Can we ever go home again? This question lies at the heart of Homecomings by Wong Yoon Wah, a veteran Singaporean poet and a prominent voice in global Chinese literature.
In these poems, Wong delves into his country’s precolonial and colonial history, the natural heritage of the rainforest, his memories of his kampung hometown, his heartbreak at the closure of Nanyang University, and the global traumas of European colonisation and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
He expresses the loneliness and dislocation of the Chinese diaspora, as well as the sorrow of his generation as so many of their cultural touchstones are destroyed in the name of progress. At the same time, he embraces a planetary mode of thinking, sensing rapport with fellow humans from distant cultures and geographies, identifying even with the plants and animals that compose our ecosystem.
Filled with nostalgia, bitter irony and strange beauty, Homecomings is a love letter to the past, revisiting its glories, making peace with the fact that the only constant in the world is change.
About the Author
Professor Wong Yoon Wah holds a PhD from University of Wisconsin, USA. He is a scholar and writer, winner of the Singapore Cultural Medallion (1986), the ASEAN Cultural Award (1993) and NTU’s Nanyang Literature Award (2014). He has published Beyond Symbol, The New Village, Durians Are Not the Only Fruit and other creative and academic works. He has served as President of the Singapore Association of Writers, as well as Professor and Head of the Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore. He is currently the Senior Professor of Southern University College in Malaysia.
About the Translator
Ng Yi-Sheng is a writer, researcher, activist and translator with a keen interest in the forgotten histories of Singapore. His books include the short story collection Lion City and the poetry collection Last Boy (both winners of the Singapore Literature Prize), SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century, A Book of Hims and Loud Poems for a Very Obliging Audience. He has written plays such as The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles and 251, and crafted lecture performances such as Painted Shadows: A Queer Haunting of the National Gallery, Ayer Hitam: A Black History of Singapore and Desert Blooms: The Dawn of Queer Singapore Theatre. He previously translated Wong Yoon Wah’s The New Village/新村, and served as editor of A Mosque in the Jungle: Classic Ghost Stories by Othman Wok and EXHALE: An Anthology of Queer Singapore Voices. He tweets and Instagrams at @yishkabob.