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Travel, Singapore

Cheryl Mui
Sunday, Jun 29, 2014

Travel, Singapore

Read the book, see the sights

The Straits Times | Cheryl Mui | Sunday, Jun 29, 2014

Husband-and-wife writing team Felicia Low-Jimenez and Adan Jimenez at Rumah Kim Choo, a Peranakan boutique gallery and one of the stops on a literary trail they are leading.

Two upcoming literary trails will take participants on a journey of actual places found in two books by home-grown authors.

The walking trails, to be conducted by the authors, explore two areas, Katong and Changi Village, bringing to life the adventures as told in the books.

They are among the highlights of the inaugural Read! Fest, a festival held till July 20 to mark the 10th anniversary of Read! Singapore, a campaign that aims to promote reading.

With the theme Books That Moved Me, the month-long Read! Fest aims to encourage people to rediscover the pleasure of reading.

The line-up includes more than 100 programmes, such as screenings of book-to-movie adaptations, art exhibitions, workshops and book parties where participants can meet local authors and illustrators.

The first trail, to be held on July 5, will take participants on a tour of landmarks in Changi Village that are nostalgic to author Fanny Lai.

Based on the places featured in her graphic novel Nini In Changi Village published late last year, the trail visits some of Lai's favourite places such as Changi Creek, located to the north of Changi Airport, where there used to be a mangrove swamp, and the Paku Stone Bridge at Sungei Changi.

"I used to jump off the two-storey-high bridge into Sungei Changi with other children," reminisces the 57-year-old, who grew up in Changi Village during the 1950s and 1960s.

She lived in a wooden shophouse then with her parents and five siblings and moved to Marine Parade in the early 1970s when the construction of Changi Airport began.

The author will share the memories of her carefree days as well as Changi Village's history during the two-hour trail.

Other landmarks that will be covered include the Changi Point Ferry Terminal, Changi Chapel and Museum, the Changi Beach Massacre Site and Sree Ramar Temple.

To her, writing about the different places was a way to "preserve the layers of information about our lives and our ancestors" as Singapore is constantly developing.

"The village is a treasure chest of my childhood memories, a place where I can close my eyes and be transported back to the years of innocence," she says.

The other literary trail, to be held on July 12, is also a journey inspired by childhood memories. Felicia Low-Jimenez, 35, one half of the husband- and-wife writing team A.J. Low, grew up in Katong, which is known for its rich Peranakan culture.

It was the first book that Low-Jimenez and her husband Adan Jimenez, 31, wrote together.

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