Dave Chua

Singapore Infopedia

by Lee, Gracie


Dave Chua Hak Lien (b. 1970, Malaysia –), author of the novel Gone Case, was the recipient of the Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award in 1996.He had been the joint winner of the SPH-NAC (Singapore Press Holdings-National Arts Council) Golden Point Award (short story category) for his work, Father’s Gift, the previous year.

Early life and work 
Chua attended primary school in Singapore while his family remained in Malaysia.After completing his G.C.E. “A” Levels at Victoria Junior College, he read for an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree at the University of California, Berkeley in the United States for , and returned to Singapore in 1994.4 He has worked in various capacities as a computer programmer, a writer-producer, as well as a freelance writer.5

Chua was the co-founder of Pulse Pictures, an independent film distribution company that co-presented Cine Singapore 2006 (Cine.SG) with the National Museum of Singapore. Cine Singapore was a showcase of Singapore-made films screened over a few months.6 He was also a co-organiser of the Fantastic Film Festival in 20057 and was invited to be the writer-in-residence at the College of Humanities at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) from 1 August 2012 to 31 January 2013.8

Literary achievements
Chua began writing in 1992. He was the joint winner of the SPH-NAC Golden Point Award (short story category) in 1995.9 His winning entry, Father’s Gift, is about a young man trying to come to terms with the relationship he had with his deceased father.10 In the following year, Chua’s maiden work, Gone Case, received the commendation award at the Singapore Literature Prize.11 Gone Case is the coming-of-age story of a 12-year-old boy, Yong, living in a Housing and Development Board (HDB) estate. The narrative revolves around life and death, upheavals in the family, run-ins with the neighbourhood gang leader, as well as love and friendship.12 Apart from Gone Case, Chua also won the second prize at the Singapore Screenplay Awards 2001 for feature-length scripts.13 He received a NAC (National Arts Council) scholarship for Master of Arts in Creative Writing (Prose) in 2013 and pursued his Masters degree at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.14

SPH-NAC Golden Point Award (Joint-winner) for Father’s Gift.15

1996: Singapore Literature Prize (Commendation) for Gone Case.16
2001: Second prize, Singapore Screenplay Awards (feature-length scripts).17

Gracie Lee

1. Ong Sor Fern, “Growing-Up Tale Feeds on S’pore Scenes,” Straits Times, 20 December 1997, 15 (From NewspaperSG); “1996 Winners and Shortlist,” Singapore Book Council, accessed 2 September 2016.
2. Lynn Seah, “Joint First Prize for Short-Story Contest,” Straits Times, 4 September 1995, 37. (From NewspaperSG)
3. Stephanie Yap, “Hurt in Heartlands,” Straits Times, 5 April 2009, 60; Ong, “Growing-Up Tale Feeds on S’pore Scenes.”
4. Yap, “Hurt in Heartlands”; Ong, “Growing-Up Tale Feeds”; Felix Cheong, “Who Are These Folks?” Today, 10 January 2003, 30. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Yap, “Hurt in Heartlands.” 
6. Parvathi Nayar, “Weekly Showcase of S’pore Films from June Onwards,” Business Times, 12 May 2006, 26; Ong Sor Fern, “Singapore Films in a Museum,” Straits Times, 16 May 2006, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Yong Shu Chiang, “A Fantastic Voyage,” Today, 23 June 2005, 50. (From NewspaperSG)
8. “Past Writers in Residence,” College of Humanities and Social Sciences, accessed 3 October 2018.
9. “Dave Chua,” in Literary Singapore: A Directory of Contemporary Writing in Singapore, ed. Leong Liew Geok (Singapore: National Arts Council, 2011). 14. (Call no. RSING 809.895957 LIT)
10. Seah, “Joint First Prize for Short-Story Contest.”
11. Ong, “Growing-Up Tale Feeds.”
12. Dave Chua, “Daren’s Theme Is Rooted in Rootlessness,” Straits Times, 12 October 2002, 18; Daren Shiau, “Heartland Didn’t Turn Out to Be Gone Case,” Straits Times, 12 October 2002, 18; Geraint Wong, “Accidental Writer,” Straits Times, 15 August 2011, 12–13. (From NewspaperSG)
13. “Dave Chua,” 14.
14. “NAC Arts Scholarship Recipients,” National Arts Counicl, accessed 3 October 2018.
15. Seah, “Joint First Prize for Short-Story Contest.”
16. Ong, “Growing-Up Tale Feeds”; “Dave Chua,” 14.
17. “Dave Chua,” 14.

The information in this article is valid as at October 2018 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. 


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