SPEECH BY MR K.T.M. IQBAL, AUTHOR, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE TAMIL DIGITAL HERITAGE PROJECT, ON SATURDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2013, 1030HRS AT THE ASIAN CIVILISATIONS MUSEUM
Honourable Minister Iswaran, Friends:
We all wish that our writings are read by many. And we wish it will spread across the world. This Digital Heritage Project makes it possible.
I’m one of those who did not keep even a single copy of some of the books I published. I had to borrow copies of my own books from friends.
Not all of our books are available in the library either. Even if they are, not all neighbourhood libraries have them most of the time. But this project makes it possible for us to access all our books from wherever we are and with ease.
Many authors had to disappoint researchers when they sought their published works. I was in that situation. This project will put an end to that.
When I spoke about this project to my friends, many of them welcomed it. Many among the senior writers no longer look for a paper and pen to write their poems or stories. They have taken to computers. They now know what a boon the computer is to write, edit, save, and to circulate to publishers and friends.
Many of our writers collect their works featured in the local Tamil newspaper and publish them as books. To my knowledge, none of them seem to worry that the book sales may be affected as the works had already been published in the newspaper.
Even if all our books have been sold and even if you don’t have a single copy in your hands, this project will be a savior. The Tamil Digital Heritage Project will build new bases, introduce new readers, and bring great recognition to Singapore Tamil literature.
They say “the pen is mightier than sword”. This project preserves for eternity the works of writers. It is my hope that all of us will give it our fullest support.