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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

A Tiger Remembers

The Way We Were in Singapore

Born in the Year of the Fire Tiger, Ann Wee moved to Singapore in 1950 to marry into a Singaporean Chinese family, entering into a new world of cultural expectations and domestic rituals. She went on to become a pioneer in Singapore’s fledging social welfare department and is often described as the founding mother of social work in Singapore. In A Tiger Remembers, she draws on her decades of experience getting to know the many shapes and forms of the Singapore family and witnessing how they transformed since the ’50s.
Wee’s talent is for remembering and paying homage to the things history books often deem insignificant—things that can contain some of the most illuminating details about the day to day inner workings of families from many backgrounds, such as terms of endearment; the emotional nuance in social relations; questions of hygiene; the stories of convicts; tales of ghost wives and changeling babies; anecdotes from rural clan settlements and migrant dormitories; and the migration of families from squatter settlements into public housing. Affectionately observed and wittily narrated, with a deep appreciation of how far Singapore has come, this book brings to life generations of social change through a focus on the institution of the family.

166 pages | 12 halftones | 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 | © 2017

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

Biography and Letters

Social Work

Sociology: Sociology--Marriage and Family

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“In narrating the stories of people and places Wee encountered in her years of cross-cultural learning in Singapore and Malaya (now Malaysia), she unfolds untold stories of our past. They will be new to many young Singaporeans today. I am certain this memoir will stimulate important conversations about our past heritage and culture.”

S. R. Nathan, president of Singapore (1999–2011)

“The account of changes in the implementation of adoption policies, the evolution of sanitation, the legacies of war-time prostitution in an occupied naval town, the evolution of gangs and use of violence, and the rituals of mourning hold a sociological lens over personal experience...a timely observation [of] a world in turmoil over identity in rapidly changing social contexts, and one worthy of a social work pioneer.”

David N. Jones | British Journal of Social Work

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