The reason why I made a trip to Goody Books last month was to meet Low Kay Hwa, one of the youngest full time novelist in Singapore, to collect copies of his latest novel, A Singapore Love Story.
Low Kay Hwa is a GUY. This is for those who have always thought that Low Kay Hwa is a female.
Who would've thought that this inspiring young man is only 27 this year, a year older than me, already a novelist who has written 10 novels and owns a his facebook page which has garnered more than 110,000 likes!
Here is the cover page of his latest novel, the tenth one, titled A Singapore Love Story:
A typical reality romance in Singapore. The girl is smart and comes from a healthy, good-income family. The guy is street-wise but his family background is just the opposite of the girl's. The couple were loggerheads when first met at a very young age. As if destined, their love for each other grew over the years.
Living in a urban country like Singapore where education, finance, status and power counts in your everyday life, does romance exist? Two different people from different family backgrounds and different mentality topped by harsh reality, will true love beats the odds?
Beware of that surprise ending of this story.
Clue: Someone in this story died. But who, really?
Simple Descriptions Yet Mind Intriguing
Low Kay Hwa managed to visualize the many different aspects of a typical Singapore couple and wrote them out in simple, to the point form. As compared to complex story-writing, you don't have to ponder too much over trying to make out what those 'chim' phrases and metaphors mean. Like for instance, when I read Jodi Picoult novels, I have to re-read the sentences a few times before I finally understand where she's coming from. In this story's case, your mind has ample space to focus and wonder about reality issues which the author has brought up. I believe most Singaporeans are facing these same issues as we grow up. For the younger generation, there are lessons to be learnt, behaviour and attitude in life to reflect upon. For the same and older generation, this book has a high possibility of triggering back fond memories of your first romance, of Singapore scenes in the 90s.
Me. To be exact.
A Singapore Love Story intrigues and amuses me.
I Can Relate
I have been through fail relationships. I have doubted my dependency on my supposedly 'other half' then. Those sleepless nights where I kept thinking about 'our' future, whether he's good for me or if I'm compatible with him. Those heartaches, those days where I have to deal with endless dilemmas.
Nevertheless, puppy love romance those days were the sweetest moments I keep: 'He' who'd wait for me outside my classroom when the recess bell rings, who wrote encouraging love letters just to make me smile, who copied my homework for me so that we can chat on the phone until morning... Awww... those sweet, sweet days where even holding little pinkies can make my heart skip a beat...
As I read on, memories of my past came into view, especially my dating venues: the people, the shops, the design, the architecture, the surrounding, even the smell. As the ice-skating rink was described, I think back of friends and 'someone' whom I've met during my ice-skating days. I wrote 2 mandarin songs about it.
Wanted to scan and show you some photos of me at the ice skating rink but when I opened my storeroom:
Maybe next time? My albums are in a box right behind the storeroom. *faint*
Hey wait a minute, how did Low Kay Hwa know so much about what I've been through and what I was thinking during my younger days?! Has he been through this too? I believe this story is something which most of us, especially Singaporeans, can relate to very well.
Should a foreigner chance upon his novels, he'll get to know more about Singaporeans! Our Singlish and places of interest, our lives: school, work and play. The author is thoughtful for walking the extra mile to explain Singlish words he used.
Taken from A Singapore Love Story Chapter 1, Pg 9:
Sabo, in Singapore, means sabotage.
The Chapters Of The Book
Low Kay Hwa is so meticulous.
Have you notice by now that the chapters of this book are named after Singapore's MRT(Mass Rapid Transport) train stations? The names of this chapters are arranged by order of the MRT's East-West line, beginning from its first station stop, Joo Koon, all the way to the last which is Pasir Ris MRT Station.
Take a look at the GREEN line on Singapore's MRT Network Map.
Maybe the author's trying to encourage us to read his book while travelling on the MRT and beat the speed of reading one chapter each from one station to another? It's fine if that's not what he intended.
Well, I challenged myself anyway;
A small game to keep myself entertained.
It's really fun as I tried to speed read the book so fast such that as I approach the next MRT station, the name of the chapter tallies with the MRT station name! I'm lucky to be able to play this game as I have to travel to Pioneer to give tuition classes. YAY!
There are negative chapters too! These negative chapters are what gave this story the twists! Written in the form of a person's purest thoughts and observation. Feel.
I've read Low Kay Hwa's other novels too, Lilith and A Photogenic Life. He is getting so good in his writing style and English errors. 3 cheers for you!
I'm not good enough to judge. I make way more english grammatical errors than a lot of us do. Once, I even spelt 'temple' as 'temper'. Ops.
Perhaps the only thing I feel that may be improved is perhaps to use a wider range of adjectives. Like instead of using 'fly into his room', he can rephrase the content such that no one has to fly unnecessarily, the character can already be at the door or in the room. It'll make the story sound even more realistic and romantic.
Check out my interview with Low Kay Hwa:
Also, Low Kay Hwa is having his FIRST BOOK LAUNCH which will be held at Earshot Cafe at the Arts House, on 07 February 2012(TUESDAY), from 7pm onwards!
I'm going down to show my support!
For more information of the book launch, please click on this photo:
Having said so much, you really should go read A Singapore Love Story.
I'm giving away TWO Low Kay Hwa's latest novel, A Singapore Love Story. Plus, these 2 books are autographed by Low Kay Hwa himself!
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org and share with me ANYTHING about what you think of Low Kay Hwa now. Winners will be announced on 03 February 2012, Friday.
Some suggestions: Have you heard of Low Kay Hwa? How did you get to know him? Have you read his previous books? Do you think he's made you proud to be a Singaporean? Are you coming for his book launch?
Let's All Support Local talents!