READ! Singapore campaign is a nationwide reading initiative which aims to promote a culture of reading fiction among Singaporeans. A key component of the initiative is the promotion of cross-translated short stories.
Bang Seman, a pious man, was confronted with his dark secret when his daughter, Siti Azura, decided to settle down. He tried several ways and means to stop the marriage. His wife was baffled by his demeanour until Bang Seman reminded her that Siti Azura was their illegitimate child.
The story takes place at a large farm and revolves around feelings of unhappiness of a herd of cows due to the conditions that they were in. They were reared to provide labour within the farm as well as for their meat. While the cows acknowledged that they were basically well-taken care of and had access to their basic necessities of life, they lived in fear that they might be killed any time.
With strong emphasis on metaphors, the beauty of this short story lies in the symbolic comparison between an old tree with an old man. Ideally to be chopped off and discarded, the old tree symbolizes the strength of the main character, Haji Bakri, who shares strong sentiments with the nostalgic events associated with the growth of this tree. Planted when Haji Bakri was eight years old, he and the old tree had seen many changes associated with the development of his neighbourhood.
“Three Tests” is an extract from the novel, The Legend of the Condor Heroes, written by renowned writer, Louis Cha. It tells the story of a loving couple, Guo Jing and Huang Rong, and their adventures in the martial arts world, from grim grasslands in the north to scenic islands in the south of China. In a contest of brains and brawn, Guo Jing, the innocent young man, unexpectedly won, much to the pleasure of Huang Rong. Martial arts, intrigue, a plot-within-plot and romance are entwined in this short story to make a compelling read.
Bagi diri Tengku Aman, di Anjung Budiman inilah dia belajar berdikari sekali lagi. Memanglah sejak kecil dulu dia sudah belajar untuk berdiri kaki sendiri. Arwah ibunda dan ayahandanya telah mendidiknya untuk berdikari. Kedua-dua insan yang telah menjadi arwah itu telah berpesan kepadanya. Malah sebelum mereka menghembus nafas terakhir mereka sempat berwasiat walaupun jarak mereka mati adalah sepuluh tahun.
In “My Cousin Tim”, the author depicts the dilemma of a young man Tim, who lived the life of a spendthrift and disappointed his father, and of the cousin Eddie, who grew up with him and realised the ambitions and dreams of the older generation. Eddie and Tim were brought up in a typical family with high parental expectations to follow a dictated life of which decisions were made by his parents. However, there is a critical and significant difference between them that separates them into opposing sides of the coin.
Such troubling feelings: At times I had looked forward to your growing up, and taking you out to sea, where you could discover the wonders of the blue ocean, so you might understand why ships always sail towards choppy waters, and why sails unfurl in the wind, carrying us forward. But I also felt that if only time could come to a halt, I would rather you never have to weather the storms or experience the trials and tribulations of life.
Academic and novelist Assistant Professor Sun Ailing is well-known local female writer. In the story, the young widow left Singapore for Hong Kong after the husband died in an incident. She was torn between her newfound love and the calling of her country. In the end, she chose the latter.
To Mr Li, Tanjong Rhu was a special place where he spent his childhood. Now a successful businessman in the shipping sector, he has to cope with the loss of his mother. Tanjong Rhu gives an insight into Chinese norms, values, religious beliefs and family practices as Mr Li recalls the time spent with his mother and the events that took place before her demise.
What happens when a rebellious child brought up in the West, meets her Asian father in Singapore? That was what Li Wen, a.k.a. Lee found out when her mother passed away in Los Angeles. Brought up in the States since she was eight years old, and with no one to rely on after her stepfather shirked his responsibility of raising her, Lee has no choice but to return to Singapore to seek shelter with her biological father. Claire Tham presents an interesting account of the emotional ties that binds father and daughter as both struggles to adjust to each other’s lifestyle.
“The Stars” is a story which considers the issue of superstition. Uncle Ram, a strong believer in astrology, refuses to give up his belief even though his astrological miscalculations make a fool out of him. Is he really right in his belief?
Govindan telah meninggal dunia. Dia dan aku bekerja untuk akhbar yang sama. Aku merupakan seorang penyunting. Dia adalah satu-satunya jurukamera di situ. Dia lebih mesra dipanggil “pakar fotografi” oleh kami.
This story is like a modern version of the Greek legend poet Orpheus and his wife Eurydice. It examines the choice Orpheus had to make about redeeming his wife’s soul when she accidentally passed away and in this comical modern version, Orpheus wondered if he did the right thing as Eurydice proved to be annoying.
This is a concise and charming story of a young girl who had a lot of fun listening to and singing her favourite Chinese songs with her group of friends. At a time when compact discs were still rare, the girls relied on the cassette tape to record their futile attempts in imitating established singers. Little would we expect the young amateur singer would one day grow up to pursue a successful career in pop music and showbiz. The road to fame began with a stack of cassette tapes and a trusty cassette recorder.
Rumah ini adalah sebahagian daripada hidup dan diri saya. Saya rasa semua orang juga begitu. Ini merupakan rumah tempat anak-anak saya dibesarkan. Anak bongsu saya, lelaki dan juga perempuan telah dilahirkan di dalam rumah ini.
“... Nisbah perempuan dengan lelaki tahun ini ialah 1:15 berdasarkan ...”
Dengan cepat aku menekan punat merah kawalan jauh (remote control). Itulah yang diulang-ulang di berita. Seolah-olah ingin mengingatkan umur aku yang semakin diragut masa. Aku mengerti aku kini 43 dan belum berumah tangga lagi. Itu pun pelik ke? Aku juga manusia. Aku juga ingin berumah tangga namun siapa yang inginkan aku?