Places Digital Programmes

Decolonising Our Natural Heritage

by Ethos Books
28 May • 10:30am

How do we decentre our natural history away from the European lens and conventional national narratives to see our landscapes in a different light?

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Vanda Miss Joaquim. Indigenous knowledge. Ethnobotany. These are some of the ways we can get to know our environment, which illuminate the hidden and forgotten aspects of Singapore’s natural heritage. Listen to Mok Zining, Nadirah Norruddin and Khairulddin Wahab share about the ways they decentre natural history away from the European lens and conventional national narratives, seeing our familiar natural icons and landscapes in a different light. By revisiting the sources of our knowing, we can begin to understand how we relate to our environment and how our “Garden City” can encompass narratives that have been historically suppressed or ignored.

The event will be streamed live on Ethos Books' Facebook page.

About the Speakers
Mok Zining, author of The Orchid Folios, shares her research on the iconic national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim, and how our horticultural history is largely tied to the colonial project of territorial expansion, and how orchid diplomacy continues to perpetuate Singapore’s obsession with globalisation and exceptionalism. 

Nadirah Norruddin uncovers the principles and practices of pharmacology behind traditional Malay medicine that are highly dependent on indigenous flora and fauna, in contrast to 20th Century colonial scholarship which regarded traditional Malay medicine as antithetic to its Western counterpart. 

Through his paintings that reimagine archival images of our natural landscapes, Khairulddin Wahab investigates our fraught relationship with the natural environment by exploring histories of colonialism, capitalist economies, and centring ethnobotany and indigenous culture.  

About the Moderator
Faris Joraimi is a Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow with the National Library. As a writer and researcher specialising in the history of the Malay World, he has authored various essays for print and electronic media. He is also co-editor of Raffles Renounced: Towards a Merdeka History (2021), a volume of essays on Singapore’s decolonial history. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History from Yale-NUS College.

Ethos Books

Ethos Books is an independent publisher of literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Giving voice to emerging and exciting writers from diverse backgrounds, we help foster an environment in which literature and the arts not only survive, but thrive. In short, we nurture the growing literary community in Singapore and throughout the region.

That's why our authors and their ideas come first. By taking a collaborative approach to publishing, we bring each author‘s voice and vision to fruition. We are always open to new ideas: different ways of working and fresh ways of delivering the unparalleled satisfaction only a good book can bring.

Established in 1997, Ethos Books, an imprint of Pagesetters Services Pte Ltd, aims to create books that capture the spirit of a people and reflect the ethos of our changing times.

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