Tamil poet Iqbal named for Singapore's highest cultural award, Cultural Medallion

Indian-origin Singaporean poet and writer KTM Iqbal will be awarded Cultural Medallion, the country's highest cultural award by the President.

Created On: Oct 17, 2014 16:16 ISTModified On: Oct 17, 2014 16:17 IST

Indian-origin Singaporean poet and writer KTM Iqbal on 15 October 2014 was named for the 2014 Cultural Medallion, the highest cultural award of Singapore. He will be awarded by the Tony Tan, the President of Singapore.

Along with the award, Iqbal will get 80000 Singapore dollar grants, which can be used to fund artistic endeavours over their lifetime.

This award will be the highest recognition for the 74-year-old Tamil poet. His achievements include more than 200 children's songs written for Radio Singapore in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as seven collections of poetry.

Iqbal is a poet, whose compositions are studied in schools and some of them have appeared in the subway stations as part of efforts to bring the arts close to the community.

Apart from KTM Iqbal, the award will be also given to sculptor Chong Fah Cheong, 68, and 51-year old Alvin Tan, the artistic director of a theatre company, by President Tony Tan Keng Yam. Each of these recipients will be eligible for 80000 Singapore dollar grant.

The award, instituted 35 years ago, has been presented to 115 artists to date, including Iqbal, Chong and Tan.

About KTM Iqbal
• Iqbal learned the basics of Venpa, a form of classical Tamil poetry from a poetry-writing workshop
• He is a retired bank executive and continues to pen down poems and hopes to produce an edited collection of his best Tamil poems and an English translation of it
• He has also received recognition in the education system of Singapore
• He migrated to Singapore in 1951, at the age of 11 with his father from Kadayanallur in South India
• He was introduced to the simple but evocative compositions of Tamil poet Mathithasan by a Tamil newspaper Malaya Nanban, which is now defunct
• The poet's vivid depiction of people and values in society inspired the young Iqbal to start penning poems


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