❮EPUB❯ ❂ The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1) ✽ Author Selina Siak Chin Yoke – Horse-zine.co.uk

The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1) chapter 1 The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1) , meaning The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1) , genre The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1) , book cover The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1) , flies The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1) , The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1) 96b197beff28e Facing Challenges In An Increasingly Colonial World, Chye Hoon, A Rebellious Young Girl, Must Learn To Embrace Her Mixed Malayan Chinese Identity As A Nyonya And Her Destiny As A Cook, Rather Than Following Her First Dream Of Attending School Like Her BrotherAmidst The Smells Of Chillies And Garlic Frying, Chye Hoon Begins To Appreciate The Richness Of Her Traditions, Eventually Marrying Wong Peng Choon, A Chinese Man Together, They Have Ten Children At Last, She Can Pass On The Stories She Has Heard Magical Tales Of Men From The Sea And Her Warrior S Courage, Along With Her Wonderful Kueh CakesBut The Cultural Shift Towards The West Has Begun Chye Hoon Finds Herself Afraid Of Losing The Heritage She So Prizes As Her Children Move And Into The Modernising Western World


10 thoughts on “The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)

  1. says:

    Without the major snowstorm of the last 3 days and it s worse today I probably would not have been able to read this book in the time I did It is LONG And it is detailed And I m sure it would not be for everyone But I loved it I would have given it 5 stars except for the Manglish used throughout Rather a pidgin Malaya Cantonese Hakka English combination of English.But don t let that spoil your picking up this book If you have patience and love actual family pattern of cultural connections under change you will love this book also And of course, surnames come before given names First, I will tell you what it is NOT It is not an action tale, unless you consider work and details of work action It is not a politico slanted tract to any particular and studied world view It is not centered on the negative or the labeled dysfunction, although some characters have flaws A very few significant flaws at that What this is It is a linear narrator told tale of a singular life A life teeming with early molding of strong parental love, intense temperament, strong core of self identity concerning her own likes, loyalties, and hierarchy of important And one who has excellent observer s eyes to her brilliantly colored Malaysian world She, like her mother, holds the Malayan Chinese mixed cultural strong self identification called and recognized by dress and manner as Nyonya A group with its own recognizable costume style, food, ritual, pattern of seeing the world and its inhabitants And that world may be located on different islands of economic possibility within Malaysia Indonesia, but always in the same familial structures and traditions or self identity One in which the inter marriage is significant but also one in which the women desire and often by parental demand require a chin chuoh marriage This being a marriage in which the man moves in with the GIRL S family for a period of time after the marriage official ceremonies Quite opposite of the Chinese, for instance It is negotiated by the match maker and the girl s parents who choose the husband in great measure It might be for 3 months or 6 months But the girl is still surrounded by her own family right after she becomes a wife The male of Chinese, Indian, other surrounding cultural groups in Malaysia consider this arrangement demeaning to the groom There are also 2 or 3 day rituals with hair combing and a wedding planner match maker having huge roles It s scrumptious enthralling to read as is the baby 1 month old rituals and celebration Lots of gift giving and food involved there too.That is a mere pittance of cultural context to the detail of Nyonya culture in this long, 1838 1941 story that brings a girl s society from a middle ages type existence to the modern Westernized industrial age.The education story is worth the read alone How her family branch and others respond to changing and varying education access As a young girl she wants to go to school It is denied And yet her first hate becomes her life s love working in the kitchen Cooking the elaborate and dozens of ingredients dishes of her Mother s Nyonya culture Her father is Chinese and dresses Chinese Her Mother is a Nyonya of incredible cultural association knowledge This book, for me, was intriguing I knew nothing of this strong cultural group who speak Malay dialects of Hakka Chye Hoon our protagonist and narrator this is her first home word use , Hokkien, Cantonese, Tamil Most characters in the book speak 2 or these 4 languages first and then later in the 20th century, most also will learn English But even within the same street, there ARE people who need a pidgin combination to communicate Or with gestures Boys may or may not go to school Girls rarely or never And in the Nyonya culture, there is strong intermarriage to Chinese men The influx from China being very strong during all the Chinese reversals of economics and revolution, famines etc So many books upon the different Chinese and Japanese cultural groups but so few on this particular area of the world So this reaction and review could go on at length We are in different island locations at different times in Chye Hoon s life But Ipoh is the island town with its hills for the great majority of her years But there are many locations described in which her children settle From Malacca to Singapore to Penang to London The glossary and prologue help And there are strong introductory sections of language play and context help included by the author And at times in this reading, I needed them She has patterned this novel upon her great grandmother s life The operative word for the entire book is kueh It is the complex Nyonya sweet delicacy of numerous type that becomes Chye Hoon s business, her creation, her rising everyday at 4am work She is blessed with a strong Chinese husband Tall with dimples and a strong decisive, patriarchal mountain upon which her life s journey mounts Kueh, kueh, kueh of every stripe and savory or super sweet Coconut milk, ginger, banana leaves, and endless pounded ingredients I won t tell you Challenges abound and one of those is her very own young prince There is dense pattern of dictation, temper, affection, direction, and whole life sisterhoods of friendship There is great sorrow too And not the least is a sad, and heavy foreboding that she has failed to pass Nyonya patterns to her offspring.Loved this book too because it comes at a pertinent time Cultural wars of every type abound in Chye Hoon s life as in the present And she is a soldier for her own and best beloved traditions with great and worthy reason.


