- About the Author
Years before his political career took off, Othman Wok pioneered the writing of ghost stories and horror fiction in Singapore and Malaysia.
Othman Wok left an indelible mark on Singaporean politics and society: signing the Independence of Singapore Agreement 1965, overseeing the construction of Singapore’s first large-scale sporting arena, working to advance the quality of social welfare services, developing the Mosque Building Fund, and being (in the words of PM Lee Hsien Loong) “steadfast and unwavering in believing in a multiracial, multi-religious, meritocratic Singapore”, among many other accomplishments.
In addition, he pioneered the writing of ghost stories and horror fiction in Malay while working as a young reporter for Utusan Melayu and Mustika magazine between 1952 and 1956. These stories were fantastically popular, making him a household name in the Malay-speaking world, years before his political career took off. In fact, these tales may have been the first examples of horror fiction in either Singapore or Malaysia, in any language.
A Mosque in the Jungle assembles two dozen of the best stories from his three fiction collections in English: Malayan Horror (1991), The Disused Well (1995) and Unseen Occupants (2006). Curated by award-winning poet and fictionist Ng Yi-Sheng, this book provides an entry point into Othman’s fiction, and a window into the work of a “literary genius” (Farouk A. Peru, Malay Mail Online
Othman Wok was Singapore's first Minister for Social Affairs, serving from October 1963 to June 1977. He was also Singapore's ambassador to Indonesia and served on the boards of the Singapore Tourism Board and Sentosa Development Corporation. For his political, economic and social contributions to the nation-building of Singapore, he was awarded the Order of Nila Utama (2nd Class) in 1983 by President Devan Nair.
After retiring from politics in 1981, Othman was able to devote more time to writing, and became a regular writer of horror tales for a Malaysian weekend newspaper, Mingguan Malaysia. He published his biography, Never in My Wildest Dreams, in 2000, a project he agreed to in 1994 at the suggestion of his daughter, Lily. Othman also began compiling the short stories that he had written for various newspapers and magazines over the years. Some of his short story collections include Malayan Horror: Macabre Tales from Singapore and Malaya (1991), Kisah-kisah Seram dan Misteri (1995) and Unseen Occupants and Other Chilling Tales (2006).
Othman passed away on 17 April 2017 at the age of 92.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 256
Year Published: 2021
Size: 198mm x 129mm