June 2022 Newsletter

Dear SAS members,

I am honoured to be given the opportunity to be the President of the Storytelling Association (Singapore). My sincere gratitude to Wong Swee Yean for tirelessly giving her time and resources to leading the association over the last 4 years. My sincere thanks also to Mabel Lee, Helen Tan and Sheila Wee for always being so supportive and encouraging. Thank you so much for continuing to serve and be our guiding lights in our new committee. My thanks also go out to Akila Krishnakumar, Anamika Bhati and Priti ModyIyer for your steadfast service and your willingness to continue to serve. We also welcome Chan Earn Meng and Krupa Vinayagamoorthy to the executive committee as treasurer and assistant treasurer respectively.

Please allow me to introduce to you the members of 2022-2023 SAS Executive Committee.

President – Mindy Neo

Vice President – Priti ModyIyer

Secretary – Anamika Bhati

Membership Secretary – Sheila Wee (with help from Akila Krishnakumar)

Treasurer – Chan Earn Mean

Assistant treasurer – Krupa Vinayagamoorthy

Committee Members: Wong Swee Yean, Mabel Lee, Sheila Wee, Helen Tan

Our team meets regularly via zoom/face to face on matters pertaining to SAS. We are a group of volunteers who are passionate about oral storytelling and want to see this amazing art form continue to burn bright in Singapore so that future generations can continue practicing the art of oral storytelling.

We want to continue the fabulous work SAS has done with SPICE 

Skills/Support (Promoting and organising webinars, and workshops to develop our craft as storytellers. SAS has a website, monthly newsletter, Facebook and Instagram to bring you updates on our coming events and activities. 

Platforms (Platforms to share stories include Socials, Story Swaps and our upcoming 398.2 Storytelling Festival 2022)

Interest groups – We will be sharing details about these groups on our website and newsletter and how you can join them.  

Community (We want to continue to build community in SAS and give back to the community as well)  – Please look out for updates on this. 

Extra support (Our team of needs all the help we can get. We are all volunteers. If you are willing to help SAS for our upcoming 398.2 Storytelling Festival, please let us know by filling up this form by clicking here.

Every little help goes a long way. Thank you.

Lastly, thank you so much for taking the time to read this message and with your help and support, our team looks forward to continuing SAS’s mission to promote the practice and appreciation of oral storytelling in Singapore. 

Best wishes,

Mindy Marie Neo 

President

Storytelling Association (Singapore)

Down Under  

…and all around 

SAS is organising its 2nd face-to-face Social for the year!

Join us for an evening of Travel Tales from Down Under and All Round.
Date: 1 June Wednesday

Time: 7:00- 8:30 PM SGT

Venue: Rehearsal Studio at 42 Waterloo Street

Free for SAS members, $5 for non-members
The SAS Social is a platform for storytellers to practice their craft with a receptive and a warm audience. Many of our Professional storytellers began by practicing at a Social. 

We welcome tellers and listeners!

If you would like to practise a story in a friendly, warm environment – this is the chance for you! We welcome 5-6 members to tell a story on a ‘First Come First Serve’ basis. Please time the story to be 8 minutes and less, unless you request a longer slot. We would have one teller on waitlist. 

Please register here

If you’re not telling this month, its okay, please do come to the Social to just have fun and listen to some beautiful stories.

 Only 30 spaces available!!

We request you to please come to the venue 15-20 minutes earlier so we get the time to socialise and settle well. 

Please note that due to covid protocols, no food or refreshments will be provided. Please do remember to carry your own water bottles. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Please note that the Social is free for SAS members.

Non-members and guests who wish to attend, need to pay SGD 5 per person.

Telling a Listener 

SAS workshop by Richard Martin 

The amateur tells the words. The professional tells the story. But the artist tells the listener.

In this interactive workshop, storyteller Richard Martin will conduct a practical workshop which focuses on how to craft a narrative and communicate the tale.

During the workshop, you will have the opportunity to look at the paralanguage and work on the skeleton of a folktale provided. You will also get to share your stories with others in a safe and supportive story space.

Date: 1st July 2022 (Friday) 

Time: 7pm – 10 pm 

Venue: YMCA , 1 Orchard Road, Singapore 238824 

Cost 

SAS members – $55 

Non-Members – $70

SAS member + Guest – $110

Non-member + Guest –  $128

To register and find out more about the workshop click here

About Richard Martin 

Richard Martin has been telling stories in theatres, universities and schools throughout Germany and beyond since 1990. He also works in Germany as a teacher and teacher-trainer. The two strands of his professional life have led to several recordings, publications and many workshops for universities and teacher-training organisations within Germany and Italy. Richard has also performed in various European countries, averaging around 35 performances a year. tells stories throughout Europe and as far away as India, Singapore, Hong Kong and America – in theatres, universities, schools, for corporate events or private parties. He usually tells in English, although having lived in Germany since 1976, he is sometimes asked to tell in German.

