This House Believes That Kiasuism Is A Good Singaporean Trait

SWF Stage

Closing Debate


12 Nov, Sun 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


Victoria Theatre
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This session is in English


Eleanor Wong


The ever-popular Closing Debate is back again this year with a motion that speaks to the heart of every Singaporean: This House Believes that Kiasuism is a Good Singaporean Trait. Kiasuism is said to be the quintessential quality which characterises a Singaporean, yet it has also been lambasted for creating a society of selfish, eager overachievers obsessed with being the best. Hear from our speakers as they debate the pros and cons of being kiasu, and decide for yourself whether we should celebrate or denounce this quirky behaviour.   

A maximum of two tickets can be collected by each Festival Pass holder at the Victoria Theatre Foyer on 12 Nov (Sunday) from 1.30pm on a first-come-first-served basis. Please note that you will need to present your Festival Pass at collection. Entry to the Closing Debate is by ticket only.


Ovidia Yu


Award-winning Singaporean writer Ovidia Yu has written more than 30 plays, children’s books and short stories. Best known for her comic yet touching mystery novels (Miss Moorthy Investigates, Aunty Lee’s Delights, Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials and Aunty Lee’s Chilled Revenge), Ovidia produced two books this year: The Frangipani Tree Mystery and Meddling and Murder: An Aunty Lee Mystery.

Ovidia Yu is featured in the following SWF event(s):

Oniatta Effendi is an educator, a strong advocate of the arts and an active applied drama practitioner, who has worked with residents at halfway houses, juvenile rehabilitative spaces and welfare homes. When she is not in these spaces, she finds pleasure in sourcing for batik fabrics, and founded Baju by Oniatta, a clothing line dedicated to reinventing the way batik is worn and appreciated. Oniatta is a regular feature at the Festival’s Closing Debate and has celebrated two consecutive wins. 

Shamini Flint


Shamini Flint was a lawyer before resigning to become a stay-at-home mum, writer, part-time lecturer and environmental activist. Her Inspector Singh Investigates novels have been translated into many languages, including French and German; the seventh and most recent installment is A Frightfully English Execution (2016). Shamini also writes children’s novels, the latest of which are Diary of an AFL Legend and Ten. A new series, The Susie K Files, will be released next year.

Shamini Flint is featured in the following SWF event(s):
Gwee Li Sui


Gwee Li Sui is a poet, graphic artist and literary critic. His verse works include Who Wants to Buy a Book of Poems? (1998), One Thousand and One Nights (2014), Who Wants to Buy an Expanded Edition of a Book of Poems? (2015), The Other Merlion and Friends (2015), and Haikuku (2017). In 1993, he wrote Singapore’s first long-form graphic novel in English, Myth of the Stone. He has edited several anthologies and lectured on a range of subjects.

Gwee Li Sui is featured in the following SWF event(s):
Petrina Kow


Petrina Kow is a voice and presentation coach based in Singapore, and works with clients as diverse as CEOs, wildlife experts, corporate executives, students and yoga teachers. She is also a voice actor for commercials, audio guides, online learning websites and animations. A former radio deejay and talk show host, she is a popular emcee for corporate and family events. She is also an actress and singer, most recently seen in Kuo Pao Kun’s Lao Jiu: The Musical

After being fired from his father’s tailoring business, Rishi Budhrani used all that leftover material to make history by becoming the first Singaporean to win the Hong Kong International Comedy Competition and perform at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. He has since performed in Australia, India, Sri Lanka and China. He featured in Comedy Central Asia’s TV showcase ‘Stand-up Asia’, and is a regular panellist/writer for live comedy panel show ‘OK Chope!’.

Rishi Budhrani is featured in the following SWF event(s):
Arianna Pozzuoli

Canada - Singapore

Arianna Pozzuoli is an educator, spoken word performer and storyteller. A two-time member of the Toronto Slam Team, she has competed and featured at various venues across North America, the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia, and has facilitated over 100 performance poetry and storytelling workshops in schools, colleges and universities. She is currently a drama teacher at the Canadian International School in Singapore.

Arianna Pozzuoli is featured in the following SWF event(s):
Adrian Tan


Adrian Tan’s two bestselling novels, The Teenage Textbook (1988) and The Teenage Workbook (1989), were adapted for the big screen. He is also the creator of the award-winning TV series ‘The Pupil’.  He is a litigator at Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC.


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