Saturday, April 30, 2011


by Mo [that's what it says one one of the three title pages]

What kind of people would pay S$15 for a book merely the size of a men's wallet with crisp pages of sometimes imperfect English? I would imagine it's the kind of people who dream of putting out 68-page [excluding cover count] booklets without proofreading that people would pay S$15 for. Or the kind of people who love the play on words - even in non-standard formats.

Cover of the 14x10cm booklet, two heads represent Volume 2

Title page in Chinese
[first line says, 'An English book';
second line is sadly beyond my grasp of Chinese]

The booklet contain short verses that give the meaning of words - not in the usual way a dictionary would explain it. It treat every word as a character capable of thoughts, plots and hidden agenda that is so mutated in our thoughts that when we think we are picking words to fit our expressions and give meaning to what we want to say, the words we choose actually take on a behaviour and meaning of their own beyond what we want to say.

Just look at when we use the words 'someone', 'same', 'us', and 'give and take'.

Someone is always stirring shit.
It's never you, me, him, her, us or whoever.
It's always Someone.

Same is lame.
As lame as fame.
As fame is quite a game.
Same shouldn't take the blame.
[Couch blogger's thoughts: 'same' is the keyword and driver of insidious groupthink: nobody's wrong if everybody thinks the same.]

Us preferred his name spelt in lowercase.
He's just not that overrated.
Just like us.
[Couch blogger's thoughts: 'us' is often used to replace 'I' when we [I] want to avoid standing out with our [my] independent thoughts. As illustrated here.]

Give & Take
Give cares for her son, Take.
She gives everything she's got.
He takes everything he's given.
And they're still fighting all night long.
[Couch blogger's thoughts: the expression 'give and take' is usually used where there's conflict.]

Where you can get it: S$15.00 Books Actually [an independent bookstore located at 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru. Tel: 6222-9195]
Level of impact: Enjoyable easy read for young and old who enjoy word puns. Every word is presented with a hand-drawn illustration on the facing page.
Timing of book: Good for conversation and laughter over a cuppa at Forty Hands cafe, right opposite the bookstore.