  2. says:

    Wow, where to start with a book like this First, let me say that readers of this review should probably know I ve spent the past eight years married to a Malaysian Chinese man, have visited Malaysia twice, had a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony tea ceremony, banquet, etc , speak Mandarin, and worked full time teaching ESL to Chinese immigrants for three years I m also a published writer So a novel about Malaya old Malaysia written by a Malaysian Chinese woman and loosely based on her own family history was a no brainer for me Understandably, I loved this book I read the Kindle version, which was formatted well As a huge audio book fan, I also tried the audio version, but honestly it was one of the worst recordings I ve heard Malaysian English pronounced in a pure British English accent just doesn t work Aside from pronunciation and accent issues, the narrator over acted and over dramatized the dialogue, making it impossible for me to focus on the text So definitely go with a written version of this book, not the audio version.Moving on, the story itself was great I found it to be both entertaining and historically culturally accurate The author s writing style was solid This woman clearly has talent The characters were realistic, and I found myself alternately loving and disliking almost every single one at various points in the book There were also several heart wrenching moments, tempered with anger over how things could and should have been done differently by a certain character The ending felt a bit awkward or rushed, and the book itself is rather long, but I enjoyed it nonetheless That said, there is one downside to this book, and that comes in the way the author uses foreign words and Manglish Malaysian English throughout the story Don t get me wrong, the vast majority of the novel is written as first person narrative in perfect English, but any actual dialogue utilizes Manglish There are also many foreign terms and phrases used throughout the book so many, in fact, that the author includes a glossary at the end of the book for readers to look up unfamiliar terms.I can understand the decision to use Manglish to give the novel a authentic local flavor, but the author used a very strong version of Manglish some readers may find difficult to understand I m married to a Malaysian and sometimes even I had to reread things several times in order to get the meaning The author could have used a toned down version of Malaysian English and had the same effect with less confusion, and I personally feel that would have been a better choice As for foreign words yes, Malaysians use words from a mixture of languages in their daily lives it s not uncommon to hear two, three, or even languages represented in a single sentence But this is an English novel, and many times I felt that English words would have worked better in the narrative parts of the novel than the foreign words that were chosen.Also, there were multiple occasions where words or even entire sentences appeared in a foreign language without any translation whatsoever, not even in the glossary During those times, I found myself asking my husband for help He thankfully knows all of the languages and dialects used in this novel, which include Malay, Cantonese, Hakka, and Hokkien aside from English, of course Most readers won t have a resource like my husband available, and will be forced to guess the meaning of those phrases Personally, while knowing Mandarin Chinese helped in some cases with the Chinese parts, the fact that the author didn t use anything remotely close to pinyin in writing out the Chinese phrases sometimes threw me off For example, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize Tsin sang is the Cantonese Hakka version of the Mandarin title Xian Sheng, or English Mister I kept racking my brain trying to remember a character named Tsin sang, until the similarity to Xian Sheng dawned on me the term Tsin sang is never explained in the novel, so readers unfamiliar with Chinese are left to figure out the meaning of those words themselves or look it up in the glossary once they figure out it s not a character s name All that aside, this is still a terrific novel Anyone even remotely interested in history, or connected to Malaysia, or into Asian culture will enjoy this book, as will anyone who enjoys family histories or coming of age type novels The issues mentioned above really are rather minor within the larger context of the story itself On a personal note, I would like to thank the author for telling a story that provided a space for my husband and I to talk about his country and culture in depth than ever before Things came up that wouldn t have without this book, and I eagerly soaked in every bit of information that came from him during our discussions of the story This novel also brought up memories for me of my trip to Malacca, for example I wish I d had the opportunity to read this book before going, as it would have increased my appreciation tenfold , and of the wonderful diversity of food available only in Malaysia PS my husband grew up in Petaling Jaya and visited your aunt s Nyonya restaurant several times he says the food is delicious This novel took us on a very personal and enjoyable journey at an important time in our lives, and I can t thank you enough for that.In conclusion, to those considering reading this book, I say go for it While the book itself is marketed as fiction, it reads like an immersive autobiography You will come away feeling like you ve visited Malaya and lived and loved and grown as a person via the eyes of its main character, the memorable Chye Hoon You can t ask for much than that.


