FSLA Feature: Kevin Martens Wong

 

Could you tell us about your work on Kodrah Kristang and your motivations for initiating it?

I lead the first-ever structured classes for the critically endangered Kristang language, which is the language of the Portuguese-Eurasian community and the language of my maternal grandparents. Classes are free and open to anyone.


What was the impact of your project?

The project has contributed in large part to a significant reversal in Kristang's decline, with over 500 people joining our classes since we got started in March 2016, and greatly raising the profile of the language, once recognised in Singapore but forgotten since the 1930s. Kodrah and I have been featured by the BBC, Agence-France Presse, Channel NewsAsia, 938LIVE, The Straits Times, OurSG, Revista Macau,Observatório da Língua Portuguesa, TODAY, The New Eurasian, Six-Six, and The Independent, reaching over 69 million people; I have also spoken about Kristang at conferences at the University of Tampere, the University of Hong Kong, University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Macau and the National University of Singapore's College of Alice & Peter Tan, and as an invited speaker at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Malaya, Eunoia Junior College, Eunos Primary School, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), the National Library's Friends of the Museum project, and the National University of Singapore's College of Alice & Peter Tan and Department of English Language & Literature.


What challenges did you face while working on it and what motivated you to keep going?

A major challenge has always been long-term sustainability, since the Core Team has had to balance the demands of our fulltime jobs, families and other responsibilities on top of Kodrah.


Are there any recent developments or updates to your project?

We're initiating our first ever level 4A and 4B classes in July 2018 at Cairnhill Community Club.


What are your fondest memories of NUS?

I really enjoyed my time at the College of Alice & Peter Tan (CAPT)!


What have you been up to since you graduated from NUS?

I've been training to become a teacher in the public school system at the National Institute of Education, and have also been working on my next novel.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore

  • Add: The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 5
  • 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
  • Tel: +65 6516 6133
  • Email: fashelp@nus.edu.sg
  • Fax: +65 6777 0751
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