This book is a collection of twelve short stories by prominent local writers and edited by Cyril Wong, whom I would be meeting when I attend his poetry workshop in a week’s time. A few of the stories are also collected in another book Tenacity, published during last year’s Read Singapore (2014) and distributed free.
Reading local stories brings a sense of intimacy as you picture familiar places mentioned and shared memories of history. It is also a good way to be introduced to full length novels by local authors like the late Goh Sin Tub, Claire Tham and O Thiam Chin, as a sampler to see if you like their writings before you embark on their full novels.
I generally enjoy most of the stories, although I find local writings more to the Noir genre, straying to the cynical side of society and Singaporeans, as if there is no bright side to us. Even Wena Poon’s story, set in Nevada, throws poor light at a Singaporean couple who had settled there. Suchen Christine Lim’s Gloria, reminds me of how my mother treats the maid, true but ugly to read.
I think the story I enjoyed most is by the late Goh Sin Tub, who writes a heart warming story of his relationship with his Japanese teacher after WWII.
I wish there are more stories which show a warmer side of Singapore and its people. Perhaps I should write it.