By JAYANTHI SANKAR
Tabula Rasa in Latin means ‘clean/blank slate’. It is a theory that proposes that a person is born with no mental content and the experiences of life makes them wise.
This book is a historical fiction with multiple events in the timeline not sequenced in an order. It starts from 1200s to the present with different characters from varied cultures that participated significantly in building Singapore. The life of an economically backward, illegal immigrants, labour class, dockyard workers, night soil collectors etc. who all contributed in the nation building have been narrated in stories which later are linked to complete the puzzle. The legendary stories of the founding father of Singapura, the tyranny of the Japanese, followed by the inception of Singapore in British colony play a significant part in the chronology.
▪️My opinion: 🇸🇬
Honestly, I found this book quite difficult to engross into the story. The narration was quite offbeat as per my liking. The transition of the various timelines weren’t smooth and frequent as well, which led to baffling and understanding the relevance as well. The learning was quite good in many sections but could have been more interesting as well.
I did learn a lot about Singapore’s history from this book. We know Singapore as ‘Asia’s Economic Tiger’ and a thriving global financial hub, went under a series of economic, pandemic and cultural altercation and has a captivating legendary past.
All in all it was interesting to read about Singapore and it’s contribution in the world but I was disappointed with the dry narration.