Heartland Poet

Hearland Poet


Heartland Poet is an outreach programme to secondary schools with the mission to enhance the appreciation of mother tongue language (Malay language) through innovative and creative methods. It is in tune with the need for contemporary approaches in the teaching and learning of mother tongue in schools.

Since June 2009, 521 students and 40 facilitators mainly trainee teachers have benefited from the Heartland Poet programme. Heartland Poet is a first ever initiative in Singapore and the region. Its objectives are; to create awareness of poetry among students, to increase the number of new writers and literary works, to nurture interest in poetry writing and recitation, to contribute to the flowering of national literature, and to contribute to developmental pedagogy.

There are 3 main components in this programme: appreciation of poetry, application of music in poetry, and application of graffiti art in 2 poetry. Basically, in this programme students are not only introduced to the art of poetry writing but unconventional methods are used so as to further nurture and cultivate their passion and interest in poetry writing. In all 33 students’ works of poetry and illustrations were selected for publication in a bilingual book entitled “GEN Z POET”. Prizes were also given out to 6 outstanding students in poetry and illustration category as well as 8 merit awards.



The programme was launch on 26 June 2009 in Regent Secondary School. The first session was an introduction to the programme given by HPOET consultant to all participants. They were briefed on the programme schedule, requirements and expectation. A session of ice breaker followed with several activities to bond the participants and facilitators alike. The programme ran for 18 sessions culminating into 30 hours from Jun 2009 to March 2010. Basically each workshop is 5 hours and holds 3 sessions of activities. The participants were divided into groups depending on the overall size at each point of time. Each group was run by 2 facilitators. During the programme, facilitators met up with consultant on site to monitor and discuss on developments.

Writing poems is not simply an entity of its own and but an interpretation of other forms of discipline. To further encourage appreciation and passion for the arts, students were taught how to tap on the artistic side of poems with Graftera. Graftera revitalises literary works through the innovative amalgamation of two distinctive art forms – graphic works and sastera (literature). It may also be interpreted as Grafiti Sastera where visual artists explore poems through the architectonic dimensions of graffiti art. Poems produced by students were transformed into illustrations through visualisations. Students were introduced to poetry recitation. Although the concept of poetry recitation has existed for a long time, Heartland Poet adopted new approaches – again in the attempt to make the whole concept of Malay poetry relevant to today’s youth. Poetry recitation explored different genres of music so as to capture the interests of youth. Youths were free to use rock, rap, R & B, hip hop, ballad, indie or any other different genres to recite poems in their own creative ways. They were also encouraged to bring in the different aspects of art like acting and dancing to add more meaning and variety to poetry recitation.

Heartland Poet was executed in a way to introduce poetry writing to the young generation. New methods and conventions were used to appeal to the younger crowd. Through this program,participants experienced the enjoyment of the power of reading and writing, basic literacy skills, enhance critical and analytical abilities, and exercise their creativity, imagination and originality. More importantly, they were able to turn their feelings, aspirations, and concerns into beautiful poetic phrases that contribute to the aesthetics interpretation of the world.



1. To create awareness of poetry among students.
2. To increase the number of new writers and literary works.
3. To nurture interest in poetry writing and recitation
4. To contribute to the flowering of national literature

The project received overwhelming response and support from school community and national leaders as an example of a creative and innovative endeavor in enhancing the learning of mother tongue language and literature. This program has increased the number of new writers to the current pool of local writers. In all 521 participants were exposed to the writing circle and found writing to be a fruitful venture. They developed interest in writing and reading as reflected through their products and feedbacks. The publication of the book contributes significantly to the flowering of national literature because it is the first of its kind and become a landmark publication for Singapore. In fact its bilingual nature is a reflection of mainstream approach in literature. The main objectives to nurture the interest in the students were met as students were not only introduced to the poetry writing, unconventional methods were used so as to further nurture and cultivate the passion and interest in poetry writing. Thus, overall, Heartland Poet was executed in a way to introduce poetry writing to the young generation. New methods and conventions were used to appeal to the younger crowd.



