Hi everyone, Seelan Palay here from Singapore (that’s me on the right)! In December last year, I started work as the Video Lingua Coordinator for EngageMedia and Universal Subtitles, and this is my first blog post to share a bit about myself and the work I’m going to be doing as part of the Lingua Project.
For about 9 years now, I’ve been working as an artist, activist and video maker. And in that time I’ve mostly done human rights advocacy work for various regional issues, with a focus on Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, and Sri Lanka. During that time I’ve organised workshops, forums and screenings, made artworks and videos, and participated in direct action for civil liberties.
I’ve been following EngageMedia’s work and contributing to the site as well – actually I was one of the first contributors to the site, so it’s kind of come full circle that I’m now a member of the EM team! I have to thank the site for being a safe haven for hosting my 2008 documentary, ‘One Nation Under Lee‘, which has been banned from screening and distribution in Singapore.
As EngageMedia’s current Video Lingua Coordinator, I’m working to broaden public access and communication on critical human rights and environmental stories from Southeast Asia by developing a regional network of volunteer translators and subtitlers.
All this is made possible with a great new tool called Universal Subtitles, now Amara, and a sample of how much it can help your causes and videos can be seen in the video ‘Love Letter to the Soldier‘ which is now in 6 regional languages. It’s the heartbreaking story of a woman from West Papua told through a video letter, and it gave me a great sense of accomplishment to help tell her story in so many different languages.
If you’re already interested in how you can contribute to this exciting new subtitling project in Southeast Asia, check out and join the EM team page right away (that is, before I visit your country and share it with you in a workshop!)