Written by former environmental science lecturer Tan Kok Yang, From The Blue Windows is an autobiography that takes us down memory lane. Born in Singapore in the 1950s, Tan and his family moved to a government rental flat at Margaret Drive after a fire destroyed their home at River Valley. Like many of us who grew up in Queenstown from the 1960s to the 1980s, Tan writes about many familiar sights and sounds like the street food, the games that children played and even the dentist who operated from his kitchen.
Without the plot and drama of a novel, From The Blue Windows lacks elements that may appeal to people who can’t identify with either the era or the location. Tan’s life story is hardly unique or sensational. The writing is quite simple, concise and readable, but lacks “colour”.
I see this book as a collector’s item for those who can appreciate the nostalgia – not this new generation of touchscreen addicts. Nevertheless, Tan bares his soul and delves quite deeply into his family affairs, even revealing the contents of some love letters. This adds to the readability and avoids the mistake of making the book sound too academic.
This book was published with support from the National Arts Council.
© Chan Joon Yee