Audio Books Malaysia, Singapore, Burma and The Philippines

 

Malaysia

And I think writing can be a political act, if only to let those people accountable know they are being watched. Literature can be a conscience.

Miguel Syjuco

The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds - Selina Siak Chin Yoke 2016

Set in Malaysia between 1878 and 1941 this historical fiction book tells the story of the life of Chye Hoon, a Malaysian woman of Chinese heritage and her family.

Chye wants to be independent and educated, but she also faces the traditional society values. This struggle makes her role in the family and a prospect for marriage difficult.

The Gift of Rain - Tan Twan Eng and Gordon Griffin 2013

The novel is set in Penang Malaysia in the years just before and during the Second World War. Sixteen year old Philip Hutton has a Chinese mother and a British father, who is the head of a big trading company. But Philip feels alienated from both the Chinese and British communities. He befriends the mysterious Japanese diplomat and aikido master, Hayato Endo. Philip shows Endo Penang and in return Endo teaches him about Japanese language, Zen meditation and trains him in the art of aikido. 

But when the Japanese invade Malaya, threatening to destroy Philip’s family he discovers that his mentor has been harbouring a devastating secret. Philip must decide whether to join the resistance against the Japanese or show his loyalty to Endo by collaborating with the occupying army.

The Garden of Evening Mists - Tan Twan Eng and Anna Bentinck 2012

Awarded with the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012

Malaysia, 1951. Judge Yun Ling Teoh, the survivor of a Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands. There she discovers 'The garden of Evening Mists', the only Japanese garden in Malaysia. The creator of the garden is the Japanese Aritomo, who was once the gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling tries to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in a Japanese war camp. 

As the months pass and while around her a communist guerilla war rages, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to the gardener and his art. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

The Ghost Bride - Yangsze Choo and Harper Audio 2013

Set in Malaya in the 1890’s, Li Lan is offered to marry Lim Tian Chian. But Lim Tiang is dead. According to the old tradition a ghost bride can appease vengeful spirits from the deceased. After drinking a potion Li Lan is transferred to a ghost world and there she discovers more about the lives of Lim Tian and her deceased mother.

The Rice Mother - Rani Manicka and Meera Simhan 2003

This is the story of Lakshmi who moves from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to Malaysia when she is fourteen. During the turbulent years before and after the second World War she raises a family and tries to secure a good future for the ones she loves.

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Singapore

 

Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan and Lynn Chen and 2013

Kevin Kwam is a popular contemporary author from Singapore. Crazy Rich Asians is his debut novel about three super-rich Chinese families and the gossip and scheming that occurs within the Asian jetset when Nicholas Young, the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia, brings home his American-born Chinese girlfriend Rachel Chu. 

Soy Sauce for Beginners - Kirstin Chen and Nancy Wu 2014

Gretchen Lin leaves her house in San Francisco to return to Singapore, where she grew up. There she is faced with her mother’s drinking problem and her father’s artisanal soy sauce business. Whilst her father wants her to stay permanently in Singapore, her mother wants her to go back to pursue her career in San Francisco and save her marriage. But at the end Gretchen has to decide for herself, however difficult.

The Moonlight Palace - Liz Rosenberg and Amy McFadden 2014

Set in Singapore in the 1920’s Agnes Hussein, descendant of the last sultan of Singapore grows up in the Kampong Glam palace, that was given to her family in exchange for handing over Singapore to the British. Now Agnes is seventeen and her family has fallen into poverty. As outside forces conspire to steal the palace out from under them, Agnes struggles to save her family.

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Myanmar / Burma

 

The Narrow Road to the Deep North - Richard Flanagan 2014

Winner of the Man Booker Prize

In the despair of a Japanese prisoner of war camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, cholera and torture he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

A Daughter's Memoir of Burma - Wendy Law-Yone 2016

Wendy Law-Yone is the daughter of Ed Law-Yone, the founder and chief editor of 'The Nation', Burma's leading postwar English-language newspaper. In 1962, when Wendy was fifteen, a military coup overthrew the civilian government and her father was arrested and The Nation was not to be published any longer. After his release Ed Law-Yone exiled to America with his wife and children and never gave up hope that Burma would one day adopt a new democratic government. When Ed died in 1980 he left in Wendy’s care documents about Burma’s history. It took the author more then 20 years to finish this personal memoir and vivid history of Myanmar, formerly Burma, during decades of roiling upheaval.

The Glass Palace - Amitav Ghosh and Simon Vance 2010

Primarily set in Burma and India at the beginning of the British invasion in Burma in 1885 through the Second World War up to the 1980’s. The story is about Rajkumar, an Indian street orphan who falls in love with Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen. After the British soldiers force the Royal Family out of their residence (the Glass Palace) in Mandalay they are forced to go into exile in a small town in India. 

With the help of a Chinese merchant Rajkumar builds up a logging business in upper Burma and becomes a rich man. But he can not forget Dolly and he goes in search for her…

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel - Jan-Philipp Sendker and Cassandra Campbell 2012

When a successful New York lawyer, Tin Win, suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia have any idea where he might be…until they find an unmailed love letter.  Many years ago Tin Win wrote this letter to a Burmese woman, Mi Mi. Tin Win never told his wife or his children anything about his life before he came to America and Julia and her mother never heard of Mi Mi. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village Kalaw in Burma where she meets an mysterious old man, U Ba. U Ba tells Julia the romantic and tragic story of her father, of his childhood blindness, his education at the monastery, and about his passion for Mi Mi.

A Well-Tempered Heart: A Novel - Jan-Philipp Sendker and Cassandra Campbel 2014

Sequel to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.

Almost ten years have passed since Julia Win came back from Burma, her father’s native country. Since her return to New York, she has meant to go to Burma again but never got around to it. Tired and unhappy with her private and professional life and after receiving a letter from U Ba, she decides to go back to Burma. There Julia learns about the tragic story of Nu Nu, a Burmese woman, and her two sons, child soldiers when Burma was at war.

Burmese Days - George Orwell and Frederick Davidson 2011

Based on Orwell’s experiences as a policeman in Burma, this was one of the first novels that revealed the dark side of the British colonial rule. The stories of Flory, a white timber merchant, of the Indian Dr Veraswami and U Po Kyin, a corrupt magistrate, illustrate the exploitation of people and resources, all managed by a corrupt and incompetent imperial bureaucracy.

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The Philippines

 

A Pledge of Silence - Flora J. Solomon and Kate Rudd 2015

Margie Bauer joins the US Army as a nurse in 1941 and is assigned to a hospital in Manila. But with the attack of Pearl Harbour in December of that year the U.S. Army evacuates to the jungles of Bataan where Margie tends to the wounded and dying soldiers in open-air field hospitals. When Margie is captured by the Japanese she is imprisoned in Santo Tomas Internment Camp. For the next three years, Margie puts everything in surviving the harsh environment where she faces brutality, starvation, and loss.

Ilustrado: A Novel - Miguel Syjuco and William Dufris 2010

It begins with a body. On a clear day in winter, the battered corpse of Crispin Salvador is pulled from the Hudson River—taken from the world is the controversial lion of Philippine literature. Gone, too, is the only manuscript of his final book, a work meant to rescue him from obscurity by exposing the crimes of the Filipino ruling families. Miguel, his student and only remaining friend, sets out for Manila to investigate and discovers the intriguing history of a family.

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© 2016 Asia Books by J.Kruithof