The Singapore memorial reading for poet Justin Chin was held on Saturday, July 23, at Artistry Cafe. It was an intimate and moving event, as a line-up of local writers read from Chin’s various works to an audience comprising the writing community, Justin’s secondary school friends, and well wishers.
Poet Stephane Dogfoot recalled what discovering Justin Chin’s work meant to her: “I found out about Justin Chin sometime … I don’t remember the year …. I think I was in secondary school, so sometime in the early 2000’s. Borders was still around then [audience laughs]…. And I thought, Justin was a Chinese name, and I went to research him, like, what the fuck, he was a Chinese guy, an Asian guy, not only that, he was from Malaysia as well, and he’s this crazy person who’s gay and a poet, and I didn’t know those things were possible back then [audience laughs]. So he was an inspiration for me. And so I found his books, I bought four of his books, ordered some from Amazon later on and, yeah, he’s a true inspiration for my writing, and how I think about stuff, I guess.”
Watch the playlist of videos to be part of the reading: Christine CHIA reading from Bite Hard, Desmond KON from Shampoo journal, Cyril WONG from Harmless Medicine, YEOW Kai Chai from Mongrel, O Thiam Chin from Burden of Ashes, Stephanie DOGFOOT and TSE Hao Guang from Gutted, Jason WEE reading a poem written for Justin, and KOH Jee Leong a coda. Many thanks to Joshua IP for recording the event at short notice.