This is so badly written and with such stilted prose.
The whole 'History book' with a love story slipped into the mix approach is so outdated and it is obvious the author brought nothing to the party.
Lazy. Just lazy.
Just because one lived in Singapore for over a decade doesn't mean it makes one a good writer of the Singaporean psyche, especially when dipping into a country's past.
The Lonely Planet way of throwing everything but the kitchen sink hoping something historical will stick makes for overripe descriptive sentences.