Chew Kok Chang 周国灿
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Chew Kok Chang 周国灿 (b. 1934, Guangdong, China - ) , otherwise known as Zhou Can (周粲), or other pen names such as Qiu Ling, Yu Yin, Lin Zhong Yue, Zhou Zhi Xian, Zhou Ai Jia, etc., is Singapore’s well-known Chinese author. He is a versatile writer, whose writings consist of poems, prose, short stories and critical essays.
Chew was born in the Guangdong province of China in 1934 and moved to Singapore with his family during 1938 at a tender age of four. He received his education in Singapore, having studied at Duan Meng Primary School and Chung Cheng Secondary School. The publication of his first collection of poems, The Dream of A Child, in 1953, when Chew was 16 years old, marked the start of his writing career.
Chew graduated from Nanyang University’s Faculty of Chinese Language in 1960. After receiving a scholarship from the Singapore government in 1964, he proceeded to continue his studies at University of Singapore and successfully graduated with first class honours. He furthered his studies at the same university and graduated with a Masters of Arts in Literature in 1969. Since then, Chew has taken up teaching positions as a teacher and lecturer in local schools and the National Institute of Education, and worked at Singapore’s Curriculum Planning Division. He has also written educational supplementary materials for local students.
Chew, better known as his pen name, Zhou Can, has been an active figure in the Singapore Chinese literary circle. He started off his writing career as a poet at a young age of 16 years old. His first poetry compilation, The Dream of a Child, published in 1953, was well-received and helped secure his role in the Singapore Chinese literary circle. Since then, he has continued to write with passion and has 80 over titles to his name to date. Many of his works include prefaces or afterwords written by him, thus enabling the reader to understand his writing ideas and the principles behind his writing.
Though he started off as a poet, Chew is regarded as a very versatile writer by many. Besides poetry, he has published other genres such as prose, travelogues, short stories, mini-novels, children’s literature and academic essays. As a poet, he has written academic essays on the analysis of modern poetry and classical Chinese literature such as Song Dynasty lyrics and Yuan Dynasty San-chu. As a teacher, he has written essays on the teaching of Chinese language and literature in Singapore..
Chew is also regarded as one of the pioneers in promoting the genre of mini-novels in Singapore, alongside other Singapore Chinese authors such as Wong Meng Voon, Tian Liu and Luo Bin Lu, etc.. In February 1988, Chew became the first Singaporean writer to publish a compilation of mini-novels, entitled The Devil’s Night: A Collection of Mini-Novels. After which, he has also published four other mini-novel compilations: Robbery (1989), The Silent Group (2000), The Night Vehicle (2002) and A Collection of Zhou Can’s Mini-Novels (2004). Besides writing actively, he was also the main editor of the mini-novel compilation A Kaleidoscope of Mini-Novels (1994) and the Mini-Novel Quarterly Periodical published by the Singapore Association of Writers. In the afterword of The Night Vehicle, Chew mentioned that the mini-novel is one of his favourite genres besides poetry and prose, and that he is willing to continue writing mini-novels. His activeness in writing and editing has contributed greatly to the promotion of the mini-novel genre in Singapore.
Besides poetry and mini-novels, Chew has also written and translated children’s literature actively, which includes poems, nursery rhymes, fairytales and folktales. His poetry collection for children, Our Country (1976), was awarded the National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Prize under the Children’s and Youth Literature category in 1976. His Chinese adaptation of folktales from the Philippines, compiled into a collection entitled The Crow and the Coleto: Folktales from the Philippines (1980), was translated into both English and Malay.
Currently, Chew is retired. He is a member of the Singapore Association of Writers and is an honorary executive committee member of the Singapore Literature Society.
Married with two children.
