TEN As I said earlier, the Malay Peninsula (or Malaya) and Singapore are like conjoint twins. A causeway, carrying a vital supply of drinking water to Singapore, forever linked them together. It’s also a bridge for the migration of Chinese, but few Malays, from the north. Need I repeat that Singapore was predominantly Chinese? The … Continue reading CRAZY AMERICANS – Chapter Ten


SEVEN After wading through perfunctory pleasantries with my long-distant relative driver—I wasn’t fluent in the Hockchiang dialect, the only tongue he knew—I turned my attention to my cousin next to me. “Surprise surprise,” I greeted my cousin. We decided to occupy the back seat together. The front seat went to a stranger, another young man … Continue reading CRAZY AMERICANS – Chapter Seven


FIVE While the British colonial government might have succeeded in preventing the majority of the colonists from straying into Singapore, droves and droves of marauding Japanese soldiers thronged the island in February 1942. Somehow the British, in their omnipotence, thought the jungle north of Singapore would protect them from the advancing Japanese troops. Using bicycles, … Continue reading CRAZY AMERICANS – Chapter Five


FOUR Singapura, a Sanskrit name for Singapore meaning Lion City, was in use in the late fourteenth century. My cozying up to Singapore wasn’t based solely on hearsay or friends’ eyewitness accounts but on textbook intimacy of the place. I was introduced to Singapore at a young, impressionable age in my geography and history classes. … Continue reading CRAZY AMERICANS – Chapter Four


THREE One of the reasons I moved in to live with Father was the real possibility to follow him and the family to Singapore after high school graduation. Yes, Singapore! And there, maybe Seventh Uncle would look on me mercifully and generously and deem me worthy of his investment. After all, Seventh Uncle and his … Continue reading CRAZY AMERICANS – Chapter Three


TWO I graduated from high school a year after my country, Malaya, won her independence from Great Britain—1957. As a young independent nation, Malaya could rely on her abundant natural resources and strong political allies nearby to forge ahead. I had no natural resources or allies to realize my dreams or forge ahead. The best … Continue reading CRAZY AMERICANS – Chapter Two