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 ...





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“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


Jim Tan


Morgan Chua