Sunday, April 27, 2014

Going Home

"Balik Kampong" is a Malay term which essentially means going back (or "balik") to one's home village (or "kampong").  It can sometimes be used in a derogatory sense - for example, one could tell the referee in a football game to "balik kampong" if you disagree with his stupid decisions.  

"Balik Kampong" is also the name of a little book of short stories printed by the Math Paper Press, which I bought in Books Actually. Eight writers were invited to contribute a story about a place in Singapore which he or she had stayed for at least 10 years.  They share with us slices of their memories of the area, glimpses of their lives and of days gone by.

A story of an old man finding a buyer for the home he shared with his wife.  Seven family members remembering their lives in Redhill.  A young girl fascinated by a lighthouse.  The friendship between a Filipino maid and her employer's daughter.  A grandmother who visits with a change of clothing in a red plastic bag. I have my favourite - the vexing and curious story of mysterious disturbances at the museum - and old man burdened with the loss of a childhood friend. 

"Balik Kampong" means, simply, going home to the people and place you left behind.  Strangely enough, roughly what this entire blog is about.

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