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News from Singapore: Book review
Growing up in Ipoh
ONCE UPON A BELL TREE
By Theresa Lim Mun Sim, Illustrated by Khoo Li Yen
READ the real-life adventures of a little girl named
Mun Sim, youngest of four daughters born to a Hakka
family but settled in Ipoh, Malaysia.
Mun Sim tells of her home, her village, her relatives
and her way of life in Ipoh in a simple yet charming
Despite her father's death when she was only two,
young Mun Sim was brought up with much love by her
Grandmother and Mother, in what seems an ideal home.
We are introduced to parts of that happy place, such
as The Stream of Joy Home of the Catfish, Land of the
Dalmations, all recaptured vividly from her childhood
memories and fixed clearly in our minds with a simple
She describes the Rubber Factory and tells what the
rubber tapper does.
We learn about Magpie's Singing Lavatory, and why an
outside toilet took on such a romantic name.
A positive story, and the places and situations are
bound to stir a few memories with the older
And of course, it's also great to read something close
A good reader may be able to cope with this alone Š
occasional black and white line drawings help to break
up the text.
Failing that, it is perfect for reading aloud at
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