Set between the late 1930s and 1960s, Sweet Offerings is the tale of Mei Yin, a young Chinese girl from an impoverished rural family in Malacca. Her destiny is shaped when she is sent to Kuala Lumpur to become the ward and companion of the tyrannical and bitter Su Hei who is looking for a suitable wife for her son Ming Kong … and ultimately a grandson and heir to the family dynasty. Sweet Offerings is not just a fictional story of the events that ripped one family apart, but a taste of Malaysia’s historical, political and cultural changes during its transition from colonial rule to independence and beyond. The story ends in 1969 when ethnic conflict tore the country apart.
Customer reviews (amazon.co.uk):
I couldn’t put down the book. Being a Malaysian of Chinese origin myself, I was curious to read this when it came up as one of the Recommended Books on my Amazon account, and I must say I wasn’t disappointed. I finished the book on a return flight journey from Manchester – Athens!! It was like watching a movie playing in my head, as I turned the pages on my Kindle. I am going to order Ms Chan’s next few books now. Highly recommended!!
– Soraya Y 16 August 2017
Sweet Offerings, Chan Ling Yap’s recent novel about family life in Malaysia over the past half century was so real and vivid that it made me homesick for somewhere I had never lived! For the many thousands of people who lived there at some time, or who come from there it will be very much treasured. It reflects the tensions between the various racial groups, and between classes and sexes. Having read many novels about Chinese society there was much that was familiar about relationships, passions and loyalties. The innocent young girl, so transparent and well-meaning but sometimes rash and tactless. The essentially good and hard-working man who, like his father, finds it difficult to remain entirely faithful to one wife – or even two. And the intrigues of lovers, business partners, invading Japanese and colonial Britains – they all go into this complex but most entertaining book that is so well written and easy to read. Along the road of the story one learns much about the history of Malaysia and of tradition, customs, food and day to day life. Most enjoyable – and let’s have another book from Chan Ling soon!
– G. Macpherson 31 December 2009
Chan Ling Yap’s book covers a period and a region not known to many Europeans. By telling the personal, inter-connected stories of a group of Malaysians during a period from the 1930s up to the 1960s , she gives the reader a fascinating insight into Malaysian and Malaysian Chinese lives, as well as providing – in passing – a history of the country moving from British colony through Japanese occupation to independent nation. The tensions between both the individuals in the book and the changing circumstances in which they live are vividly described in this book, which is highly recommended.
– D. W. Nyman 3 August 2011