Singapore Fling - My Video of the Asian Festival of Children's Content

Here's a video I made with the scraps I found in my camera. Apologies for the poor focusing - I got a new camera lens for my birthday and haven't learned how to use it properly yet!

It was my first time in Singapore and in a fit of tourism I took the Number Two bus into town from Changi Airport, sitting on the upstairs deck and admiring the utter tidiness of the place and wondering how one achieved a society that kept the streets this polished.

There were incredible buildings, one shaped like a spiky durian, another like a giant surfboard balanced on three massive cricket stumps, and all the way to the town centre, it was a feast of diversity - in one area mosques galore, in another, temples, churches with pointy white steeples, and a melting pot of people that would put to shame London's hot pot of diversity.

Singapore's famous Durian building

What can one expect from an event called the Asian Festival of Children's Content?  I discovered later that the person leading the organizing, Mr Rama, is a librarian - librarians of the world, rock! Here's a picture of Mr Rama looking positively evangelical as he welcomes delegates.

The festival is only on its third year so I wasn't sure what it was going to be like - according to the website it was an umbrella for four big conferences:
  • The Asian Primary and Preschool Teachers Congress
  • The Asian Parents Forum
  • The Asian Children's Writers and Illustrators Conference
  • Asian Children's Media Summit
The BIG THING of course was the country focus - this year's was the Philippines. I was there to be part of the Philippine delegation - imagine! Me part of a Philippine delegation! Who would have thought?

The Philippine delegation included  (left to right) award winning author Russell Molina, me (note: in a dress), New York-based illustrator Pepper Roxas, author-illustrator Jomike Tejido, also award winning, blogger and critic Blooey Singson, national treasure and author Neni Sta Romana-Cruz, and Andrea Pasion-Flores, writer and director of the National Book Development Board of the Philippines (mouth gone dry, this is why I decided not to follow the Filipino habit of double barreling one's name)

One of the luminaries with us was Neni Sta Romana Cruz - on whose books of Philippine folk stories I raised my children.

How do I love Neni's writing?  I once recorded her stories on tape and gave it to a young friend as a present!  These are the perks of being an author that you get to hang out with the coolest people on the planet!

I was rushing around the festival taking videos and photos but looking at my pictures, I realized that they couldn't capture what an extraordinary event this was.

Having lived in the West for the past 23 years, it was a real wake up call for me to see the other side of the world assembled for the love of books. It felt like something BIG was about to happen. It felt like the future was watching in that audience.

Stories from the Asian Festival of Children's Content

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