Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Singapore Books: Final Notes from a Great Island

By the time Neil Humphreys got around to his third and last book on Singapore (reviews of the first two are here and here), he’d gotten significantly better at writing.  The book was more developed and he seemed to have planned it a little better than the previous two.  However, I still think he can be pretty harsh on Singaporeans, and on other foreigners living in Singapore.  Even so, his negativity was a little more tempered in this book than in Scribbles from the Same Island.

I enjoyed Final Notes from a Great Island for two reasons.  The first is the same reason I enjoyed his first two books: as a foreigner living in Singapore, it’s interesting to read another foreigner’s take on the country, the people, the culture, and the nature (like Bryan and me, Neil Humphreys was enamored with Singapore’s nature).  The second reason is that this book was his way of saying goodbye to Singapore.  He took a series of excursions to bid the country farewell before moving on.  I think that made the tone of the book a little more sentimental, but it also created a feeling with which I could easily identify.  Bryan and I are enjoying our time here and we’re not leaving yet, but when we do I’m sure that, like Humphreys, our feelings will be bittersweet.

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