  3. says:

    Chye Hoon is a spirited and feisty child As she grows up, her siblings are married off with ease but she is not Her parents fear that she will remain alone but she does eventually catch someone one s attention When she weds, its an immense relief for her parents and the start of her amazing and tumultuous journey as a wife, mother and ultimate Nyonya warrior woman.Set in Malaysia in the 1870 s through the 1940 s, this novel was quite a feat Dealing with the Nyonya and Baba tradition, this novel introduced me to a culture that I knew very little of A Nyonya woman is of Malayan and Chinese descent and are particularly gifted in the kitchen In fact, they are taught to cook at a very early age and its one of their most championed traits Food and its preparations played an integral role in this novel Their food, just like Chye Hoon, is quite spicy She is a tough, no nonsense lady, one that commands respect Through circumstances of life, she ends up having to raise her 10 children by herself, ultimately becoming the matriarch of the family As she struggles to keep her family safe, she has to fight, not just against her personal demons but also the New World traditions brought by the British Chye Hoon takes great pride in her culture and wants to impart it to her children, not an easy feat This family saga may not exactly be a page turner but its an incredibly intricate and multi layered narrative Its clear that Selina Siak Chin Yoke went through great lengths to get this novel historically right With a vast cast of characters that inspired both, admiration and frustration, this work took time and patience to read, but it was well worth it There is a sequel to be published soon and I look forward to it If ever I get the chance to eat sweet kueh, I will not pass it up A great read.


  4. says:

    The title character, Chye Hoon, is a woman of mixed Malay Chinese heritage or Nyonya She is based loosely on the author s own great grandmother, and apparently many family stories were woven into the narrative in addition to material from extensive research I enjoyed much of the story and learned some interesting things about the culture, but the underlying struggle between tradition and modernization and its impact on family generations is something I ve read about many times, in stories told with greater skill and finesse Chye Hoon was also a bit of a disappointment I guess I expected her to be stronger and resourceful than she turned out to be Were it not for her friend, Siew Lan, and the man she refers to as the patriarch, I m not sure she and her family would have survived and prospered.This was a Kindle First selection in October 2016.


  5. says:

    I absolutely loved it LOVED IT I ve always enjoyed books that deal with eastern cultures and nationalities and this book is one of the best I ve ever read It brought me to tears than once The book is told in the first person and takes the reader through one Malay Chinese woman s life from childhood to old age Selina Siak Chin Yoke clearly did her research well and between the descriptions of clothing and food, I wish I could go back in time and visit Malaya and experience Nyonya culture first hand It s a beautifully written book.


  6. says:

    Well I raced through this in just one day I will admit that it s not usually the kind of book I pick up I m very much a fan of novels with a balance of action and character drama, whereas The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds is a wholeheartedly family saga kind of book As a result, there were moments when I wished for a break from all the relationships but the novel is such a well done family saga that it kept me interested until the final page The writing is very clear, but than that it s full of wonderfully vivid imagery that transported me to the time and place of the story It was that sense of perfectly capturing a unique place and moment in time that held my attention The book very much reads like a memoir, and indeed the protagonist is drawn from the author s own great grandmother even though it is written as fiction I think this was an intriguing idea, one that appeals to me or anyone else who has done family history research and come away fascinated with the stories they discover All in all, I would recommend, unless family sagas are really not your thing, because this is one of the standout examples of the sub genre.7 out of 10


  7. says:

    I m glad I read this book as I learned so much about several cultures as well as a time in history I am not particularly familiar with We need books like this one which capture cultures and times in history not many people in the West, or at least The United States, are aware of I recommend reading this book simply for that value alone, but, I also recognize that it s definitely not a book all readers will enjoy It is a slow moving novel which depicts the life and struggles of one woman from childhood through old age There is not much action and it s not entirely clear what the tension is until a bit far into the book, though the title does help point one in the right direction But if you enjoy the kinds of slow reads where you gain insight about the characters and learn about a culture and history, than you likely will enjoy this book If you are a person who likes things to be happening fairly often in a book and need them to be than things like baking food, than this book isn t for you If that describes you and you still want to learn a bit about Malaya, consider checking out the second in the series When the Future Comes Too Soon While it covers a different time period and does not quite go into the same depth on culture, particularly of some cultures, there is still a lot to learn about Malaya from the second book and it is action packed, starting with the Japanese invasion of Malaya It is not strictly necessary to read The Woman who Breathed Two Worlds in order to understand the plot of When the Future Comes Too Soon, but I would recommend reading them in order, if possible.If you do read this book, I would recommend flipping to the very end and reading through the author s notes about use of language BEFORE you start reading the book in the second book, these notes are actually moved to the start of the book or at least that s true of the audiobook version If you listen to the audio version, know that those notes are within the last chapter at about 5 16 5 17 The audiobook version is well done and I do recommend it if you enjoy listening to books like this I received this eARC free through the Kindle First pre release book offer This did not affect my review of this book For this review, I listened to the audiobook version offered through Kindle Unlimited and did not read the eARC.


  8. says:

    Beautifully crafted, a worthy read.This is like being in a room with a master artist who, in the beginning, stands before a blank canvas She begins with the first stroke of words and smoothly moves on to the next, painting, you are not sure what The mastery of her medium makes you want to ride the journey she is taking you on, word by word, scene by scene You can smell the food, see the landscape, palpate the characters The art is rich and flowing, smooth and masterful The journey becomes a mural that just carries you along seamlessly, holding your attention ever so gently This is a rare talent.At the end, you find yourself experiencing a feeling of being inside the canvas looking out as the final brushstroke completes the expression of mastery This is a story that will linger in my mind for a good long while I have never read anything like it I am weary of same ole, same ole storyline that I have read a thousand varieties of This was like a cool, crisp, clean, thirst quenching drink of water to the last drop I Loved It.


  9. says:

    Wonderful book, I knew nothing about Malaysia or the culture, beautifully written If you like historical fiction based a a true family story you will love this.


  10. says:

    This is an historical fiction novel set between the 1870s and the 1940s in Malaysia In this area of Malaysia at the time it was common for people to be of mixed ethnic heritage But now the British have started to establish a presence Towns and cities are growing Chye Hoon s father decides to learn English and move the family to a larger city to get ahead Although she is smart, she is not able to go to school She is headstrong and not beautiful so stays unmarried for a long time before becoming a second wife to a Chinese man who left his family behind in China.This story focuses on the way the world is changing around Chye Hoon She is taken to a backwater town after her marriage She watches Ipoh grow into a mining center She sees her children grow up and learn English as their major language Even her daughters are able to be educated But her family traditions are very important She longs to be able to pass on the stories that were told to her and the traditions of the families in her area Her children are not interested What do we lose in the name of progress I had never heard of the Nyonyas and Babas It took me a while to understand exactly what those terms meant This is from Wikipedia Peranakan Chinese or Straits born Chinese are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago including British Malaya now Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, where they are also referred to as Baba Nyonya and Dutch East Indies now Indonesia where they re also referred as Kiau Seng 4 between the 15th and 17th centuries 5 Members of this community in Malaysia address themselves as Baba Nyonya Nyonya is the term for the women and Baba for the men It applies especially to the Han populations of the British Straits Settlements of Malaya and the Dutch controlled island of Java and other locations, who have adopted Nusantara customs partially or in full to be somewhat assimilated into the local communities Many were the elites of Singapore, loyal to the British than to China Most have lived for generations along the straits of Malacca They were usually traders, the middleman of the British and the Chinese, or the Chinese and Malays, or vice versa because they were mostly English educated Because of this, they almost always had the ability to speak two or languages When you try to investigate Nyonya culture, the first things you see are food Food played a big part in this story Chye Hoon is widowed and has to make a living She decides to sell traditional Nyonya food to the men working in the tin mines of Ipoh Her specialties are cakes Here is a video of a type of Nyonya cake.I really enjoyed this book I was immersed in her world that was changing so rapidly that by the time of her death it was unrecognizable This series will be continuing and picking up with the story of her daughter in law in World War II That book comes out in the few months I m glad for a bit of a break in between because I feel like a need to mourn a bit for amazing life of Chye Hoon before switching the main character of the story to the daughter in law This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story


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