By Jovita Ang
Following his virgin foray into humorous fiction, Felix Cheong attempts to burst our sober bubble and tickle us pink yet again with his sequel, Singapore Siu Dai 2: The SG Conversation Upsize!
This sequel delivers more than just giggles and guffaws within the pages of its 51 short stories. Its humour echoes the Singaporean’s interests, convictions and sentiments , which bind us as a nation.
Cheong pokes fun at hot-button topics that many are hesitant to discuss and admit openly. From our kiasuism to the bane of securing an apartment and the realism of celebrating Chinese New Year, no issues are left unturned. Everything is laced with scintillating wit and subtle sarcasm.
In fact, one prevalent issue was the rigid education system in Singapore. Notorious for its penchant for academic excellence, Singapore ranked second in the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) in 2013. Indeed, our education system seemed to churn out young students with an impressive ability of spilling out facts beyond the encyclopaedia.
However, the real concern is whether the education system actually inculcates the right set of values, attitudes and applied skills that would prepare our students for the real world in the long haul.
Another issue involves the equal treatment for immigrants. Despite talks about levelling the playing field for foreigners, it’s hard not to notice the distaste on many commuters’ faces when foreign workers crowd the MRT cabin. Cheong cheekily describes this hypocrisy as “locals giving him wide berth” and “being grateful for extra breathing space”.
His satirical work reflects the problems nestled within our lion city, made easy to digest with his quirk and veracity. A perfect transport companion, the book jabs the drama of Singapore’s socio-political landscape into the reader’s veins. But fret not; the only sting you would feel is on your funny bone.