Editorial – Issue 6

Time and tide wait for no man.

I had wanted to interview some of the early pioneers of Singapore comics and especially those of different ethnicity. One of them was K. Ramesh, the writer of the popular Souls comic books of the 1990s (drawn by Chan Man Loon). Unfortunately, he passed away in January this year, before the launch of SG Cartoon Resource Hub.

It would be fun to meet Ramesh in a dialogue with Sean Lam and Ye Zhen and how telling horror stories is a way to talk about the things we could not talk about.

RIP.

Souls : True Ghost Stories by Ramesh Kula

I was rereading Philip Holden’s excellent essay on the importance of gender in the research and writing of history. He wrote about the erasure of women and their contributions in the story of the People’s Action Party. It was literally only men in white. You can read his piece here: https://s-pores.com/2010/08/frompap-to-miw/

It should not be the case now with the recent White Paper on Singapore’s Women Development.
https://www.scwo.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/White-Paper-on-Singapore-Womens-Development.pdf
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/parliament-debate-singapore-women-development-white-paper-2609711

But it is very easy to ‘not see’. I reflected on my own blind spots. When I researched on the history of Chinese cartoons in Singapore from 1907 to 1980 twenty years ago, I did not find any examples of Chinese women cartoonists. I should have looked harder. Today I would have included Kwan Shan Mei. I only managed to rectify this mistake when I curated a small exhibition on Kwan Shan Mei in 2018 at the National Library. https://afcc.com.sg/2018/page/kwan-shan-mei-drawing-from-the-heart/

A more recent article I wrote in 2014 about current trends in Singapore comics also left out women comic artists. I should have included Foo Swee Chin and Weng Pixin. https://kyotoreview.org/issue-16/current-trends-in-singapore-comics-when-autobiography-is-mainstream/

Hopefully I had made up for this error in my other articles. I wrote one specifically about Stories by Female Comic Artists in Southeast Asia. https://www.academia.edu/15829886/Stories_by_Female_Comic_Artists_in_Southeast_Asia

It is not by accident that SG Cartoon Resource Hub focuses on female comic artists in its initial round of video interviews.

Our previous video interview with local female artist Rixou, author of Pandora’s Scar.

It is important to be inclusive even for genres that may not be our cup of tea. So when a manga researcher came to Singapore, I introduced the Association of Comic Artists (Singapore) (ACAS) to the researcher as I wanted to show that dominance of manga style in Singapore was not all prevalent. There were others who prefer to draw American superhero comics like the members of ACAS.

A few weeks ago I attended the very crowded and successful Singapore Art Book Fair at the Singapore Art Museum. New comic artists are coming up and their stories focused on their queer identities, challenges and experiences. These are more diversity in Singapore comics now.

While SG Cartoon Resource Hub focuses on local comics and cartoonists, we must not be insular. There are things to be learned from overseas comic artists. That is why we conducted interviews with Harmony Becker and Jillian Tamaki who will be virtual guests of this weekend’s Asian Festival of Children’s Content (26 – 29 May). Do check out Drawn Narratives, the panel they are doing. There are other comics-related ones as well. https://afcc.com.sg/

Welcome to the 6th issue. We have part 2 of the video interview with Seam Lam which we shot last December. A comic review by Clio Ding – Eve and the Lost Ghost Family. Another cartoon tutorial by See Kum and an interview with My World contributor, Ye Zhen.

Enjoy.

Eve and the Lost Ghost Family by Felix Cheong and Arif Rafhan
Eve and the Lost Ghost Family by Felix Cheong and Arif Rafhan
Singapore Ham Ka Chan by Ye Zhen
Singapore Ham Ka Chan by Ye Zhen
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CT Lim
Writer & Editor

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Comments (1)

Thanks for the sharing your reflections and links CJ!

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