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Tan Wan Sze

Singaporean. Based in South Korea.


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하얀색은 제복이다.
4년동안 하얀 셔트와 반바지를 입었다가 긴 바지를 입어야 했다.
이제는 바지를 안 입는다.
하얀 셔트는 괜찮지만.
하얀색은 깨끗하게 유지하기 힘들기 때문에 더럽다.

노란색은 신성하다.
해질 무렵 바닷가를 산책했던 추억들 덕에 노란색도 내 유년시절이다.
노란색은 불교다.

난 주황색을 참 좋아한다.
붉은색도 스님들의 옷이 비슷한 색깔이니까 나쁘지 않고.
그래서 주황색 티셔츠를 많이 가지고 있나 보다.

주황색은 논이기도 하다. 아니면 논과 아주 비슷하다.
퇴직하고 수도(水稻)를 심는 스님이 되고 싶다.

녹색은 내 유년시절이다.
아파트가 지어지기 전에 녹색 가득 찬 시골에서 잘랐다.

난 회색이 싫다. 회색은 내 어린시절을 빼앗아간 시멘트의 색이니까.














Family Marks

Dark green scriptures creep densely along Ah Ma's* left arm. Pricking these scriptures diligently with her own hand, they marked her sheer determination after her religious conversion.

On Father's right arm, a tattoo with the outline of a half-naked beer lady. This marked his friendship and loyalty to his brothers in arms.

Tracing back her history, Mother said that she was probably a princess of the Wu Kingdom. According to sayings, a tattoo is the mark of the royal family.

I was tormented for some time: On which part of my body should I place the tattoo? And what design should that tattoo be?

Once the ink penetrates the skin, it would be permanent.

And through time, the dark green ink would fuse with the skin as it blooms and spreads.

loominess is inevitable.

In accepting a tattoo, one must learn to bear all responsibilities that come with it.


I yearn for freedom, I long for the boundless sky.

I am but a migrating bird returning to the south every springtime.

That's because I share the same mark with my Ah Ma; I have a light brown birthmark on my cheek bone, a mark that is my permanent “tattoo”.

* Grandmother

Translated by Tan Beng Tian


Music: Lose Yourself by 최예림

Currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Acting degree at the Korea National University of Arts, Tan Wan Sze is enjoying her 4th year in Seoul. Last year, she was thrilled to make her theatre debut in South Korea with the Seoul Metropolitan Theatre’s production of Ten Million Cities.

Prior to her relocation to Korea, Wan Sze was part of the Artistic Ensemble of The Finger Players from 2002 to 2003, thereafter she became a freelance theatre practitioner. Her acting credits in Singapore include Spirits Play, Turn by Turn We Turn, Book of Living and Dying (The Finger Players); Without Reason (ArtsWok Collaborative); National Language Class (Spell#7 & Buds Theatre Company); Ignorland of its Time (DramaBox); Body X (Li Xie, Danny Yeo & The Arts House). She was part of the team that received the President Design Award 2007 for 0501 and Best Ensemble Acting at 5th Life! Theatre Awards for Furthest North, Deepest South.

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