27 Jul 2006

An Old Friend - Grace

I accidentally bumped into an old friend online today . Out of the blue a link to Grace Chow's book being sold on Amazon.com just appeared. I recognised her immediately of course and then the emotions hit me again. Reading the reviews of her book on the Amazon site made me extremely proud to have known Grace if only briefly and if only online.

(Book Review) Reading this book made me look back on my own experiences of popular music, philosophy and Singapore. At first I had never imagined that all three could be combined. Perhaps my failing was due to the lack of a final ingredient, an incurable disease.

The author Grace Chow begins her story with a theme that resonates with many of our own sense of needing to escape, to get out. When I first stumbled upon the PAP's planned housing, I realised that I would have felt suffocated and atomised in Singapore. I thought that my initial response was that of an outsider, now I realise that others feel the same.

The HDB complexes are practical solutions, but some of us desire more than, 'practical solutions'. "A Pain in the Neck", contains many views on how Singapore is governed, and who it is governed by. Written in many styles, serious, insightful and I actually laughed out loud on a few occasions. Peppered with despair on the darkest of days, but there is a dogged determination within its pages to express life and to live it to the full according to her individual will and capabilities.

Grace Chow combines many elements in this autobiography; Singapore; escape, love, philosophy, religion, popular music, travel, illness, memories, hope and despair. The somewhat simplistic stereotype of the average Singaporean is that of un-questioning, consensual, and materialistic. Grace has laid the stereotype to rest. I await another book from Grace Chow. Write faster Grace.

Grace's Blog - Dying Is
A Pain in the Neck
Dying with grace By Sharon De Castro.

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