Hence I had a fairly good idea of the writing style required for our book. However this book would be slightly different from the earlier books because it would be the first to have photos as illustrations besides stamps. I browsed through the photos which I took during my family's trip to Shanghai, Jiangnan, Wuxi and Suzhou in Nov 2004. A few of the photos were suitable for our book. I also knew what stamps were available for our story. With that knowledge, I proceeded to write the first draft of the book.
I wrote down whatever ideas that came into my mind and tried to weave them into a story. I even made a joke of some prominent person's name. (For obvious reason, I am not repeating the joke here.) Working at a leisurely pace, I put in a few hours a day for several days. At last, the first draft was finished. The first page of the draft is shown below.
As you can see, the original intended title of the book, "Of Men, Horses And A Lot Of Bull - A Moving Philatelic Ramble"
While writing the book, we realised that we needed some more photos. Armed with my camera and looking very much like an excited tourist, I visited a popular food centre to take a photo of the rickshaw noodles stall there.
I also took some photos of the sculptures near the Singapore River.
I snapped at interesting bicycles, tricycles and trishaws which came within the range of my camera lens.
However, the most interesting photo trips were made together with Wee Kiat. In January this year, we visited Little India during the Pongal Festival to capture images of a cow all decked out for the celebration.
On another occasion, we visited Kreta Ayer and the Jinriksha Station.
The three co-authors had several meetings, mostly on Saturday afternoons at Wee Kiat's condo in the east. At the meetings, we did alot of
eating, drinking, chatting and serious discussion. Several emails were also exchanged. Each new draft looked better than the previous one. Some 9 drafts and 6 months later, our book was finally ready for printing and it was time to look for a sponsor and a printer. Noel and I practically left this task entirely to Wee Kiat as it involved quite a lot of running around and he needed the exercise. As we expected, Wee Kiat eventually managed find a sponsor and a printer for our book. And as they say, the rest is history.
And yes as I discovered, writing the book is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun.
More about the book:
The book uses stamps and photos to describe the early modes of transport in Singapore. It narrates how goods were transported in the olden days and tells the story of the rickshaw, the bullock cart, the horse-drawn carriage, the bicycle and the trishaw. Although the book is intended for young readers, adults can read it too. (However, adults can probably finish reading the book at "one toilet sitting".) The co-authors are not expecting the same level of public euphoria for the launch of our book as that experienced for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows which was launched today. After all, only 2,000 copies of our book were printed. If you would like to grab a copy, the book is available at the Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM) at Coleman Street. As we have left the pricing of the book to the SPM, we apologise that as of now, we do not know how much the book cost.
Update on 23 Jul 2007:
demanded requested that I show her the rickshaw noodle instead of just the stall that sells it (see 3rd comment to this post). The challenge is taken. Here is a photo of the rickshaw noodle from that stall:
And the ingredients that go into the dish? Those that I know of are bo cai (波菜) or spinach, dried shrimps, shallots, corn flour and of course, yellow noodles. Now I am throwing her a counter-challenge - create the dish and let me taste its authenticity. :)