All in! 2016 – Day 1 Round Up

By Yiew Kai Jie, a Republic Polytechnic  Diploma in Mass Communication student

The All In! Young Writers Festival 2016 festival kicked off on March 12 with a keynote speech by Mr Tony Lambino, who is currently the Head of Public Policy of the Ayala Corporation (Philippines). He urged the audience to write stories to make the world a better place for the poorest, and called on young writers to tackle issues such as global warming, gender equality, the eradication of poverty and ongoing armed conflicts around the world.

Mr Lambino, who has more than 15 years of experience in international development, said: “As journalists, we write and write. Despite failing at some points, we still write again, for we believe that our work has the ability to make the world a better place.”

Mr Lambino shared that instead of using numbers and statistics to start a story, writers could share an interesting human story that could inspire the reader to dive deeper into the issue.

All In! was launched in 2009 by the National Book Development Council of Singapore. This year marks the first time that organisers have invited international speakers to share their expertise at the event, said Festival Director Kenneth Quek.

International speakers include Ms Toiya Finley (USA), Mr Alemberg Ang (Philippines), Mr Tony Lambino (Philippines), Ms Jan Latta (Australia) and Ms Atia Abawi (USA/Afghanistan).


Seasoned journalists Suzanne Jung and Manfred Rist shared their experiences in the media industry. Mr Rist, who is the South East Asia correspondent for Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zietung, called on writers to keep tabs on the reading habits of their readers and adjust the style of one’s writing accordingly.

To provide an accurate portrayal of things, places or people, Mr Rist also called on writers to capture the sights and sounds of the places they visited.  “The best inspiration from writing is travelling – leave the room and your desk,” he said.

Ms Jung, who is synonymous with Channel NewsAsia’s flagship morning show, AM LIVE!, shared with the audience her typical day in the newsroom. Despite the tight deadlines and unpredictability of breaking news, Ms Jung said her passion as a journalist fueled her drive. “I didn’t take this job for the money,” she said. “I did it because I had passion for this job and I felt like being a voice for the people who are looking and reading my work.”

Before ending the session, Ms Jung gave a piece of advice to the packed conference room. “Be bold, try everything out there so that you have a better idea later in life of what you want to do in the future,” she said.  

Other prominent writers who shared their tips and experiences with budding writers included food blogger Dr Leslie Tay, lifestyle bloggers Jeminah Wei and Laila Lu, and advertising directors Andrew Hook and VJ Yamat. Other sessions featured film reviewers SINdie's Jeremy Sing and TODAY's Alvin Chong, as well as local acts such as Anise, Lewis Loh and bittymacbeth.   

A series of fringe activities was also organised, including winning screenwriting entries from the recent National Film Youth Awards.

Ms Verena Tay, a Singapore-based writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, called on writers to search for more interesting stories to tell. “Singapore is full of stories (but) only if you are willing to look out for it or write your own story,” she said.

The event resumes on Sunday with a series of workshops focusing on game writing, fiction writing and crafting creatives stories for young readers.