Rebecca Chua



Rebecca Chua (b. 1953, Singapore–) is a poet, writer and playwright whose short stories have been anthologised in a number of collections, published in newspapers and magazines and broadcast internationally.1 She published a collection of short stories, The Newspaper Editor and Other Stories, in 1981.2

Early life
Chua graduated from the University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore) with an honours degree in English in 1976.3 She joined Her World magazine as a journalist.4 In 1978, Chua was one of two Singaporeans selected for the Rotary Foundation 1970/80 educational awards. She embarked on a one-year mass communication and journalism course in the United States in 1979.5

Literary career
Five of Chua’s early stories were published in The Sun In Her Eyes: Stories by Singapore Women in 1976.6 Her two short stories, The Morning After and The Washerwoman’s Daughter, were broadcast over the British Broadcasting Corporation World Service in January and October 1977 respectively.7 These short stories were subsequently published in an anthology Singapore Writing (1977) that also featured a number of poems by Chua. Some of these poems include The Hermit, Labels, Afterthought, A Lesson from the Chameleon, To a Novitiate and The Second Time Around.8

Chua’s stories next appeared in Singapore Short Stories I and Singapore Short Stories II, both published in 1978.9 Her works were also published in magazines such as The Asia MagazineThe Commonwealth MagazineFemale and Her World, and in newspapers like The Straits Times.10

In 1981, Chua’s first collection, The Newspaper Editor and Other Stories, was published locally by Heinemann Asia.11 The book received a commendation at the National Book Development Council of Singapore’s book awards in 1982.12 During the 1980s, The Straits Times also published articles by Chua reflecting on her thoughts and feelings as a writer.13 

In her later years, Chua’s fiction continued to be featured in collections such as Write Here: Stories of Singapore (1989), Singular Stories: Tales From Singapore (1993), and More Than Half The Sky: Creative Writings by Thirty Singaporean Women (1998).14

In July 1992, Chua’s short story, On Second Thoughts was, performed by local theatre company, Act 3.15 Her play, Between The Lines, was staged at the New Ideas Festival in Toronto, Canada, in 2001.16

Literary style
Most of Chua’s short stories often do not feature specific social milieus.17 One common theme is the setting up of ironic contrasts between idealised situations and reality in a subtle manner. In-depth descriptions of the psychological aspects of the characters can also be found in many of her stories.18 The stories unfold in quick cuts in a style reminiscent of film.19 Chua is also adept at creating moods in her stories.20



Authors

Alvin Chua & Joanna HS Tan



References
1. Chuah, G. E. (1998, September 30). A variety of women’s voices. The New Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
2. Chua, R. (1981). The newspaper editor and other stories. Singapore: Heinemman Asia. (Call no.: RSING S823.01 CHU)
3. Chuah, G. E. (1998, September 30). A variety of women’s voices. The New Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Chua, R. (1976, November 14). Compassionately yours, Charlie Brown. The Straits Times, p. 16; Tan, F. (1975, July 15). Rebecca grabs spot in contest. New Nation, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Variety please. (1976, September 22). New Nation, pp. 12–13; Journalist wins rotary study award. (1978, November 14). The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Our role – by award winning journalist. (1978, November 18). The Straits Times, p. 13; Journalist wins rotary study award. (1978, November 14). The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Heng, G. (Ed.). (1976). The sun in her eyes: Stories by Singapore women. Singapore: Woodrose Publications, pp. 48–68. (Call no.: RSING 828.995957 SUN)
7. S’pore writer’s story on BBC. (1976, December 27). The Straits Times, p. 9; Local writer's short story on BBC. (1977, August 6). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Nair, C. (Ed.). (1977). Singapore writing. Singapore: Woodrose Publications for the Society of Singapore Writers, pp. 50–53, 141–152. (Call no.: RSING 828.995957 SIN)
9. Sharp, I. (1978, January 23). When a story is a story is a story. The Business Times, p. 7; Koh, N. (1978, June 10). Our writers are maturing. New Nation, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Chua, R. (1981). The newspaper editor and other stories. Singapore: Heinemann Asia, back cover. (Call no.: RSING S823.01 CHU); Chua, R. (1974, August 10). Watching them. New Nation, p. 10; Chua, R. (1992, December 5). As she lay dying. The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Chua, R. (1981). The newspaper editor and other stories. Singapore: Heinemann Asia. (Call no.: RSING S823.01 CHU)
12. Teachers bag six of the seven 1982 book prizes. (1982, September 4). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Chua, R. (1984, January 14). Fame I can do without. The Straits Times, p. 31; Chua, R. (1984, January 28). All I wanted was some sympathy. The Straits Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Brennan, F. (Ed.). (1989). Write here: Stories of Singapore. Singapore: Heinemann Southeast Asia, pp. 72–88. (Call no.: RSING 828.995957 WRI); Leong, L. G. (Ed.). (1998). More than half the sky: Creative writings by thirty Singaporean women. Singapore: Times Books International, pp. 125–152. (Call no.: RSING S828.99597 MOR); Yeo, R. (Ed.), (1993). Singular stories: Tales from Singapore. Singapore: Yang Publishers, pp. 17–25. (Call no.: RSING 823 SIN)
15. Gasmier, M. R. (1992, June 22). Jitters killers. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Stage for productions that have been reviewed, condensed capsule... (2001, March 8). The Toronto Star. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
17. Seet, K. K. (1982, August/September). Book review: The newspaper editor and other stories. Commentary, 5(3 & 4), 94–95. (Call no.: RSING 300.5 C); King, M. (1990). Students’ guide to Singapore short stories. Singapore: G. Brash, p. 159. (Call no.: RSING S823.0109 KIN)
18. Seet, K. K. (1982, August/September). Book review: The newspaper editor and other stories. Commentary, 5(3 & 4), 94. (Call no.: RSING 300.5 C); Tharoor, S. (1981, November 21). Author’s forte – imagination. The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Yeo, R. (Ed.). (1993). Singular stories: Tales from Singapore. Singapore: Yang Publishers, p. 3. (Call no.: RSING 823 SIN)
20. Tharoor, S. (1981, November 21). Author’s forte – imagination. The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Chua, R. (1983, September 24). Persistence, patience and practiceThe Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Chua, R. (1983, September 24). What are writes made of? The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Chua, R. (1985). The morning after [sound recording]. In Short stories from Singapore. Singapore: Singapore Broadcasting Corporation.
(Call no.: RSING S823 CHU)

Chua, R. (1985). The washerman's daughter [sound recording]. In Short stories from Singapore. Singapore: Singapore Broadcasting Corporation.
(Call no.: RSING S823 CHU)

Chua, R. (1985, February 4). Coming into their ownThe Straits Times, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Chua, R. (1993, November 20). Fugue in E Minor (A duet). The Straits Times. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2010 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Women poets--Biography
Writers
Women authors, Singaporean--Biography
Award winners--Singapore--Biography
Chua, Rebecca, 1954-
Language and literature>>Literatures>>East and Southeast Asian literature>>Singapore literature
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors