author - translator - poet - academic
From Kerala to Singapore:
Voices from the Singapore Malayalee Community
This book traces the lives of Malayalees in Singapore through their memories and experiences of moving from Kerala to Singapore and how their families subsequently built their lives here, slowly sinking their roots and becoming Singapore Malayalees. From Kerala to Singapore is the result of rigorous research into the relatively little-known Singapore Malayalees, and provides a comprehensive insight into a rich and fascinating community that has made a rich contribution to the country.
This book gathers together an academic account of migration, more than 100 personal narratives - which are complemented by specially commissioned photo portraits and personal family memorabilia - and dozens of meticulously researched family trees. The ambition of this book is unmatched; never before has there been a study of the Singapore Malayalees - or indeed any ethnic community in Singapore - that simultaneously comprises academic research, oral testimonies, portrait photography, personal memorabilia and genealogical study.
At the award ceremony of the Pravasi Express Award 2017
With Minister A K Balan, Minister of Law, Cultural Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Kerala, India (left) and Mr Rajesh Gopalkrishnan, Editor, Pravasi Express (Right)
What is the significance of this book to Singapore? This book is important for Singapore because the story of the Malayalees is part of the larger story of Singapore. The story of Singapore should not just be told by the government. It is everybody’s story. The story of Singapore is a very big story within which we accommodate many other stories. I am very pleased that the Malayalee community has written their story
Prof. Tommy Koh
...herculean effort by two young authors to tell the story of Malayalees in Singapore through interviews with a cross-section of that community. For those interested in the ethnography of the various Indian ethnic groups in Singapore, this book is a boon.
Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, The Institute of South Asian Studies
...a gem in the literature of diasporic studies. Based on original and assiduous research, and with the inclusion of photographs and documents, many hitherto unseen, the book is a treasure trove of information on the Malayalee community in Singapore.
Ambassador K Kesavapany, Adjunct Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
It is a brilliant work in auto-ethnography and a skillfully crafted work of 'sociological imagination' that beautifully combines experience, observation and reflection which makes it quite a reader-friendly boo to all academic and non-academic readers alike.
Professor Antony Palackal, Sociologist, University of Kerala
This is a superb collection of stories about migration. Here are tales of partings and loss but embedded in them are stories of new beginnings. Via descriptions of sea voyages, letters home to anxious mothers about failed culinary experiments and hints of assimilation such as the growth of Malayalee associations, these are narratives which display the manner in which the human spirit endures and develops and prospers in the face of change.
Jaishree Misra, Author