Singapore Boot Camp – without the boots

Elaine Forrestal presenting a creative writing workshop in Singapore

In spite of a tropical downpour at lunchtime on the third day, it was far too hot in Singapore to be wearing boots!

In any case the three-day Camp, run by the organisers of the Creative Writing Project which celebrates Singapore’s 50 years of independence, was quite the opposite of a Boot Camp. The best creative writers from at least six different schools across Singapore came together at the Nan Hua Primary School and worked diligently on their stories and poems from 9am to 4pm each day – in spite of the fact that they were on their school holidays. We did all have a welcome break at lunch time while delicious, freshly cooked, Chinese food was delivered in individual lunch boxes to the 52 students, four presenters, numerous staff of the Ministry of Education and volunteers from the local community.

The students had chosen prose or poetry as their preferred form of writing and had been evenly divided between the two prose and two poetry presenters. As a prose presenter I have not yet seen the poems produced, but the stories the students have written are notable for the variety of subject matter and the quality of the writing. The insights and ideas shared by the students, with me and with their peers, are an indication of Singapore’s success as an independent Nation and its determination to continue to be a significant player on the world stage well into the future.

My thanks to the organisers, WritingWA and CWP, for making my trip to Singapore possible, and to the students for their enthusiasm for writing and their participation in the workshops throughout all three days of the Camp. I wish you all the best of luck and I will be looking out for your names in future publications.

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