Bookends

Beth Yap, 22, released her debut LP, Beauty For Ashes, on May 31. Better known by her stage name bittymacbeth, the singer- songwriter graduated from Singapore Polytechnic's Diploma of Music and Audio Technology programme in 2014.

Beauty For Ashes was written and produced by Yap, and collaborators include Singapore artists such as Dru Chen, Feng Lee, Sim Shao Jean, Ruth Ling, Tim De Cotta and Benjamin Kheng. The eight-track album is available on iTunes. What are you reading now? I recently finished What Gives Us Our Names by Alvin Pang, a collection of short prose with one-word titles such as "hope" and "community". He personifies these values and creates backstories for each of them. In the chapter Freedom, he writes: "People come from far away to learn her song, but she would only take the ones who already knew how to sing it by heart."

My conclusion is that this is a metaphor for how one must have an innate yearning for freedom. Just as a caged animal does not know what it means to be free until it has experienced life outside the cage, we don't know what freedom is until it has been taken away from us.

It's easy to read which is good because sometimes I get bored reading books with many long chapters. While this is easy to digest, there is still plenty of food for thought. What book would you save from a burning house? To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which I studied for my O-level literature examination. Once I got past the really slow beginning, I was riveted by the story, themes and characters. Plus, I put so much effort into making notes in that book that it's of great sentimental value to me.


Beth Yap.

Atticus is my favourite character. He is just and merciful, righteous and compassionate. He puts his money where his mouth is and leads by example. He doesn't just tell people to do the right thing, but he goes out and does it regardless of societal backlash.


What Gives Us Our Names by Alvin Pang (above) and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

• What Gives Us Our Names by Alvin Pang (Math Paper Press, 2011, $10.70) and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Cornerstone, 2015, $19.49) are available at Books Kinokuniya.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 26, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe