Exile or Pursuit
by Chia Joo Ming
Hok Leong only knows one thing about his future: he does not want to become an office boy buying coffee for his superiors. Beyond this, he wants only to roam the streets of Singapore with his rough and tumble gang of boys—that is, until he is assigned to be the Chinese tutor for the new girl that has just moved from Indonesia. From here, Hok Leong begins a path through life guided by a tide all his own. He finds himself brushing serendipitously with academics, romances, and friendships, that unexpectedly change his world forever. In a heartfelt story of coming of age, we follow Hok Leong through his many encounters with love and change as he grows into a world far larger than he ever imagined it could be.
(Singapore Literature Prize 2016)
Original language: Chinese (Singapore)
Translated by Sim Wai Chew
Publication date: 1 October 2019