Catherine Lim Biography
Catherine Lim (Catherine Lim Poh Imm) was born on 21 March 1942. is a Singaporean fiction author known for writing about Singapore society and of themes of traditional Chinese culture. Hailed as the “doyenne of Singapore writers”, Lim has published nine collections of short stories, five novels, two poetry collections, and numerous political commentaries to date. Her social commentary in 1994, titled The PAP and the people – A Great Affective Divide and published in The Straits Times criticised the ruling political party’s agendas.
Catherine Lim Career
Lim was born in Kulim (Malaya) and studied in the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. Early childhood reading was mainly influenced by British fiction, including Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton and comics. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Malaya in 1963, moving to Singapore in 1967. In 1988, she received her Ph.D in applied linguistics from the National University of Singapore. Lim subsequently attended Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley as a Fulbright scholar (1990).
She also worked as a teacher and later as project director with the Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore and as a specialist lecturer with the Regional English Language Centre, teaching sociolinguistics and literature. In 1992, she left her professional career to become a full-time writer. Lim was subsequently made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (France) in 2003 and an ambassador of the Hans Christian Andersen Foundation (Copenhagen) in 2005. She received an honorary doctorate in literature from Murdoch University.
Lim published her first short story collection called Little Ironies: Stories of Singapore in 1978. A succeeding collection, Or Else, the Lightning God and other Stories, was published in 1980. The short story collection was the first Singapore book to be tested for the Cambridge International Examinations in 1989 and 1990. Another story collection that followed in this tradition was O Singapore!: Stories in Celebration from 1989, but two years earlier she published The Shadow of a Shadow of a Dream, which found Lim experimenting with new techniques and extending her subject range.
Her first novel, The Serpent’s Tooth, was published in 1982. Other books that have been published since then include The Bondmaid (1995) and Following the Wrong God Home (2001). The major theme in her stories is the role of women in traditional Chinese society and culture. In 1998 Lim was awarded the Montblanc-NUS Centre for the Arts Literary Award and in 1999 she received the S.E.A. Write Award.
In 2000, Lim worked with the now-defunct web portal Lycos Asia to write an e-novella called Leap of Love. It was sold online (at 19 cents a chapter) before it was published by Horizon Books in 2003. It served as basis for the film The Leap Years by Raintree Pictures in 2008. Another best-selling novel was The Bondmaid, which sold 75,000 copies.
In 2015, Little Ironies: Stories of Singapore was selected by The Business Times as one of the Top 10 English Singapore books from 1965–2015, alongside titles by Arthur Yap and Daren Shiau. In the same year, The Straits Times’ Akshita Nanda selected Little Ironies: Stories of Singapore as one of 10 classic Singapore books. “Catherine Lim’s early short, sharp fiction describes the results of such social engineering”, she wrote, “a Singapore growing more cosmopolitan and Singaporeans losing touch with their roots. Little Ironies spotlights ordinary people at their best and worst, such as ‘The Taximan’s Story’, in which a cab driver is happy to make money off sex workers while looking down on them.”
Catherine Lim Conflict
Lim came into conflict with the People’s Action Party (PAP) in 1994 when she wrote an article published in The Straits Times (PAP and the People: A Great Affective Divide). From comments made by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and other cabinet ministers, especially George Yeo, this episode gave rise to the political “out of bounds” marker that came to be known as “boh tua boh suay” (literally, “no big, no small” in the Chinese dialect of Hokkien, to mean “no respect for rank and seniority”). Lee Kuan Yew dismissed Lim’s views as “the popular theory that the Western press writes about”. In his memoirs, Lee is quoted as saying:
Supposing Catherine Lim was writing about me and not the prime minister. She would not dare, right? Because my posture, my response has been such that nobody doubts that if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul-de-sac. There is no other way you can govern in a Chinese society.
Paper By Catherine Lim
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Catherine Lim Collection
- The Serpent’s Tooth (1982, Times Books International) ISBN 9812042113
- The Bondmaid (1995, C. Lim Pub; 1997, 1998, Orion; 1997, 1998, The Overlook Press; 2011, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 9810072953 ISBN 0752807501 ISBN 9789814346207
- The Teardrop Story Woman (1998, Orion; 2011, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 9789814346214
- Following the Wrong God Home (2001, Orion Publishing; 2001, Allen & Unwin; 2011, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 0752841203 ISBN 9789814346221
- A Leap of Love: A Novella (2003, Horizon Books) ISBN 9789810805944
- The Song of Silver Frond (2003, Orion; 2011, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 9789814346238
- Miss Seetoh in the World (2011, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 9789814328364
Short story collections
- Little Ironies: Stories of Singapore (1978, Heinemann Asia) ISBN 9971640295
- Or Else, the Lightning God and Other Stories (1980, Heinemann Asia; 1988, Federal Publications; 2012, Heinemann) ISBN 9971640147 ISBN 981017621X ISBN 9789810624699
- They Do Return…But Gently Lead Them Back (1983, Times Books International) ISBN 9812042032
- The Shadow of a Shadow of a Dream: Love Stories of Singapore (1987, Heinemann Asia; 1999, Horizon Books) ISBN 9971641186 ISBN 9810412509
- O Singapore! Stories in Celebration (1989, Times Books International) ISBN 9812041362
- Deadline for Love and Other Stories (1992, Heinemann Asia; 1999, Horizon Books) ISBN 9810412495
- Meet Me on the Queen Elizabeth 2! (1993, Heinemann Asia; 1999, Horizon Books) ISBN 9971643324 ISBN 9810412517
- The Best of Catherine Lim (1993, Heinemann Asia) ISBN 9971643359
- The Woman’s Book of Superlatives (1993, Times Books International) ISBN 9812044019
- The Howling Silence: tales of the dead and their return (1999, Horizon Books) ISBN 9810417780
- The Catherine Lim Collection (2009, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 9789812618566
- Love’s Lonely Impulses (1992, Heinemann Asia) ISBN 9971642840
- Humoresque (2006, Horizon Books) ISBN 9810559593
- Unhurried Thoughts At My Funeral (2005, Horizon Books) ISBN 9810523068
- A Watershed Election: Singapore’s GE 2011 (2011, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 9789814351706
- Roll Out the Champagne, Singapore!: An Exuberant Celebration of the Nation’s 50th Birthday (2014, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 9789814561587
- An Equal Joy: Reflections on God, Death and Belonging (2017, Marshall Cavendish Editions) ISBN 9789814771795
- Kampong Amber (1994)
- Gwee Li Sui, ed. Written Country: The History of Singapore through Literature (2016, Landmark Publications) ISBN 9789814189668
The Teacher By Catherine Lim
‘Look,’ said the teacher to the colleague who was sitting beside him in the staffroom. ‘Look at this composition written by a student in Secondary Four. She’s supposed to have had ten years of studying English, and see what she’s written! I’ll read it to you. The title of the composition is “My Happiest Day”.’
