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August 2022 Newsletter

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On August 3rd 2022, SAS will celebrate Singapore’s 57th National Day with an online ‘Story Swap’

Come tell or sit back, listen and enjoy. This STORY SWAP is FREE and is open to all SAS members! 

Date: 3rd August 2022 

Time: 7:30 – 9:00 P.M.

Venue: Online on Zoom 

This is an online event that will be held on the ZOOM platform. The zoom details will be shared with all registrants closer to the event date. 

Please register on this link. If you would like to tell a story, you may register as well. Please do give the title synopsis and length of your story. We have time for 5-6 members to tell a story. Stories are 8 minutes and less, unless you request a longer slot. We will have one teller on waitlist.  

If you’re not telling this month, please do come to listen and cheer on the others! We look forward to an evening of stories!

Shooting Outdoor for Storytelling with a mobile phone - Workshop by Priti ModyIyer and Krupa Vinayagamoorthy
Stories are powerful and a good story paired with skilful video recording can extend its reach.    

Krupa and Priti recently created a video for the Earth Up NSN Showcase 2022, called ‘The Expat’s Ecotour of Singapore’. The session featured an appreciative look at the Conservation Solutions that has enabled Singapore to work towards realistic sustainability. In this session, the duo presented Asian Eco-tales recorded against the backdrop of the picturesque Garden City of Singapore.

If you have wanted to record a story and haven’t done so yet, you might find the inspiration to do so here. This sharing workshop for storytellers will offer you ideas on how to shoot a story outdoors.  If you do not have any video shooting experience, fret not, sweat not. This workshop is not about fancy tech or amazing gizmos. With a bit of curiosity and the willingness to play with the video record button on your handphone, before you know it you will have recorded your first story. Please note : This workshop does NOT include video-editing skills.     

Date: 1st September 2022 

Time: 7:30 – 8:45 P.M.

Venue: Online on Zoom 

This is an online event that will be held on the ZOOM platform. The zoom details will be shared with all registrants closer to the event date. The session is free of charge for SAS Members and $5 for guests or non- members. Please register on this link.  

Imp Gaomeng

Impressions – by Gao Meng

“As a budding storyteller, I am eager to learn new storytelling skills. This time, when I saw that SAS had a face-to-face workshop by Richard Martin on July 1st 2022, I immediately grabbed the opportunity to sign up.

Before the workshop, I watched his storytelling videos by Richard, and found that he had a different style of telling stories from mine.  I looked forward to being able to interact with him on the spot, something one cannot do so well on Zoom. Despite my lack in English proficiency, I had no problems understanding the workshop. We had games that were relaxing, interactive storytelling of stories and group time to learn with other people.

 As I dived deep into our first piece of homework from Richard about a story called “When husband and wife swapped work”, I learnt to integrate the culture context of a story (e.g. flat roof of a Norwegian farmhouse, getting water from a well) into the telling of a story.

 Richard told another story Tortoise Called “All of You” on the spot for us to work on in groups. He gave us the skeleton of the story and in groups, we discussed how to tell the trickster story of a tortoise and some birds. You can watch the video here https://www.tellatale.eu/tales/all-tales/tortoise-all/. Watching him tell ‘live’ is so  different from watching him on video. His eyes and facial expressions communicated virtually every subtle nuance of emotion. He also talked about how to skilfully continue telling a story if we have made a mistake. These are the skills that a storyteller needs when performing in front of an audience. I am glad I got to sharpen my skills that night.” 

In the above, Gao Meng talks about her experience at the “Telling the Listener” Workshop by Richard Martin. (Translated by Swee Yean Wong)

sheilawkshopjune22

This is a special offer for our SAS members!

Sheila Wee is a professional?storyteller, professional member of SAS and?storytelling?teacher with 24 years’ experience. Because of her work to pioneer the movement to revive the use of?storytelling, she has been described as a Godmother of Singapore?storytelling. 

She co-founded Singapore’s first professional?storytelling?company and is a founding professional member and has been the past president of the?Storytelling?Association (Singapore). As well as running her?storytelling?business?Storywise, Sheila is a founding director of the?Federation of Asian?Storytellers.??

Sheila has offered the members of SAS a special 10% discount while attending her workshop on:

 Introduction to Storytelling I and II. 

(Organised by the Singapore Book Council Academy.)

Skills Future Funding available. 

These are popular workshops, invaluable to anyone who is interested in storytelling and doesn’t know where to start. Both the workshops are highly practical and have garnered consistently high ratings from previous participants.