Explore his website at https://www.tellatale.eu/ for tales, for information about his performances and workshops. 

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.)

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: 

11th June 2022, 9.30 am – 5.45 pm, In Person (SBC Training Room) 

Introduction To Storytelling I

18th June 2022, 9.30 am – 5.45 pm, In Person (SBC Training Room) 

Introduction To Storytelling II
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

Stories In Art 

Every month, a storyteller tells stories to children and family audiences inspired by different artworks in the National Gallery. This month, Roger Jenkins will tell us stories inspired by You Khin’s Untitled (The Tailors And The Mannequins)

When: June 11 & 12 2022
Time: 2:30 – 3:15 pm & 3:30 – 4:15 pm

Where: The Keppel Centre for Art Education – National Gallery 
Registration is at the Keppel Centre for Art Education on a first-come-first-serve basis on the day itself. 

The sessions are free for families with children. 

Stories In Art 

Every month, a storyteller tells stories to children and family audiences inspired by different artworks in the National Gallery. This month, Roger Jenkins will tell us stories inspired byS. Mohdir’s Mergastua

When: June 11 & 18 2022

Time: 10:30 – 11:15am (Singapore time) 

Where: The Keppel Centre for Art Education – National Gallery 

Registration is at the Keppel Centre for Art Education on a first-come-first-serve basis on the day itself. 

The sessions are free for families with children. 

Character Interpretation is a wonderful teaching and presentation method that uses storytelling at its core, and can be used in classrooms, museums, and in festivals. Learn how to adapt this great method for the person in history that you would like to portray and present. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with a person from history, as well as learn the techniques of being a successful and believable Character Interpreter. 

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$5 (standard rate is SGD$12). Sign up quickly to be the first 5 SAS members to enjoy this rate! 

Date: Wednesday 15th June 2022

Time: 7:30pm to 9:00 pm (Singapore time)

Where: Online on Zoom

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

FEAST has some interesting events this month like a Game night, a free Knowledge sharing session, and a special Olio for Kids called June Jubilee. You can click on any of these links to find out more or to register for these 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.

FEAST (Federation of Asian Story Tellers) is having a knowledge sharing of it’s Cultural storytelling mentorship by Jo Henwood, (mentor), and an international group of mentees (Wong Swee Yean, Cem Alfar and Prakrati Agarwal).

Swee Yean, ( a Professional member of SAS), will share about the area of planning storytelling programmes. It is an art to convey effective programmes. Cem Alfar from Turkey and Prakrati Agarwal from India have new perspectives to offer.

This session is suitable for practicing storytellers in many areas of storytelling including, museum storytelling, adult storytelling, family storytelling, eco storytelling. The mentees’ journey of preparing programmes will be multi-dimensional and certainly inspiring. The event is free and open to all. Click here to register and get a link to attend online on Zoom.

Guid Crack: Wild & Wonderful Woods

Deep in the woods, the sound of the drums starts to thrum and stories start to form. Join Moray-based storyteller Carol Scorer for an online evening of forest fables from Scotland, Ireland and Haiti!

Carol loves the stories, songs and rhythms of the oral tradition. From spontaneous tales to well-crafted performance pieces, she is fascinated by the living spoken word.

Edinburgh’s long-running storytelling night continues online, with the usual open-floor opportunity to share a tale of your own. If you would like to share on the night please send your host a message on Zoom once you have arrived, with the name and style of your offering (max 10mins).

Booking Information

This ‘Pay as you can’ event will be held on Zoom.  Once you have booked a ticket you will receive a confirmation email with your link. You can also find your online events stored in your digital wallet. To find out more and to register click here.

Love Without Freedom: Juneteenth Storytelling with Muriel Johnson

Despite the ever-present threat of separation, the bonds that enslaved African-Americans held were never easily severed. Join Muriel Johnson as she shares uncommon stories from the 1800’s of African-Americans navigating love, family and desires of the heart while their bodies were held in captivity.

When:  Friday, June 17, 2022 09:30 AM SGT /Thurs June 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m. PDT

Where: Online on zoom

This is a free online event, registration is essential. Click here to register and find out more.

What is Sacrifice?

Singapore records highest May temperature; warmer days ahead.”

“91% of Great Barrier Reef surveyed found damaged by bleaching.”

“Birds fall from the sky as heatwave scorches India.”

“Rainforest loss in 2021, 10 football pitches a minute.”

“Blinding sandstorm sends Iraqis to hospital, brings country to a halt.”

