The Eye of History
On 5 July 1981, Sir Stamford Raffles leaves his pedestal by the Singapore River and pays a visit to Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the Istana. What follows is a wide-ranging discussion, both heated and humorous, that illustrates just how very human Singapore’s two most towering figures were. This conversation, along with the introduction of Munshi Abdullah (author of the Hikayat Abdullah), provides a fascinating backdrop for the investigation of historical authority and grand narratives.
About the Author:
Robert Yeo has been described as “the most Singaporean of Singaporean writers.” He has written five volumes of poetry and five plays, dealing with issues ranging from political detention in Singapore to the Vietnam War and the Great Marriage Debate. He has also written a novel, a memoir and essays on cultural policy and theatre, compiled anthologies of Singaporean Literature, and co-written books on the teaching of Literature for secondary schools. In 1978, he attended the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, and in 1995 was a Fulbright Scholar. From 1977 to 1994, he chaired two drama committees, the Drama Advisory Committee and the Drama Review Committee, which helped to develop English-language theatre in Singapore, and in recognition of his service, he was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1991.
His triptych of connected plays—Are You There, Singapore?, One Year Back Home and Changi—was collected in 2001 as The Singapore Trilogy. In October 2009, his libretto for opera titled Kannagi, a short chamber piece based on an Indian epic poem, was staged in Singapore’s Sri Mariamman Temple with John Sharpley as composer. Another libretto, a full-length work titled Fences (also with John Sharpley) was staged in August 2012.
Yeo was awarded the SEA Write Award in 2011. Epigram Books re-released his 1986 novel The Adventures of Holden Heng in 2011, and published his career-spanning retrospective poetry collection The Best of Robert Yeo in 2012. Currently, he teaches creative writing at Singapore Management University and mentors for NAC’s Mentor Access Project.
Size: 210mm x 145mm
Published: August 2016