Confessions of a Bookworm: Glossaries and Family Trees

Hi all!

My name is Chiara and I am a Bookworm.

My current read is Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

So far I am loving it but I am only half way through (hopefully it will be my next review in the beginning of august), but I have a few problems.

This is not a review. I am not reviewing this book right now.

On the other hand I have noticed a few things about this book, things I have noticed in other books as well, or thing that I know have a simple solution.

Have any of you watched the film yet?

In the film everyone speaks English? Yes? Okay with the exception of a bit of mandarin thrown in there for good measure, because of course every Asian speaks mandarin.

This book just goes an tells you that is wrong. “The vast majority of Singaporeans speak English, but it is common practice to mash up words in Malay, India, and various Chinese dialects to form a local patois known as ‘Singlish'” (pg 4). Not one of the many dialects I have so far come across in ‘Singlish’ seems to be Mandarin.

I have absolutely no problem it’s them including in foreign words. When living in Paris the children I looked after would quite often slip into ‘Franglais’ a french English mash up. I quite often hear things such as “Posse the cat” meaning “put the cat down” or “I have faim” meaning “I’m hungry”. In fact while at uni, among a group of my friends we used to speak in Spanglish (you get the idea here, Spanish and English).

My problem with including these words is I can’t keep track of what they all mean. Or course on the page where they first appear the author has left little foot notes to translate the word or phrase, but the further you get into the book, the more you seem to forget. Things like ‘ang mor’ or “alamak’ I can remember, they are repeated often enough that you remember their meaning. But some phrase only come up once or twice in the book and then you forget what on earth they mean and you are staring at a line of conversation trying to work out what the they are trying to say. They their is the flicking through the book to try and remember what that phrase meant.

This, my little problem could all be solved with a glossary. Every foreign phrase included in a list at the back of the book with their translation.

Am I asking too much?

My other … what’s the right word? … issue is that I need a more complete family tree.

At the beginning of the book there is a simplified version of the family tree. It looks a little something like this …

I have lost track of how many times I have referred back to that.

However half the people mention in the book that I want to find on the tree, aren’t there. It’s too simplified. These families are almost more intermarried than royal family of Britain and half of Europe.

You know that they say you are six levels away from knowing anyone. It’s like that. Person A is linked to person B because Person C is Person A boss. Person C is married to the cousin of Person E who is the best friend of Person B.

Did you follow any of that?

I hope not because I was lost writing it.

I love complicated story lines, I really do. I can follow the entirety of Once Upon A Time. All I am asking for is a more complete family tree and one that is easier to follow.

Rant Over!

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