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I’ll delighted to see my 5th and last book in Wildlife Reserves’ Singapore’s (WRS) local wildlife series in print!

Writing Hornbills in our Neighbourhood has been the most eye-opening experience for me.

Firstly, we have a resident hornbill in our neighourhood. I’ve seen him every other day, seated on my neighbour’s roof, first alone and later with a mate. This hornbill always brings a smile to my face. It made writing this story come alive for me.

Secondly, I read up a whole book on hornbills and am simply blown away by this amazing bird.

Do you know that Mum Hornbill voluntarily seals herself into a crevice in the tree to birth her babies and voluntarily observes SHM (Stay-Home-Notice) for the next three months whilst nursing her young?

Dad Hornbill gathers food for his mate and their chicks, and can make up to 20 trips a day, bringing food back to their roost. He pushes the food in through the teeny opening left for this purpose.

At a time when we are going through this Covid19 pandemic, where SHMs and quarantines are imposed upon us humans, I’m learning that hornbills pioneered SHM before us and do it voluntarily!

It’s been such a learning experience for me writing this series. With the benefit of working with WRS’ Education department, I gained new knowledge on our local wildlife.

Get all 5 books and read with your child how animals are going wild in our city:

  • Hornbills in Our NeighbourHood
  • Macaques in the Estate
  • Python in the Playground
  • Little Otter, Litter Trouble
  • Why did the Pangolin cross the Road?

All five books in this local wildlife series is available for sale at Wildlife Reserves’ Singapore’s online store. This bilingual series is supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.

It is such a blessed treat to see my story with Caleb in Straits Times Life today!

I had involved Caleb in brainstorming ideas last year when publisher World Scientific approached me to write a kids’ travel series set in Asia.

In today’s Straits Times Life (26 April 2021)

“…When she was trying to think up a name for the main character, the boy suggested Polo, after “that famous traveller Marco Polo”…”

My other new release Little Mimic’s Superpower was also featured – it is the third book in my Little series.

“Through facts about unusual animals featured in her titles, she wants to encourage readers to uncover one’s own unique traits…She struggled with a rare voice disorder, Spasmodic Dysphonia, for more than 10 years, making her voice “unique”…

For years, I found it hard to give up my job…because I was afraid that without a corporate suit, I wouldn’t have a place in the world…It was only after letting go of my job that I grew in my Christian faith, which led to a new voice writing children’s books…”

I’m so grateful to journalist Elisa Chia for reaching out to me to write this feature story and arranging my precious first mum-and-son photoshoot!

Online version of the article here:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/parenting-education/book-nook-emily-lim-leh-gets-writing-ideas-from-her-son

It’s been full-on the past two months, but I have to pause to thank God this Friday, for many reasons:

  1. Thank God for our Healthcare Workers & Clean Breast

I’ve been in and out of hospital the past two months, accompanying a loved one for medical appointments and all. I thank God for all the amazing doctors and nurses who have rendered much assistance and assurances along the way.

Amidst all this, I forgot my own medical review with my cancer surgeon, which I went for today. My beautiful surgeon told me that she’s pleased that I have a very clean breast, and did I realise that I’ve just crossed the 5-year window on remission?

I told dearest Esther we had a take a photo today to mark the crossing of this 5-year window.

I also had to take a photo with dearest Jamie three weeks back to mark the moment when she dropped by the hospital waiting area to pray with me and keep me company when I was accompanying a loved one to hospital.

2.  Thank God for Bosom Buddies

I’ve been gradually catching up with friends over the past few months, from birthday celebrations to small catch-ups with friends I’ve known for over 30 years and more. With the pandemic going on and fewer catch-ups the past year, each gathering has been precious and a reminder that relationships are best strengthened when you can see each other.

3. Thank God for Book Buddies

I’ve had the joy of seeing two books launched over the past two months. Given the current climate, the launches have all been done through social media. But the meet-ups with dear, dear friends and book buddies, and with my publisher and illustrator still works best face-to-face.

Had laughter therapy this morning with Hwee and Arlene, the biggest cheerleaders for my books.

And last week, I went to my new publisher’s office for the first time since we started working together 3rd quarter of last year!

