Bookends

Hidayah Amin.
Hidayah Amin.PHOTO: IMRAN RASHID

Home-grown writer Hidayah Amin (left), founder of research consultancy Archipelago Consultancy and publisher at Helang Books, released her book, Kampung Tempe: Voices From A Malay Village, last month.

It was co-written with Dr Yahaya Sanusi, a Singaporean engineering manager who grew up in Kampung Tempe, which was off Bukit Timah Road.

The book takes a look at the kampung's history, the lives of the villagers and how food shortage led to the production of tempe (fermented soya bean cakes).

Hidayah, 44, obtained her master's degrees from Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, the United States and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Her book, The Mango Tree, won the Hedwig Anuar Children's Award 2015 - a biennial award given to an outstanding children's book written by a Singapore citizen or permanent resident. She has also produced documentaries, audio resources and short films.

What are you reading? I recently finished Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I picked it up after watching the movie trailer. The movie will be released on Sept 29. I was intrigued by the storyline, the quirkiness, mystery, fantasy and depiction of children.

The story is about a teenage boy's adventure on a Welsh island where he comes across an abandoned orphanage. The author wrote the story based on random vernacular photographs that he had collected.


Kampung Tempe: Voices From A Malay Village by Yahaya Sanusi and Hidayah Amin.

What books would you save from a burning house? If I have to save a book, it would be the first book I wrote, Gedung Kuning: Memories Of A Malay Childhood.

It chronicled my family history from 1855 to 1999. Gedung kuning, or the yellow mansion, was my childhood home in Kampong Glam. The government acquired it under the Land Acquisition Act in 1999.


Gedung Kuning: Memories Of A Malay Childhood by Hidayah Amin.

My late mum told me that if we do not write our story, others would write it for us. By sharing my stories, I would be preserving my heritage and indirectly encouraging others to share their family stories. Hence, the book is precious to me.


Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

• Kampung Tempe: Voices From A Malay Village by Yahaya Sanusi and Hidayah Amin (2016, Helang Books, $34.24), Gedung Kuning: Memories Of A Malay Childhood by Hidayah Amin (2010, Helang Books and Singapore Heritage Society, $26.64) and Miss Peregrine’s HomeFor Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2013, Quirk Books, $18.13), are available at Books Kinokuniya.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 21, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe