Sweet Offerings a first novel by Chan Ling Yap (Malaysian Fiction in the UK)

by Susan Abraham

As a fellow Malaysian writer in Ireland, I was thrilled to discover on the web – and only just – that former Malaysian lecturer at the University of Malaya Chan Ling Yap who later became a food specialist in Rome and is now resident in England, has published her first work of fiction called Sweet Offerings (ISBN  978-1906710989  £8.99)  by Pen Press Partnership Publishing UK.

Better still, Chan’s debut novel is featured at this year’s London Book Fair.

Below is a short synopsis of the historical work of fiction, aptly described by Pen Press which offers a complete publishing service at their offices in Brighton. As a commissioned publishing service, Chan couldn’t be in better hands:

Set in the late 1930s and 1960s, this is the tale of Mei Yin, a young Chinese girl from an impoverished family. Her destiny is shaped when she is sent to Kuala Lumpar to become the ward and companion of the tyrannical and bitter Su Hei who is looking for a suitable wife for her son Ming Kong… and ultimately a grandson and heir to the family dynasty.

“Sweet Offerings” is not just a fictional story of the events that ripped one family apart, but a taste of Malaysia’s historical political and cultural changes during its transition from colonial rule to independence and beyond.

On her website, Chan explains that the title of her novel was taken from the dish lin qi kung meaning a light syrup with lotus seeds and too, a fruit longan with which to sweeten, soothe and balance the yin and yang (energy harmony) of the body. Chan goes on to describe the priceless value of a traditional tea  infused and sweeten with the same ingredients so as to subdue suffering or bitterness.

Chan Ling Yap is holder of a PhD in Economics. She worked at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome for 19 years. In the past, Chan has also written technical books, academic and professional papers. Sweet Offerings is her first work of fiction.

The rose-coloured porcelain bowl on the book cover triggers tender memories of open air coffeeshops in Malaysia – famous roadside stalls – with aromas of curries, soups and fried noodles wafting about while noisy patrons sat  on wooden stools, eager  to dive into those tasty dishes with their clicking chopsticks.  Porcelain bowls, plates and spoons claimed a special novelty all their own before plastic cutlery was later introduced.

My hunch at first glance is that Chan’s story will stay nothing short of alluring.

Read some flattering Amazon reviews Here.

Catch a few paragraphs of Sweet Offering Here.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Pamela Sundram on November 11, 2010 at 2:58 am

    I just cannot put this book down. A real roller-coaster of emotions. It is just typical of the old days and how a Chinese man could have as many wives as he could afford. All the history, the Japanese occupation and cultural changes during the colonial rule to independence is well written. I cannot wait for her next book!!!!!!


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