First held in 2015 as part of the Cooler Lumpur Festival, the Migrant Poetry Competition has quickly established itself as one of the key events in the cultural calendar in Malaysia. The objectives of the competition are to provide a platform for mutual understanding between Malaysians and migrants while celebrating the literary talent of migrant workers and refugees in Malaysia. The event also seeks to promote greater tolerance of multi-culturalism and give a voice to refugees and lower wage foreign workers.
The competition is organized by a group of volunteers under the Global Migrant Festival organizing committee led by Shivaji Das.
Different sections of Malaysian society have responded to the event enthusiastically as can be gauged by packed venue for the event and the reaction in social media. In 2021, the competition will reach out to refugees and a larger group of low skilled migrant workers to drive greater participation. Our sponsors and partners include The High Commission of Canada in Malaysia, The Good Shop, and ThinkRaw.
We have been conducting a similar event in Singapore (http://www.singaporeworkerpoetry.com/)
The competition is conducted in two stages: prelims and finals. The finals feature poetry recitals by the shortlisted migrants followed by recitals of the translated versions of these poems in English. The judges for the contests have included noted local artists, writers and academics such as Sharon Bakar, Carol Garcia, and Liew Siew Teip . The final event is open to the public and free. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the finals will not be held in person but the video of the same will be uploaded on our Facebook page
Expected Program Line-Up
1) Introduction and speeches by sponsors/ organizers/ supporters (15 min)
2) Poetry recital (45 min) by shortlisted competitors in their mother tongue and in English
3) Results and Awards – 15 Min
4) Interactions with Judges and competitors (15 min)