BOOKS: Indian-origin poet to donate 3,000 books in Singapore


(Our Bureau, July 5)

Meet Kirpal Singh, an Indian-origin professor and poet who’s on a mission to promote the love for reading in Singapore. The 72-year-old is donating 3,000 of his 25,000 books to various charities, universities and libraries. Among the giveaway items are a first-edition copy of ‘A Passage To India’ by EM Forster, an early edition of ‘Sons And Lovers’ by DH Lawrence and The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Speaking to The Straits Times, Singh — who is also a literary critic — said:

“I hope that readers will make full use of their creative imagination to think of how they can use the knowledge derived from the books, to create new relationships and opportunities.”

Sikh-Jewish ancestry

Singh was born in Singapore in 1949 to a father of Sikh descent and a Jewish-Scottish mother but spent the first six years of his life with his paternal grandmother in Malaysia. His first attempt at poetry was in 1958 when we wrote a poem about his grade 2 teacher in Singapore.

When he was in the fifth grade, a teacher wrote a piece of advice in his autograph book that has remained with him all these years.

“Never ignore books. Read as widely as you can, for books can give you knowledge which can never be stolen because it is stored in your head.”


As an undergraduate in 1972, Singh published his first anthology of poems: Articulations. For more than 45 years, he has been the director for educational leadership in Training Vision Institute, a government-approved private educational institution. His books have been sourced from California, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Papua New Guinea.

“I think my species is dying… In all my talks and lectures, I always encourage the love of reading.”


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