Thursday, April 24, 2014

Borneo post 4

Writing skills
Ann said she and her siblings developed their skills in English writing at an early age.
Her father, John Chan, a former divisional education officer, laid that foundation for them.
“There were nine of us and because dad had so many children, he couldn’t afford to take us for holidays. Every day, during the holidays, he would give us each a title for our composition. We all had to write our own stories and dad would correct them in the evening.
“I think that was how he instilled the love of writing in our hearts and it made our English really good,” she said.
Ann got her first material published when she was in Form Two and she was paid five dollars for it. Since then, she has been writing all her life and many of her works can be found online.
Unlike her first book whose only input was herself, her second contained contributions from her siblings. She started writing the manuscript in 2006.
“When my father died in Kuching in 2006, I went back to Singapore and I couldn’t sleep, so I started writing. I then wrote to my siblings and they said it was good.
“We did like hundreds of emails. They encouraged me and offered me some recollections and reminiscences, so it was everybody contributing. That was the first manuscript,” she recalled.
The book was intended as her brother’s 60th birthday gift.
She explained the people in Sarawak, especially among the Chinese community, could relate to the book as it traces their roots and identities.
“From China to Borneo and Beyond kindled a lot of interests in the state. I am very happy to hear a publisher is going to print a Chinese version of it.”

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