Seen through the eyes of one family, this is a moving historical fiction novel of the scourge of opium, and one man's plight and rise in fortune in British Malaya.
In the southern Province of Guangxi amidst the turmoil of the Taiping Rebellion and the Opium War, a woman is kidnapped and her husband shipped out as a coolie to Singapore. Yet from despair came good fortune.
Seen through the eyes of one family, this is a moving story of the scourge of opium and one man's plight and rise in fortune in British Malaya.
New Beginnings won First Prize in the Fiction Category at the Popular Star Readers Choice Awards 2014.
A strong story line … (this book) takes us from the turbulence of a China unmercifully exploited
with opium by the western powers in Victorian times, to the race and clan rivalries of an emerging
Singapore and Malaya … The refinement and the thuggery of China alike, the bustle of Singapore and
the tropical potential of Malaya in those days are all made to feel familiar rather than foreign,
the high emotions to be shared rather than differentiate us. The characters are entirely believable,
the degree of background ‘colour’ is perfectly judged, and the pace seductive.
Editor of The Corporal and the Celestials
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Chan Ling Yap was educated in Malaysia and the UK. She has a PhD in economics and was Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Malaya and then Senior Economist and Secretary of the Intergovernmental Group on Rice in the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations in Rome. She now lives in the UK.
Her novels New Beginnings and Where the Sunrise is Red, won the Readers Popular Readers' Choice Award (Malaysia) in 2014 and 2019 respectively, while both Sweet Offerings and Bitter-Sweet Harvest were shortlisted for the award.
The four novels, Sweet Offerings, Bitter-Sweet Harvest, New Beginnings and A Flash of Water, form a quartet, which traces the lives of one family against the turbulent political, economic and social changes in China and Malaya. Each, however, stands on its own.