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1

For World Voice Day on Sat 16 April, NSDA invited me to speak up, along with other voices around the world.

When I was going through my lowest with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a rare voice disorder, I found answers and support through the National Spasmodic Dysphonia’s online bulletin board.

So, I was very happy to be able to contribute my voice to NSDA’s One World-Many Voices theme for this year’s World Voice Day.

Hear more voices around the world at NSDA’s World Voice Day page.

World Voice Day

I’m thrilled that Wild Rice Academy is using my book Tibby the Tiger-Bunny for their drama programme for kids!

As part of this programme, trained facilitators will read the book with the class, while exploring the plot, character and issues with the children.

Through sheer coincidence, my very, very dear friend’s kid signed up for the programme and will play the part of Tibby! I could not get a performance out of him (though I heard he had already rehearsed his lines 16 times). But his eyes opened wide and he gave me a big hug when his mum told him that I’m the author.

I’m one hoppingly-pleased bunny who’s ready to roar with delight!

Caleb – my inspiration for Marky Polo!

Marky Polo the pangolin comes from a family line of famous travellers and explorers.

Great-grandfather Macho Polo is the first pangolin to scale to the top of Mount Everest. He met his match in great-grandmother Muaythai Polo, superior martial arts expert.

You can guess what grandfather Matcha Polo and grandmother Miso Polo are renowned for….and father Marsala Polo and mother Mala Polo too.

Marky has however never travelled out of Singapore and doesn’t know what he is good at.

When his cousin Munchie Polo, invites him to Tokyo for his first trip, he decides to embark on his travels…

Marky Polo in Tokyo is my newest book in my new series (Marky Polo’s Travels) for my new publisher (World Scientific).

Marky’s book is packed with fun facts on Tokyo as well as Japan’s native animals. This series comes with Augmented Reality features which bring the city to life and adds a new dimension to reading.

My hybrid picture book incorporates comic book elements with realistic streetscapes, thanks to illustrator Nicolas Liem, who is an award-winning science comics artist and architect by training. It is written for kids from 5-9 years old.

Marky Polo in Tokyo is now out in Kinokuniya bookstores. If you are in Stay Home mode, you can get it online from World Scientific.

Get a copy (or more…haha) and travel places with Marky Polo!

I’m swimmingly delighted that Little Mimic’s Superpower has received a 5-star review rating from Readers’ Favourite with the following review:

“Little Mimic’s Superpower by Emily Lim-Leh is the story of an amazing little octopus. He has discovered that he can change his body to match what he sees. He can make polka dots, stripes, even rainbow colors but he doesn’t know why he has this ability.

He observes everything going on around him especially when a Damselfish attacks him, and he hides. Once the Damselfish is scared off, he continues exploring his ocean world. He discovers he can even change his body shape. When the Damselfish returns, he suddenly realizes why he has these amazing superpowers. Facts about the real mimic octopus are included at the end of the story.”

“Emily Lim-Leh has written a wonderful story based on the actual mimic octopus. Little Mimic’s Superpower showcases the wonders of the sea and the amazing abilities of the mimic octopus. It just might encourage kids to get to know more about the ocean and its creatures.

I love how the story showcases the real-life intelligence of this octopus and its incredible superpower. Kids will enjoy making the sounds when Little Mimic changes his shape: whoosh, swish, swoosh! They will also start to think about what their superpowers might be. The illustrations by John Lim are colorful and engaging and bring Little Mimic to life. This little octopus oozes personality and joins other memorable aquatic picture book characters such as the Rainbow Fish and the Pout Pout Fish. Fingers crossed that we will see more of Little Mimic in the future.”

Little Mimic’s Superpower is now in Kinokuniya, Popular and Times bookstores!

You can also buy your copy from Times Bookstore’s GoGuru online store!

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of Mum’s passing.

I interviewed Dad on his and Mum’s dating story which I compiled into a booklet for her memorial dinner this evening. I am extracting my favourite moments which I scribed down in his words:

“Mum’s mother Tng Chwee and my mother Tung Siew Lin were family friends from the same municipality in China. They already knew each other when they were in China.

