As the years go by and Singaporeans increasingly look to digital sources for entertainment, it’s nice to know that there has been a literary constant for almost 35 years.
That is True Singapore Ghost Stories (TSGS), a series that has been around since 1989.
Fans will be happy to know that the latest TSGS book is now out in bookstores.
In a reflection of the times, there’s a chapter on a relatively new phenomenon — “Wokeism”.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (29 Nov), TSGS author Russell Lee announced that Book 27 had been launched at “all good bookstores”.
In a comment below, he replied to a netizen, clarifying that it would be sold at bookstores like Popular, Kinokuniya, and Times.
It’s also available on the website of local publishers Flame Of The Forest, retailing at S$10.69.
In his post, Mr Lee wrote that the latest edition of TSGS is his “most important” in almost 35 years.
Though he didn’t elaborate on this, he shared a preview of the back cover.
Apparently, the new book includes a section where he investigates “wokeism”, described as “a new cult”.
The blurb continues to say that,
A tsunami of evil is sweeping many Western liberal democracies and threatens to unravel societies in Asia too.
It’s good to know that Mr Lee is keeping up with the times, as “wokeism” definitely isn’t something that existed when his first TSGS book was released way back in 1989.
For the uninitiated, “wokeism” is defined by the Collins Dictionary as:
the behaviour and attitudes of people who are sensitive to social and political injustice.
Some stories in the book with an unmistakably local flavour include “Pontianak of Changi Point”, “Angel of Change Alley” and “The Spirits of Bugis Street”.
Mr Lee himself is something of a mystery man.
Though he’s been releasing books for decades, nobody knows what he looks like. In all his social media posts, he’s clad in an all-black ensemble including a trenchcoat, gloves, and hat, with his face fully covered.
He’s also attended many book signings, but always in the same get-up.
The only thing he’s revealed about himself is that he’s Singaporean, “as Singaporean as the five stars and crescent moon on the flag”, as he said in an Instagram post in 2019.
Following the publishing of his latest book, he confirmed on Facebook that there will be signings for it, where he will presumably be all covered up again.
While some have expressed a desire to see the author’s face, this is not likely to happen any time soon.
Due to its longevity, TSGS is undoubtedly a genuine Singapore institution, with many of us growing up with the books.
Singaporeans young and old, but especially those who remember the days before social media and digital entertainment, would recognise the simple but iconic cover design with trademark creepy eyes.
Back then, youths would huddle around a copy to give themselves a good scare.
It’s no wonder, then, that the series has sold over 1.5 million copies, according to Flame Of The Forest. This includes a scarcely believable 30,000 copies in three months.
Another throwback to bygone times is the price of the books — TSGS has kept to its original price of S$9.90 per book (though the online price has added 8% GST), defying the rampage of inflation.
The most recent volume before this was Book 26, released in late 2020 after a three-year gap.
Now that Mr Lee has released another one after another three years, his fans are probably already looking forward to the next one.
Let’s hope they won’t have to wait too long.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book retailer has closed a slew of its stores over the last few years.
We can’t believe ‘The Eras Tour’ is finally right around the corner.
She called on everyone to stand on the side of humanity.
The victim sustained fractures to her elbow, hip and pelvis.
The wallet also contained the owner's work permit.
She even prepares dishes for them during festive occasions.