Literary Arts, Music

re:site re:site

7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm
Assembly venue: Level 1 Li Ka Shing Library – Steps next to Bricklane

“re:site” is a site-specific performance at SMU Connexion, built on an original poem written for the Festival by SMU President, Prof Lily Kong. Through voice, rhythm and silence, it explores the loss and conversion of spaces through the rapid urbanisation of Singapore's cityscape. The piece is also a loving homage to the beloved red-bricked National Library Building, which once stood on this site. A co-creation led and composed by Cultural Medallion recipient, Jennifer Tham.





re:site is an intimate and immersive audience experience, presented through inter-linking sound spaces. It is a sonic manifestation of spatial changes, and its impact both by and on mankind.

Moving through the performance space, you will see and hear how literary art and choral music bleed, blend and blossom into one another. A symbolism of how activities, intentional or accidental, set the motion for change. This is mirrored in the creative process behind re:site.

We began by inviting Prof Kong to pen a poem, which serves as the source text for re:site. We then worked with students from SMU Literati and SMU Chamber Choir as well as guest artists to write their own poems, in response to Prof Kong’s evocative text. Fragments of these student poems are set to music, and will be presented in different ways by the choir in the sound spaces.


By Prof Lily Kong
(Listen to the poem here)

Soft is the wind that gently brings
Those beloved places on melodious strings
Bygone echoes, an enchanted voice sings
Recalling places as affection springs

Remembered places in the crannies of my mind
Meditative moments rekindle ties that bind
Evoking a time when life was kind
In buoyant breeze bodies unwind

Children’s laughter gurgle from yesteryear
Place memories provoke a joyful tear
Gone but not forgotten, ever here
Tinkling melodic strains that cheer

Tales written into red-bricked walls
Human stories in architectural halls
Ever present, the haunting voice calls
Obliterated site or urban overhauls

City centre, civic life
Reminiscent fragments or heritage rife
Neither abstract nor still life
To save or to demolish a constant strife

A cityscape of design and infrastructure
A rhythmic body is etched architecture
An edifice of words that meanings structure
A multiplicitous city, a lasting indelible picture

Precious are our memories
Our places captured in documentaries
Forgetfulness finds new remedies
Precious are our memories





garden of bells

Student poems:

12pm, the shuffling of feet
echoes through the hallways,
their chatter fading into white noise,
as they fall in step to their next destination,
hustling in this bustling heart of the city.

12am, the shuffling of feet
scrapes across the concourse floor,
the different sounds in the count of eights clash
as their synchronizing steps create a rhythm,
fuelling a burning passion in their hearts.

“Free me, free me”
voices echo
the wind seems to carry
the salt of sweat
the toil of a thousand men
that built this city from the ashes
brick by brick, tower by tower
embedded in stone forever forgotten
a footnote in history

Lights are dimming, laptops shutting, papers rustling into files
Bags zipping up as yawns are heard as students trickle out
Beeps echoing as cards are tapped, with fulfilment or regret
Descending to T-junction, walking towards SOB,
My footsteps ring along the long underpass
Rising up, the path to City Hall littered with lights and cars
The obsidian skies are filled with stars and a hint
of the bright white moon hung behind blocks like bars
Grasshoppers chirp and the wind whispers dewy words
Now our days are done, yet I remember these

The sounds echo through everywhere, nook and cranny,
Even through the earthen tunnels, more sonorously.
That only sounds like one thing beneath...
It’s the sound of victory, despite being underneath...
The spirit of winning, both above and below ground.
The elation of joy was lost and found.
The thumping in my chest, the swelling feeling there.
It sets me on the path to greatness.
With fanfare, walking through the path everywhere, Climb a stair. Take the leap of faith.
Many more adventures await, only if one dares...


cathedral of light

Student poems:

eight hundred and fifty bricks
lining the walls of the staircase
once part of the old national library
now etched in the walls of the new

bricks of memory, of the past
from nineteen-sixty to two thousand and four
the old national library
now part of this new school forever more

Into the wide blue sky these glasshouse buildings soar,
ten million moving murmuring city lights blind,
the gentle breeze hiding this city’s lore.
Onwards always, tired feet drag on concrete floor,
an arduous present pulls the past from our minds.
Into the wide blue sky these glasshouse buildings soar.
Dream of no red-brick schoolhouses nor
hear the trishaws humming through traffic signs.
This torrential rain drowns the city’s lore.

I sit at the empty void deck
Thinking about the times gone by
The damage on the wall I check
from many soccer balls let fly

Now the space has changed with time
The wall I used and thought as mine
I stare now at the plastered wall
Once damaged from the soccer ball

The burning brick bakes in the heat
Gritty gravel under my feet
This new skyscraper blooms in my eye
Oh tell me why
Why can’t we just turn back time

Structures may speak
Memories might stay
Rubble and gravel, the sound of the drills loud and shrill
Now out with the old and in with the new


sanctuary of silence

Witness a performance in Singapore Sign Language by local Deaf poet, Lily Goh. Her poem is inspired by Prof Kong’s Remembered Places, as well as her personal memories of being shushed in the old National Library.



