Hitting the notes

I've spent the better part of the last few weeks compiling endnotes for one of the books I co-authored. In other words: my co-author and I have been going back through our notes and earlier drafts, painstakingly hunting down exactly what page it was that Raffles called Singapore his "almost only child" or chided Farquhar for his "Malay connexion" (I love that archaic spelling). That also means much time spent in the library, verifying sometimes lurid accounts of pirate attacks in the mid-19th century or checking when the Japanese banned "imperialist" Western films during their Occupation of Singapore.

If it sounds both fun and, er, not at the same time, you're right. We could've saved ourselves the grief if we'd kept better track of these references while we were writing, but oh well. This is why I need to branch out into writing fiction; then I won't need to footnote every other darned thing.

This book, incidentally, is a popular history of Singapore, tentatively titled Singapore: A Biography. More details to come, but the important thing to remember is that it's not a textbook and not a government glorification piece. It's a story about this funny little island I happen to live on, and it's an island that has seen quite a few stories indeed.

Anyway, for now I hope to be done with all the endnotes after this week. Then I can stop squinting at old books on microfilm and focus on learning how to read hangeul instead.

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