Much of my free time in recent months has been spent on my second book - the fieldwork and research phase is largely done, and I’ve moved on to the more challenging writing phase, in which I try to craft and chisel something coherent out of the mountain of material I’ve gathered.
Hence, this blog will be a lot quieter - but I’ll still try to post once in a while, and share a little about the book I’m working on.
Yes, this book will be about Singapore history.
Here’s an abstract from 1851 which I will be putting into my manuscript:
While some Malays were collecting rattans and cutting wood in a piece of jungle near Mr. Dunman’s plantation at Serangoon, they were alarmed by hearing a tiger making his approach through the underwood. They immediately commenced a retreat, but had not cleared the jungle when the tiger came up with them and singling out the fattest man in the party sprang upon him. It had dragged the body some distance ere the man’s companions recovered from the fright into which they had been thrown, and pursued him with their parangs, on which the tiger dropped the body and retreated. The poor man was found in the agonies of death with his throat and face severely lacerated. The body was brought away, but the tiger, it would appear, was determined to have his meal, for the same night he carried off a Chinaman at a short distance from the scene of his morning’s exploit. The Chinaman’s friends on making a search found the body, with one of the legs wanting… The same animal killed another man in the next week.
(This wood engraving is of another tiger encounter in 1835, experienced by Superintendent of Public Works and Convicts George Drumgoole Coleman and his group of convict labourers, but it was so well-drawn I had to put it here.)