Menu Home

Chulia Kampong, Singapore

Looking at Chulia Street off Raffles Place and Boat Quay now, no one would know what it was like before. Chulia Kampong, unlike Kampong Glam, has vanished from the map of Singapore. So I was intrigued by the description given by the Indian writer Amitav Ghosh in his novel, River […]

Poems Singapore

I saw this book and loved it at first sight. How could I not with its poems about Singapore? It is called Words: Poems Singapore and Beyond and edited by Edwin Thumboo. As luck would have it, the very first page I opened had a poem by him about the […]

Back in Singapore

As the plane broke through the cloud cover, the pilot announced we were approaching Singapore. A lush green land stretched below us — and then came the sea. We had been flying over Malaysia. The view was glorious. The sea, wide and deep, dotted with little islands, offshore platforms, ships […]

Indira Gandhi and Lee Kuan Yew

  Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is compared to Indira Gandhi by the Indian journalist, Sunanda Datta-Ray, who once worked for The Straits Times. In his book, Looking East to Look West, exploring India-Singapore relations, based on his interviews with MM Lee, he writes: Lee and Indira Gandhi shared […]

Two poems about Singapore

One poem leads to another. Reading Reflecting on the Merlion: An Anthology of Poems edited by Edwin Thumboo and Yeow Kai Chai, and co-edited by Enoch Ng, Isa Kamari, and Seetha Lakshmi at the public library, I wanted to read more poems about Singapore. And, as luck would have it, […]

Anthony Burgess on Malaysia

Malaysia celebrated its 52nd independence anniversary recently. So how much has it changed since Anthony Burgess wrote about it in The Malayan Trilogy? The book is based on his experiences as an education officer in Malaysia in the 1950s. In his introduction to The Malayan Trilogy, he writes: “The Malays […]

The Singapore Grip

The Singapore Grip by JG Farrell Anyone who loves Singapore should read The Singapore Grip by JG Farrell. He won the Booker Prize in 1973 for The Siege of Krishnapur about the 1857 War of Indian Independence. The Singapore Grip is also a historical novel, describing Singapore at the time […]

Paul Theroux revisits Asia

Ghost Train To The Eastern Star by Paul Theroux Paul Theroux has written an immensely readable sequel to The Great Railway Bazaar, repeating that railway journey from Europe to Asia and back which earned him fame and fortune more than 30 years ago. It is bursting with people and places, […]