The Singapore Necklace: A Secret Love Across Two Cultures
THE SINGAPORE NECKLACE
Storyline, background and biography
To be displayed in inner folds of jacket / backpage of softcover
The narrative took place in 1914 Singapore in a span of ten months.
A part of the British Straits Settlements finding itself well into the age of the
industrial revolution, due to the opening of the Suez Canal and thanks to
the island's unique location, Singapore grew rapidly into an important
thriving trading post. The city has put itself together into a shipshape and
organized place of commerce but also a proper place of living – the
infrastructure kept abreast of the business development; roads were built,
electricity network replaced gas lights, water was pounded and piped to
industries and residences - but also telephone, telegraph and postal
services were part daily life.
The love story evolved not only in a place where western quality of living
were injected catering for colonial life – clubs, a horse race-course, sports
grounds, and department stores sprung up besides markets, cinemas,
parks, schools and churches – but the account occurred in an era when
Victorian morality of restraint, rigid social codes of conduct and class
system has been instilled. Residential areas were separated based on race,
non-europeans were barred from certain places and were discouraged
from travelling first class.
A love between a European and one from another culture wasn't quite
tolerated then, certainly so were that bond between two men.
In a historic era, just two years after the sinking of the Titanic, in the period
the 1st World War unleashed in Europe and the year that the famous
Singapore Sling was conceived, two young men living in Singapore - a
British and a Chinese - discovered feelings for one another that they
couldn't comprehend themselves. As their curiosity prevailed the mutual
fondness blossomed in the midst of a tropical setting letting trams,
rickshaws, cars, trains and boats transport them on their fine journeys and
The sombre ending of the union was all to blame on the nasty World War
spreading its negativity to the colonies. But in a twist of fate and after a
long wait in limbo, the two lovers were united, free at last.
Jaim Kaan has both Asian and European roots, not only in lineage but also
in domicile, upbringing and education. He has a master's degree in
Architecture from Europe and names painting as one of his better talents.
Through the years he has developed his interest in many different
geographies, cultures and their forms of expression, languages and history.
He recognizes the common threads that bind the four European languages
he speaks and also can point at the influences these have on the colloquial
of the Malay/Indonesian archipelago – inherited from the colonial past -
besides the import of Sanskrit and Arabic words centuries before.
He penned the historical fiction The Singapore Necklace by blending
elements of real history, culture and actual situations and things as of the
year 1914, even original names of places were kept true to the period.
Currently based in Singapore he can at times be found in Java, Bali
Indochina or in Europe.
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