Family Roots
Singapore Tatler|September 2019
Family Roots
Stepping into the shoes of her social reformer great-grandfather Lim Boon Keng, renowned playwright Stella Kon is uplifting the underprivileged in society, one musical at a time
Hashirin Nurin Hashimi

More than three decades since it was first staged, Stella Kon’s one-woman play, Emily of Emerald Hill, has become an enduring classic of Singapore theatre. Homegrown thespians, from Margaret Chan to Ivan Heng, have made the story’s formidable Peranakan matriarch their own. (In fact, Heng reprises his gender-bending performance this month, marking another milestone for theatre company, Wild Rice, with the opening of its new theatre in Funan.)

Kon explores distinctly Singaporean themes in her body of work. “I grew up in the first years of independence. As a citizen of a new Singapore, you are almost obligated to do your part for nation-building.” There is one story, however, that she has been wanting to tell all these years—that of her great-grandfather Lim Boon Keng, a prominent figure in Singapore’s history.


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September 2019