an intriguing digital-participatory choreography work conceived by director Edith Podesta in Gallery II. Using found text choreography of the Jinkli Nona – a traditional Portuguese Malaccan folk song – culled from interviews with members of the local Eurasian community. As an audience member, experience the personalised passing down of this tradition, by taking part in a Jinkli Nona lesson, transmitted to you via silent disco headphones.

Almari written by Irfan Kasban, performed by Andre d'Rozario

“He is neither Asian nor European” (Island in the Centre)

Almari is a monologue performance, performed dramatically on the staircases on level three at the Chamber. Director and writer Irfan Kasban explores the tenuous relationship between the Eurasian body and coloniser. With three sets performed on the same night, ascend to the staircase to catch this intriguing performance framed by the exhibition murals on the Tudor Rose Wall.

Download brochure here.

Programme's Schedule 

Timing Blue Room Living Room Chamber Play Den Gallery II Chamber Landing
Opening Set by Muzik Line
Encrypting Kinships
by Bani Haykal
ETA: 9 MIN by Main Tulis Group
Separa Dewa by Farhanah Diyanah & PENUNGGU by Zulfadli Rashid
Jinkli Nona Redux by
Edith Podesta
8.15-8.30pm    RISK by Cyril Wong  
Almari by Irfan Kasban & Andre d'Rozario
8.45-9.00pm    Watch My Damn Mouth by Irfan Kasban & Ruby Jayaseelan
ETA: 9 MIN by Main Tulis Group
Korban by Hazwan Norly & The Malay Problem by Adib Kosnan
9.00-9.15pm  2nd Set by Muzik Line    
9.15-9.30pm    RISK by Cyril Wong
ETA: 9 MIN by Main Tulis Group
The Welfare Assistance by Raimi Safari & Orbit by Nabilah Said
Almari by Irfan Kasban & Andre d'Rozario
9.45-10pm    Watch My Damn Mouth by Irfan Kasban & Ruby Jayaseelan    
ETA: 9 MIN by Main Tulis Group
Tarian Kakak by Ahmad Musta’ain & Broadcast of all Things Unrelated by Nessa Anwar
Almari by Irfan Kasban & Andre d'Rozario
10.15-10.30pm    RISK by Cyril Wong  
Closing Set by Muzik Line


Tickets are at $30 for each itineary, which will include a mix of performances throughout the house. 


1. A Bigger Party than Expected is an immersive programme with both durational and timed performances. Do note that it may not be possible to experience all the performances for the evening. 

2. Upon arrival at The Arts House, patrons will choose an itinerary which specifies their route through the timed performances in the house. Itineraries will be colour coded and patrons are advised to follow their route so as to ensure a smooth flow through the house during the programme.  

3. Itineraries will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Do note that if you are arriving as a group, you may not be assigned the same itinerary depending on availability.


Also happening: Don't miss Rex Shelley: The Gentle Observer - a multi-media installation that explores Rex Shelley's life and contributions, taking place from 1 - 10 Nov 2019, daily. The Singapore Writers Festival honours Rex Shelley (1930 – 2009) as the Literary Pioneer for 2019. 

Watch video interview with the artists: 

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