Recently, I discovered another 6 great books.
When I flipped through this book, I was pleasantly surprised to realise that it was about my old church friend Dr Tan Lai Yong. His story is one that is indeed worth writing a picture book about, to inspire children for generations to come.
In simple language that is suitable for those in Primary 5 or 6 to read by themselves (or to be read aloud to younger kids), the book tells the story of Lai Yong’s growing up years, his dream to be a doctor who helps those who are most in need, and his subsequent work of training barefoot doctors in Yunnan, China.
Although the book takes some literary license in idealising him as this model child （超级懂事的乖孩子）, I suppose it doesn’t detract too much from the main story. His heart for the poor and needy has always been sincere, and his work amongst them has persisted through the years. From being the only doctor in his time to volunteer to serve in prisons in Singapore, to working in the remote village of Xi Shuang Ban Na amongst the ethnic minorities in Yunnan, to setting up a clinic for those who needed prosthetic limbs in Kunming later, to serving in Healthserve in Singapore and then reaching out to the overlooked invisible foreign workers in Singapore…… Lai Yong has set us a true example to follow.
I had gone on a 2 week mission trip with 3 friends to Kunming when I was 19, and it was a really eye-opening experience. He brought us to a leper’s village high up in the mountainside, as we sought to minister in whatever small way we could. We went to plant trees with university students, travel long distances to a village school to do health check ups, run up and down a hospital to seek treatment for a little orphan baby with congenital problems who had been brought to the city by a Caucasian missionary who ran that village orphanage…… It was also encouraging to fellowship with his wife Lay Chin and two kids, who have since grown to be fine young adults.
So it was wonderful to read this book with my kids, and I made sure I filled them in on the key point that it missed. Which is the fact that his raison d’être was to exemplify the love of Christ to others. From his Varsity Christian Fellowship days as a doctor in training, to his many sermons in his home church and beyond whenever he was on home leave in his 20 years as a missionary, Lai Yong’s faith has always been the reason why he does all that he does.
Reading this book was a good reminder to care for those less fortunate around us, and to remember to treat everyone we come across in our work and leisure, as a human being who is of great worth in God’s sight.
I found this book very meaningful too.
Written from the perspective of a mother whose daughter did a “Hair for Hope”, this was a heartwarming story of a class who decided to rally around a classmate with cancer. I found it a good book that gave me a chance to discuss these issues, and encourage empathy in the kids.
I think I’m probably super late to the game, since I’ve only just discovered Patrick Yee’s awesome books. And he’s written more than 100!
The four below are illustrated by him, with《左左和右右》and《会说话的肥猫》being both written and illustrated by him.
The books are very heartwarming, and tears welled up in my eyes when I read the ending of three of the books above. Good literature tends to have that effect!
《妈姐的金鱼灯笼》is also historically significant (as is 《爱的故事》I suppose). Love those books that give our children insight into Singapore of old, and pays tribute to those who made Singapore what it is today through sacrificial love. 《妈姐的金鱼灯笼》continues to be relevant, for though 妈姐s no longer exist, foreign domestic workers are very much woven into the fabric of our society.
Here are some pages – don’t you just love seeing multi-racial Singapore in a picture book?
The text in these books are slightly longer and more involved, and take more time to read. Still, they make for good bedtime stories to read to my girls!