The teacher read, pausing at those parts which he wanted his colleague to take particular note of: ‘“My happiest day it is on that 12 July. I will tell you of that happiest day. My father wanted me to help him in his cakes stall to sell cakes and earn money. He say ‘I must leave school and stay home and help him. My younger brothers and sisters they are too young to work so they can go to school. My mother is too sick and weak as she just born a baby. ” Can anything be more atrocious than this? And she’s going to sit for her exams in three months’ time! And listen to this:
“I was very sad because I don’t like to sell cakes I like to learn in school. But I am scare, my father, he will beat me if I disobeyed him so I cannot say anything to him. He asks me to tell my principal of my school that I am not going to learn any more. I was scare my principal will ask me questions.
Papel By Catherine Lim Maikling Kwentong
Paper By Catherine Lim Essay
Paper is written by famous Singaporean woman Catherin Lim. Catherine explores the greed towards easy money making and how it leads city people to the tragic result.
Tay Soon and Yee Lian are main characters of the story. They belong to middle class family and they have strong ambition to buy a well managed building with all perfection. They dreamt of beautiful house having marble floors, oval shaped sitting rooms and fantastic swimming pool. They both share their plan to all the family members including Yee Yeng, Yee Lian’s sister but mother of Tay Soon didn’t pay any attention or concern to them. She was engaged in her traditional profession, i.e, vegetable business. She was completely contained and happy. She also suggested them not to keep such dream but for Tay Soon. it was not only dream. He thought it could be fulfilled if he handled the money appropriately because he had saved 40,000 in bank.
In that period, Tay was attracted to share market because share price was rising. So, he invested his 30,000 at risk in share market. Fortunately, he was able to make $100,000 within short period of time. At that time, he proudly told his mother that he was able to buy 50 houses like mother’s. He further was excited towards the share and invested more money. But unfortunately, the value of share began to fall rapidly. There was no any device to control the declining. He invested all amount of money. Few remaining money was also invested in last attempt but it was also in despair. His hope of building modern house was broken into pieces. He himself broke physically. He left eating and started beating his wife and children. His condition was worse and worse and he was admitted in hospital. At last, it was mother who ordered a beautiful paper house somewhere in the market to satisfy his son. At last, Tay Soon was dead and paper house was put on his dead body and they both were burnt together and turned into ashes.
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Catherine Lim News
Checkpoint officer gets eight months for taking bribes to grant 30-day social visit passes to club hostesses.
Updated: FEB 26, 2018
A checkpoint officer who corruptly accepted and agreed to accept money for granting 30-day social visit passes to 28 Thai women was jailed for eight months on Monday (Feb 26). Catherine Lim Zhi Yin, 27, a sergeant attached to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at Woodlands Checkpoint, admitted to three charges of corruptly accepting a total of $960 from co-accused Raymond Lim Boon Ian, 37, to grant social visit passes to 16 of the women.
Raymond Lim, whose wife Manetchai Benja was working as a mamasan, has been dealt with. Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani said Manetchai first asked Catherine Lim some time in 2012 if she could “chop passport”, which Lim understood to mean endorsing the entry of club hostesses whom Manetchai was managing. Lim rejected the request.
But in November 2014, Lim agreed to Manetchai’s request and was taken to meet Raymond Lim, whom she recognised as being an agent for Thai hostesses. He offered to pay her $50 for each successful “U-turn”. The informal term refers to a situation where a non-Singaporean citizen leaves Singapore for a short period of time and then returns shortly to extend her stay.
Under the arrangement, Raymond Lim would message the checkpoint officer on WhatsApp when he needed a U-turn. She would check her work schedule and message him, Manetchai and a man known as Ong Xiang Ren the counter number she would be at.
The first U-turn took place on Dec 7, 2014, when Lim facilitated the entry of three Thai hostesses. She received $180, being $60 for each U-turn instead of the previously agreed $50. Six days later, she cleared the entry of a total of eight Thai hostesses and received another $480 from Raymond Lim. She received a further $300 after facilitating the entry of five Thai women on Dec 21.
Four other charges, including two of agreeing to accept $60 and $360 from Raymond Lim in February 2015, were taken into consideration in sentencing. In mitigation, Lim’s lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya said his client, who has been interdicted from service since March 7, 2015, had voluntarily surrendered $1,260. He also said she wished to put the incident behind her and start her life afresh. Lim could have been fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years on each charge.