Books Written and Published
1953 : 孩子底梦: 新诗创作集 [The Dream of a Child: A Collection of Modern Poetry]
1958 : 青春 [Youth]
1960 : 云南园风景画 [The Beautiful Sceneries of Yunnan Garden]
1965 : 宋词赏析 [Appreciation of Song Dynasty Lyrics]
1966 : 铁栏里的春天 [Spring Time Behind Metal Bars]
1968 : 千年之莲 [The Thousand Year Lotus]
1969 : 读诗写诗谈诗 [Reading, Writing and Talking about Poems]
1971 : 多风的早晨: 诗集 [Poetry: A Breezy Morning]
1972 : 会飞的玻璃球: 诗集 [Poetry: The Flying Glass Balls]
1973 : 华文教学论文集 [Essays on the Teaching of Chinese Language]
1973 :五色喷泉: 周粲散文集 [The Colourful Fountain: A Collection of Zhou Can’s Prose]
1974 : 写给孩子们的诗 [Poems for the Children]
1974 : 踪迹 [Footprints]
1975 : 新诗评论集 [Essays on Modern Poetry]
1976 : 玲珑望月: 散文集 [Looking at the Moon: A Collection of Prose]
1976 : 我们的国家 [Our Country]
1976 : 元代散曲文学研究 [Critical Study of San-Chu of the Yuan Dynasty]|
1976 : 最后一个女儿: 短篇小说集 [The Last Daughter: A Compilation of Short Stories]
1977 : 魔镜 [The Magic Mirror]
1977 : 只因为那阳光 [Because of the Sun]
1978 : 窗外那云 [The Cloud outside the Window]
1978 : 满天的风筝 [A Sky of Kites]
1978 : 雨在门外 [Rain outside the Door]
1979 : 剥蕉记 [Peeling Bananas]
1979 : 捕荧人 [Firefly Catcher]
1979 : 儿女英雄传 [Tales of Heroes and Heroines]
1979 : 江南江北 [Jiang Nan Jiang Bei]
1980 : 昆虫儿歌集 [Nursery Rhymes of Insects]
1980 : 榴莲树下 [Beneath the Durian Tree]
1980 : 禽鸟儿歌集 [Nursery Rhymes of Birds]
1980 : 小动物儿歌集 [Nursery Rhymes of Little Animals]
1980 : 乌鸦和哥烈多鸟: 菲律宾民间故事 [The Crow and the Coleto: Folktales from the Philippines]
1980 : 野兽儿歌集 [Nursery Rhymes of Scary Beasts]
1980 : 忠义故事 [Stories of Loyalty]
1980 : Burung Gagak dan Burung Koleto: Cerita Dongeng dari Filipina [The Crow and the Coleto: Folktales from the Philippines]
1980 : The Crow and the Coleto: Folktales from the Philippines.
1981 : 白雪公主 [Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs]
1981 : 丑小鸭 [The Ugly Duckling]
1981 : 大拇指 [The Thumb]
1981 : 东东搬家 [Dong Dong Moves House]
1981 : 东东和老祖母 [Dong Dong and His Old Grandmother]
1981 : 东东和沙爹小贩 [Dong Dong and the Satay Hawker]
1981 : 东东和太空人 [Dong Dong and the Astronaut]
1981 : 东东恋爱了 [Dong Dong Falls in Love]
1981 : 东东上学记[Dong Dong Goes to School]
1981 : 东东是小英雄 [Dong Dong is a Little Hero]
1981 : 东东玩捉迷藏 [Dong Dong Plays Hide-and-Seek]
1981 : 东东做了爸爸 [Dong Dong Becomes a Father]
1981 : 公主和豌豆 [The Princess and the Pea]
1981 : 红母鸡 [The Red Hen]
1981 : 灰姑娘 [Cinderella]
1981 : 狼和七只小羊 [The Wolf and the Seven Little Lambs
1981 : 魔术豆 [Jack and the Beanstalk]
1981 : 三只小猪 [The Three Little Pigs]
1981 : 太空老鼠东东 [Space Mouse Dong Dong]
1982 : 绿窗读书录 [The Days of Studying]
1982 : 著名神话选 [Famous Legends]
1983 : 方块文章 [The Square-Tiled Literary Work]
1985 : 夺魂铃: 周粲小说集 [The Killer Bell: A Collection of Zhou Can’s Novels]
1985 : 呼兰河传 [A Biography of the Hulan River]
1988 : 白痴的灯笼 : 周粲小品 [The Stupid Lantern: Zhou Can’s Prose]
1988 : 成语故事精选 [A Collection of Chinese Idiom Stories]
