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Poets on Permits

'Poets on Permits' is a documentary on migrant workers in Singapore, and their poetry. Read between their lines.

Their poems speaks volumes about their lives in Singapore and lives they have left behind.

Poets from Bangladesh, Philippines, India, China and Indonesia took part in the annual Migrant Worker's Poetry Competition, held last year at the National Library. Each poet had composed original poetry in their unique styles and recited them with feeling and gusto. The pulse points of their poetry both moved me and impressed me, as the sparkling creativity embalmed deeper themes of home, loneliness, family and love, falling madly in love with the garden city, on female foeticide etc. The topics were as diverse as their personalities.

For 'Poets on Permits', five captivating personalities representing the five diverse countries, are sharing their personal stories, and views on the local migrant worker life. (It was really hard to pick only five!)

We have completed filming - both interviews, recitals and supporting visuals. The vision, for all their stories to intermingle with their poetry recitals on camera. Visually, the poets were situated in fantastic settings during their poetry recitals, a place which tallies with their amazing flights of imagination. Also, outworn visuals that stereotypically present their daily lives have been avoided. In this story, they are people, poets and then migrant workers.

All five personalities are unique in their own ways, and it will be impossible not to fall in love with their thoughts, passion and drive.

With this documentary, I hope to lift weary perspectives on migrant workers in Singapore. Sharing their stories through their poetry will feature their talents, and also bring us closer as a society - realising that at the end of the day, we may have different challenges but our goals are the same - of home, love and happiness.

Funded by Singapore (April 2016)