Komesah Kristang / Kristang for Beginners, hosted by Kevin Martens Wong, Anirudh Krishnan, Frances Loke Wei, Fuad Johari, Bernard Mesenas, & Luís Morgado da Costa

This class is part of The School of Uncommon Knowledge

Kristang is the critically endangered 500-year old heritage language of the Portuguese-Eurasian community in Singapore, spoken fluently by less than 100 people in the country today.

Fresh from two successful iterations of Kodrah Kristang ('Awaken, Kristang) classes for adult learners in Singapore, Kevin Martens Wong, Anirudh Krishnan, Fuad Johari, Frances Loke Wei and Bernard Mesenas will introduce learners to this beautiful language and develop their ability in conversational Kristang through a series of fun and engaging games and activities.

Learners will also be exposed to elements of the language's history, heritage and status today, and will come away with a broader understanding of the Eurasian community and its place in contemporary Singapore.

Komesah Kristang can accommodate up to 30 learners of any age, race, religion and/or background.

About The Teachers

Kevin Martens Wong is a final-year NUS linguistics undergraduate of Portuguese-Eurasian descent. He initiated the Kodrah Kristang revitalization initiative for Kristang in Singapore in March 2015 and has since run three iterations of the Kodrah classes for adult learners of Kristang. He also writes original and translated versions of songs in Kristang, writes and produces the Kontah Kristang audio course and the ongoing Memrise app-based Kriseh Kristang vocabulary course, and is the head of the upcoming 1st Kristang Festival in Singapore in May 2017. For his work on Kristang, Kevin was awarded the 2016 Eurasian Association Education Award and the 2016 NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Student Leadership Award, selected for the 2016 Institute for Collaborative Language Research (CoLang) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and nominated for the 2017 Linguistic Society of America Excellence in Community Linguistics Award. Kevin and Kodrah have also been featured in Revista Macau, Observatório da Língua Portuguesa, TODAY, The New Eurasian, Six-Six, and The Independent. Outside of Kristang, Kevin is the editor-in-chief of the general audience linguistics magazine Unravel, and assistant editor of the academic journal English Language Teaching World Online. His creative work has appeared in Unravel, Transect and entitled, and his first novel, Altered Straits, will be published by Epigram Books in February 2017.

Anirudh Krishnan is a polyglot, traveller, and enthusiast of language and culture. He has lived in 9 countries and speaks 10 languages to varying degrees of fluency. In his quest to adapt to the cultures surrounding him, he makes great efforts to learn the language(s) spoken in those communities. Having previously learned Portuguese, and lived in Galicia, Spain where a dialect of Portuguese is spoken, he was deeply intrigued by Kristang language and culture, identifying many similarities between the seafaring culture of Galicia and the fishing villages of the Portuguese-Eurasians. He has worked with Kevin on numerous projects, including steering the Unravel magazine as assistant editor, and assisting Kevin in developing Kontah and Kriseh Kristang, an upcoming Kristang textbook, and classroom lessons.

Frances Loke Wei is a linguistics major at NUS. As a native Cantonese-speaking Singaporean who has almost no one her age to speak Cantonese to, she hopes for a Singapore that knows of and embraces its diverse linguistic landscape, and by extension, its rich collective culture. In her bid to be part of a society that values more than the economic, Frances strives to explore Singapore’s enviro-cultural values through the eyes of different profiles of people, and to reclaim knowledge of local cultural and environmental heritage that she was unfortunately not exposed to growing up. She works alongside Kevin as an Unravel assistant editor, Kontah Kristang presenter, and Kodrah Kristang learner.

Fuad Johari is a civil servant and avid fan of history, culture, and languages, especially those of Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. He is interested in the alternative faces of Singapore not widely seen or publicised in the country. Hailing from a minority background, he is keen to see how efforts to revitalise Kristang may provide a way forward for like-minded heritage speakers from other communities who may wish to spearhead their own revitalisation efforts. He has worked with Kevin on a range of initiatives, including the pilot Korsang di Kristang lessons, and is looking forward to doing more in the future.

Bernard Mesenas is a retired English teacher, the primary Kodrah Kristang language consultant and storyteller, and one of the last native speakers of Kristang in Singapore. Bernard taught English in St Gabriel’s Primary School for more than 35 years, and has brought an excellent understanding of sound pedagogical practices in language teaching to Kodrah. Bernard enjoys speaking Kristang because it is the language his grandmother spoke to him as a child, and he loves his grandmother very much.

Luís Morgado da Costa is a native Portuguese working at NTU as a researcher in Computational Linguistics. He is a language enthusiast who majored in Asian Studies to pursue his curiosity for Asian languages, history and cultures. He initially focused on Chinese, Japanese, and Persian studies, and later pursued a Masters in Cognitive Science. He has a wide range of interests, ranging from Computer Assisted Language Learning and Natural Language Processing, Cognitive Psychology, and Neural Basis of Memory and Learning. He had his first encounter with Kristang through history books, studying Portuguese Colonial History. But when he first heard Kristang being spoken, he was immediately captured by its melodicity and strange sense of almost unintelligible familiarity. Luís joined Kodrah Kristang as a learner, and is currently leveraging on his expertise in building language resources to help Kevin develop Pinchah Kristang -- a broad usage online dictionary of Kristang, to help document and lexically revitalize the language.


All classes in A Home for the Arts run on barter. When registering please select one (or more) of the following that you would like to give in exchange for the class.

  • Food for the class to share
  • A book related to language in any way

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

7pm - 9pm

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