Payoh by Jim Tan
Payoh by Jim Tan


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by Jim Tan
with illustrations by Morgan Chua

Read Chapter 1 and 2 here.


In a writing workshop at Changi Prison, retired professor JG Chan encounters a story written by inmate Alphonsus Goh. ‘Payoh’ tells the adventures of a sulphur-crested cockatoo named Lucky who finds his way to a protected bird sanctuary.

Conflict soon ensues, and the sanctuary birds decide it’s time to gain autonomy from their human-watchers. They must form a small team of leaders to govern their newly independent sanctuary.

However, skeptics and detractors also exist within ...


About the Author

Born in 1951, Jim KC Tan is a retired specialist contractor. Payoh is his first book. Jim spends his retirement in quiet contentment, enjoying short trips and long rambles, admiring old classic buildings in and around Singapore. He keeps the preferred company of sincere friends, chitchatting over a simple meal, learning to live and let live. His grandchildren are the joy of his golden years.

One shortcoming of retirement, laments Jim, is that the days pass by too quickly.

About the Illustrator

Morgan Chua began drawing for the Singapore Herald in 1970. He spent 24 years in Far East Economic Review (FEER), where he rose from editorial artist to creative director. Morgan left FEER in 1997 and is currently based in Tanjong Pinang. Some of his recent works include My Singapore (2000, 2008), In Memory of Madam Kwa Geok Choo (2011) and LKY: Political Cartoons (2015).


“Written in an exquisitely compelling manner, Jim Tan raises multiple issues that bear relevance for a Singaporean audience, and even beyond. The book’s style makes it easier for a younger audience, and those not particularly attuned to the inner machinations of politics, to appreciate political happenings better, and hopefully, will contribute to raising the level of political awareness in our young nation.”

—Walid Abdullah, PhD candidate in Political Science/Economy

“A story that needs to be told to every generation, as a reminder to all that equality and freedom are great to talk and nice to dream about, but elusive to practice. Like the animals in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and humans under different political systems, the birds of Payoh too find out that prosperity breeds demands for inequalities and power corrupts without exception. ”

Ismail Kassim, political observer

• • •

ISBN: 978-981-11-2284-2 (Paperback) | 978-981-14-0503-7 (E-book)
Published: 2017
Dimension: 130mm x 200mm
Extent: 236
Finish: Paperback