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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

If We Dream Too Long

Widely regarded as the first Singapore novel, If We Dream Too Long explores the dilemmas and challenges faced by its hero, Kwang Meng, as he navigates the difficult transitional period between youthful aspirations and the external demands of society and family. Shy and sensitive, he feels detached from mainstream life and is unable to identify with the values that animate his friends. Kwang Meng takes refuge in dreams of exotic faraway places, and imagines merging himself with the sea, which he loves. Yet amidst this uncertainty, the reader feels that all is not lost, that the young dreamer will eventually find his way. Kwang Meng’s experiences reflect the author’s fascination with the question of self amidst the dreariness and aimlessness of an increasingly urbanized and materialistic Asian society. This book also provides a fascinating portrait of Singapore as it was in the 1960s, a landscape and society that have undergone many changes but remain faintly visible in modern Singapore. Since its first publication in 1972, If We Dream Too Long has moved and delighted generations of readers. This much-loved novel has been used as a text in university literature courses in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and has been translated into Tagalog and Russian. «Goh Poh Seng’s If We Dream Too Long remains a landmark in Singapore literature. It is also a wonderful read. For those from his generation, it will be wonderful to have him with us again, while for an entire younger generation who may not have read his work, Dr. Goh’s writing is a testament to Singapore’s literary heritage.» -Phan Ming Yen, The Arts House

178 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2010

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia


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“Considered Singapore's first novel, this coming-of-age story is about a young ennui-filled clerk's search for meaning and fulfilment in a rapidly urbanising Singapore.”

Straits Times

Table of Contents

Goh Poh Seng’s If We Dream Too Long: An Appreciation
If We Dream Too Long

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