The Lion City - getting to grips with Singapore (1)

Singapore is synonymous with comics - most of the English manga I have, Full Metal Alchemist for starters, come from Chuang Yi (a Singapore publisher). I just never knew how much of it consumed the city. Singapore is alive with pictures - the train/buses are filled with people reading comics. Posters cover the city with opportunities and courses for artists, illustrators and animators. And the first shopping centre I walked into had the Association of Comic Artists giving workshops to three dozen kids on how to draw, use tablets and write comics. (There was also a small class painting crocs - a bit closer to my own artistic level.)

I got to chat to a few of the artists on tour and got a brief, comprehensive, idea of Singapore’s graphics world. And I was ordered to visit a bookshop - not just any bookshop though - Kinokuniya (the biggest bookshop in South East Asia). It is vast - and packed to the rafters with books, primarily in English but with sections for Malay, Hokkien, Hindustani, Mandarin and Cantonese all thrown in for good measure. (This has been my favourite part about Singapore - it is a huge melting pot of ideas and languages and it influences everything from buildings to food to publishing.)

I picked up a copy of Adeline Foo’s Amos Lee while I was flitting about euphorically - Amos Lee is a Singaporean version of Diary or a Wimpy Kid and loved it. Adeline was kind enough to meet me a few days later to talk books, life, Twilight and food. (The food is good in Singapore. So, so good.)

(More soon - promise!)

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