Mum and daughter bond by writing kids' book
The House On Palmer Road is based on Madam Si-Hoe's experience growing up in 1930s colonial S'pore
Bonding with her mother over books is an experience Ms Sim Ee Waun treasures.
These shared sessions went to a whole new level when the local author worked with her mum, Madam Si-Hoe S.S., on the children's book, The House On Palmer Road.
Based on Madam Si-Hoe's experience of growing up in 1930s colonial Singapore, the book is a series of short stories about the adventures of Sing, a playful eight-year-old who lives in a wooden house in Palmer Road with her family of 13.
The House On Palmer Road, which was released last week, will be officially launched at #BuySingLit, a movement to celebrate stories from Singapore.
The three-day event starts today, and there are activities organised around the island by home-grown book publishers, retailers and literary non-profits to encourage more people to discover and embrace Singapore's literature.
Madam Si-Hoe, 83, initially meant for her memories to be a private keepsake for her family, but Ms Sim, 49, encouraged her mum to turn it into a children's chapter book.
"After my mum retired from being a chemistry teacher in 1994, she started penning down her stories to pass the time," Ms Sim told The New Paper.
The co-author of the 2015 children's book, The Little Singapore Book, felt her mum's childhood days were "a slice of history and from a perspective that few people knew about".
"While there has been material written about the pre-war days of Singapore, it was mainly from the perspective of the British colonials, not so much from a Singaporean.
"Since there has been a revival of interest in local history and all things retro, we felt this would fit in quite nicely," added Ms Sim, who is also a freelance writer and editor.
FALL OF SINGAPORE
"What's more, as the story ends with the fall of Singapore, this year was the perfect time to release it."
Madam Si-Hoe spent about four years working on drafts of The House On Palmer Road.
"After she had written the first draft, she left it aside for a few years before we finally did something with it," said Ms Sim.
She spent much time "fact-checking against old maps and documents in the digital archives and old newspaper articles to ensure everything (her mum) mentioned tallied with official sources of information".
The pair will be at the Hello SingLit! pop-up at Forum The Shopping Mall for a storytelling session tomorrow, If I Were My Great-Grandmother/father.
It will be followed by an activity to imagine and explore what it would be like to live in old Singapore.
Said Ms Sim: "We hope children will realise that Singapore's past is made up of lots of amazing stories that can be enjoyed and celebrated.
"And because they are local stories, there will be some kind of connection with local readers - perhaps their families have similar stories about their great-grandparents."
She added: "This is what makes SingLit different and unique. Hopefully, SingLit resonates with them in a way that other foreign stories cannot."
If I Were My Great-Grandmother/father
Forum The Shopping Mall Atrium, B1, 583, Orchard Road
Admission is free