When Neil Humphreys’s Notes from an Even Smaller Island was first published in 2001, it created quite a stir. I kept seeing the book everywhere I go, but I was not the least bit interested, because I thought “what can an ang moh tell me about Singapore that I don’t already know?”
Years passed by and after reading all the sad books such as In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom and When Breath Becomes Air, I needed something a little more lighthearted. Many people have commented that Neil Humphreys’s works are hilarious, so I decided to check them out for myself.
I try not to buy physical books anymore, I like buying the Kindle version on Amazon and reading them on my Kindle app or my Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader. I have no choice but I couldn't find his Notes from an Even Smaller Island so I got the 3-in-1 version by the name of Complete Notes from Singapore The Omnibus Edition.
After reading all three books, I have declared myself a Neil Humphreys fan. He talks about topics which I have always thought to myself but never had the guts to say out. I am humbled that an ang moh who stays 10 years in Singapore knows more about Singapore than me who have stayed in Singapore for more than 20 years. I applaud Neil Humphreys for his keen sense of observation and humor, turning peculiar residents of Toa Payoh into endearing characters.
I was sad that he was leaving Singapore but I know that he returned in 2012 and have since produced two more books, Return to a Sexy Island: Notes from New Singapore and Saving a Sexier Island: Notes from Old Singapore. Till then, I am going to look for that Sembawang Hot Spring.