I remembered first seeing Mum when helping my mother to sell cloth at Nelson Road market when I was in primary school.  Mum’s father was selling coffee, tea and bread at a stall opposite my mother’s cloth stall in the market. Mum’s house was then at Borneo Road, around the corner from her father’s coffee stall. Her family stayed in a rental room on the second floor. Sometimes my mother would visit them, and I would accompany her. Being so young at that time, I did not have any romantic notions then.

The first time that I set sight on Mum was when I was much older. I was a young police probationary inspector (about 22 years old) and she was a student nurse (about 18 years old). I was driving to work in my mini car. Mum was pillion rider on her eldest brother’s scooter when both the scooter and my car stopped at the traffic light. Eddy was sending her to work and was going to turn left into Singapore General Hospital and I was headed straight towards Central Police Station. Eddy pointed me out to her as someone their family knew. We set eyes on each other that day.

From there, a while after, Mum’s mother brought Mum to visit my mother and me at our home to formally introduce us. Both mothers encouraged us to see each other more often.

During our courting days, Mum gave me a whole set of Old Spice for my personal grooming – hair cream, cologne etc. This was the first time that I had ever used cologne.

The photo that Mum gave Dad of herself when they were dating, which he hung up on his bedroom wall

We went out so often that I could not remember a specific moment or where we were when I proposed. When we decided to get married, it was a natural progression of our relationship.

Mum was working at KK Hospital when she met her godmother-to-be. Mum was one of the nurses taking care of Godma. Godma took a liking to Mum because her family found her beautiful and thought she looked like a popular local singer Rita Choa. Godpa helped Mum and me to get the Mount Vernon senior police officer’s quarters housing as he was more senior and knew the Quartermaster.

Mum and I often went to Satay Club in our younger years. On one occasion, we were both seated on a stone bench at the Esplanade looking out towards the sea, where Marina Bay is now. This was a few months into dating, and Mum took my hand and suddenly popped a question to me. She asked if I would ever leave her. I said, “No, I will never leave you.”

Whenever Dad and Mum went out together, right through their later years, Mum was always many spritely steps ahead and Dad had to chase after her to keep up.

My parents were married for over 50 years and today, have been separated for exactly two years. Mum made her way to Heaven quicker. But we hold onto our assurance in John 11:25-26 of the Bible that we will have our family reunion up there one day.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26

Related Link:

God Knows Leh #28- Parting with an Old Spice Alabaster Jar Miracle

I’m elated to see the 3rd book in my Little series, fresh off the press!

Little Mimic’s Superpower is about a little octopus with an inkling that he has some sort of superpower, except he doesn’t fully grasp it. More details will follow when the book streams into the bookstores soon.

Related Link:

Speak Good English with Little Godwit and read-aloud expert Suzanne Jung

Little Mole sniffs out 5 stars with Readers’ Favourite!

Today is Thank God Friday…. in time zones at least 16 hours behind Singapore!

The first day of Chinese New Year, yesterday, was markedly different from past years because of this Covid19 pandemic we are in.

Yet, there has been plenty to be thankful for in this Chinese Year of the Ox:

  1. Family visits

We visited Ben’s parents first thing in the morning on the first day, as with tradition. We skipped the usual visits to another 5-6 older relatives’ homes due Singapore’s Covid19 restrictions of a maximum of 8 visitors per household. Instead, we had Ben’s family over for a leisurely 2-hour lunch for a change.

We’ll see a couple more relatives over the days ahead in a more spread out, by-appointment timetable.

Caleb’s angpow artpiece hangs from the ceiling whilst my dear friend’s pot of pussywillows stands at our entrance

2. Gifts of Beauty

Caleb made two beautiful art pieces, each made out of 15 angpows stapled together, which I’ve proudly displayed in our home.

And a very dear friend surprised me with a pot of pink pussy willows after I made a passing comment that I loved the one I saw at another friend’s home.

This has been a quieter Chinese New Year. But that we can still celebrate is worth celebrating in itself. And perhaps, it’s meant to be a season for more introspection, less ‘oxpectation’ of worldly pursuits and more gratitude for the things that truly matter in this season of safe-distancing and masking up.

Ecclesiastes 3: There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.