After some complications of life, we’re proud to be back with Issue 2, this time also accepting submissions from any youth creators of Southeast Asian origin, and featuring photography and art!
The issue has been specially designed and put together, but if you want, you can also read the individual pieces below.
Several obstacles got in the way of this issue: late-stage pandemic, big life changes, new jobs, Cambridge University, the Singapore Armed Forces and the inimitable Pulau Tekong. Nonetheless, and thanks to our 15 fantastic contributors from Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, I’m thrilled to be presenting Issue 2 of Amber.
We never go into these issues expecting a running theme, and yet, a lot of the same feelings—untetheredness, yearning, love and hurting and letting go—recur, as do motifs of butterflies and ghosts. I’m honoured to be trusted with these pieces, and while they stand alone, I think there’s a story here, if you care to follow it. We start, as everyone does, with (literal) starry-eyed love in Michelle Hou’s “look how the stars shine for you”. We continue with meditations on love, but the kinds that you’ve lost (as in claudia chen’s “call it a day”), had to let go (as in Adelynn Wijaya’s speculative love story “Soul” and leandre huang’s “flutterby”), or simply had to come to terms with the fact that love that hurts you may not be love at all (from Pluto Mehan’s “litany” and “dusk” to kai foo’s culinary destruction “how to eat me alive: a guide”, the cover’s centerpiece).
The second half of the issue follows family and one’s people and land: disconnection from personal histories (Nina Anin’s “Telephone Wires”), being lost in the tide of Singapore’s passing time (Durva Gautam Kamdar’s hungry ghost study “resonance/Dissonance”), reclaiming brown pride (kimaya bhuta’s “chocolate milk”) and yearning for other kinds of pride (Cheryl Tan’s portfolio in blazing colour “this is me pleading for my country to love me”).
This round (and all rounds going forward), we also opened up for submissions of art and photography. Maegan Tan’s quiet, keenly observational photos mark the early pages with commemorations of the everyday, and Isabella Goh Shu-Xing’s surreal artwork follows Kai Foo’s trip into the macabre and introduces the fantastical landscape of Eleyn Yap’s “Awakening”. Finally, Paw Yu Xin and Alyssa Marie Gabutero’s sun-soaked girls bookend the issue with warmth and hope.
I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as we did, and that something in it reaches you.
Photography, Maegan Tan
look how the stars shine for you, Michelle Hou
call it a day, Claudia Chen
Soul, Adelynn Wijaya
with dreams, Kimaya Bhuta
litany, Pluto Mehan
flutterby, leandre huang
dusk, Pluto Mehan
Teeth, Nina Anin
how to eat me alive: a guide, kai foo
Art, Isabella Goh Shu-Xing
Awakening, Eleyn Yap
Telephone wires, Nina Anin
the way my grandparents drive, Maegan Tan
resonance/Dissonance, Durva Gautam Kamdar
she weathers us all, leandre huang
Chocolate Milk, Kimaya Bhuta
this is me pleading for my country to love me, Cheryl Tan
Photography, Paw Yu Xin
kalachuchi, Alyssa Marie Gabutero