I was at Popular bookstore yesterday and noticed that this book – ‘Larger Than Life’ by Belinda Lee – was ranked #3 on the Non-Fiction bestsellers list! Not bad eh? It was just behind Lee Wei Ling’s ‘A Hakka Woman’s Singapore Stories’ and Subhas Anandan’s ‘It’s Easy To Cry’. Having read this book from cover to cover in just two sittings, I can assure you it’s worth both your time and money to get a copy. :)
Through ‘Larger Than Life’ I got to know more about Belinda Lee. Before reading this book, I actually knew very little about her, beyond the fact that she seems perfectly okay with having tanned skin, versus those Mediacorp actresses who hide behind massive sunglasses and scarfs and take cover under umbrellas whenever there’s a break in filming. LOL.
Belinda reveals quite a few things in this book, which took her two years to put together. For one, she shares that she was fostered out as a baby and only returned to her parents when she was either 3 or 4 years old. She even harbored “thoughts of ending (her) life” at one point, and she had to remain professional before the camera even after a devastating end to a 6-year relationship “that had almost led to marriage”.
While reading, I found myself envying her for the adventures she went on while filming travelogues like ‘Find Me A Singaporean’, which gave her the stories to share in this book. Since 2006, she’s gone all over the world, filmed in exotic locations (even a cemetery!) and experienced so many things that others can only dream of.
And this book was so sensitively and thoughtfully put together that I found myself close to tears at one point in reading. This doesn’t usually happen – not with a book, at least.
‘Larger Than Life’ is a full-color 228-page book that is FILLED with pictures and well-crafted accounts of the places she visited, the people she met, and the lessons she learnt.
“…whether you are a cemetery caretaker… a teacher, a CEO, a cleaner or a karang guni rag-and-bone man, fulfilment is not about how much you earn but how much value you see in what you do. And value is not determined by profession but by how much you respect yourself and your job.”
In this book, Belinda features some of the Singaporeans who are leaving a dent in the universe by their selfless ways: saving street kids in India, helping the mentally ill in China, giving hope to the poor in Kenya, teaching about bee-farming in Uganda, feeding the hungry in Mongolia, caring for landmine victims in Cambodia, counseling the youths in Vietnam, and so much more! Without her travelogue series, and without this book, I guess a lot of people (just like me) will continue thinking that Singaporeans are materialistic, arrogant, selfish, unemotional, and pampered individuals. Thankfully, there are some of us who are larger than life. :)
Go grab a copy of this book anywhere books are sold! :D