Yesterday was St Patrick’s Day and I chanced upon Rozen aka Rosemary at the parade while I was helping the Jedi in the Star Wars contingent record stuff. Technically, if you were there, you might notice me in this here picture (page 6, 17 Mar 08, Today Paper).
Well, I suppose not really unless you zoom in but I was lugging camera equipment around in the background.
Ten minutes before the parade started, I called out to her for a hello and all and then… GASP!
She shoved me this!
An Irish Tour of Singapore, published by Two Trees, her book was finally done! AND it’s published by Two Trees aka HER publishing company. What surprised me most was that it was a HARDCOVER book.
Frankly, how many hardcover books have you seen printed for local books? Not many right? (Books meant for literature class don’t count since those are for students who’re rough on them.) Or they might mostly be for children’s books too… as it is, it’s NOT often!
The paper quality is pretty nice too, smooth and white since there are also pictures printed in it to reference the historical events that has happened.
Although it IS pretty much a history book of sorts, talking about the Irish in Singapore, for some reason, it doesn’t really feel like it. It didn’t feel as boring as some other books I’ve read (for history) and somehow… the writing is sassy.
Maybe it’s because I know the writer or the subject matter of the book but in all, it feels upbeat and you’d go “Woah” over the facts in it.
For instance, I did not know a lot of the roads I’ve been to around Orchard and such are named after Irish people!! Heck, I didn’t even know “Killiney” was Irish. The name only brought “Coffeeshop” in my mind because of the famous coffee and toast around there.
The history it brings makes you realize there’s a lot of Irish in Singapore and the contributions they did in building up the country!
There’s a slight moment on page 59 of the book that hit me as the chapter was about the Catholic Brothers and Sisters coming to set up the schools and teach people here in Singapore (St Joseph’s and CHIJMES for instance). You learn that these people really, REALLY want to help the people back then in giving education, medical help and all.
And okay, I admit.
There was one line too about one of the Sisters marrying the captain of the ship (this is legal back then since it wasn’t in their vows and whatever so she wasn’t breaking anything) AMIDST THE BACKGROUND OF TURBULENCE AND PASHIIOOONE.
So not really much on the passion but the book described the journey from where they came to Singapore was not an easy one. They had SHIPS back then and STORMS and fevers and stuff! And to think they’d travel all the way through the hardship to just give the people back then education, help, Churches and etc.
This book has pictures and pretty much a LOT of info on the Irish from the past till the present in Singapore. In fact, page 109 made me snort in amusement because the writer had written about herself winning the Singapore Literature Prize Merit Award under the chapter about the arts, culture and media. This is true (she’s Irish!) but I could imagine her saying “HAH!” or “Me, me!” while writing this bit.
Me thinks, if I get to know more writers and read their books, I’ll start to have a mini commentary in my mind on how they write or something.
If you’re a history buff or need research or inspiration about the past, go pick up the book!
It costs SGD$25.
The official launch is in June so I’ll probably post a reminder till then.
When it comes out, it’ll be available in major bookstores and possibly Amazon too, so hold on until it’s properly released!
It’ll also be on sale at their website.