Choo Ruizhi


USP alum Choo Ruizhi (History + USP, Class of 2017) submitted his short story entry on Facebook for the ‘Utterly changed. The Substation Writing Competition’ and was awarded Third Prize (S$1,000). There was a total of 62 entries for this competition.

Organised by The Substation – Singapore’s first independent contemporary arts centre, participants must write a creative work in English, between 200 to 2,000 words, in response to local heritage and what it means to them. Titled “Knowledge of Emptiness”, Ruizhi shared that his submission “was a (semi-imaginary) oral history interview with Sun Wukong (the "Monkey God" of Chinese mythology) at a coffeeshop in Jurong West.”

On how the story idea came about, he expressed, “I always wondered what had happened to the small gods of Singapore: had they been drowned out by the Prosperity Gospels and the Development Narratives? Or were they still out there, somewhere, lurking like those tired uncles that sit the whole day at coffeeshops?” He continued, “I wanted to give a voice to some of the forgotten stories and aspects of other Singapore which weren't necessarily shiny, happy or pretty. So I took fragments and ideas from an old ISM [Independent Study Module] I had done long ago about Singaporean spirit cults, mixed them with USP conversations I'd had about nostalgia, and marinated them with the voices of old people I'd interviewed for another class, and put this story together.”

We think Ruizhi is incredibly creative in his thinking and writing! We are proud to have had him as our USP Highlights student writer before he graduated last year. We look forward to hearing more from Ruizhi and about his creative writing endeavours.

Read his winning story submission here.