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Category: Books

  • Indians in Singapore

    Indians in Singapore

    Once upon a time, there were more Indian than Chinese voters in Singapore. Hard to believe but true. Indians outnumbered the Chinese when the first general election to the Legislative Council was held in 1948. Only British subjects were eligible to vote. Out of a potential electorate of more than 200,000, only 23,000 registered to […]

  • Raffles, Singapore, Calcutta and Bengal

    Raffles, Singapore, Calcutta and Bengal

    When a young man came to Singapore from Calcutta many years ago, he didn’t know he was following in the footsteps of Sir Stamford Raffles. The one difference: He came by air. Raffles came by sea — on the ship Indiana, with his deputy, Major William Farquhar, on board another vessel, the Ganges.

  • What happened to the Hindu god of love?

    What happened to the Hindu god of love?

    Cherubic Cupid, winging his way with bow and arrows to shoot at hearts, graces countless valentines. The little Roman god of love has proved more durable than the Roman empire. What explains his lasting appeal when another god of love languishes in relative obscurity?

  • Naipaul and his world

    Naipaul and his world

    Naipaul was “the greatest prose writer in the English language of the last 60 years”, wrote Amit Chaudhuri in the Guardian when Naipaul died at the age of 85 on August 11. Others were more measured in their praise. They could not overlook his flaws and prejudices. Naipaul himself provoked criticism by what he said […]

  • Shakespeare Basics for Grown-ups

    Shakespeare Basics for Grown-ups

    Shakespeare Basics for Grown-ups comes with the subtitle: Everything You Need to Know about the Bard. That sounds rich, but the authors E Foley and B Coates deliver. Concise, comprehensive, it’s a great briefing on the Bard.

  • The Globe Guide to Shakespeare

    The Globe Guide to Shakespeare

    Lavishly illustrated, The Globe Guide to Shakespeare is a joy to behold and a pleasure to read. Written by Andrew Dickson, with contributions by Joe Staines, this isn’t a musty, fusty academic treatise thick with jargon. As the authors say in the introduction, “Above all, this isn’t intended to be a textbook, and we hope […]

  • Orwell: Why I Write, BBC and Reflections on Gandhi

    Orwell: Why I Write, BBC and Reflections on Gandhi

    Anyone who likes to write will probably agree with some of the things George Orwell (June 25, 1903 – January 21, 1950) has to say on why we write. In his essay, Why I Write, which appeared in 1946, four years before he died at the age of 46, Orwell wrote:

  • RK Narayan’s Malgudi Days

    RK Narayan’s Malgudi Days

    RK Narayan enjoyed writing short stories more than novels. He said so in the introduction to his collection of short stories, Malgudi Days. First published in Penguin Books in 1984, Malgudi Days includes selections from his earlier collections, An Astrologer’s Day and Other Stories (1947) and Lawley Road and Other Stories (1956 ), as well […]

  • Julius Caesar

    Julius Caesar

    Scholarship is like technology, always evolving. The Arden Shakespeare edition of Julius Caesar I picked up from the library can’t be the Arden edition of Julius Caesar I read in my schooldays. This edition, first published in 1998, is edited by David Daniell, who begins his introduction to the play by asserting, “Julius Caesar is […]

  • As You Like It, Rosalind

    As You Like It, Rosalind

    Rosalind has been my favourite Shakespearean heroine from the first time I read As You Like It. That was shortly after the Beatles had disbanded, when soft rock was ruling the airwaves and there were no such things as PCs and the World Wide Web. The world has changed utterly since then even in its […]