The Catherine Lim Collection

BOOK: The Catherine Lim Collection














© 2011 Catherine Lim and Marshall Cavendish
International (Asia) Private Limited


The Serpent’s Tooth first published in
1982; They Do Return ... But Gently Lead Them Back first published in 1983; O
Singapore!: Stories In Celebration first published in 1989;
The Woman’s Book Of Superlatives first published in 1993. All books first
published by Times Editions Pte Ltd.

Published by Marshall Cavendish Editions

An imprint of Marshall Cavendish

1 New Industrial Road, Singapore 536196


Cover design by Lock Hong Liang

Framed butterfly photo by Photolibrary


All rights reserved


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eISBN: 978-981-435-189-8



The Serpent’s


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33


They do return ...  but gently lead them back

The Old Man in the Balcony

A Boy named Ah Mooi

The Legacy

The Story of Father Monet

Grandfather’s Story

Of Moles and Buttocks

Full Moon

The Anniversary

The Exhumation

Of Blood from Woman

Lee Geok Chan

Two Male Children

A Soldier Stalks

They Do Return ...  but Gently Lead Them Back


O Singapore: Stories In Celebration

The Malady and the Cure

Sorry ... Temporary Aberrations

Kiasuism: A Socio-Historico-Cultural Perspective

In Search Of (A Play)

Goonalaan’s Beard

A Singapore Fairy Tale

The Concatenation

‘Write, Right, Rite’; Or ‘How Catherine Lim Tries to
Offer only the Best on the altar of Good Singapore Writing’

The Woman’s Book of Superlatives

Prologue: Images

The Enemy

For The Gift of a Man’s Understanding


The Paper Women

The Rest Is Bonus

The Song Of Golden Frond

The Solace Of Guilt

The Revenge

The Feast of the Hungry Ghosts

Transit to Heaven

About The Author


The Serpent’s Tooth



In the end, said Angela, and her voice
quavered in remembrance of all the pain and sadness – in the end, I was left
alone to pick up the pieces, to clear the mess.

The old one, as you know, I put in Mount St
Luke. No hospital in Singapore could offer better care (or charge higher fees).
But she died peacefully, at last, and her ashes lie in the temple at Tank Road,
as she wished.

The howling idiot foster-son who had been
such a burden, I returned to his mother. To the very end, she protested she did
not have the means to care for him – a troublesome hulk of an idiot,
30-years-old. She was leading up to it – I knew it all the time – we settled at
$3,000, and now I think she’s taken him to Lumut, to live with an old relative.

My poor little Michael – I don’t know how
long he’ll take to recover from the trauma. Can you imagine his sufferings
under the influence of the old demented one and the idiot foster-son? Dr Phua
is doing his best, and I pray to God every day that my son will be all right

My Mark and Michelle are my support in these
sad, sad days. I thank God again and again that the sufferings they went
through did not affect them too badly. Mark’s got the PROMSHO scholarship and
Michelle’s returned to her training sessions. Her coach tells me she will be in
top shape for the ASEAN swimming carnival in June.

And my Boon – what can I say? He’s gone
through so much, and been taken advantage of so shamelessly by others, from a
Minister to a servant girl. I pray people will recognise his real worth.
Sometimes people never see you for what you really are.

And what can I say of the family that was
supposed to stand together and help one another in times of trouble?

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