The Whens and Whys of ‘Sayang’: How A Word Captures Our Region’s History by SWF

The Whens and Whys of ‘Sayang’: How A Word Captures Our Region’s History by SWF

How a word can have multiple meanings at the same time, and have their meanings change over time, is an interesting mirror to the unfolding of history. This lecture looks at one word in particular, ‘sayang’, charting its path of adaptation from pre-colonial and colonial histories to the post-colonial present; and considering how the changes in its meanings and application — from fables to novels to cinema and pop culture — tells us more about ourselves, like how our own sensibilities and worldviews have evolved, leading to the postmodern present which we inhabit today. The word remains the same, but do we sayang today as our ancestors did? 

Brought to you by Singapore Writers Festival.

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