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Book Extract
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This is among the more well-known of Edwin Thumboo’s place-based poems. It celebrates the work of Singapore’s Regional Language Centre, founded in 1968, in enabling the exchange of key languages from the region. The poem quickly rises from this institutional cause to talk about the nature and life of languages and how they determine the depths of cultures and the practical concerns of people. It is an interesting combination of a reflection on a place and an idea, and of Thumboo as a poet and as a critic. The power of language itself is a recurring theme in Thumboo’s poems and academic writings. The poem was dedicated to a Mrs Tai Yu-lin.
This digital copy (c) National Library Board Singapore 2011. The original work (c) Edwin Thumboo, 1979.