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1915 is a collection of two plays: 1915 and Romusha. 1915 re-explores the Singapore Mutiny by the Indian Army’s 5th Light Infantry Battalion on Monday 15th February 1915 through the eyes of the mutineers, British and ordinary people in then Singapore. Romusha (Slave Labourer) rearticulates the silenced voices of history in World War II when Japan sent an estimated 70,000 Asian slave labourers from Singapore and Malaya to complete the infamous 415 km Siam-Burma Death Railway. The book is an artistic register of the horrors of politics, war and oppression. The book received the Singapore Internationale Award 2005 from the Singapore International Foundation.
Two plays by the provocative Singapore playwright Elangovan: “Flush,” a monologue was performed at LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts in the 1st International Festival of Monologues in 2001, and “Oxygen” at The Substation in the same year. Both plays launch their ideas from settings in contemporary Singapore and both have given rise to shock, controversy and some admiration. The book received the Singapore Internationale Award 2002 from the Singapore International Foundation.
BOSE ( + Transportation) exposes the impregnable mystery of the death of the forgotten hero Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, and explores the numerous conspiracy theories. Bose, the most fascinating personality from history in Asia, led the Indian National Army from Singapore in its armed struggle against the British imperial forces of India for independence. TRANSPORTATION captures the displacement and suffering, cultural denigration and crisis of identity that ensues from all forms of estrangement in the colonial period in the penal settlements. It reconstructs the experiences of native criminals and political prisoners transported overseas to the penal settlements established by the British, from the late eighteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, in Southeast Asia (Singapore and Malaya), the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Islands. The plays were staged by Agni Kootthu (Theatre of Fire) with support from National Arts Council, Arts Fund and Lee Foundation. I. BOSE is published with the support of National Arts Council’s Publication and Translation Grant scheme.
MINES is a play by provocative Singaporean playwright Elangovan. It is set amidst a fictitious war between Malaysia and Singapore and touches on racism, patriotism and the differences between both sides. This thought-provoking play, which was given a last-minute go-ahead for staging by the authorities, challenges the notion of peace and harmony in the Singaporean urban life. Elangovan, considered a pioneer in Tamil poetry and experimental Tamil theatre in Singapore, has had his plays staged worldwide and won the Southeast Asia (SEA) Write Award in 1997 for his contribution to literature and theatre in Singapore. With support from the Lee Foundation for publication.
O$P$ (OweMoneyPayMoney) is a collection of three controversial plays, the multi-ethnic voices of the subaltern in Singapore: Malay transsexual in NA (Not Applicable), Chinese loan shark/debt-collector in O$P$, Indian undertaker in ASH. With support from the National Arts Council Publishing Grant.
Elangovan is known in Singapore for his provocative and controversial dramatic work which has raised important social issues which are often ignored. This play, first staged in the Singapore Festival of Arts Fringe in June 1992, addresses the painful caste-based realities still face in Singapore by those born to be Dalits, or “Untouchables”. The book received the Singapore Internationale Award 2003 from the Singapore International Foundation. Bilingual in English and Tamil
P (SHIT), contains two plays, P and Motcham (Salvation). Here, we see Elangovan continue his tradition of producing socio-political allegories.
In every society, the privileged groups’ control over and exploitation of the disadvantaged groups is the key source to social problems. These problems endlessly shape the material and spiritual landscapes of the outsiders. The outsiders’ education and environment generates beliefs and values that are diametrically opposed to the empowered status quo and if unchecked will fester and spread like virulent disease to destroy everything set by the powers that be. […] SMEGMA interrogates the ‘moral, cultural, religious, political, economical legitimacy world’ from many different perspectives of the underdogs and their masters. When the comfort-zone is shattered ugliness rears its head like cheesy SMEGMA.
Source: Smegma by Elangovan (2006)
This controversial one-woman play was first presented in Singapore on 24 December 1998, and twice in February 1999, performed by the depicted character herself. An unforgettable interpretation of one woman’s experience of domestic violence, desolation and divorce has shocked some in the Singapore literary and Indian Muslim circles. The president of the theatre group, Agni Kootthu (Theatre of Fire) was arrested for her persistent attempt to perform the play in English and Malay in October 2000. The play was banned in Oct 2000. Bilingual in English and Tamil. With support from the National Arts Council Publishing and Translation Grant.