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How to Become a Dragon? (Bi-lingual: English/Mandarin)

Two tales for Primary school level - Language: Mandarin & English

Year: 2021, 17 mins
Code: RJ-Prim10

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Roger Jenkins (in English) and Abby Lai Ka Hei (Mandarin) tandem tell how a little fish (Roger/finger puppet) with a big dream outwits the guardian at the gate (Abby/dragon puppet).

BONUS STORY: A comic tale of two people trying to converse in sign language – and totally misunderstanding the other (due to their own bias!)

I am a Merdeka-generation Singaporean (born here to British parents) who grew up in UK before returning to teach drama (1978).  I discovered storytelling (1998) after careers as a teacher and theatre practitioner (ST*ARS, Hi! Theatre), so I incorporate dramatic elements (physical/vocal characterisation, mime and comic improvisation) into my telling.  What I love about storytelling (unlike theatre) is that I look directly into the eyes of my audience, performing in the same shared space/light.

Highlights of my storytelling life? Winning Best Storyteller Award (2013, Kanoon Int’l Story Festival, Iran) founding Singapore’s 398.2 Storytelling Festival (2015); co-founding FEAST (Federation of Asian Storytellers); and performing in festivals (Bahrain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia and Thailand.) Being described as the ‘affable patriarch’ of Singapore storytelling by the National Storytelling Network (USA)!

I am particularly fond of value or wisdom tales – hence my two resource books, Stories for Values Education (Juniors and Teens), created to help schools tackle character education.

I enjoy working with puppets and telling in tandem (ie with a partner). With Gophi Nathan, who is hearing-impaired, I share stories told with sign language as I believe in promoting access (I am a trained audio-describer for the blind). Scripting a bi-lingual telling (in sign or with a mother-tongue partner) allows me to re-visit my theatrical roots!

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