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Sweet Offerings Paperback – September 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pen Press (September 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906710988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906710989
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,253,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chan Ling Yap was born in Kuala Lumpur. She was educated in Malaysia and subsequently in England where she obtained a PhD in Economics. She lectured at the University of Malaya before joining the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, where she worked for 19 years. She now lives with her husband in the UK. She has written several technical books and many academic and professional papers. Sweet Offerings is her first novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sweet Offerings by Chan Ling Yap is a novel published by Pen Press. This is one of those novels which doesn't say much to the readers by its humble cover but the moment they start reading it, it takes over them. It is a hard to put down novel with exquisite intricate details of cultural life in Malaya.

The story is basically about emancipation of the main character Mei Yin during the times in 1930s but the author has deftly taken this simple storyline to the next level by including an interesting trip through the history of Malaysia from colonialism, through the second World War, independence and up to the late sixties.
Written from the point of view of various female members of an ethnic Chinese family living in Malaysia, it covers the transition from a poverty struck and traditional way of life to the formation of a modern state.

Through the events happening within one family over three decades, the author takes the readers into a different world, the world that is now Malaysia that adapted to change and the way it was affected by world events. The readers find out how difficult it was for women to have any control over their lives and how often they were treated as assets or bargaining counters.
An example of the kind of poverty could be seen in these lines where a mother bargains to get her daughter a play mate, "I mean, if the girl's get on well, I would like them to attend school together. I will pay Mei Yin's fees."

Although the author highlights the evil traditions that a female in those days had to face in Malaya, in some ways the main character Mei Yin defies all that. So on one hand the readers learn about the horrid things happening to various female characters, on the other hand they learn to appreciate the silent strength of Mei Yin.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this book as I am interested in learning more about Malaysia, and thought that a novel would complement the history book I had just read. This story of a ethnic Chinese family in Malaysia - and particularly of its women - was an easy read, with the family story set against the backdrop of Malaysian history over the second half of the 20th century. Great literature it was not, but a pleasant (well, not always pleasant as it deals with the subordinate position of women) story, with descriptions of different places in Malaysia. It feels as if it were written with the foreign reader in mind, which gives it a bit of an artificial flavor, but does make it accessible to that foreign reader.
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By Lauren on April 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written, exciting, historical, insightful, realistic. It is everything I love in a book. I looked forward to reading it every night.
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By Fiona on April 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book told me so much about an area of the world and a time in history that I knew little about. The voices of the characters seemed really authentic and the trials and difficulties of the main character were brought vividly to life. I enjoyed it so much I've now bought Chan Ling's latest book and I'm looking forward to reading it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Clifton Bott on February 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a person familiar with the Malaysian backdrop of this book, `Sweet Offerings' demands reading in one sitting, as the true-to-life characters are skilfully drawn, and could almost be my neighbours, where I grew up. On every other page an image of something half-forgotten comes vividly to mind and one realises "Yes - they did do that!" or "that was what it looked and smelt like". Chan Ling Yap's novel about a Chinese family spanning three generations evokes all the imagery of Malaysian life from the period before the second world war to the Emergency, Merdeka, and the present day. It was time when wealthy Chinese men took on other "wives", sometimes ill-treating them, but often a strong bond with a strict hierarchy grew between the wives and this endured. The story of Mei Yin is told with much sympathy and insight. She is taken to a household where a bitter neglected wife seeks to mould her into the "ideal" wife for her son - someone she can manipulate. Mei Yin's lessons in life include accepting a caring co-wife, dealing with an unfaithful husband, aborting an unwelcome pregnancy, being the subject of malicious rumours and being supplanted by a conniving gold-digger, but finally finding independence and self-esteem. Times change and her Western educated daughter finds another world of love and hope.
Vimala Sarma
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More About the Author

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Chan Ling Yap was educated in Malaysia and subsequently in England where she obtained a PhD in Economics. She lectured at the University of Malaya before joining the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, where she worked for nearly two decades. She now lives in the UK with her husband and two grown-up children.

A widely published author of various textbooks and technical papers, her foray into fiction. Sweet Offerings, her first novel was highly praised for its beautiful evocation of Asia. Bitter-Sweet Harvest, her second novel, has been nominated for the Popular Readers Choice Award 2012 in Malaysia/Singapore and listed as "one of four books you won't want to put down" by Cosmopolitan, Singapore. New Beginnings, a historical fiction, set in the mid 1800s in China and Malaya, is her third novel.

For more information, visit: www.chanlingyap.com