Huat's up! Check out these great reads for CNY!
新年快乐! Gong xi fa cai! Happy Chinese New Year!
It's time to break out the cherry blossoms, buntings, and the delicious munchies, as Chinese around the world prepare to ring in the New Year.
Over in the world of SingLit though, there have been many tales set around this festive season. So we've decided to gather a few for your reading pleasure.
From the thrill of watching lion dances to cataloging interesting Chinese inventions, here are our picks that are just the thing to herald the Year of the Dog.
GRANDMA AND THE THINGS THAT STAY THE SAME. “Every Lunar New Year, Grandma would ask me the same question…” So begins this picture book by Eve Aw. While reunion dinner is a fun time for the family, sometimes, we really wish grandma won't keep asking the same things over and over again, right? Complete with colourful illustrations by Yunroo, Grandma and the Things That Stay The Same shows the true meaning of what it means to be part of a family ... and why it's sometimes nice to have some things stay the same.
BO BO AND CHA CHA AND THE NEW YEAR GIFT. The pandas at the zoo Bo Bo and Cha Cha have a guest visiting over Chinese New Year. It’s Kevin, a red panda visiting from China. He’s also a gifted artist who is holding an art exhibition in Singapore. But, as it turns out, Kevin isn’t very nice. At all. In the end, it takes a little orang-utan to show Kevin what it means to be a good guest — and an even better friend.
SAM, DEBBIE AND DI-DI-DI: THE LION DANCE. Sam, Debbie and Di-Di-Di are excited because they’re going to see a lion dance, although baby Xandy is a little confused: Can lions from Africa actually dance? Once they get there, the lion is nowhere to be seen, so what can they do? The Lion Dance shows what a little initiative can accomplish as the siblings decide to take matters into their own hands with a surprise performance.
GULL BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH. From light reads to something slightly more serious, but no less entertaining. In this acclaimed book by noted poet Boey Kim Cheng, he explores what might have happened to Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu —considered one of China’s greatest poets — in this fictitious account of his life. Having failed the Imperial Examinations twice, Du Fu (who is also known as Zimei, a nickname he adopted in his later years) sets out on a journey of discovery, documenting what he sees on his travels in verses.
Critics called Gull Between Heaven and Earth an elegant elegy to Du Fu that evokes various emotions as Boey's writing evokes powerfully not just the luminous beauty for which Tang poetry is known, but also its pain.
LOST IN TAIPEI. Our favourite intrepid diarist Amos Lee finds himself in Taipei as part of a cultural immersion programme. The first in the popular Travel Diaries of Amos Lee series by Adeline Foo isn’t merely an account of where Amos has gone; it also contains popular Chinese phrases you can use, as well as cool facts about Chinese history. For instance, did you know that, apart from the Chinese language and porcelain, the Chinese also came up with such clever inventions such as woodblock printing, the magnetic compass, and the umbrella?
Lost in Taipei not only entertaining, it’s a great way to impress your relatives with your sudden knowledge over reunion dinner. Maybe that will stop Grandma from asking the same questions over and over again.