We must never forget our work

Team photo snapped at our anniversary lunch! (missing Cass, Nic, our interns and Pethos 💓)


A friend texted me from Jakarta two days ago, congratulating me on the 25th anniversary of Ethos Books. I had forgotten about it. This led to a period of reflection. What had I done with half my working life?

I thought of a non-verbal boy who lived with autism since birth, finding his voice at 10 years old in Orbit... an initiative by a new Ethos team, still aiming to publish hitherto unheard voices. I thought of another writer who, through 17A Keong Saik Road, finally reconciled with her aged mother over a difficult and highly unusual childhood that had brought trauma and unnecessary shame.

I thought of those who had their youthful idealism cut down because they dared to offer alternative narratives for a better world, but who were finally able to free themselves through our books. Just some of many other Ethos publications that had brought internal tears to my heart.

And then, I thought of the people in the Ethos team who had made all these possible—the young interns with their enormous passion, some of whom later joined the staff—all beavering away with their compassion, grit and belief that our books would make a difference, even if only for the writer. I thought of the monetary sacrifices they make, and at times the painful conversations they must have with writers and within themselves.

Four years have passed since my retirement from Ethos Books. The publisher and his new team that took over have been spectacular in catching the baton and continuing the journey with new ideas and initiatives appropriate for a new season in our society and a transformed age in the world. Yes... we can forget our anniversaries but we must never forget our work, our purpose and those who have chosen to journey with us.

Hoe Fang
Founder of Ethos Books

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