In Conversation with Inch Chua and Tan Lixin
Happening at the Esplanade Concourse on 23 and 24 March, 6:45PM and 7:45PM, singer-songwriter iNCH and local writer Tan Lixin come together to retell the stories of the voiceless in Singapore, combining storytelling and music.
Inch: Whenever I see animal abuse or injustice, I feel a cocktail of bad feelings - anger, helplessness and sadness. What do you feel and how do you deal with it?
Lixin: I also feel anger and sadness, and sometimes, a sense of moral righteousness. However, I have learnt to remember that animal abuse and injustice is a global problem and we are all proponents of it, even if we do not actively and directly contribute to it (i.e. passivity is also a major contributor to animal abuse or poor animal welfare). Hence, I avoid participating in leaving hateful comments on social media content that documents animal abuse or injustice. Instead, I find opportunities to write about animal abuse or injustice (in an objective manner).
Incidentally, I co-founded an animal welfare group, Society for Animal Matters, where we believe in education and advocacy, that the way to improve animal welfare is to first educate others. I write many of its social media posts promoting different animal welfare causes.
Recently, I have also been doing story writing and working on stories about different animals and issues surrounding them. I think stories are an interesting way of engaging with people who might not usually listen to you.
Lixin: Tell us more about your cats and what you think our society can do more of for our community cats and street dogs?
Inch: My cats are Snow and Tigger. They adopted me at Love Kuching Project. They run my household, and I'm a humble servant to them. I believe education is probably the most important thing missing at the moment. Most people who encounter an injured, abandoned, or ill street cat, feel quite lost and get uncertain on what to do. I think being acquainted with each of your neighbourhood and community rescuers and learning from them, is probably a good step one.
Inch: Writing stories and performing stories can be really different. How has the experience been for you?
Lixin: Absolutely nerve-wracking and super exciting all at once! I am not a performer so I never write my stories expecting them to be read aloud, so it's a little strange hearing myself and you read them. But it's also incredible how our voices, music and the different sounds add so much life and emotions to the stories.
Inch: What is your latest book recommendation?
Lixin: Move Over, Bird by Miho Kinnas
Lixin: What can the audience expect of your music in this collaboration?
Inch: A string of improvisational tunes and some originals.
Lixin: Can we look forward to a new album from you soon?
Inch: I've been talking about new music for quite sometime, but if I were to be honest, I got my heart broken really badly a while back and usually it would be good inspiration for work, but it destroyed my sense of self so badly that I'm rendered quite lost. So I'm prioritising finding myself and who knows, I might find my creativity back in the process.