Wednesday 9 December 2020

#bookreview: Payoh | Jim Tan

PayohPayoh by Jim Tan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was bored and didn't want to read something long, so I picked this up while surfing PNM on Libby. It's a pretty quick read (Libby tells me I finished it in 1 hour 50 mins) and, other than a few bombastic words assigned to the pompous Leonardo Owl, a really easy read. It's shelved in YA, at any rate.

Payoh is about JG Chan, a retired professor, and how he met the food court cleaner, Alphonsus Goh, at the first Changi Prison Writing Workshop. Interspersed between JG's narrative and musings is Alphonsus's novel, "Payoh".

We are less equal only because we allow ourselves to be
Goh's "Payoh" reads like a modernised, Singaporeanised retelling of Animal Farm in some ways, where a community of birds take over a protected bird sanctuary from the humans. They set up a leadership team. Which turns into a political party. And then... well, it's not hard to predict.

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