自从中学时期，虽然我在一所英校就读，但听的一律是 FM 93。3 醉心频道。所以我对”小寒”并不陌生。我知道她是个有名的作词家，但从不知道她长的什么样，也不晓得她是土生土长的新加坡人，年龄和我也不差很远。
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it took me a long time to complete, mainly because my speed of reading Chinese is akin to reading it aloud. 以上的文章也是呕心沥血地挤出来的。
Nonetheless, it was worth the effort. It is much like a book of advice on life to her only daughter, borne out of her humble background, struggles and successes.
Her pearls of wisdom accumulated over the years, dished out with irreverent humour, are very refreshing and counter-cultural in many ways. It was a breath of fresh air to me, to hear her perspectives, on the pursuit of excellence (满分），especially in the familiar context of being a fellow Singaporean mum with a daughter in primary school.
I share her perspectives in so many ways, and her ability to prevail with good sense amidst the unbalanced craziness of the average Singaporean kiasu parent.
I appreciated her confident assured tone in spelling out what she felt was the most important piece of advice to her daughter in the whole book – how a mother should always put across to her child that she is much more than her role as a mother.
I think this is a known but often overlooked and under-emphasised point. When mothers become obsessed with their children (or their children’s success) to the point of losing their own personhood and becoming nothing more than their role as a mother (noble as it may sound), then it more often than not spells trouble for their children and other relationships, not to mention the long-term well-being of the woman herself.
For after the chicks fly the nest, which happens earlier than ever these days, what then for the woman who has focused on nothing else but them? And who more often than not, expects a debt of gratitude from her children that can be burdensome and hard to repay, in terms of matching up to expectations, since these expectations are likely to be proportionate to the sacrifice made.
I also appreciated the frank sharing of her personal journey through depression, her willingness to tell her story without fear of stigma. And how going through that helped her to realise what was truly important in life, and how depression can be very real and not unlikely, even for someone who outwardly looks like she ‘has it all’.
Married to a doctor and herself wielding a PhD in virology, with numerous awards as a lyricist, Xiao Han (aka Lin Kebang, as I finally found out after extensive sleuthing) still has both feet firmly on the ground.
I am so glad that she wrote this book, and employ her considerable influence in putting forth a counter-cultural point of view. I hope her worldview gains traction with more people, such that it injects a much-needed dose of sanity in our society, and that young girls reading this, will realise that they need not pursue the illusive and ultimately empty dream of being 100% perfect.
All in all, this was a splendidly enjoyable book, written by an intelligent, compassionate and thoughtful Singaporean, whose prose and cutting humour deftly reflect her gift as a lyricist.