Telling Tales

Are you a storyteller by trade or is this just a hobby?
I’m a professional storyteller, so I get paid to tell stories. I teach, I tell stories and I write as well. Being a storyteller is almost like being an alcoholic; you don’t really put it on your card! There are some people who would look at your card and say “So … what? You mean you just tell stories?”
Can you make a living out of storytelling?
Part of being a storyteller is knowing that you can live with more or less, and it should not matter. It’s not a fancy living, but you manage to get by.
Why did you become a storyteller?
It’s something I feel so passionate about; something that stirs me.
There used to be a lot of storytellers before, but they sort of died out. Why do you think that happened?
I think people associated it with something that was old-fashioned, and was lost in our quest to modernize.
Why do you think that storytelling is making a comeback?
I think there’s a re-emergence of all the arts in Singapore. I think all of us recognize that it’s very innately a part of us. There’s a revival throughout the world. It’s also become a very important tool in business.
How is storytelling used in business?
It’s very hot in business! It’s … something you can’t measure. What facts and figures can’t persuade a society to do, myths can. The facts are not enough to move your soul.
Is there any training involved in becoming a storyteller?
There is a certain amount of training and there’s a certain amount of innate ability. Just getting a certificate is not enough. The storytellers’ course, in a sense, gives you more information on the tradition of storytelling. There is an art to it and you recognize that what you’re doing is something quite valuable to society. There are various techniques and no one technique is the only way to do it.
Are there any particular kinds of stories you tell?
The storyteller will tell the story he or she wants to tell, and will shape the story to his or her own needs.
So, you don’t read the stories from a book?
No self-respecting storyteller will pick up a book and recite it. That is not storytelling.
Do you have to tell the stories in a specific place?
NS men share their stories everywhere, so why does anyone imagine it has to be in a specific area?
Do you do funny voices?
(In a squeaky voice) Yeah, sometimes I do funny voices. (In a deep voice) I could do voices if I have to.