1988 : 都市的脸: 散文集 [Faces of the City: A Collection of Prose]
1988 : 恶魔之夜: 微型小说 [The Devil’s Night: A Collection of Mini-Novels]
1988 : 金色的海螺 [The Golden Sea-Shell]
1988 : 快乐王子 [The Happy Prince]
1988 : 妈妈的手 [The Hands of My Mother]
1988 : 时光隧道: 周粲诗集 [Time Tunnel: A Collection of Zhou Can’s Poetry]
1988 : 死亡的脚印 [The Footprints of Death]
1989 : 螺旋梯 [The Spiral Staircase]
1989 : 摩登逃难记 [A Modern Escape]
1990 : 迷路的童年 [The Lost Childhood]
1990 : 抢劫 [Robbery]
1990 : 收藏风景: 小品文集 [Collecting Sceneries: A Compilation of Prose]
1991 : 磁化人: 杂文集 [The Magnetic Individual: A Collection of Prose]
1991 : 书林小品: 小品文 [Shu Lin Xiao Pin: A Prose Collection]
1991 : 掌声响起 [The Sound of Applause]
1991 : 制造春天 [Creating Spring]
1992 : 枫在燃烧 [The Burning Maple Leaf]
1992 : 会叫的水壶 [The Water-Bottle that Spoke]
1992 : 喷泉 [Fountain]
1992 : 葡萄这一家 [The Grape Family]
1992 : 小溪水 [The Little River]
1992 : 鸭子溜冰 [The Ice-Skating Duck]
1992 : 周粲散文选 [A Compilation of Zhou Can’s Prose]
1993 : 山中岁月: 周粲诗集 [The Days in the Mountains: A Collection of Zhou Can’s Poems]
1994: 落叶季节 [The Season of Falling Leaves]
1994: 生而为一棵树：散文集 [Born As A Tree: A Collection of Prose]
1995 : 周粲文集 [A Collection of Zhou Can’s Works]
1996 : 鸟儿说法 [Words of Birds]
2000 : 沉默族：微型小说集 [The Silent Group: A Compilation of Mini-Novels]
2000 : 东东 [Dong Dong]
2000 : 东东和朋友 [Dong Dong and His Friends]
2000 : 李光耀传记：磨练的岁月 [A Biography of Lee Kwan Yew: The Drilling Days]
2003 : 夜车: 微型小说集 [The Night Vehicle: A Compilation of Mini-Novels]
2004 : 周璨微型小说 [A Collection of Zhou Can’s Mini-Novels]
2009 : 青春 [Youth]
1976 : National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Prize (Children’s and Youth Literature), awarded for Our Country
1980 : National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Prize (Poetry), awarded for Firefly Catcher
1990 : Cultural Medallion (Literature), National Arts Council, Singapore
1995 : Singapore Chinese Literature Award
Tan Chee Lay
骆明主编. (2005). 新加坡华文作家传略 [Biographies of Singapore Chinese writers]. 新加坡: 新加坡文艺协会, 新加坡作家协会, 锡山文艺中心.
(Call no.: RSING Chinese C810.092 XJP)
赖世和. (2004). 新加坡华文微型小说史 [History of Singapore Chinese mini-fiction] (pp.35-39). 新加坡: 玲子传媒.
(Call no.: RSING Chinese C813.4009 LSH)
Tan, B. H. (1991, April 2). Untiring poet. The Straits Times, p.5. Retrieved October 29, 2010, from NewspaperSG database.
周粲. (2003). 夜车: 微型小说集 [The night vehicle: A collection of mini-novels]. 新加坡: 创意圈工作室.
(Call no: RSING Chinese C813.4 ZC)
周粲. (1995). 周粲文集 [A collection of Zhou Can's prose]. 厦门: 鹭江出版社.
(Call no: RSING Chinese C810.08 DNY)
周粲. (2004). 周粲微型小说 [Zhou Can's mini-novels]. 新加坡: 创意圈工作室.
(Call no: RSING Chinese C813.4 ZC)
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.
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Language and literature>>Literatures>>East and Southeast Asian literature>>Singapore literature
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