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Other Cities, Other Lives

Other Cities, Other Lives - Chew Kok Chang, Shelly Bryant This is part of a series of books published on behalf of Cultural Medallion literature winners and there lies the problem.

Since those prizes are awarded by the National Arts Council and presented by the President, the 'quality' of the writing is debatable.

Here are the nomination criteria

" Cultural Medallion nominees are assessed upon the extent to which they have achieved or demonstrated all of the following:

Artistic excellence and professional maturity, manifest through an outstanding and distinctive body of work

Extraordinary contribution and leadership in:

Shaping the development of Singapore’s arts and culture;

Advancing his/her field of arts practice; and

Bringing the arts to the local public through educational and/or community development efforts

Being an inspiration and role model to other artists
Good standing and recognition internationally"

As you can see, it does not involve the general reading public but a set of criteria set by a govt body so who are we, the general public to judge the merits of Mr Chew's writing?

A quick read of the book (which was written quite awhile back and given the emperor's new clothes in English) shows the creakiness of the prose and the ideas conveyed, even if they are termed as micro-fiction.

Shame as I am sure Mr Chew has a lot more to say, just not in this book/form.