Merdeka Generation: A Milo tin changed her life

In the early 1980s, Ms Josephine Chia moved to Britain to pursue a master's in creative writing. She returned to live in Singapore in 2012, and, over the years, has written several books. In 2014, her book, Kampong Spirit Gotong Royong: Life In Poton
In the early 1980s, Ms Josephine Chia moved to Britain to pursue a master's in creative writing. She returned to live in Singapore in 2012, and, over the years, has written several books. In 2014, her book, Kampong Spirit Gotong Royong: Life In Potong Pasir 1955 To 1965, won the Singapore Literature Prize for non-fiction.ST PHOTO: ZHANG XUAN
A flooded area near the Kallang River, on the fringe of Kampung Potong Pasir, which was an area prone to flooding when Ms Chia lived there.
A flooded area near the Kallang River, on the fringe of Kampung Potong Pasir, which was an area prone to flooding when Ms Chia lived there.ST FILE PHOTO
A street in Kampung Potong Pasir, the village where Ms Chia lived. She had only the bare necessities growing up in a small attap house there.
A street in Kampung Potong Pasir, the village where Ms Chia lived. She had only the bare necessities growing up in a small attap house there.ST FILE PHOTO

While the pioneer leaders were the architects of Singapore, everyday heroes helped build society here. This is another story of our Merdeka Generation, those born in the 1950s who lived and persevered through a tumultuous period.

A tin of Milo changed Ms Josephine Chia's life.

When she was seven years old, she spotted one outside a shop and, even though she knew what it was, it dawned on her that she could not read the words on it.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2019, with the headline 'A Milo tin changed her life'. Print Edition | Subscribe