Creative Director

Jennifer Tham

Jennifer Tham

Jennifer is curious about the sight of sound and has a multi-modal listening practice as a conductor and composer. With the SYC Ensemble Singers, SMU Chamber Choir and other choirs under her care, she works at the intersection of the literary, musical and visual cultures, employing staging, movement and lighting design to reify the patterns of new music on stage. For her role in shaping Singapore’s cultural landscape, she was awarded the Cultural Medallion by the President, Republic of Singapore.




Prof Lily Kong

Professor Lily Kong

Professor Kong is the first Singaporean President of SMU, and the first Singaporean woman to head a university in Singapore.  She is an award-winning researcher whose extensive academic publications have addressed myriad dimensions of social-cultural change in Asian cities.  In her spare time, Professor Kong enjoys photography and poetry writing.  The images she captures typically inspire her words.  On the occasion of SMU Arts Festival, she hopes that her words will inspire many images, sounds and movements.




Choristers and Contribution Writers


Additional Contributing Writers








Deaf Arts & Music Practitioner


Student Production Team

Back Row from Left to Right: Lavanya Arunkumar, Ong Yu Kai, Tajuddin Bin Muhammad Zahid, Jon Tiong Jun Wei
Front Row from Left to Right: Michelle Leong Hwee-Ling, Arul-Dass Abiya Immaculate, Amrutha Varshini Thyagaraj



Act 1 - garden of bells

Chia Shu Min
Lim Wei Zhe
Sophia Soon Hoi Yan
Ho Pei Ying (Alumni)
Lavanya Arunkumar
Lim Tzi Yih Timothy (Alumni)
Michelle Leong Hwee-Ling
Ong Pin Ern

Act 2 - cathedral of light

Ann Mei Yi Victoria Grace
Arul Dass Abiya Immaculate
Goh Yu Xuan
Koo Guo Xiang
Koh Rui Tian Joanne
Mak Jo Ray Jamond
Megan Ye En
Ranen Tan
Wyz Kim-Chan (Alumni)
Yu Erin Dominique Lim
Jon Tiong Jun Wei
Ong Yu Kai
Ravichandran Sadhvi
Tajuddin Bin Muhammad Zahid
Tay Hui Ping
Amrutha Varshini Thyagaraj
Yu Wanqing (Alumni)

Act 3 - sanctuary of silence

Deaf Arts & Music Practitioner
Lily Goh

Erina Hazira Bte Suhaimi
Muhammad Nur Izeyar Bin Yazid
Tong My Linh
Uma Maheswary Suntheram

Singapore Sign Language Interpreter
Daniel Yong


Production Team

Gloria Chee, Janice Low

Jennifer Tham

Technical Producer
Anthony Kok

Lighting Designer
Liu Yong Huay

Stage Manager
Gillian Ong

Poem Audio Producer
Evan Low

Technical Management
AUX Media

Event Setup
Infini8 Pte Ltd

Audio Post Production
Homeground Studios

Literary Advisor for Students
Joshua Ip

Student Production Assistants
Anirudh Sanjay
Bun Chong Seng
Cheong Su Yi
Chua Yu Ying, Didi
Ericia Chua
Ginette Kong Jia Min
Goh Yi Qin
Kavan Chua Wei Hong
Lim Yong Wei, Calista
Ngah Xin Yan
Paulvinder Singh S/O Jagdeep Singh
Sia Men Zurich
Sim Kuan Wei, Benjamin
Tai Yi Yin Clarice
Tan Ming Hui
Wendy Ng Chu Ying
Yajur Vasudev Madan


SMU Clubs


SMU Chamber Choir

SMUCC was formed by five enthusiastic choristers in 2007. It has travelled to and received numerous awards in many music festivals around the world. SMUCC also performs at local events such as school exchanges, community outreach programs, carolling projects, and an annual Production — 'Wrinkles in The Air'.

In recognition of the Choir's contributions to student life, SMUCC was awarded the SMU University Student Life 'Bronze' Award in 2020 and 2021.

SMU Literati

SMU Literati

SMU Literati is a student club under the Arts and Cultural Fraternity (ACF) cluster that specialises in literature and poetry. A recreational club in nature, we promote the expression of literature in written and spoken form amongst SMU students, and partake in Singapore’s literary scene. We strive to cater to the interests of students where literature and poetry are concerned.



SMU VOIX  (pronounced as ‘Voo-ahh’), established in 2003, is SMU’s premier a cappella club made up of passionate singers and vocal percussionists that seek to achieve greatness in the art form. 100% voices and no instruments, we aim to make the Singapore arts scene more vibrant by bringing entertainment value through our professional A Cappella performances.

We embrace change and are bold in challenging status quo. We brand ourselves as a trendy and cool group that dares to be different.



Started by a group of theatre-loving students in June 2002, StageIT has anchored themselves as a student-run theatre production group dedicated in developing their members’ acting and theatre production skills while spreading the theatre culture to the SMU community.


SMU Ambassadorial Corps

The SMU Ambassadorial Corps (ASMU) was established in August 2003 to offer exemplary SMU undergraduates the opportunity to hone their skills as external relations representatives of the university.

As student Ambassadors, we engage external guests, such as foreign VIP delegates and prospective students, on their visits to SMU as well as at important school functions. Through living and sharing our experiences as students, we offer guests a glimpse of the university’s vibrant student life.