Posted by: Corri van de Stege | March 6, 2011

Going to Singapore – taking my e-reader

Singapore montage - Wikimedia

Yesterday morning I woke up thinking about going to Singapore in about two weeks’ time and wondering what I would take with me to read – physical copies of books, touchable and weighty,  or e-reader, or both?  

But let’s start at the beginning.  What was most exciting was thinking about going to Singapore.  I’ve never been before.  Following that train of thought I started thinking about the places I have been to, outside Europe.  Not that many actually.  Whereas I have travelled across Europe pretty well covering at least Western Europe, I have not ventured to that many places outside European boundaries.   Except of course that I lived in Iran for a long stretch, nearly four years, and that was pretty exceptional, pre and during revolutionary days.  That is to say, the original revolutionary days, when the shah was ousted and Khomeini came into power.  That is worth a couple of stories all by itself and yes I am working on those.

Besides Iran and outside of Europe, I have visited Beijing for work, and I remember the week as a sleepless ‘lost in translation’ dreamlike state.  I literally never slept for the whole of that week I was there.  During the day we were busy with work and visiting the Forbidden City, the great wall, Tiananmen Square.  Work consisted of high level meetings with officials and with potential partners, attending an exchange programme exhibition, all of it was very frantic, travelling from sightseeing trips (organised by our hosts) to official meetings, through the mayhem of Beijing traffic, always being late because of the traffic jams and then when

View across Beijing's Forbidden City

 the day was over being taken out for dinner to some quite fancy places.  Once I even had the honour of dancing on a table as part of the friendship ritual.  I was lucky that a colleague took on the honour of drinking on my behalf throwing back glasses of ‘white wine’  toasting on friendship while I smiled and kept the conversation going,  with everyone around descending into an alcoholic haze.   Back in my hotel room, I would drink endless glasses of black and other special teas to try and induce sleep but feeling wide awake and ready for another round.  When it was clear after a couple of nights that teas would not work I tried the odd gin and tonic in the bar before going up to my room but nothing worked.  I was sleepless during that whole week in Beijing.

I am all excited however about going to Singapore, which will be a 12 hour flight and with the time difference it means that although I leave on Thursday evening I won’t arrive until Friday night.  I will be visiting my son who last summer moved to Singapore to work there and it will be lovely to see him and to catch up, as well as do some of the sightseeing and simply enjoy the warm weather and the pool.

Nevertheless, I cannot go without books, and so I have been filling up my e-reader and am meanwhile the proud owner of some 75 to 88 virtual books, of which I have read just over half.  So plenty to choose from, ranging from thrillers to read during the flight (Jo Nesbo, Tess Gerritsen, a David Baldacci), to short stories and essays for bed time reading (still some to go in Best Australian Short Stories by Douglas Stewart and then there’s Faulks on Fiction) and more serious novels such as Helen Dunmore’s The Siege and the Betrayal (will I like these?) and Marina Nemat’s Prisoner of Tehran.

Quite a selection I think and whilst listing all these I realise there is no need to take hard copies of anything, there’s plenty there to keep me going.  What a marvellous discovery – this e-reader!



  1. Dear Sea, Hope you’re traveling well and safely and are enjoying a grand time with your son. What an enormous (length of a) journey! And how exotic. You must report in and let us know how its all going. Of course I frantically checked on Singapore’s location in regard to Japan. I’m a geography dolt and always have to look up countries relationships to one another.

    and hope that e-reader is keeping you content in bookworld.
    Looking foward to your next entry!

  2. it will be interesting to know how Singaporeans have been taking to eReaders and eBooks. Certainly in China the eBook Market is gathering pace with cheap hardware and local publishing. Apparently Chinese characters which have phrase like meanings sit well on an eReader for short stories which can be read quickly.

  3. My e-reader: that has now become a separate story, quite separate!

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