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The Faces of Kinmen Series – Writers: Han Chuan, Renowned Foreign Poet in Singapore and also Promoter of Indonesian Chinese Literature

The Faces of Kinmen Series – Writers: Han Chuan, Renowned Foreign Poet in Singapore and also Promoter of Indonesian Chinese Literature
2017/11/14
Reporter: Chen Rong-Chang

“My hand writes out how I feel. My hand writes out what I say. The Singapore that I write about is the land where I formed my family and where my children will grow up. The Kinmen that I write about is my nostalgia. The Indonesia that I write about is the sympathy for the Chinese there who have been isolated and mistreated. As a descendant of the legendary Chinese emperors, I long for the rebirth of the ancient Divine Land.”
Han Chuan, whose real name is Loo Kee-Pow is a foreign poet who resides in Singapore. His love for literature and the kindness towards his friends have always been praised by his Chinese literary friends in Southeast Asia. His wife is Indonesian Chinese; therefore, Han Chuan has also been actively promoting the exchange with Indonesian Chinese literature. What is the most enthusiastically talked about is that he “smuggled” thousands of Chinese books into Indonesia regardless of the control by the government from the 1970s to the 1990s. This helped promote Chinese literature in Indonesia and won him the titles of “the Hero of Indonesian Chinese Literature” and “the Promoter of Indonesian Chinese Literature”.
Han Chuan treats others with kindness and is eager to help novice writers. He has been promoting Indonesian Chinese literature and published articles against the discrimination against Chinese Indonesians. Since May, 2010, Han volunteered himself as the coordinator and editor-in-chief for the literary supplement of the Indonesian International Daily News. In addition, he also volunteered to be the editor-in-chief for the literary supplement of Harian InHua since October, 2014. Once a week, the supplement publishes well-written articles by writers from an ASEAN country, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Myanmar, documenting the history of the Chinese literature development in Southeast Asia.
Han Chuan is passionate about creating literary pieces. So far he has published more than 20 literary collections, covering poetry, prose, travels, and commentaries. Although he left his hometown Kinmen at a very young age and moved to Singapore, he has not abandoned the love for his hometown. He wrote various nostalgic poems, such as Nostalgia Back Then, Childhood in Kinmen… etc. “If we say that the hometown and the foreign country of residence are the two inseparable fields of sentiments intertwined in Han Chuan’s poetry, then leaving and returning the hometown are definitely the two lingering literary images in his work.”
Poet Chang Kuo-Chih and reportage writer Yang Shu-Cing both agreed that Han Chuan cares about his hometown more than any other overseas poets. Browsing through the collections of his work, pieces such as Childhood in Kinmen, Returning Home, Old House, Aged Wine of the Hometown, Lament for the Historical Mistake, The Lone Island with Severed Umbilical Cord, and so on, show the nostalgia derived from tracing his roots and from his identification with the Chinese culture.

Profile of Han Chuan:
Han Chuan (whose real name is Loo Kee-Pow), was born in Kinmen in 1950 and moved to Singapore at the age of five. He graduated from Chongfu School, Hwa Chong Institution, and the Department of Chinese Literature of Nanyang University.
During the 1970s and 1980s, he actively participated in the activities of literary organizations. In 1978, he was chosen to represent Singapore in The Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP). In the mid-1980s, he joined the Singapore Literature Society and held positions such as the general affairs officer or treasurer and served as editor-in-chief for several editions of the publication “Singapore Literature”. In 2003, he served as secretary of the work committee of the book “Singapore Chinese Writer Biographies”, jointly published by the Singapore Literature Society, the Singapore Association of Writers and the Bukit Timah Literary Centre. From 2012 to 2016, he held the position of chairman for the Bukit Timah Literary Centre. During his office, he organized eight editions (No. 38 - 45) of the Bukit Timah Literature publication while serving as Editor-in-Chief.
Han Chuan held the position of editor-in-chief for the monthly publication of the People's Association, the “Yuan” Magazine of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, the newsletter of the Hwa Chong Alumni Association, the newsletter of the Singapore Loo Clan Association, and the newsletter of the Kim Mui Hoey Kuan. He also worked as the editorial consultant for the poetry publication of the Singapore Literature Society for years. It is clear that he dedicated himself to literature, the Chinese clan and community groups. He also worked as senior commenter of the Chinese Calligraphy Society of Singapore, a board member of the Xin Feng Poetry Association, the publishing consultant of the Waidangong Research Society Singapore, a board member of the Singapore Arts Federation, the artistic consultant for the Ding Yi Xuan Gallery, the director of the Kim Mui Hoey Kuan, and the editorial consultant for the Bukit Timah Literature publication.
Currently he works as the honorary chairman of the Bukit Timah Literary Centre, the editorial consultant of the Hwa Chong Alumni Association, the literary consultant of the Bukit Timah Hainanese Club, the publishing consultant and board member of the Singapore Loo Clan Association, and a board member of the Singapore Gnoh Kung Association. In addition, he is also the oversea consultant of the “Indonesian Association of Chinese Writers”, the coordinator of the literary supplement of the Indonesian International Daily News, the oversea consultant of the “Indonesian Association of Chinese Art, Calligraphy and Painting”, the overseas consultant of the “Indonesian Chines Poetry Publication” and the “Friends of Indonesian Chinese Literature”, the editor-in-chief of the literary supplement of Harian InHua, the overseas consultant of the “Ma An Shan City Returned Overseas Chinese Federation”. In 2004, he was awarded the “significant contribution award” by the Indonesian Association of Chinese Writers.
Among his works were: the poetry collection Kinmen Series, the commentaries Han Chuang on Literature, the travels Among the Clouds, Trees, Mountains and Waters, prose Literature Returning to Hometown, biography Kinmen People who Left the Island, totaling 20 collections. He also worked as editor-in-chief for seven publications: literary collections and memoirs of the Hwa Chong Alumni Association, a collection of Kinmen Singaporean writers’ works, Under the Bukit Timah, and so on.

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  • Date:2018-01-02