It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Little Red Dot. We love raising our kids here, finding out all the fun things to do on the weekends, and exploring all 721.5 square kilometres of it! That’s why we thought it was important that this month’s HoneyKids Book Club topic be dedicated to all the Singaporean authors we love. We’ve scoured our personal libraries for the our fave SingLit picks, and without further ado, here’s our top five:
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Singaporean author Jaswal’s third book is a hilarious read! Set in the largely Sikh area of Southall in London, it’s the perfect clash of Eastern and Western cultures. Main character Nikki drops out of university, moves out of her conservative home and takes a job in a pub, all in an attempt to “find herself”. Struggling to make rent, she takes a second job at the Gurdwara (Sikh temple) to teach English to some elderly widows. Prepared to teach creative writing, she realises that some of the group don’t even know how to write their own name in English, let alone write short stories in English. Much to her shock, these sari-clad women start writing erotic stories in Urdu, and with her help translate it into English. All this is set to the backdrop of the very strict Sikh Community Association. Hilarity ensues when some of the elder uncles realise what is going on.
Little Ironies: Stories of Singapore by Catherine Lim
When you’re living in an expat bubble, it’s hard to understand what life is truly like for the average Singaporean. And if you’ve been looking for a book to give you the insight you’ve always wanted, Catherine Lim’s Little Ironies: Stories of Singapore is it. Don’t be fooled by the dated cover design: the stories inside show a different side of Singapore. Although they may not be the happiest stories, Lim’s writing draws you in and leaves you wanting more.
Annabelle Thong by Imran Hashim
If you’re looking for a light-hearted, easy read to get you through your commute, this is the book for you. Tired of being single, typical Singaporean ex-Catholic school girl Annabelle Thong packs her bags for the city of lights in pursuit of love by way of an International Relations degree at the Sorbonne. But her quest for Mr Right isn’t as straightforward as she’d like it to be. She meets the uber-suave Patrick Dudoigt (who also happens to be one of her professors) who both woos and shocks the bejesus out of her. The longer she stays in Paris, the more she questions her life in Singapore and all that she thought was right. Oh, and she also gets involved in a riot.
Ponti by Sharlene Teo
Jumping between present-day Singapore and recent history, Ponti traces the lives of problematic, isolated women navigating the complexities of female relationships – between mothers and daughters and amongst friends. Teo deftly mixes themes from regional mythology and mysticism with modern concerns about image, competition and female desire. Pairs well with Sandi Tan’s Shirkers, for true Singaporean film buffs.
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This Is What Inequality Looks Like by Teo You Yenn
When you live in the most expensive city in the world, it’s difficult to imagine that there’s a world beyond the sparkling skyscrapers and man-made forests. After reading this book, you’ll see Singapore in a whole new light and then your heart will break into a million pieces. Teo writes with such empathy and goes deep into hard problems nobody would have usually tackled. A thought-provoking must-read for anyone living in Singapore who wants to know more about its society.
Stay tuned for next month’s picks!
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