The Stories of Yesterday and Today: Celebrating Traditional Tales and Singapore Writing

Under the National Arts Council's Literary Arts Programmes in Schools

Target Participants:

Literature students.

Students interested in the art of the spoken word and in bringing text alive through the narrative art form.

Sec 4 onwards and JC students.
Ages 16 years and above due to certain mature content in selected Singapore Literature texts.

Intermediate to Advanced
Competency in the English Language is essential as Kamini’s storytelling delivery will be maintained at her public performance standard.


1 hour 15 mins (75mins)

No. of Participants:

Maximum 50 audience members to 1 storyteller

Notes for Organisers:

1 session (Please choose Option #1 or Option #2)

A room that can comfortably hold 50 audience members (seated) and support the intimacy of a storytelling session.
Kamini will not be using a microphone in order to preserve the experience of a ‘live’ storytelling experience; as such there should not be any noise or distractions from nearby venues.

A stool or chair for Kamini.
A small side table or cube to place books and water upon.
A board with writing implements.

Join storyteller Kamini Ramachandran as she enthrals you with traditional oral narratives gleaned from around the world and also introduce modern Singapore stories. Students will be introduced to a professional live performance and a variety of stories from the oral tradition. Schools can choose from two options: the universal fairy tale with stories from Cyril Wong’s Let Me Tell You Something About That Night; or the historical narrative with stories from The Short Stories and Radio Plays of S Rajaratnam, edited by Irene Ng.

This session will expose audiences to traditional oral narrative stories gleaned from around the world and also introduce Singapore Literature that crosses over into the genre of stories suitable for storytelling.
The aim of this session is to promote Singapore Literature via the vehicle of storytelling.

Areas Covered:

Programme Objectives & Learning Outcomes:
Introduce audience to professional level ‘live’ performance storytelling keeping true to the oral narrative tradition.

• Expose audience to a variety of stories from the oral narrative tradition.

• Encourage and inspire audience to self-discover this lesser known genre through the references provided for each story told.

• Demonstrate to audience the differences between telling a story and reading aloud from text.

• Develop in audience the listening skills required for storytelling.

• Expose audience to Singapore Literature that falls into the category of stories that can be adapted and re-told.

• Encourage audience to investigate further the Singapore Literature content used in these sessions, as all Sing Lit will end with a cliff-hanger and will not be told in completion. This is a strategic device used by the storyteller to create intrigue in audience to find out more about local writers.

• The storyteller acts as a bridge or medium between the Singapore Literature and its potential readership in trying to link the two through raising awareness and creating intrigue.


Programme Highlights:
• Kamini will share a variety of stories from the oral narrative tradition for the first half of the session.

• Kamini will re-tell and read aloud excerpts from selected Singapore Literature in the second half of the session.

• Kamini will make the connections between the stories told and give a brief talk on the genre of folk and fairytale and how it is still relevant in contemporary writing and continues to inspire many writers; examples will be given (Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie, Marina Warner etc)
• Opportunity for audience Q&A

Programme Content:

Option #1

2 selected stories from:

Let Me Tell You Something About That Night – Strange Tales by Cyril Wong.

• The universal fairytale genre that complement the selected Singapore Literature text.
o e.g. Turtle & The Hare by Cyril Wong will be read aloud and re-told alongside the Aesop’s version, the fractured fairytale version and lesser known versions.

o e.g Butterfly That Wanted To Be A Rabbit by Cyril Wong will be read aloud and re-told alongside fairytales of similar wishes-for-metamorphoses-being-granted and the consequences of these actions on the self.

Option #2
2 selected stories from:

The Short Stories And Radio Plays of S.Rajaratnam edited by Irene Ng.

• The folklore genre that complement the selected Singapore Literature text
o e.g The Tiger by S.Rajaratnam will be read aloud and re-told alongside folktales about the origin of tigers, how tiger got his stripes, how jackal
 outwitted the tiger and what happened to the tiger’s adopted son.
o e.g Famine by S.Rajaratnam will be read aloud and re-told alongside
 folktales about drought and extreme conditions that threaten the
 sense of community and the lengths to which mankind goes to 
preserve what is sacred to him.


• This session is a pure storytelling performance cum reading of text.
• The focus is on making connections between traditional tales and local writing.
• The aim is to foster a sense of awareness and interest in SingLit. As such, it is highly recommended that the intimacy of the session be preserved by choice of venue and limiting the audience to 50 pax maximum.
• It is recommended that a staff member be present during the session to facilitate the Q&A as well as to ensure there are no disruptions during the storytelling.

Visit NAC Literary Arts Programmes In Schools

About the Facilitator

Kamini Ramachandran has been instrumental in the revival of the art of storytelling in Singapore through her work in MoonShadow Stories which she co-founded in 2004. She is a founder member as well as the President of the Storytelling Association (Singapore) from 2008 – 2012. She brings a wealth of story-crafting expertise with her through her customized storytelling content creation and storytelling consultancy experience.