Workshop Schedule: 

27 August & 3 September 2022 (Saturdays)

9.30 am – 5.45 pm, In Person (SBC Training Room) 

You can write to Hanis at hanis@bookcouncil.sg for enquiries about registration and SkillsFuture.

You can write to Sheila Wee at sheila@storywise.com.sg for queries about the  course content.

For SAS members to access the 10% discount, please write to vicepresident@storytellingsingapore.comWe will send you the discount code that you can then enter on the registration link. 

To register, get the workshop outline, find out more about the facilitator and the program, please click the registration link.

Events in Singapore & Around the World

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Transplanting Fairy Tales 

Planting a story from another land in your garden

Fairy tales are cultural products that can carry multiple layers of meaning – psychological, historical, sociological, spiritual.  They are universal because the characters are so flat and the incidents so non realistic, that we see ourselves reflected in them.   While fairy tales arose in a very specific time and culture, they have subsequently been repeated and adapted by tellers in their own ways so they would be appropriate in new times and different places, resulting in multiple variants all round the world.  This continual re telling is what keeps fairy tales alive.  

In this learning capsule, we will have a look at the history of fairy tales, how they have travelled the world, and how we can adapt stories to our own cultures. This goes beyond simply changing the name or title of a character or object to a name or title in a local language. It means truly understanding the heart of the story and being sensitive to how to make it a home in its new culture. The more we understand fairy tales, the easier it will be for us to adapt them to other times and places, to turn them into stories that reflect on our truths and perspectives, while retaining the power of the original.

About Jo Henwood

Jo Henwood is always telling stories in some form.

She is an Accredited Storyteller with Australian Storytellers, President and co founder of the Australian Fairy Tale Society, and an accredited Professional Guide with the Institute of Australian Tour Guides, leading tours around many Sydney heritage sites as a Tour Guide and Education Officer.  Jo is a museum theatre creative, workshop leader and public speaker on literature, history, creative writing, intangible culture, and storytelling, was a FEAST mentor to heritage sites Storytellers, and a very happy participant in the Lycian Way adventure.
 Since SAS is an institutional member of FEAST (Federation of Asian Story Tellers), 5 members of SAS can attend this webinar panel discussion at FEAST member’s rate of SGD$6 (standard rate is SGD$13). Sign up quickly to be the first 5 SAS members to enjoy this rate! 

When: 17th Aug 2022,

Time : 7.30pm Singapore Time

Check the timing in your time zone here: Time Zone Converter

To register and find out more about the event, click here.

FEAST has some interesting events this month like a Super Short Stories – Open Story Swap, a celebration of FEAST’s 4th birthday open to everyone and other interesting events. You can click on the link to find out more or to register for these events.

For paid events, if you are one of the first 5 SAS members to sign up you can take advantage of the special Institutional member rate.

Click here to find out more on the FEAST website.

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Northlands Storytelling Network presents

Inspire! Growing Our Skills Together

Workshops, Concerts, and Swaps for storytellers who are interested in developing their storytelling skills.

Click here to find out more

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Joys of Window Birding

I enjoy window birding. I look out my window to admire a Chinaberry tree that burst forth one day. I am sure it grew out of bird droppings. Another tree that stands tall is a round-leaf fountain palm, also known as the footstool palm.  Admiring the trees, I am reminded of the following quote:

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity…and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” –  William Blake.

I see so many birds that come to the trees: mynas, spotted doves, pied imperial pigeons, pink necked green pigeons, glossy eyed starlings, oriental magpies, hill mynas, black-naped orioles, olive-backed sunbirds, woodpeckers, crows, Asian koels, sulphur-crested cockatoos, coconut lorikeets, long-tailed parakeets, bulbuls, and common tailorbirds.  Each one is unique in looks, colour, and melody.

Some come to the trees for rest, others for fruit, shade, nesting material, or simply to lounge with their chicks, watching the world go by. The pluviophiles among them are only seen during rainy days, so it’s easy to forget that they exist.

Fruits of the Chinaberry tree are enjoyed by many bird species, often resulting in a “drunken stupor”. I suppose if humans can, birds too can enjoy their intoxicants from time to time. Humans enjoy their caffeine, a favourite tipple, some a smoke perhaps, and yet to others stories can give them a high.

Sometimes, I wonder, “Where did they get their colours from?” What an amazing artist the creator is! If nature is imagination itself, storytellers are not far behind. There is a pourquoi tale for almost everything, it is an origin tale that tells us why something is the way it is, for example why peacocks have gorgeous feathers, or how Brazilian beetles got their gorgeous coats. 

