Review of Minfong Ho's book, “Sing to the dawn”

As someone residing on the island of Singapore – which, like Thailand, is in the region of South-east Asia – it is refreshing for me to encounter a protagonist who eats fishballs instead of scones.

I find an echo of my own childhood (which was spent somewhere in Singapore), in Minfong's sparkling descriptions of a young girl's life in a village in Thailand.

(But the joy of feeling mud on your bare feet must be an obscure sensation for people my age, in Singapore today (I turn 31, in the year 2021), who seem pre-occupied with careers, children, money and material possessions).

The protagonist seems stubborn in going to the city. Quite troubling was the protagonist's confrontation with the head monk, who discouraged her from going. Well, wisdom is recognised by the wise. And, “folly is bound up in the heart of a youth, but the rod drives it far from him.” (A Biblical proverb).

At my age, reading this book does raise the question: what would I do, if I were in the shoes of the protagonist's father?