Saturday, October 16, 2010
Singapore Books: Notes from an Even Smaller Island
A friend at work referred Bryan to a few books on Singapore by author Neil Humphreys, a British expat who lived here. The first of his books, Notes From an Even Smaller Islandis hilarious. His life in Singapore shares a lot in common with ours- living in an HDB flat, hanging out at the hawker centres, struggling to understand Singlish and to have his accent understood by the locals. All of his adventures are recounted with a somewhat cynical but always funny slant, and I found myself giggling out loud more than once (how can you not laugh at the image of a 6 ft 4 white giant with a cockney accent lumbering around Singapore's heartland?!). Humphreys does criticize some aspects of Singaporean life, and sometimes I think he makes somewhat unfair sweeping generalizations, but for the most part I agree with what he's saying. And I share his fascination with and respect for the little old ladies (the Singaporean "aunties") who seem indestructible. Like him, I'm continually awestruck when a hunched, 80-year-old lady lugging four shopping bags hobbles past me and onto the bus. How do they do it? I recommend the book, especially for any westerners living in S'pore, or thinking about moving here.