New Singaporean Children’s Book ‘The Phantom Of Oxley Castle’ Is About 38 Oxley Road, But Not Really

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The Phantom Of Oxley Castle: Epigram Books To Release Children’s Picture Book That Might Remind You About The Oxley Road Saga

The Oxley Road Saga is probably one of the biggest and most embarrassing events that occurred in Singapore in 2017. As such, we were at the edge of our seats when local publisher Epigram Books, announced that they would be releasing its latest masterpiece — a children’s picture book titled The Phantom Of Oxley Castle.

Epigram Books prides itself for “putting together well-designed and thought-provoking titles”. So, we were understandably enthused at the possibility of caricatures of the Lee family.

Eager to find out more, we spoke to co-author Chloe Tong to get a sneak preview behind the conceptualization of The Phantom of Oxley Castle.

Any resemblance is purely fictional

The Phantom Of Oxley Castle has an original plot that bears little resemblance to real life events.

The fairy tale revolves around three siblings: Prince Hector, Princess Harriet and Prince Humphrey, as well as their butler OB Markus. The family resides in Oxley Castle, a grand white building in the middle of a tropical island. One night, the siblings hear a ghostly sound echoing through the castle.

Curious to discover the source of the mysterious noise, the trio venture on a quest in search of answers. However, they must tread careful so as to elude the watchful eye of OB Markus, who tries to get the children back in bed.

All these occur without the knowledge of the children’s father who is not around.

Of course, there might a bigger moral behind this whole story, but we won’t know until the book is released.

Laughing at awkward Singaporean events

With Sonny Liew’s Eisner-winning graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye gaining international traction, one would assume that his success has paved the way for more publishers to release literary works that deal with Singapore’s political landscape.

However, both Ms Tong and Epigram Books distance themselves away from that genre. A spokesperson for Epigram shared with us that The Phantom of Oxley Castle is “simply a fairy tale about three young royals on an adventure when their parents are out”.

Ms Tong told MustShareNews that although the “general storyline was easy to come up with, it took quite a lot of effort to fit in all the political puns and quips”. Vocabulary used by public figures were weaved into the story to make it identifiable for the local community.

Although there are some blatant similarities that the fairy tale shares with the Oxley Road saga, Ms Tong cautioned against reading too much into the puns and allusions. The Warwick University post-graduate student shared that although “the whole country was having a conversation about the Oxley Road saga, [her]publisher and co-writer felt that there was no need to add to it”.

Ms Tong revealed that the fairy tale was meant to show Singaporeans that “humour and art are great ways of dealing with awkward issues”. In this case, a national issue that gained global traction.

Visit Oxley Castle on 18 Nov

If you like what you have seen so far, then head down to the Blue Room at The Arts House on 18 Nov for the official book launch. The event commences at 4pm, and promises fun-filled activities, book readings, and of course, the sale of this must-grab fairytale.

Alternatively, you can pre-order a copy here.

Featured image from of Epigram Books.

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