Mayhem all over due to climate change! Anyone flipping through newspapers, is greeted by news of severe droughts, famine, low rainfall, and soil degradation that are all linked to climate change.

Time and again humans have been warned of the dangers of climate change. Do we heed these warnings?   To quote Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space: “The Earth doesn’t need us. We need the Earth.

Are we listening? What is the price that will be paid by mankind? What are willing to sacrifice? Numerous stories have been told of sacrifices made to save Mother Earth. The Legend of the Bluebonnet, Rainbow Crow and Why the Sky is Far Away, to name a few. 

Is it essential to make sacrifices for love? Is caring only possible with sacrifice and compromise?

Here is a legend to give us food for thought. 

The Legend of the Bluebonnet

The People called Comanche were hit by famine. The harsh winter was past and yet there was no sign of the healing rains. They waited, they watched, they prayed. There was no sign of rain. 

Finally, a shaman went up alone to the top of the hills to listen for the words of the Great Spirits and find out what to do so that the rains would come once more and Mother Earth would be green again. 

In the community, there lived a young girl, and she was alone. She had lost her entire family to the famine. Her only possession was a doll that had been lovingly made by her mother, and had blue feathers given by her grandmother. The warrior doll was the only thing she had left from those days a very long time ago when they lived as one happy family. 

She loved her only possession, very, very much. She spoke to her doll every day. She shared her joys and fears with her doll. She told the doll; “The Shaman will be back soon and then we will know what to do so that the rains will come, and Mother Earth will be green and alive. There will be plenty, there will be happiness again.”

It was late evening when the Shaman returned. The Comanche people gathered around the Shaman to hear his stories. His voice boomed, and he said he had heard the words of the Great Spirits. The Great Spirits said that humans had become selfish. They had taken endlessly from Mother Earth and had not given anything back. People must sacrifice, said the Great Spirits. They must make a burnt sacrifice of the most valued possessions that they had. The ashes of that offering would then be scattered around the Earth. After the sacrifice was made, famine and drought would cease. A life of plenty would then be available to the people of the earth. 

People thanked the Great Spirits and then scrambled around to look for the most valuable possession in their midst. Someone got a spear, someone got a new axe, tools that were a necessity to live life, another got her very own special frock given to her by her grandma. 

They burned the possessions one by one, and the people waited, and they waited. Alas! Days and weeks went by and still there was no sign of the life-giving rain.

The little girl held tightly on to her doll, her only possession. She had a feeling that the Great Spirits wanted her doll. 

She did not want to part with her doll, but she knew that would be the right thing to do. Her parents would be proud of her; her land and its people would be thankful for that sacrifice.

With a heavy heart, the girl set out when everyone was asleep. The only sounds around were of the night creatures. The insects made a whirring sound, owls screeched at a distance, and soft howls of wolves were heard. She was scared but quietly crept out into the eerie night.  

A fire was burning outside the settlement. She took one twig that glowed and walked up the hill where the Great Spirits had spoken to the Shaman. “This warrior doll is my treasured possession, and it is my only possession, it is the only thing I have from my family who died in the famine. Please accept it. Please help my people and relieve them of their pain and let the rains come,” she implored the Great Spirits.

She then set her doll down, and after gathering some twigs and feathers, she offered a prayer, remembering the hunger and longing of her parents, her grandparents, and all the other people who had perished. After a final goodbye to her dear friend, the doll, she gently held it over the fire for as long as she could bear the heat. She watched as the doll dissolved into ash.

She waited with tears in her eyes, and when the ashes had become cold, she scooped out a handful and scattered it to the East, the West, the North, and the South.

Exhausted, she fell asleep. 

She was woken up by the first rays of the morning sun. She looked around and over the hill. She rubbed her eyes in disbelief. Beautiful blue flowers as blue as the feathers that adorned the hair of her doll covered the entire valley!

Soon the people woke up and climbed up the hill and gathered around the hill with the little girl. It was indeed a magical sight. They thought it to be a sign of forgiveness from the Great Spirits. 

The people danced, they sang, and soon they saw rain clouds at a distance and then the life-giving rain came down pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter! More singing, dancing and rejoicing ensued.

From that day on, the little girl was known as, “One-Who-Willingly-Sacrificed-For-Her-People”

To this day, every spring, the Great Spirits remember the sacrifice of a little girl and fill the valleys and hills of that land with the gorgeous blue flowers. 

Even to this day!

That land is now called Texas.

We see a salmagundi of sacrifices around us.

Will humankind wake up to the reality glaring them in the face and do something about it? What would you sacrifice to the Great Spirits to help humankind?

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

- Gaylord Nelson.

References and notes:

The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie DePaola

The Straits Times

Note: Lovely wildflowers called bluebonnets cover Texas hills like a carpet in springtime every year. Bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas.