Samuel Caleb Wee from Nanyang Technological University was a Highly Commended Entrant in the 2015 The Undergraduate Awards programme. His paper was titled “A Forest within a Forest: Rhizomic Visions of Text, Sex & Love in Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being” in the Literature 1710-Present category.
Samuel is currently living in Singapore though he spends a lot of time in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He finished his Bachelor’s last summer, and graduated from Nanyang Technological University with two awards: The Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal for topping his cohort, and the Koh Tai Ann Gold Medal for being involved in the literary community.
Samuel is also profoundly grateful to have received a research scholarship for a Masters in English at NTU this year. It allows him to continue his academic journey at his university, where the research support and commitment towards breaking new ground has always been nothing short of brilliant.
At the moment, his research looks at how narrative theory can intersect with poetics to produce a hermeneutics of alterity. Narrative studies excite Samuel, because it lets him delve into his own discipline of literature while exploring other disciplines like neurology, philosophy, anthropology, and linguistics.
If he were to explain his work in layman terms, Samuel says that he is mildly obsessed by the capacity of storytelling to challenge our worldview, and by the power of language play to force us into a reckoning with the unknown. This obsession spills over to his creative writing as well: He is currently finishing a book of experimental poems started during a writing residency last winter, at the Yeonhui Writers’ Village in Seoul. He is hoping to have that published by next year.
“The most rewarding experience I’ve had in the past few years entailed stepping into the background and helping other writers to shine. This is how you walk on the moon is an anthology of experimental fiction I co-edited with two of my course mates, Wong Wen Pu and Patricia Karunungan. It was published last year by Ethos Books, a fantastic independent literary publisher here in Singapore, and launched at the Singapore Writers’ Festival.”
Besides publishing a diverse selection of stories from various countries, He is also proud to say that his anthology featured several new writers, for whom this was their first time seeing their work in print. One of his favourite stories in the anthology is by a writer named Arin Alycia Fong—it’s a heartbreaking piece called “The sheets we drape over the things we don’t say”, about a girl who struggles to untangle familial trauma from cultural superstitions.
Incidentally, both Patricia and Arin are Samuels juniors from NTU, and attended 2017 UA Global Summit which was held in Dublin in November. Patricia was Highly Commended for her paper, and Arin is the Regional Winner for Asia this year.
“Shoutout to my UA2015 friends (Daniel, Emily, Millie, et al.): it was wonderful discovering Dublin with all of you, and if you guys are ever in Singapore, it’d be my honour to play tour guide!”
Here is the link to the anthology that Patricia, Arin, and Samuel were involved in. https://www.ethosbooks.com.sg/products/this-is-how-you-walk-on-the-moon