The works were published in an anthology entitled: “Penyair Gen Z/Gen Z Poet”. The publication is designed to accommodate both poems and illustrations side by side. These illustrations are portraits of the poems. This book is bilingual in every aspect. The book is 104 pages thick.

The book launch ceremony was successful. It was well attended with more than 300 students and teachers as well as literary enthusiasts. The event received media coverage from the Berita Minggu and Mediacorpradio. The event was graced by Deputy Chief Executive Officer National Arts Council Singapore, Mr Khor Kok Wah. He gave away certificates to students whose works were selected and published in the Gen Z books as well as giving away prizes to the 8 winners of the best poems and illustrations and finally launched the book. The book was distributed complimentary to all guests.

Heatland Poet has indeed provided a new platform for literature in Singapore. It crossed unlimited boundaries in terms of discipline. It is an innovation as an alternative means in looking instructional design in teaching and learning. The fund provided by Asia Pacific Breweries has provided an impetus for this much dreamt about programme in line with Asas ’50 slogan “Arts for humanity”. The support has provided Asas ’50 with an opportunity to develop new concepts and approaches in looking at literary arts beyond its literary functions. Heatland Poet is now a much sought after programme for schools. Asas ’50 will expand this programme and work closely with more schools in coming years. Thank you APB for bringing Asas ’50 to another level of development.


Schools Involved

List of schools involved in Heartland Poet 2009

West Zone

1. Fajar Secondary School
2. Assumption English Secondary School
3. Jurong Secondary School
4. ZhengHua Secondary School
5. Regent Secondary School
6. Greenridge Secondary School

North Zone

7. Woodgrove Secondary School
8. Marsiling Secondary School
9. Admiralty Secondary School
10. Evergreen Secondary School
11. Riverside Secondary School
12. Woodlands Secondary School
13. Christ Church Secondary School
14. Fuchun Secondary School
15. Si Ling Secondary School
16. Canberra Secondary School

East Zone

17. Springfield Secondary School
18. Ping Yi Secondary School

South Zone

19. First Toa Payoh Secondary School
20. CHIJ Toa Payoh Secondary School
21. Cedar Girls Secondary School
22. St Margaret Secondary School



At the end of the programme, 521 poems and illustrations were produced. Out of this, 33 poems and illustrations were successfully selected for publication. 8 works received prizes in based on 2 categories in the following order:

Illustrations Category (Year 2010)

1st Prize: Aku by Siti Umairah Bte Affandi from Woodlands Sec
2nd Prize: Malam by Rabiatuladawiah Abdul from Ping Yi Sec
3rd Prize: Kawan by Nur Zakiyah Bte Abdullah from Ping Yi Sec

Merit Award:

Ibu by Nur Faezah Bte Sarmani from Marsiling Sec
Rindu by Muhammad Shafiq Bin Abas from Springfield Sec;
Sendiri by Aisyah Bte Ibrahim from Springfield Sec;
Masa by Erisusanti Binte Hassan from First Toa Payoh Sec

Poetry Category (Year 2010)

1st Prize: Di Mana Erti Keadilan? By Nuramirah Bte Mohamad Isa from Evergreen Sec
2nd Prize: Pendusta by Dwi Herisa Bte Azman from Jurong Sec
3rd Prize: Layang-Layang by Nur Atiqah Abdul Halim from St. Margaret Sec

Merit Award:

Dia, Waktu by Nur Liyana Osman from Greenridge Sec;
Daun-Daun by Yasira Yusoff from St. Margaret Sec;
Kepergian Kepulangan by Noor Faizah Amy Jasman Ping Yi Sec;
Hati Yang Diketuk by Nurfarahin Binte Fataurahim from Regent Sec



If you wish to contact us for various opportunities and collaborations with ASAS’ 50, you may find us at the following address or contact numbers:

Goodman Arts Centre
90 Goodman Road
Block B #05-12
Singapore 439053

Tel (Office): +65-6344 8589
Tel (Hp): +65 9729 8393

Email: hamzan.saad@asas50.com