2022 SE Asia

Some highlights from Indonesia, Sarawak and Singapore

How wonderful when the real performance comes from the audience!

Staying on the tiny coral island of Siladen in the Celebes Sea, yesterday the Kuda Laut Dive Resort invited the village children to hear some stories. They came, young and old, with some parents and the teachers from their school.

Listening to The Frightened Mouse.

Telling Mr Wiggle and Mr Waggle.

Enthusiastic audience participation.

But the true highlight of the afternoon was to see the children’s performance for me!

Song after song, with movement and dance.

And all the children, boys and girls, so confident and happy in what they were doing.

They ended with boys and girls rearranging themselves into opposing groups for a hilariously spirited call-and-response song.

Wonderful to witness such lovely children!

Sarawak – and listening to more tales

Arriving in the state capital Kuching, we soon noticed how exceptionally friendly people were. During dinner in a food court my wife, having established rather giggly eye contact with a young girl sitting with the family at a neighbouring table, suggested I offer to tell her a story.

But this turned out even better than expected: as soon as the parents heard I was a storyteller, they proudly said that their daughter Zaraa was, too! They whipped out their phone and showed us this video Zaraa had just recorded in school.

A delight to see such accomplished performance skills in a 10-year-old!

They very kindly gave me permission to present this budding storyteller here.

Stories in the rainforest

Our three-day boat and trekking excursion with Borneo Adventure was incredibly exciting, with hornbills and oran utan in the wild.

But our guide, Nick, was an unexpected bonus. From the Bidayuh people, he told us not only so much of the forest lore, but also many of the folk tales he had heard from his grandmother!

Singapore – and working with storytellers

Our trip ended with a few days in Singapore, and the opportunity for a workshop with the tellers of the Storytelling Association (Singapore).

Workshop details (and more photos): Telling the Listener.

Go here for tales to watch

Go here for a list of all tales included on this site

Go here to receive an e-mail notification when new tales are added

Permission to tell outlines my views on copyright

For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling