by Josephine Chia
Sequel to Josephine Chia’s 2014 Singapore Literature prize-winning book, Kampong Spirit - Gotong Royong: Life in Potong Pasir, 1955 to 1965.
Kampong life in Singapore did not end in 1965 with her independence.
In Josephine Chia’s new collection of non-fiction stories, the phasing out of attap-thatched villages, the largest mass movement in Singapore, is set against the backdrop of significant national events.
Weaving personal tribulations—her teenage angst—and the experiences of villagers from her kampong, Josephine skilfully parallels the hopes and challenges of a toddling nation going through the throes of industrialisation and rapid changes from 1966 to 1975.
These delightful, real-life stories, sprinkled with snippets of her Peranakan culture, reveal the joie-de-vivre of gotong royong or community spirit, despite impoverished conditions, in the last days of kampong life.
About the author
Josephine Chia is proud of her Peranakan heritage. She is internationally published in both adult fiction and non-fiction. Goodbye My Kampong! Potong Pasir, 1966 to 1975 is her tenth book. She is happiest when she is in the dreamtime flow of creative writing.
The impoverished years of her life in Kampong Potong Pasir had taught her to be resilient, to share and to find joy in everyday living. Josephine’s love for stories and story-telling developed from her gotong royong community in kampong life and story-telling evenings.
Josephine spent half her life in Singapore and half in UK but now lives in Singapore. She currently nurtures aspiring writers and is Creative Writing mentor to students as well as adults on various MOE, NAC and NBDCS programmes. She has won several literary awards, both in UK and Singapore.
Her books have been translated into Bahasa Indonesia and Malay.
What others say
In this loving sequel to her Kampong Spirit - Gotong Royong: Life in Potong Pasir, 1955 to 1965, Josephine Chia brings closure to her life in Potong Pasir and to kampong life in Singapore. Her direct, open voice draws us inexorably back to a time when Singapore was still young, and when Phine and her friends had such hopes for themselves and their new nation. Familiar but forgotten faces, places and events are lovingly interwoven into her narrative, transporting us vividly back to the 1960s and 1970s. Superb!
—Kevin YL Tan, historian, lawyer and author
Reading this book was like spending a weekend in intimate conversation with a good friend. While savouring the pages, I wanted to shout, “hear hear” as Josephine Chia expressed sentiments concerning kampong life, family relationships, technology, politics and inevitable change. As an expat in Singapore, I am truly appreciative of the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of this tiny country’s roots. Many readers will see that their memories strongly align with those of the author—a poignant reminder that borders and oceans have little signifi cance when considering mankind’s commonalities. Thank you, Josephine Chia, for sharing your passion, and for enriching your readers’ levels of historical awareness.
—Margaret Johnson (Teacher and librarian from Australian International School)
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Dimension: 130mm x 200mm