Where did the creatures get their design and colours from? Do you know or does it not matter? Every creation is of irreplaceable beauty! They make the universe whole. Perhaps they were at a Birdival, the feathered version of Bestival, and never bothered to change out of their fanciest, or wackiest, or minimalistic attire. 

Something else that I observed about their behaviour is that the birds usually come to eat the chinaberries in the evening. They too seem to be relaxing after a long day of work, enjoying their little intoxicant. Perhaps, the feathered friends too like Lord Byron believed, “Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication.”

To me it appears that birds have their evening intake of intoxicants in a more responsible and restrained way, as I have never seen loose feathers, injured or dead birds’ carcasses at the bottom of the tree during my morning walks. Unlike “civilized” humans who can turn into fiendishly impossible people in their drunkenness, as illustrated in the story below.

The Inebriated Men and the Elephant

There once lived seven friends. One day they decided to go to a little tavern and enjoy a few pints. However, one friend, Satya who was a mahout decided to join them later as he had to settle Hathi, the elephant that was in his care.
While awaiting Satya, each one of the six friends ordered more pints and soon found themselves in an inebriated state.
At last Satya arrived. It was late and the tavern was shutting down. Satya did not order any drinks for himself. He animatedly talked about the elephant in his care. Satya had known Hathi for many years. As a young calf Hathi was orphaned and ever since then, the mahout was his parent. Satya too cared for Hathi as his own child.
The other friends had never seen an elephant and were very curious to know what an elephant looked like. They had heard of an elephant but not one of them were aware of its shape and form.
The mahout tried to explain and said, “An elephant is very big, and grey in colour.” One drunk immediately said, “Ah your elephant seems to be a mountain to me.” Satya tried to explain further, “it has a huge trunk too and it can fill up water in its trunk and splash it all around, as also on himself and sometimes Hathi playfully splashes water on me too.” The second friend said, “This elephant sounds like a pipeline to me, carrying water to all parts of the town.” Satya tried to explain further, when the third friend said, “We must inspect the elephant ourselves and learn what kind of a creature it is.”
Satya tried to discourage his friends from coming at that hour of the evening. Hathi needed to rest and besides there were no lights in his enclosure. They would have to grope in the dark.
The friends were intoxicated and would not listen to the voice of reason. The seven friends began walking towards the enclosure where Hathi was. Along the way one drunk bumped into a stationary bus and began a fight with the bus! “How dare you come and hit me! Are you drunk? Can you not see where you are going?”
A lot of drama ensued along the way and finally they reached Hathi’s enclosure. In their inebriated state and amidst laughter and chatter the six friends groped the elephant.
The first drunkard, whose hand landed on the trunk, screamed and let go of the trunk, and yelled, “This being that is called an elephant is nothing but a huge snake, perhaps a reticulated python”. The second one whose hand reached Hathi’s ear thought the elephant was a huge fan. As for the third friend, whose hand was upon Hathi’s leg, he exclaimed, “The elephant is nothing but a trunk of a majestic mahogany tree!” The friend who placed his hand upon Hathi’s side said, “The elephant is nothing but a wall!” The fifth friend who felt Hathi’s tail said, “An elephant is nothing but a rope.” The sixth friend felt Hathi’s tusk and announced that, “The elephant is nothing but a harpoon.”The six friends argued endlessly about what the elephant looked like. Each thought they knew the complete picture from the part they had touched. Satya tried explaining and intervening but alas, it was all in vain.
With six different versions and each appearing to be the correct one to its owner, soon the arguments turned to fist fights and name-calling. They created such a commotion that the denizens of the sleepy town were woken up from their slumber and came out to investigate the ruckus. The worried families of the six friends, who had waited patiently for their menfolk to come home after a hard day’s work were there too.
Soon the wayward and drunken men were dragged home. 

Do you think the six friends finally managed to reach a consensus on how an elephant really looked like? I am certain they have left it for discussion during their next outing to a tavern.

“Every day, birds that are defined as common are overlooked. However, as you immerse yourself in the world of birdwatching, you come to appreciate the beauty in the common species as well as the scarcer ones.” Joe Harkness

References

  • The fable, ‘The Blind Men and the Elephant’
  • Bestival is held at Isle of Wight, UK, it is the quintessential British summer musical gathering, with the sun, music and the arts out in equal measure. The most popular and enticing feature of the festival has been its eclectic Fancy Dress Parade.
  • The Pictures below are some of the ones I have taken (L to R)
    • Pied Imperial Pigeon eating a berry
    • Pink necked green pigeon (male with chicks) 
    • Pink necked green pigeon with nesting material
Pied imperial pigeon
Pink necked green pigeon (male with chicks)
Pink necked green pigeon