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Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | 1:22 AM | 0 comments

"words have sometimes a way of stilling themselves & then, no, we have a way of stilling words
 in a way to still ourselves:
 a choice of being still
 & quiet to be still. "Arthur Yap,
words,  the space of city trees: selected poems, 2000

Name: Arthur Yap Chior Hiong
Born: 1943
Died: 19 June 2006
Nationality: Singaporean
  • St Andrew's School, Singapore
  • University of Singapore
  • University of Leeds, England
  • National University of Singapore

Who Is Arthur Yap:

Arthur Yap was an important second-generation Singapore poet. He held degrees from the University of Singapore, the University of Leeds in Europe and the National University of Singapore, where he taught as an English and Literature lecturer until 1998. Coined as a writer with the “eye of a painter”, Yap's poetry distinctively captures the vivid colours and rhythms of Singaporean life with an unusual linguistic playfulness. The numerous awards he received during his lifetime include the National Book Development Council's 1976, 1982 and 1988 awards for poetry, and the 1983 Southeast Asian Writers Award. In 1983, Yap was awarded the Cultural Medallion for his contributions to the local literature scene.

Yap inspired people not only with his poems, but also through his painting. He developed a passion for painting in 1967 when he was working as a Pre-University English Literature teacher at the Serangoon Gardens English School. During the weekends he would pick up the brush, pouring his soul into each and every one of his abstract works of art. On 13 April 1969 Arthur held his first solo art exhibition. It featured 44 square abstract paintings at the National Library in Stamford Road. Yap went on to have a total of seven solo exhibitions in Singapore, as well as participated in group exhibitions in Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. Yap's paintings were also chosen to represent Singapore at the Adelaide Festival of Arts in 1972.

Most regrettably, Yap suffered from cancer, which recurred in 2004. He underwent major surgery to remove his voice box. On the night of 19 June 2006, he died in his sleep at home after a two-and-half year battle with throat cancer. He was 63.

His Published Works:

Poetry Collections:
  • Only Lines (1971)
  • Commonplace (1972)
  • Down The Line (1980)
  • Man Snake Apple (1986)


Writing Singapore: An Historical Anthology of Singapore Literature

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