Singapore Swing Paperback – 6 Aug 2006
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"The author's insight into the hardships gay people face shows the struggles minority groups have... a wealth of intriguing characters"
-- Real Travel, October 2007
"inspires and reinforces a belief in the basic good of human beings" -- St Christopher's Youth Hostellers'/Backpackers website, September 2007
'Up there with the best of them'
-- Suite 101 website, August 2007
Malathronas discovers the real Singapore
-- Publishing News, July 2007
About the Author
John Malathronas is the author of the popular travelogues Brazil: Life, Blood and Soul ISBN:9781840243505 and Rainbow Diary: A Journey in the New South Africa ISBN: 9781840244458. He lives in London and is a member of the Guild of Travel Writers, contributing to magazines such as Travel Africa.
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Top Customer Reviews
Recommended for those who are interested in Singapore!
The book is divided into two halves, corresponding to two visits to Singapore - the first, with the author's arm in a sling, and the second without. This is a nice touch - it means that the reader gets a sense of the pace of change in this fast-moving city. Although barely a couple of years pass between the first and second visits, much in the city is different. Each chapter begins with a highly paraphrastic rendering of some piece of Buddhist, Confucian, Malay... or something else folklore, which is thematically linked to at least some of the experiences in the chapter that follows. This, again, is cute - the author connects his anecdotal experience of Singapore with these expressions of the worldview that stands behind it. And interwoven with his anecdotal account of Singapore is a retelling of the country's history, both before and after independence. For me, this was the book's strong suit. I certainly learnt more about Singapore, and it seemed to me that the amount of history included was well-judged.
As other reviewers have pointed out, Singapore Swing is very smartly written - exactly the sort of thing I'd enjoy reading on the plane there. And I also appreciated the reluctant sympathy the author had for Singapore - a sympathy that captures something of the western love-affair with this city. Plenty of plus points, then...
Nevertheless, I would only give this book 3 stars.Read more ›
It is what it is; it doesn't pretend to be a guide book, or a social study. Malathronas met some interesting people and went to some interesting places during his trips to Singapore, and here they are.
One arrives in Singapore with Sir Raffles and learns that until the beginning of the XX century there were free roaming tigers in the jungle and convicts were employed to catch stray doges to be used as baits until the man eaters were finally exterminated from the island.
The debate on the pros and cons of caning are discussed, with real life examples that draw the reader into the controversy, whatever his point of view.
The magically harmonious ethnic mix of Singapore is discussed at length, as well as its colonial heritage, the Japanese occupation during WW II and the separation from Malaysia.
All around, a good primer on the country. It won't answer all your questions, but it will stimulate the reader to read more about this extraordinarily successful country, its pride and its contradictions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting read for the plane when you journey to Singapore. Easy to read and full of interesting background information. Written in an easy style.Published on 30 April 2012 by J. Hardie
I think the author pitches this book about Singapore just-right. He admires the "buzz from its amalgam of cultures" and gets involved enough to understand why this society has such... Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2009 by Singapore Relic
Amusing, interesting, knowledgeable.
Appears quite a serious chap, and is willing to engage with the history. Never gets too heavy though. Read more